Pro-Life Activists March with Youngkin

RICHMOND, Virginia – Pro-life advocates rallied outside the Virginia capitol on Wednesday, the same day legislators returned to the capitol to consider Governor Glenn Youngkin’s changes to their legislation. Several Republican General Assembly members joined the rally, and Lieutenant Governor Winsome Earle-Sears spoke to the crowd.

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Virginia General Assembly Passes Bill Protecting Teachers Who Speak Out Against School Policy

While it was in session, the General Assembly passed a law protecting state and local government employees from being penalized by their employer for expressing their opinion about policy or proposals during public comment periods.  According to a Monday email update, The Family Foundation asked for the bill after Loudoun County teacher Tanner Cross was fired from his position after he spoke against the district’s proposed transgender policy.

“If you’re a science teacher, and you don’t believe in evolution, that’s fine. But your job requires you to teach it, so you have to teach it; but on your own time, if you want to say evolution is BS, you can do that and you can’t be penalized for it. But you have to do your job,” bill sponsor Education Committee Chair Glenn Davis (R-Virginia Beach) told a committee in February. “I’ll use the other example, the Pledge [of Allegiance.] A teacher doesn’t believe in the Pledge, their job is when the day starts, as directed by the principal, to have their class stand up and say the Pledge. But on your own time, if you want to go out and speak against it, that’s your right. We can’t be penalized for it.”

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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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Conservative Organizations Launching Efforts to Influence Virginia Republican Policy in 2022 General Assembly

The Virginia Family Foundation announced its Vision for Virginia slate of policy priorities on Monday. That’s part of the organization’s push to influence legislators ahead of Virginia’s 2022 General Assembly session. The list highlights traditional conservative policies including traditional families, small government, and free markets.

“For the past several years Virginia’s government has walked away from time-honored principles, like religious freedom, individual liberty, and limited government, which can all be traced back to Virginia’s historic past,” President Victoria Cobb said in an email announcing the platform. “In Virginia, not only did we need new political leadership, we desperately needed a renewed vision for the people of Virginia to rally around.”

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Loudoun County School Board Approves Transgender Policy

The Loudoun County School Board voted 7-2 to approve a transgender policy on Wednesday evening, in the second day of a two-part meeting. A public hearing was held Tuesday evening. On Wednesday, many board members emphasized the significant amount of time at the state and local level dedicated to developing the policy in response to Virginia law. Board member Jeff Morse spoke at length in opposition to the policy. He and member John Beatty voted against the policy and tried to pass a motion to send the policy back to committee for more consideration.

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Virginia Family Foundation Sues over New Transgender Public School Guidelines

The Family Foundation is suing the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) over its Model Policies for the Treatment of Transgender Students in Virginia’s Public Schools. The model policies took effect March 6, 2021, and school boards must adopt policies consistent with the model by the beginning of the 2021-2022 school year. However, the Family Foundation says there are legal problems with the policies and that the VDOE did not properly address comments made during a legally required public comment phase.

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Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Repeal Moves Through Virginia House and Senate With Bi-Partisan Support

Bills to repeal Virginia’s same-sex marriage prohibition have passed in both legislative chambers with bi-partisan support this week. HJ 582, introduced by Delegate Mark Sickles (D-Franconia) and SJ 270, introduced by Senator Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria) seek to amend language in the state constitution passed in 2006 saying that marriage is between one man and one woman.

“For several years now, I have introduced this resolution because I know millions of people want to either take back their vote that they made in 2006 or they weren’t old enough to vote in 2006 and want to weigh in on this,” Sickles said in subcommittee.

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