In Wake of Gov. McDonnell’s Mandatory Ultrasound Bill, Virginia NOW Calls for Defeat of Sexist Politicians

In Wake of Gov. McDonnell’s Mandatory Ultrasound Bill, Virginia NOW Calls for Defeat of Sexist Politicians
Statement of Virginia Chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW) President Diana Egozcue and Legislative Vice-President Marjorie Signer
March 7, 2012
Information: vanowpresident@hotmail.com

Governor McDonnell’s condescending statement justifying his signing the mandatory ultrasound bill (HB 462) insults both women and medical professionals. It says, in effect, women are too stupid to think for themselves about having an abortion. If ultrasounds have to be mandated for “informed consent,” it means that doctors aren’t competent enough to order an ultrasound when needed and are derelict in fully informing women about the procedure.

The fact that the bill’s sponsors did not know it would require a vaginal probe – which many called state-mandated rape—shows their complete lack of sincerity, not to mention ignorance about what they were doing. It was a political move from the start, to rally their base. Their concern for women’s health and informed consent was mere window-dressing.

Until we get rid of every vestige of sexism and defeat every sexist politician, legislation like the mandatory ultrasound bill will continue to be passed. What we need to do is clear: defeat elected officials who play politics with women’s bodies and health.

Petersburg Mayor Apologizes for Comments Excusing Domestic Violence

On February 27, Virginia NOW issued a statement demanding that Petersburg Mayor Brian Moore apologize for comments excusing domestic violence. He had said that the City manager – accused of assault by his wife – should be forgiven for the alleged assault because the city needed his services and because, in effect,” “these things happen.” Mayor Moore has issued an apology, saying he sincerely regrets “that my words were interpreted as offensive and not sensitive” and that he sincerely apologizes “for not taking the opportunity to say that any form of violence is wrong.” The Petersburg Council voted to establish an advisory committee on interpersonal violence, with James House Intervention/Prevention Services. James House provides comprehensive, cost-free services for people who have been affected by sexual violence, domestic violence, and stalking and technical support and training for allied service professionals, schools, houses of worship, law enforcement and community groups at no cost.
Please check out its website at http://www.thejameshouse.org/

The February 27 statement of VA NOW President Diana Egozcue is below.

Have You Heard What Petersburg’s Mayor Said?

Petersburg Mayor Brian Moore made reprehensible comments after a majority of the Petersburg City Council voted to keep the City Manager in his job with full pay after his arrest for assault and domestic battery.  The City Manager’s wife’s sworn statement to police is that he punched her in the nose, grabbed her by the hair, thrust her head into the floor, and punched her in the stomach during an argument last weekend.  A court will sort out whether the City Manager is guilty, but Mayor Moore’s dismissive comments send a terrible message to victims of abuse:

“We understand that [some city residents] are upset, but also they need to realize things happen in domestic relationships…” and
“”There’s always reconciliation. We’re all human.”

Virginia NOW knows that domestic violence is deadly seriousand that Mayor Moore’s remarks can have deadly consequences.  By minimizing the seriousness of violence against women as “a personal issue,” Moore’s remarks play into the hands of batterers. It gives them comfort and an excuse to be abusive. With one in four women already experiencing domestic abuse and violence, we must take it seriously. Regardless of whether City Manager William E. Johnson III is guilty or not, Moore should apologize for his remarks.  

 

Government-Mandated Rape in Virginia

Many Virginians are just now realizing the full horror of the mandatory ultrasound bill that the General Assembly is considering. I call it government-mandated rape. Some may think this is exaggeration – I don’t because it is forced penetration. Virginia Republicans and anti-choice Democrats apparently have no shame when it comes to violating women’s lives.

This bill would mandate that a woman considering abortion have an ultrasound whether or not she wants or needs one, to determine the gestation age of the fetus. It would then give the woman the option to view the ultrasound before her abortion.

