Making progress

Published 5:43 pm Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Wow. What a week it has been at the General Assembly. The 2019 session is nearing our halfway mark as crossover is just days away. The House is making progress on several key issues as we prepare to begin considering legislation passed by the Senate. Tuesday is the last day for the House to act on its legislation.

I want to spend most of this week’s column talking about a very disturbing issue that was brought up this week in the House of Delegates. Democrat Delegate Kathy Tran recently presented a bill of hers titled “The Repeal Act.” This terrible piece of legislation would have allowed for a woman to seek an abortion in the third trimester, including up to the moment of birth and even when a mother is already showing physical signs of labor, for virtually any reason. When questioned, she said, “my bill would allow that, yes” and “there are no limits in the bill.” Even worse, however, was Governor Ralph Northam’s ghoulish statement in support of Delegate Tran’s bill. Governor Northam said “if a mother is in labor, the infant would be delivered. The infant would be kept comfortable. The infant would be resuscitated if that’s what the mother and the family desired, and then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and mother.”

Virginia Democrats have revealed just how extreme their abortion policies are and made it abundantly clear what would become the law of the Commonwealth if they ever won a majority in the General Assembly. Twenty-one House Democrats have co-sponsored, and undoubtedly many more support, this bill to lift all meaningful restrictions on late-term abortion. This is a stunning and open acknowledgement that the policies being proposed by Democrats would allow abortion for any reason, at any time during a pregnancy.

Supporters of this legislation are claiming that these comments are taken out of context, but these are their own words in raw, unedited form. This is what is at stake in Virginia. Democrats have made it abundantly clear that this bill, which allows abortion up to the moment of birth, would become law if they take control of the General Assembly. Governor Northam has already vowed to sign the “Repeal Act.”

I hope you will join me in standing up for life.

I also want to share some great news for teachers. On Monday, House Appropriations Vice-Chair Steve Landes announced that a 5 percent teacher pay raise will be included in our budget this week. As of 2018, the General Assembly has funded four teacher pay raises in the last six years. That’s a $138 million investment in our teachers since 2013. This raise will be done in a responsible manner that does not raise taxes.

In 2018, the budget included $98 million more than the governor originally proposed for K-12 education; but targets the money to the classroom and gives local leaders flexibility. We fully-funded re-benchmarking, an increase of $480 million for local school systems. This is a sizable investment that will make sure Virginia’s public school systems are preparing our young people to go to college or get the training they need so they can find good-paying jobs. We must continue to do more for our teachers and let them know we support them.

Del. Tommy Wright can be reached via email at or (804) 698-1061.