In Family Foundation Webinar, Youngkin, Earle-Sears, Celebrate Dobbs Decision, But Don’t Expect Rapid Change in Virginia’s Abortion Laws

Governor Glenn Youngkin and Lieutenant Governor Winsome Earle-Sears spoke in a Tuesday evening webinar where speakers highlighted the win for conservatives in the Dobbs decision, while also calling on pro-life supporters to vote, donate, and volunteer for Republicans in upcoming elections. 21-19 Democratic control of the Senate was a constant theme of the speakers, who sounded a note of caution about the speed of change Virginians should expect.

“Any bill that comes to my desk, I will sign happily and gleefully in order to protect life,” Youngkin said

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State Senate District 28 Candidate Allers: Sen. Reeves Lost VA-07 Nomination After Not Working ‘Nearly as Hard’ as Other Candidates

Senator Bryce Reeves (R-Spotsylvania) came in third in the recent GOP VA-07 congressional primary. That’s a bad result for a candidate who entered the race with the most name recognition and ended the race with the most money, yet still came in second in Spotsylvania County and third in Culpeper County. Now, Reeves is expected to run for re-election the 28th state senate district, but he already faces an early challenger for the GOP primary.

“I actually thought he was going to perform much better, and so whether it provides an opening for me automatically, I don’t know,” candidate Michael Allers, Sr. told The Virginia Star, adding that it does show a chink in Reeves’ armor.

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VCDL, VAPLAN Rank Virginia’s General Assembly Legislators

Nick Freitas and Mark Obenshain

The pro-gun Virginia Citizens Defense League (VCDL) has released a scorecard of legislators from the recent General Assembly session, with most Republican legislators scoring 100 percent.  In tallies that count votes, Delegate Nick Freitas (R-Culpeper) and Senator Mark Obenshain (R-Rockingham) earned the highest scores based on the number of votes cast and who introduced legislation. The Virginia Progressive Legislative Action Network (VAPLAN) has also released a scorecard, finding that Speaker of the House Todd Gilbert (R-Shenandoah) and Delegate Thomas Wright (R-Lunenberg) tied for most conservative in the House, while Senator Steve Newman (R-Bedford) was the most conservative in the Senate.

“Congratulations to Senator Mark Obenshain (R – Harrisonburg) and to Delegate Nick Freitas (R – Culpeper) for having the best voting records in the General Assembly,” the VCDL wrote in an update. “And honorable mention goes to Senator Ryan McDougle (R-Mechanicsville and freshman Delegate Marie March (R-Pulaski), who both came in 2nd place.”

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Despite Virginia Republican Control of House and the Governor’s Mansion, Most Pro-Life Legislation Hits Senate Democrat Brick Wall

man's hand holding an infants head

With Republicans in control of the House of Delegates and the governorship, and with a pro-life Democrat in the Senate who could offer ties to the Republican lieutenant governor, there were high hopes for pro-life policy when the 2022 General Assembly session began. But with the session approaching its March 12 adjournment, only a few lower-profile pieces of pro-life legislation will make it to the governor’s desk.

“In many ways, it was very much what we expected. We expected the Senate to be nothing but a giant roadblock to any rational or reasonable legislation that would have truly moved the ball forward for protecting unborn children and their mothers. And they did exactly that,” Virginia Society for Human Life President Olivia Gans Turner told The Virginia Star.

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Mike Allers Announces Run for State Senate 2023, with Potential to Face Either Sen. Reeves or Del. Freitas

Mike Allers, Sr. is seeking the GOP nomination for state senate district 28, he announced Tuesday, over a year before the November 2023 election.

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Senate Republicans Force Democrats to Docket Several House Republican Bills

RICHMOND, Virginia – Senate Republicans won a minor showdown on Thursday by forcing several House bills to a full committee hearing although the Democrat-controlled Senate Education and Health Committee had removed the bills from its docket. Among the bills was Delegate Nick Freitas’ (R-Culpeper) bill requiring health providers to work to preserve the life of an infant born alive after an abortion attempt.

