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Tipsheet

Virginia House of Delegates Speaker Wants to Put Democrats on Record With Vote on Anti-Parents Bill

AP Photo/Steve Helber

As we've been covering at Townhall, Virginia Democrats have gone for a new low in their attack against parents' rights. Del. Elizabeth Guzman made headlines for her proposal that could jail parents if they didn't affirm their child's sexual orientation and/or gender identity, due to changes in child abuse laws. While Del. Guzman appears to have chickened out on the bill, state Speaker of the House, C. Todd Gilbert, a Republican, wants her to file it. 

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In his Saturday tweet, Speaker Gilbert pledged to put it for a vote, no doubt to put Democrats on notice when it comes to their stance on parental rights.

The tweet in question included an article from local news outlet WUSA9 which confirmed Del. Guzman had plans to propose the bill due to updated guidelines issued last month from Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R-VA) to involve parents in whether their children go by different pronouns or wish to undergo a gender transition:

From the piece, with original emphasis:

On Thursday, Guzman told WJLA that she wanted to push back on Gov. Glen Youngkin's proposed model policy on the treatment of transgender students. 

"The day Governor Youngkin wanted to implement this policy, I immediately texted the policy lead of that committee and said, 'this how we're going to push back.'" 

House Bill 580, which was introduced in 2020, intended to expand the definition of child abuse and neglect by including parents or guardians who "inflicted upon such child a physical or mental injury on the basis of the child's gender identity or sexual orientation."

Guzman's team told WUSA9 that the bill is intended to protect LGBTQ+ children.

...

Guzman told WUSA9 she does not plan to move the bill forward and did not agree to an interview to clarify Thursday's remarks.

The delegate that represents parts of Prince William and Fauquier counties took to Twitter calling the original report a "misleading news piece" and that the station had "mischaracterized a pro-safety, anti-abuse bill."

WJLA released the raw footage of the interview where reporter Nick Minock is heard asking Guzman, "Will you be reintroducing this bill coming this general assembly?"

The lawmaker responded, "Yes, we are having political conversations right now with the house democratic caucus, and we are having those conversations now."

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Del. Guzman also made clear that she stands by her position in favor of the bill. Her appearing to have caved looks to be because she doesn't believe it will come up for a vote. "The offices of the several patrons of the 2020 bill told WUSA9 that the bill does not have the support to pass it and that the Republican House Speaker will never put it up for a vote. Delegate Guzman still stands by the original purpose of the legislation," the report further mentions.

In a comment for Townhall, Speaker Gilbert doubled down on his support for bringing the bill for a vote, while also drawing a contrast between the two parties. "Republicans want to empower parents and now this Democrat wants to put them in jail. Let’s see where everybody stands with a full vote on the House floor," Gilbert said. 

Gilbert tweeted further about Del. Guzman's proposal, both before and after his Saturday morning tweet. 

The issue has found its way into federal races as well. The congresswoman who Gilbert mentioned in his Friday tweet, Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-VA), had recently campaigned with Del. Guzman. As Matt highlighted, Spanberger has pulled out of her debate with Republican nominee Yesli Vega, which would have been moderated by our own Larry O'Connor.

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Vega has sent out fundraising emails about Spanberger's connection with Del. Guzman, and also released a statement on Sunday mentioning Spanberger's position on parental rights.

"The reports of Abigail dropping out of this week’s debate are disappointing. Our campaign has been nothing but accommodating, literally agreeing to every Spanberger request without objection. Abigail is scared to answer why she supports this extreme anti-parent agenda," Vega said in her statement. "Abigail Spanberger owes Virginia parents an answer. Does she support throwing parents in jail for not conforming to woke culture? And when will Abigail rescind her top surrogate’s endorsement for her campaign? She campaigned with her three days before the surrogate proposed radical legislation. Instead of standing up for Virginia parents, Abigail has apparently decided to run and hide until Election Day. Virginians deserve better." 

Twitchy editor Sam Janney, who covered the Virginia gubernatorial election at length, not only highlighted Gilbert's tweet from Saturday morning, but also Del. Guzman's attempt at throwing local reports and Gov. Youngkin under the bus for the negative attention she received. 

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Ian Prior, the executive director of Fight for Schools, who has also been tweeting problems with the bill, highlighted how a now removed podcast made clear its intent to criminalize parents.

Gov. Youngkin, who beat former Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D-VA) last November, made it a cornerstone of his campaign, and won, on the issue of parents' rights and education. It's continued to be a pressing issue in the first year of his administration especially as Fairfax County Public Schools, the largest school district in the commonwealth and one of the largest in the country, had trained teachers to transition students without parental consent. Fairfax is one of the districts signaling a refusal or at least reluctance to comply with the guidelines. 

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