Volume 2 | March 25, 2021
Released: Thursday, March 25, 2021
General Assembly 2021
We’ve had a busy General Assembly season here at VAIB. The Biden Administration has dramatically increased its push for cultural-shifting legislation. But God is still on the throne, and His mission for us to minister the Gospel in our communities has not changed. Our trust is not in Washington or Richmond. Our security comes from the Hope that is found in Jesus Christ.
With the General Assembly session wrapping up, here are some updates
With the General Assembly needing more time to complete its work, Governor Northam “extended” the session by ordering a special session to begin February 10 and conclude March 1. With the budget being the greatest need, I’m thankful that more bills of concern to VAIB died for lack of action. Here is a list of some of those bills that did not go forward:
- HB1932 (De. Levine) would have removed the conscience clause for child-placing agencies with a religious-or moral-convictions policy. Such agencies, like Catholic Charities, help place hundreds of children each year with parents of faith and will continue to do so thanks to the defeat of this bill.
- HB1951 (Del. Simon) would have removed the common-law crime of suicide. My greatest concern was that this bill would have advanced the legalization of assisted suicide in Virginia.
- HB2155 (Del. Watts) would have added to the Virginia Human Rights Act an overly broad definition of nondiscrimination regarding sexual harassment and workplace harassment. These areas are appropriately covered in other areas of the law.
One important bill that has passed the House and Senate is now on the governor’s desk awaiting his signature. SB1356 (Sen. Kiggans) gives clear guidance for allowing clergy visits to hospitals, nursing homes, and other similar institutions during public health emergencies such as a pandemic. Too often, clergy have been refused the right to visit. This bill will help resolve confusion and allow for consistent application of permitted visits with patients and residents in these facilities. Another important bill is SB1303 which deals with reopening public schools for in-person learning. The bill was a bipartisan effort by Democrats Sen. Chap Petersen and Sen. Joe Morrissey and Republican Sen. Siobhan Dunnavant. The bill will require that five-days-per-week, in-person learning be made available in all public schools as of July 1 if the bill is signed by the governor. Our children have suffered too long under pandemic restrictions. You may want to contact the governor’s office to encourage him to sign this legislation.
Due to threats from proposed federal and state legislation, VAIB will be partnering with the National Center for Life and Liberty (NCLL) to publish some ways you can ensure your church is protected going forward. Stay tuned for more information in our next newsletter.
As our churches face new challenges, VAIB will be vigilant to keep you informed and answer your questions. The easiest way to contact me is at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also call the office at 804-789-1278. Please leave a message when you call.
I want to say thank you to those churches and individuals who continue to give in support of VAIB’s mission. If you or your ministry does not yet support VAIB, would you prayerfully consider doing so to keep this ministry working on your behalf?
Rev. Eddy Aliff
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