Social Legislation Under Consideration by Virginia General Assembly

Provided by The Family Foundation, Feb. 1, 2020

It is evident, based on this fourth week of the General Assembly Session, that there are going to be many valleys with some mountaintop moments to remind us of God’s faithfulness. The week went from mourning the passage of two radical abortion bills (HB 980 and SB 733) that strip away two decades of pro-life achievements, to celebrating the defeat of a bill (HB 1051) that would have repealed the religious conscience protections for faith-based child placement and adoption agencies, which would have meant their closure. Next week, we anticipate a number of bills that pertain to parental rights, religious liberty and the economic and social health of Virginia to be debated and voted on in the full House and Senate.

Prohibition Against Talk Therapy – HB 386 (D-Hope, Arlington)
prevents parents from seeking counseling for their child who may be struggling with their sexual identity or is experiencing unwanted same-sex attractions, by prohibiting licensed counselors and therapists from helping them in this way. An identical bill, SB 245 (D- Surovell, Fairfax, Prince William and Stafford Counties), passed the Senate 21-18. [Senator Creigh Deeds voted in favor of this bill.]

SOGI Nondiscrimination – HB 1663 (D-Sickles, Fairfax County) rolls many of the “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” (SOGI) bills into one giant bill, and incorporates these as specially protected statuses in public and private employment, public accommodations, housing, appointments, credit, and the Virginia Human Rights Act. It also creates both civil and government-initiated causes of action to sue people claimed to be in violation. And it adds draconian and far-reaching powers to the Attorney General to subpoena, investigate, and prosecute anyone in relation to any claims of such discrimination. This is clearly designed to target and destroy any dissenters from the sexual revolution. The bill passed House Appropriations 14-8. [Note:  Read this bill carefully. It empowers and grows the Dept. of Law under the Attorney General, and allows the Dept to accept private gifts or grants of money; secondly, notice the inclusion or exclusion of “national origin” throughout, and the statement that the act should be enforced liberally, excluding any deference to federal law.]

SOGI Nondiscrimination Targeting Religious Organizations – HB 1049 (D-Levine, eastern Alexandria, Alexandria portion of Fairfax County and southern parts of Arlington ) – specifically targets all faith-based organizations who contract with the state by adding “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” as special protected statuses in employment, public accommodation, public contracting, apprenticeship programs, housing, banking, and insurance, as well as the Virginia Human Rights Act. The bill was passed by the House General Laws Committee 16-6.

Sex Change on Birth Certificate By Request – HB 1041 (D-Simon, Fairfax County) allows anyone to legally “change” their birth sex on their official birth certificate by doing nothing more than make a simple request to the State Registrar using a form, along with a simple doctor’s note. It passed 13-9 in committee. An identical bill, SB 657 (D-Boysko), passed the Senate 24-15. [Sen. Creigh Deeds voted in favor of this bill.]

Mandated Health Coverage for “Transgender” Services – HB 1429 (D-Roem, Manassas) would prevent any health carrier from denying or limiting coverage or imposing additional costs for coverages to any person (including children) for “transgender” health related treatments including “gender reassignment surgeries.” It also defines “Gender identity” as “an individual’s internal sense of gender, which may be male, female, neither, or a combination of male and female.” It was reported by the House Labor and Commerce 13-9.

Required Training on “LGBTQ” Cultural Competency – HB 581 (D-Guzman, Woodbridge) requires the Dept. of Human Resource Management to “develop an online training module addressing lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) cultural competency” and mandates all state employees to take the training. It was reported by the House Appropriations Committee 13-9.

Gambling Expansion (Internet Lottery and “Charitable” Gaming) – A House committee passed, HB 1383 (D-Bulova, Fairfax) that allows lottery tickets to be sold over the internet, which will dramatically expand the Lottery that hurts poor people the most. The bill was reported by House Appropriations 12-2. SB 387 (D-McPike) significantly broadens the scope of chartable gaming by allowing them to put pull tabs and other gaming devices anywhere, including places that sell alcohol. It passed the Senate General Laws committee 14-0.

Bad Bills still in a committee…

“Day of Tears” Repeal – HR 6 (D-Convirs-Fowler, Virginia Beach) would recognize January 22 (anniversary of Roe v. Wade) as the “Day of Women” and repeal a past resolution that recognized it as the “Day of Tears” to honor the unborn lives lost to abortion.

Gambling Expansion (Sports Betting, Internet Lottery, Video Game Machines) – HB 896 (D-Sickles) and SB 384 (D-McPike, Manassas, part of Prince William County) legalizes sports betting at both a central location and online. SB 922 (R-Norment, Poquoson, counties of New Kent, Gloucester, King and Queen, King William) allows lottery tickets to be sold over the internet. Also moving its way through the committees is SB 971 (D-Howell, Fairfax County), which allows the Lottery to regulate and tax the so-called “games of skill,” as well as the Governor’s bill, SB 1063 (D-McPike), which will allow gambling video game machines to be placed in virtually every convenience store, bar, and gas station in Virginia. All of these bills have been rereferred to the Appropriation Committees for each chamber (i.e., House or Senate). This does not include the casino bills that will be heard next week.

Legalization of Recreational Marijuana – SB 2 (D-Ebbin, Arlington and parts of Alexandria and Fairfax Counties) would decriminalize (effectively the same thing as “legalizing”) marijuana in Virginia. It passed the Judiciary committee 10-3, and has been rereferred to the Senate Committee on Finance & Appropriations. [Senator Creigh Deeds voted for this bill in the Judiciary Committee and he serves also on the Committee on Finance & Appropriations where he will, presumably, vote for this bill again.]

Required Social Justice Curriculum – SB 853 (D-Boysko, Fairfax and Loudon Counties) requires the Dept. of Education to develop a model curriculum and teacher training on social justice, including bigotry, hate, historically underrepresented groups, dehumanizing injustice, etc.. The bill was rereferred to Senate Finance & Appropriations.

And the list of bad bills goes on …

Now, more than ever, it’s vital that we come together in prayer for our Commonwealth and the future generations who will have to endure the repercussions of these destructive legislative actions.