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Challenges of the law

Last week the U.S. Supreme Court issued an order allowing a controversial Texas abortion law to go into effect. The law is a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the two cases that now control abortion law in the country.

For Virginia Democrats, the days of “safe, legal and rare” are long gone. We saw that in Virginia in 2019, when Democrats attempted to pass legislation that would have removed medical safeguards surrounding late term abortion. This is the infamous “my bill would allow that” legislation from Del. Kathy Tran.

In Virginia, the debate isn’t about the detection of a heartbeat, it’s about abortion at the last moment before birth. If Governor Northam and Terry McAuliffe have their way, the latest-possible abortions in Virginia would be legal.

Republicans want to preserve existing law which ensure that third trimester abortion is undertaken only in the most exigent of circumstances. Every child born, either in a normal delivery or as the result of a botched abortion, deserves the chance to live, and should be provided every chance to do so.

Every moment the majority can spend talking about a law in Texas is a moment they don’t have to spend talking about their votes in Virginia to keep schools closed, their votes to make life easier for criminals and harder for police. They’re not talking about rising crime, inflation, the failures of the Virginia Employment Commission, the Parole Board or the DMV.

Two separate, unanimous decisions handed down from SCOVA have cleared the way for the Lee monument to come down.

The rationale behind both is simple, land covenants accepted by the General Assembly in the 1800s cannot compel the Commonwealth to continue to convey a message that is now contrary to public policy. This ruling allows Governor Northam to lawfully remove the Lee statue from its current location.

While many will disagree with this decision, it did something that efforts in other parts of the Commonwealth, including the City of Richmond, did not do, it followed the law.

As Governor Doug Wilder pointed out, the millions spent on removing monuments in Richmond are millions that won’t go to fixing dilapidated public schools.

“With the problems that we have in our country today, with the problems that we have in our schools today, particularly education, it’s more important to improve the quality of education now, spending taxpayers’ dollars more wisely now on the kind of things that we need to do now, than this talk about destroying and taking down.”

All COVID-19 related federal unemployment programs, as originally authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act of 2020, and extended through the Continued Assistance Act (CAA) of 2021 and American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) of 2021, ended on Sept. 4. The VEC will process and pay benefits to eligible claimants for all weeks of unemployment ending on or before the date of termination in accordance with guidance from the U.S. Department of Labor. If a claimant is entitled to benefits and the claim is found to be valid after that date through a subsequent determination or appeal, the claimant will be paid those funds, even after the federal programs have ended.

Starting Wednesday, the VEC has given new direction for legislators on how to proceed in helping constituents who still have an open or unresolved claim. We have been told this process will move much smoother than in the past, so if you are still having issues with the VEC, please reach out to my office.

The VEC and its partners at the Virginia Career Works Centers are working to support workers as they seek to restart their careers. Job openings and other services offered to support job seekers are available on the VEC website: https://www.vec.virginia. gov/find-ajob/helpful-links.

If you’re looking for employment, here are two resources that can help:

Virginia Career Works: https://app.virginia.myjourney.com/?

Lynchburg Regional Business Alliance: https://business.lynchburgregion.org/ jobs

DEL. C. MATTHEW FARISS represents Buckingham in the Virginia House of Delegates. His email address is DelMFariss@house.virginia.gov.