I’m continuing my seven week series highlighting 51 unique accomplishments by the Republican-led House of Delegates. I’ll be sending weekly emails about our successful efforts, as well as daily posts on my Facebook and Twitter pages. If you missed last week’s email, you can read it here.
Our tax reform package was the highlight of this year’s legislative session. It provides nearly $1 billion in tax relief for Virginia families. In addition to tax reform, here are some more of our legislative accomplishments:
#15 – Ensuring Paid Parental Leave for State Employees
This year, Delegate Roxann Robinson carried legislation to ensure state employees receive paid parental leave.
The legislation required the Department of Human Resource Management to implement and administer 12 weeks of paid parental leave benefits for a state employee who becomes the parent of a child either by adoption or by birth of a child.
This policy is about encouraging women to remain in the workplace. Over 60 percent of women cite family and children as their reason for leaving the workforce, and childbirth is the second most common reason women cite when seeking temporary leave, second only to personal illness.
This policy is also about retaining good employees. The Commonwealth of Virginia competes for the best employees just like the private sector.
#16 – Break Time for Nursing Mothers
Mothers don’t stop being mothers just because they are at work. A mother’s need to nurse or pump for a newborn baby continues even once she has returned to the workplace.
This is why this year the House of Delegates passed Delegate David Yancey’s legislation to ensure mothers are guaranteed break times to nurse or pump for up to one year after the child’s birth.
Diversity in the workplace is crucial to any place of employment and ensuring mothers feel comfortable returning to work upon the birth of a child guarantees more women remain in the workplace.
#17 – Helping Children Find Loving Homes
The loss of one’s parents is one of the toughest things a child will ever deal with. Helping children find a stable home as soon as possible is the best thing for that child.
This year, Delegate Emily Brewer sponsored legislation to expand adoption qualifications to all of a child’s adult relatives, including blood relatives whether they are whole or half blood relatives such as stepparents, stepbrothers, or stepsisters.
Sometimes an immediate family member, such as a grandparent, aunt or uncle isn’t able to adopt the child. This legislation will make it easier for other qualified relatives to step in and fill that void.
#18 – Lowered the Tax on Essential Personal Hygiene Products
Delegate Kathy Byron’s legislation to lower the tax on essential personal hygiene products was signed Wednesday by Governor Ralph Northam. The legislation lowers the sales tax on these products, including menstrual supplies and incontinence diapers, from 5.3 percent to 2.5 percent.
These products are necessary to the health and well-being of Virginians, and are often necessary and not used by choice. The legislation brings the tax rate for these products in line with grocery and food, consistent with Virginia’s record of recognizing that essentials and basic necessities should be taxed at a lower rate.
The final budget agreement recognizes this reduced tax rate, which will reduce state revenue by $1.5 million per year.
#19 – Stopping Late Term Abortion
Protecting families starts with protecting the unborn.
The House of Delegates was on the front line of the national effort to protect innocent life and defend the unborn this year by defeating a bill to expand access to late-term abortion for almost any reason.
The world was outraged when a video went viral showing a House Democrat introducing an extreme measure that would make late-term abortion legal up to the moment of birth for almost any reason.
House Bill 2491 would have eliminated all meaningful restrictions on abortions. In the committee testimony, the patron admitted that the bill would allow a mother to seek an abortion even if she was in labor. The patron also admitted that the bill lowered the standards for a late-term abortion.
The national firestorm that ensued has exposed the far-left position of Democrats when it comes to abortion. If they take control of the General Assembly, this bill will become law.
The events in Richmond led me to stand up on the floor and speak about the promise of life. It is believed that my speech was the first time in state history that a Speaker voluntarily stepped down from the dais to give a speech form the floor, underscoring my support of life. You can view my speech here.