Once again your calls for action made the difference! This Thursday, my fellow delegates and I met in Richmond for a packed single-day session. What we accomplished shows that the united voice of folks like you, demanding commonsense action, can make a huge difference. The House of Delegates acted to:
- Pass House Resolution 566 This was needed for two reasons. First, our Virginia Attorney General decided to take an Eric Holder-like approach to Virginia’s marriage law and not defend it (he actually went a step further and worked with the people fighting against Virginia’s laws).
Governor McAuliffe also refused to appoint counsel to defend the law so it became clear the House of Delegates needed to take our own steps to hire a competent attorney to stand up for the people of Virginia and the law they passed. This resolution gives Speaker Howell the ability to do just that, and it will also allow the speaker to defend our laws in case our Governor decides to attempt a Medicaid expansion on his own, or to ignore our Right-to-Work laws.
It appears Speaker Howell already has an offer from Matt Staver, Professor of Law and Dean of Liberty University School of Law to provide a legal defense at no cost to the taxpayers. Matt Staver communicated with Speaker Howell by letter saying:
“... as Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel, I understand that the rule of law is critical to our survival as a people and a nation, and that the institution of marriage is the foundation for the rule of law. Therefore, I hereby offer Liberty Counsel's resources to the service of the Commonwealth of Virginia in defense of marriage. Should you retain Liberty Counsel as outside counsel, we will defend Virginia's marriage laws at no cost to the taxpayers.”
House Resolution 566 passed because YOU spoke up, and if you want to let the Speaker and sponsor Mark Cole know you appreciate their leadership, I hope you’ll email them and let them know.
- Affirm our Stance on Medicaid!
Delegate Tom Rust’s Medicaid bill failed by a 33-64 vote. The House of Delegates refused to "engross" Rust's bill, meaning the bill never came to a full vote.The House kept its word to hold a full and fair debate on Medicaid expansion, and it’s clear that expanding Medicaid in Virginia as part of Obamacare is not the right choice. Instead of locking our Commonwealth into an entitlement program that will eat up more and more resources, will continue to look elsewhere for innovative, compassionate and cost-effective ways to provide for our neighbors that need quality medical care.
- Close the Budget Gap!
Virginia is facing a $2.4 billion dollar revenue shortfall, and we passed an amendment to our budget that made additional budget cuts. In the weeks before the session, House Leadership was alerted that without this correction to the budget, Virginia’s solid AAA bond rating could be at risk. By bringing the budget back in line, we’re showing citizens here at home and investors all over the world that we’re dead serious about maintaining the financial integrity of our Commonwealth. There were some concerns about this appropriations bill possibly creating an opportunity for the governor to make a backdoor Medicaid maneuver, but Sen. Mark Obenshain explains here why that won't happen.
- Appoint Judges! Together we voted to appoint judges to fill much-needed vacancies across the state. Congratulations to Jeanette Irby, Town Attorney for Leesburg, who will soon leave that job to become a judge on Virginia’s 20th Circuit Court!
In the 26th Judicial District, which includes Clarke and Frederick Counties, five new judges were elected:
Judge Ronald Lewis Napier
Clark A. Ritchie
Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court
Kimberly M. Athey
Anthony W. Bailey
General District Court
Once again, your calls and emails in support of HR 566 and opposing Medicaid made the difference! THANK YOU FOR YOUR HELP!