General Assembly Update Week 6 – February 15, 2019

Released: Friday, February 15, 2019

The Lull Before the Storm

At this point in the session, the focus is on completing all bills related to the budget as well as the budget itself. The process is similar to making sausage—if you’re familiar with that messy process, you know what I mean!

Only four bills that are still active truly concern me. Two bills, HB1659 and SB1257, would require pastors to become mandated reporters of child abuse. So long as there are no further changes to these bills, I believe our pastors will be properly protected in their pastoral duties. The Senate and House versions are identical and should soon be on the governor's desk for his signature.

The storm will hit next week for VAIB. The two other active bills have a related purpose: to protect sexual orientation and gender identity from discrimination. One bill, SB1109, involves areas related to housing (rental and sales), while the other bill, SB998, involves public employment (government only). VAIB continues to oppose creating another special class of protected citizens.

These two bills will be heard in a subcommittee of the House General Laws committee either Tuesday or Thursday. There are eight members on this subcommittee. I have spoken to several conservative members on the committee, who I believe will continue to stand against these bills. Pray for those five members who have voted against these bills in the past to do so again this week. If these bills pass, they will very likely pass the committee and move to the full House, where the count shows both bills will pass. 

So, we will see what next week holds. I’m excited to still have visitors coming to the Capitol. Last week Pastor John Dooley and Joel Wegner of Colonial Baptist Church in Roanoke visited. And next week I hope to have three more visitors. If you were unable to come this year, make plans to come next year. You will be encouraged by what you see and hear, and you will be a blessing to legislators and to me!

Please pray about these last four bills.

Eddy Aliff