Senate Minority Leader Thomas Norment (R-James City) protested with a series of questions aimed at Senate Majority Leader Richard Saslaw (D-Fairfax). After Norment’s questions to Saslaw, the Senate went into recess while the legislators worked out a deal. Norment, Education Committee Chair Louise Lucas (D-Portsmouth), and Saslaw were seen speaking to each other and gesticulating during the recess.

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Virginia State Senate Judiciary Committee Kills Local Gun Control Repeal

The Senate Judiciary Committee killed HB 827, a bill that would remove local authority to pass gun control ordinances. In its Monday meeting, the committee also killed several other Republican gun bills. Although a few bills are still working their way through the legislature, Monday’s committee meeting largely concludes the current General Assembly session in terms of gun policy, with few gains made by either firearms advocates or opponents.

“The session looks to be a wash for both sides, except for one bill on the serial numbers, and then a switchblade bill,” Virginia Citizens Defense League President Philip Van Cleave told The Virginia Star. “That’s not totally unexpected, but you never know.”

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Delegate Cordoza Says He Was Denied Entry to Virginia Legislative Black Caucus, Showing Caucus Not About Being Black, but Being Leftist

Freshman Delegate A.C. Cordoza (R-Hampton) said in a Thursday speech in the House of Delegates that the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus (VLBC) wouldn’t allow him to join due to political differences, but VLBC Chair Lamont Bagby (D-Henrico) told The Virginia Star that it was due to concern over Cordoza’s motives.

“When I came to this assembly, I expected to be welcomed with open arms by my brothers and sisters in the Legislative Black Caucus. Instead, I was rejected by a vote. While I’m sure a few of my brothers and sisters voted for me to join them, the majority did not,” Cordoza said in his speech. “This was disheartening but not shocking. The questionnaire for entry had little to do with being black, and had more to do with being leftist.”

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Virginia House of Delegates Passes Bills to Freeze Minimum Wage at $11 an Hour and Include Health Benefits in Legal Definition of Wage

RICHMOND, Virginia – The Republican-controlled House of Delegates passed two bills addressing the minimum wage, including a repeal of increases passed by Democrats in previous sessions. Delegate Nick Freitas (R-Culpeper) and Delegate Sally Hudson (D-Charlottesville) debated about the need for minimum wage increases on the House floor Monday.

“I have it on good theological guidance that nothing in this bill is going to cause you to be cast into eternal darkness and gnashing of teeth,” Freitas said, defending his HB 320 against a claim that eliminating minimum wage increases harms “the least among us,” a reference to Jesus’ teaching in the Bible.

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Senate Commerce and Labor Committee Ends State Sen. Obenshain’s Efforts to Reverse Collective Bargaining Law in Virginia

The Senate Commerce and Labor Committee killed two bills from Senator Mark Obenshain (R-Rockingham) aiming rollbacks at Virginia’s collective bargaining laws. SB 374 would have removed locality authority to enter into collective bargaining agreements with public employees, and would have removed locality authority to require contracts to be performed at prevailing wage.

“The effect of these legislative changes that I’m seeking to undo is that, really, we’ve thrown open the doors for large out-of-state union contractors to come in and take jobs and opportunities away from Virginia contractors, Virginia employees. It deprives us of the benefit of our right to work status,” Obenshain said to the committee chaired by Senate Majority Leader Richard Saslaw (D-Fairfax). “This is a pro-jobs, pro-Virginia, pro-individual liberty, pro-Virginian piece of legislation.”

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Youngkin’s Education Tip Line Attracts Democratic Anger; Del. Scott Questions Youngkin’s Faith

Governor Glenn Youngkin’s tip line for parents with concerns about in-school practices is triggering outrage on social media, CNN, and the floor of the House of Delegates.

In a Monday appearance on The John Fredericks Show, Youngkin said the email hotline is “for parents to send us any instances where they feel that their fundamental rights are being violated, where their children are not being respected, where there are inherently divisive practices in their schools.”

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Virginia Lawmaker Introduces ‘Pain-Capable’ Abortion Ban

Delegate Nick Freitas (R-Culpeper) has introduced a bill to ban abortions after 20 weeks in most circumstances, a threshold based on when the unborn are believed to feel pain.

“We’re actually making sure that it’s understood that this is about the capability to feel pain, it’s not about an arbitrary 20-week schedule,” Freitas told The Virginia Star.

