Kathy Byron

Democrats ended the 2021 General Assembly regular session a few days early, getting Governor Northam to call legislators back into a special session to complete their work.  Even though the legislative workload was less than half of what it was in the last short session in 2019, Democrats didn’t even try to complete their work within the 30 days prescribed by the Constitution.

As evidenced by the 150 days Democrats kept the General Assembly in session last year, this year is on track to be another endless marathon legislature.  Democrats treated the end of the regular session as crossover, the normal midway point of the legislative calendar.  Having only completed the first half of the process, the special session will have the House considering bills filed by senators while the Senate takes up bills filed by delegates.

The Democrats continue to abandon the policies that made Virginia one of the best states in the nation. They’re pursuing an extreme far-left agenda that would make abortion “essential” healthcare, advance government-run universal healthcare, and adopt the environmental regulations that have made California the land of the rolling blackouts.

Here’s a selection of some of the worst House Bills they passed, all of which I opposed: 

•HB1896 – Would make abortion “essential healthcare,” meaning your tax dollars will soon be subsidizing abortions.

•HB1902 – Would ban the use of polystyrene (styrofoam) cups and containers by small businesses that provide prepared food for individuals and families in our communities. This bill will be very costly for small, independent restaurants.

•HB1932 – Would force child placement agencies to place children in situations violating the agency’s written religious or moral convictions. Effectively, this would end faith-based adoptions.

•HB1965 – Would impose California-style emission standards on Virginia. Look for skyrocketing electric rates in the near future.

•HB2032 – Would define you as an employer if you are paying someone to do work or maintenance at your home, such as caring for your child or elderly parent, lawn maintenance, housekeeper, cook etc. Also allowing government entry to your home without a warrant for inspection.

•HB2123 – Would give illegal immigrants in-state tuition and full access to state-funded financial assistance programs at Virginia’s state-supported colleges and universities.

•HB2159 – Would fine you $26 if you’re over the age of 16 and let go of a balloon. Seriously.

•HB2231 – Would repeal mandatory minimum sentences, significantly reducing penalties for serious crimes, including child pornography offenses, gun violence, selling drugs to children, rape, and other heinous acts.

•HB2263 – Would abolish the death penalty, even for those persons currently awaiting execution.

•HB2271 – Would require the Secretary of Health and Human Resources study government-run universal healthcare, which the Democrats want to impose on Virginia.

•HB2312 – Sets Virginia on course to fully legalize marijuana, including the sale and distribution.

Not every bill the House passed was bad.  There were actually some bills that will help Virginians, including these I supported:

•HB 1865 – Would require reading intervention services for students in kindergarten through grade three who demonstrate deficiencies based on their individual performance on the Standards of Learning reading test or other reading proficiency tests. Would also requires the student’s progress to be monitored and the parent to be notified before the services begin. 

•HB2027 – Would require the Board of Education to establish, in lieu of a one-time end-of-year assessment and for the purpose of providing measures of individual student growth over the course of the school year, a through-year growth assessment system, aligned with the Standards of Learning, for the administration of reading and mathematics assessments in grades three through eight.

•HB2185 – Would provide a temporary sales tax exemption for personal protective equipment that businesses must purchase to comply with COVID-19 protocols imposed by the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry. I sponsored this bill.

•HB2333 – To facilitate inoculations of the COVID-19 vaccine, the bill will increase the number of facilities eligible to be vaccination centers and streamline the process to qualify healthcare professionals to administer the vaccine. This bill incorporated my legislation to achieve this goal.

On balance, the Democrats’ one-party control of Richmond is having disastrous results for Virginia.  If they retain the House and the governorship this November, they’ll be back with legislation next year to require non-union workers are forced to pay union dues and raise taxes, including bringing back the death tax.

As discouraging as it watching the Democrats make our government the most left-wing in America, count me among those who believe Virginia – and our conservative principles and traditional values – are worth the fight.

I’ll be back next week with more news from what will likely be only the first special session of 2021.  Until then, have a great week.