Home Virginia Politics Virginia GOP Passes Bill That Could Leave U.S. Senate Vacancies Unfilled

Virginia GOP Passes Bill That Could Leave U.S. Senate Vacancies Unfilled

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The latest crap by Virginia Republicans…

GOP Passes Bill That Could Leave U.S. Senate Vacancies Unfilled

RICHMOND, Va. – The Republican-controlled House of Delegates yesterday passed a bill that would empower a sitting governor to allow a vacant U.S. Senate seat to remain so indefinitely.

“This bill could disenfranchise Virginia’s 5.6 million voters,” said House Democratic Leader David J. Toscano. “Current law requires that an election be held for the vacant seat within a specified period of time. This bill grants the governor permission to call a special election, but it includes no timeframe by which the governor must do so. It empowers a governor from either party who is afraid that his party could not win a special election in a given political climate to simply leave the seat vacant indefinitely.”

“Last week Republicans killed eleven bills that would have made voting easier for Virginia’s seniors and working families,” said House Caucus Chair Charniele Herring. “Then they passed a bill that unnecessarily complicates elections for a vacant U.S. Senate seat, while we still wait for a full vote on an independent redistricting commission. Making voting harder and complicating the election process is harmful to our democracy.”

Speaker of the House William J. Howell still has not responded to Toscano’s formal request for a full floor vote on a redistricting amendment.

  • More idiocy by the Virginia GOP. See ProgressVA’s statement below:

    Senate Committee Fails to Pass Legislation to Protect Women’s Health

    Richmond, Virginia–On Thursday morning, two bills to protect women’s health were killed in the Senate Education and Health Committee. The Whole Woman’s Health Act, SB 1549, would strike the unconstitutional TRAP restrictions from Virginia law. SB 1424, sponsored by Senator Locke, says that after receiving information from her doctor, a woman can choose not to receive additional, non-medical information; wait a medically unnecessary, state-imposed period of time; or undergo a medically unnecessary ultrasound procedure if she has made the decision to have an abortion. Women across the commonwealth are incredibly disappointed that these common sense bills will not become law this year.

    During the debate of the Whole Woman’s Health Act, Senator Newman, the chairman of the Senate Education and Health Committee, limited testimony to support the bill to only two minutes total, despite the fact that there were dozens of women and medical professionals who had traveled from across the commonwealth to speak on its behalf. Senator Newman did allow the three people who were there to oppose the bill to speak. It is particularly disappointing that the bill failed given that those who were there to support it were denied the opportunity to make their arguments in favor of the bill.

    On June 27, 2016, the United States Supreme Court issued a landmark decision in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, and reaffirmed that access to abortion is a fundamental constitutional right and declared that targeted restrictions against abortion providers are unconstitutional due to the undue burden they place on women seeking healthcare. Laws that restrict a woman’s access to abortion harm the very women they purport to help. Laws that have the purpose or effect of shutting down women’s reproductive health care providers make it increasingly difficult –and sometimes impossible—for a woman who has decided to end her pregnancy to access the safe, legal, high-quality care she needs.

    “Politicians in Virginia have consistently ignored the testimony of medical professionals while passing sham regulations to restrict a woman’s access to safe, legal abortion,” Tarina Keene Executive Director of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia said. “Because the Virginia General Assembly refuses to take action, the commonwealth will continue to be in violation of the U.S. Constitution and will continue to strip women of their rights and dignity.”

    “Women just want to be able to access healthcare when they need it,” Anna Scholl, Executive Director of Progress Virginia, said. “Politicians in Richmond insist on inserting themselves between women and their doctors to restrict abortion access, despite the fact that an overwhelming majority of women support abortion access.”

    “We are disappointed at the result of our proactive legislation to remove harmful restrictions on abortion care and access to women in Virginia,” said Margie Del Castillo, Associate Director of Community Mobilization with the NLIRH Virginia Latina Advocacy Network. “Any restriction on abortion falls hardest on LatinXs, and other people of color, who experience disproportionately high unintended pregnancy rates and are more likely to live in poverty. Despite today’s result, we will continue to move forward until Virginia is in compliance with the constitution of the United States.”

    When a woman is seeking healthcare, she needs to trust that her doctor is providing her with the highest quality care, free from judgment and stigma. Virginia law currently requires physicians to communicate biased information about abortion to their patients, perform unnecessary diagnostic testing, and to delay care for 24 hours against their patient’s wishes. These laws violate the basic tenets of informed consent, and delay a woman’s ability to access safe, legal abortion care by requiring multiple trips to a clinic for no other reason than to show the state’s disapproval of a woman’s personal, constitutionally protected medical decision.

    “This bill would have removed onerous regulations that currently do nothing to improve women’s health,” said Tara Gibson, Statewide Field Director of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia. “First trimester abortions are among the safest medical procedures performed in the United States,” Tara Gibson, Field Director of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia, said. “There is absolutely no medical reason why our health centers need to comply with the same requirements on hallway width and parking spaces that a full-service hospital is subject to.”

    Abortion, in particular first-trimester abortion, is one of the safest medical procedures performed in the United States today. A first-trimester abortion carries less than a 0.05% risk of a complication that might require hospital care. 1 in 3 women will have an abortion by the age of 45 and 7 out of 10 women support abortion access.

  • HPWL

    Are we doomed after all? I used to like living here. That sense of pride, that I held even when living in a small, poor city that often feels overlooked, is quickly disappearing. I don’t even know what I can do to help; it’s entirely frustrating.