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Virginia General Assembly Continues to Debate Youngkin Critical Race Theory Ban

RICHMOND, Virginia – The General Assembly continues to debate Governor Glenn Youngkin’s Executive Order One banning Critical Race Theory and “inherently divisive concepts.” On Wednesday, legislators debated the policy in the House Education Committee, on the House floor, and on the Senate floor. The newly-Republican-controlled House of Delegates has been slow to hear bills in committee, which generated another House floor back-and-forth, but although key anti-CRT bills haven’t been heard in the Education Committee yet, delegates got a jump-start on debating the topic when interviewing Youngkin nominee for Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow.

Balow previously served as Wyoming’s Superintendent of Public Instruction, where she supported anti-CRT legislation.

“I share Governor Youngkin’s priorities for education,” Balow said.

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Rejuvenated Virginia GOP Prepares for Future Victories at 2021 Advance

In a weekend that was part play, part work, attendees at the Republican Party of Virginia’s Advance spent weekend networking and attending events including a Friday reception with Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin, breakout sessions, a congressional breakfast, a luncheon with Attorney General-elect Jason Miyares, and a 1920s-themed gala and ball featuring Lieutenant Governor-elect Winsome Sears. The event was held at The Homestead in Hot Springs, Virginia, which provided activities like the Cascades Gorge hike or a hayride. Moods were high as Republicans celebrated Virginia’s sudden-seeming return to swing state status, with more wins expected in future years.

“I encountered a relatively empty shell of an organization in August of 2020. But we have worked together, we have grown, we have expanded, we’ve answered the challenge,” RPV Chairman Rich Anderson said in remarks at the Saturday gala. “Virginia Republicans: we fought! We won! The Virginia GOP is red again.”

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Former Virginia Democratic Chairman Says McAuliffe’s Missed Signature Gave Him Unfair Primary Advantage

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe failed to sign paperwork to declare his candidacy; the GOP is using the issue to try to disqualify McAuliffe. That outcome is possible but unlikely, according to former Virginia Democratic Chairman Paul Goldman. Goldman is focused on the date the paperwork was filed — March 8. That day, at noon, was the first day candidates could file for the Democratic primary, and the first candidate to file gets to be listed first on the ballot.

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Candidates Line Up to Challenge Spanberger in Virginia Midterms

Taylor Keeney for Congress

Former Governor Bob McDonnell communications staffer Taylor Keeney is running for the GOP nomination in Virginia’s seventh congressional district. Keeney is the second GOP candidate to announce a campaign for the seat in July; Tina Ramirez announced her candidacy earlier in July.

“I’m tired of the same career politicians failing to flip the seat from blue back to red. That’s why I’m running for Congress,” Keeney said in an announcement video Wednesday.

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Republicans and Democrats Field 196 Candidates for 100 House of Delegates Seats

There are 100 districts in the Virginia House of Delegates, and both Republicans and Democrats are running candidates in nearly all districts. According to unofficial data compiled by The Virginia Public Access Project (VPAP), Republicans have 99 candidates, and Democrats have 97. The State Board of Elections is scheduled to certify results from the June primaries on Tuesday, June 22.

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Redistricting Will Not Be Complete in Time for 2021 House of Delegates Elections

Redistricting for Virginia’s legislative districts will not be complete in time for the 2021 House of Delegates elections, according to a draft timeline presented at a Virginia Redistricting Commission (VRC) meeting Tuesday. Census data is not expected until mid-August, which starts a 45-day timeline for the commission to send completed House and Senate maps to the General Assembly. As a result, Virginia may have House of Delegates races three years in a row: 2021, 2022 based on new districts, and the regularly scheduled 2023 election.

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Virginia House Passes Repeal of Adoption Conscience Clause

The House of Delegates approved Delegate Mark Levine’s (D-Arlington) HB 1932 on Wednesday in a 53 to 43 vote. The bill would remove the child-placement conscience clause which protects child-placement agencies from being forced to place children where it would violate the agency’s moral or religious convictions. Supporters of the bill say it ends discrimination currently protected by the Commonwealth, but Catholic adoption agencies and Republican legislators warn that removing the protection could effectively eliminate thousands of potential homes for children in foster care and adoption programs. The bill is now in committee in the Senate.

