The 2017 session of the Virginia General Assembly drew to a close after an intense month and a half. The General Assembly considered almost 3,000 bills. Virginia Catholic Conference staff met with legislators, testified at innumerable hearings and spread action alerts through our grassroots network and on social media.

Midway through the session, the Conference joined Bishops DiLorenzo and Burbidge to host the second annual Virginia Vespers: Evening Prayer for the Commonwealth, a beautiful liturgy that drew members of the Governor’s cabinet, state officials and legislators, and people from throughout Virginia to pray for the needs of the Commonwealth, and for dialogue in a time of deep division in the politics of our nation and Commonwealth.

For the second consecutive year, the Conference was instrumental in the passage of a bill – unfortunately vetoed – to deny funding to Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry, blocking efforts to restrict refugee resettlement and expanding conscience protections for religious organizations that believe the truth about marriage.

The Conference also saw the inclusion of key priorities in the package of amendments to the two-year state budget passed by legislators, including eliminating funds for an ill-advised “reproductive education pilot program,” and appropriating much-needed funds for permanent supportive housing for Virginians with mental illness and a 2.5% increase in assistance for Virginia’s needy families.

To read the entire End of Session report, go to http://www.vacatholic.org/documents/VirginiaGeneralAssembly2017SessionReportwithlinks.pdf.

Want to see votes your legislators cast this year on important bills?  Stay tuned: The Virginia Catholic Conference’s 2017 General Assembly vote charts will be available soon! To see sources and links to the above report, please go to vacatholic.org.

(Note: This report was prepared on February 24 and hence does not include any further developments that may have occurred after that date.)