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Democrats Kill Right-to-Work Repeal in Virginia House

Delegate Lee Carter’s right-to-work repeal died in crossover Friday, much like in the previous two years, but on Wednesday, Carter fought to give it one last chance. On the floor of the virtual House session, Carter raised a motion to discharge the bill from committee, a procedural move that would allow delegates to vote on hearing the bill in the House even though it had not been passed out of committee.

Carter said, “I’ve introduced this bill for the last three years running, and its fate in both previous years has been to die in crossover without a recorded vote on its final disposition.”

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Virginia House Passes Bill Extending Unemployment to People Who Can’t Work Due to COVID-19

The House of Delegates passed a bill meant to protect employees from losing unemployment benefits for some employees who can’t work due to COVID-19.  It includes a key provision that provides unemployment benefits for people who don’t go to work because they believe their employer is not following COVID-19 safety standards.

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Republicans Pre-File Three Pro-Gun Bills in Virginia House of Delegates

In 2020, Virginia Democrats used their new majorities to pass sweeping gun control resolutions through the General Assembly, and Democrats will retain control during the upcoming regular session. But that isn’t stopping Republicans in the House of Delegates from trying to pass some pro-gun legislation. So far, legislators have pre-filed three pro-gun bills for the 2021 session that, if passed, will expand concealed carry handgun (CCH) rights and remove sovereign immunity in areas with government gun bans.

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Congressional Candidate Freitas Says Seventh District Election Results Probably Will Not Change

Republican Congressional Candidate Del. Nick Freitas (R-Culpeper) said in a statement published to his Facebook page Thursday that the results of Virginia’s 7th District race, which saw Representative Abigail Spanberger (D-VA-07) win re-election, will probably not change.

In the week following the general elections and Spanberger’s declaration of victory, Freitas and his campaign have been publicly quiet while reviewing post-election canvasses and ensuring that every legal vote cast is counted, according to the statement.

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Spanberger Declares Victory in Seventh Congressional District, Freitas to Wait for Final Results Before Conceding Race

Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger (D-VA-07) declared victory Wednesday night over Republican challenger and state Del. Nick Freitas (R-Culpeper) in Virginia’s 7th Congressional District, after further early voting counts gave her a 5,132-vote lead.

Spanberger took the lead after Spotsylvania County reported its final absentee ballots and Henrico County tallied additional absentee votes, which officials overlooked because the ballots had been saved on a mislabeled flash drive, according to the Virginia Public Access Project (VPAP).

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UPDATE: Freitas Clings to a 1,000 Vote Lead over Spanberger; 69,000 Potential Mail Ballots Outstanding

Despite State Delegate Nick Freitas (R-Culpeper) holding a steady lead on Election night over incumbent Representative Abigail Spanberger (D-VA-05), a winner has not been declared for Virginia’s 7th Congressional District as over 220,00 early votes still need to be counted in several key counties.

Freitas held a 20-point advantage as of 2 a.m. on Wednesday morning, accumulating 60.6 percent of votes so far (143,899) compared to Spanberger’s 39.4 percent (93,573), according to data from the Associated Press.

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Republican Congressional Candidates Rally Richmond Area Supporters Ahead of Election Day

Virginia Republican congressional candidates and other conservative politicians gathered at a Chesterfield County restaurant in Midlothian on Monday night to fire up a small crowd of voters before Tuesday’s general election.

Hosted by Virginia Beach attorney, Tim Anderson, the event was intended to energize the crowd ahead of the election and help bolster the campaigns of Del. Nick Freitas (R-Culpepper), veteran Daniel Gade and pastor Leon Benjamin.

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Follow the Money: Where Big Dollars Are Flowing for Virginia Congressional Candidates

As the 2020 election season comes to an end and Virginia’s congressional candidates are making their last pushes to secure a better chance at winning, millions of dollars have already been poured into races by political action committees (PAC) and other organizations looking to influence the elections one way or another. 

Those types of campaign funds are known as independent expenditures, meaning money that is spent without the coordination of a campaign or candidate and often result in attack ads primarily seen on social media or TV. 

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