Since most abortions occur early in pregnancy, at 12 weeks or less, a transvaginal ultrasound must be used to get a glimpse of the fetus, which at 5-6 weeks is smaller than a grain of rice and at 12 weeks is the size of a bean. This requires that a probe be inserted into the vagina to take the image. So there wouldn’t be any question about what “probe” and “vagina” mean, Tarina Keene of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia passed out a depiction of a transvaginal ultrasound to the committee debating this. So – if these anti-government regulation legislators were paying attention – they should understand what they are mandating doctors and women to do, based on the premise of “informed consent.”

Democratic Del. David Englin said the bill represents a level of government intrusion that “shocks the conscience.”

This bill will require many women in Virginia to undergo vaginal penetration with an ultrasound probe against their consent in order to exercise their constitutional right to an abortion, even for nonsurgical, noninvasive, pharmaceutical abortions. This kind of government intrusion shocks the conscience and demonstrates the disturbing lengths Republican legislators will go to prevent women from controlling their own reproductive destiny.

Too many legislators hold women’s choices and needs in low esteem. Republican Del. Todd Gilbert of Shenandoah said, “We hear the same song over there. The very tragic human notes that are often touched upon involve extreme examples. But in the vast majority of these cases, these are matters of lifestyle convenience.” He later retracted his statement.

There’s more. The personhood bill – which would grant legal rights to fertilized eggs – is advancing. It seeks to ban safe, legal abortion in all circumstances and threatens women’s access to birth control. And a bill is moving forward to end funding for women on Medicaid who need an abortion because the fetus is so terribly deformed physically or mentally that it will not survive. It sounds like it’s open season on women.

Virginia NOW continues to fight these bills and to represent the values of respect for women’s lives and the dignity of all people.

Why We Need The ERA!

Virginia NOW President Diana Egozcue delivered this testimony about the Equal Rights Amendment to the Senate Privilieges and Elections Committee Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2012

Good afternoon,
I am Diana Egozcue, Virginia NOW President, Fredericksburg resident and a constituent of Senator Vogel. I am here to testify for the Equal Rights Amendment.
The ERA simply states: “Equality of Rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.” At this time, the only guaranteed right women have in the Constitution is the right to vote under the 19th Amendment. There are laws and acts which give us some rights, but these can be repealed or amended at any time. The ERA acts as a blanket insurance policy or a firewall for all laws passed for women such as the Lily Ledbetter fair pay act and Titles 7 and 9 in the Civil Rights Act. Title 9 once disappeared for four years due to a Supreme Court decision, and Congress had to pass it again.
I hear the worn out old arguments all the time that it is dead, it will bring same sex bathrooms, the draft for women, and abortion on demand. We already have unisex bathrooms, women can be drafted at any time if Congress wishes to do it, and it will not bring abortion on demand. Twenty-two states have ERA amendments or clauses in their Constitutions including Virginia, and it has never brought abortion in these states. In three cases brought in the states, the judges have thrown out the cases because men can’t have abortions.
As for being dead, the Congressional Research Service in reports to Congress said: “The ERA is still legally held timely or contemporaneous, viable, fair and just.” The Virginia Attorney General, in 1995, in a letter answering Delegate Marshall’s query said the ERA is not dead. The Supreme Court in Coleman vs Miller said regardless of a time limit, Article V of the Constitution said states still have the power to ratify the ERA. It is up to the states to give an up or down vote, but not to determine its viability. The time limit was in the proposing clause and not in the body of the amendment. There have been seven amendments accepted back by Congress after a time limit has passed including habeas corpus. The Madison Amendment, the 27th Amendment, was accepted back after 203 years. It counted 9 of the 13 original state votes in its 38 total needed for passage. This amendment nullified the time limit argument.
Why do we need the ERA?
1. As I said before, the only guaranteed right we have in the Constitution is the right to vote. Some say the 14th Amendment covers women, but if you study the history of the debate, it was never intended to cover women. The Supreme Court in 1972 said in a decision that the14th did cover women, but this has often been ineffective to support women’s constitutional authority. Justice Scalia said in a law review last year that it does not cover women or give equal rights because there is no ERA. Only the ERA will give the courts strict scrutiny to decide a case, and that’s why they could not find for Lily Ledbetter. This is an umbrella insurance policy for women or a firewall.

2. Forty-seven percent of women support their families. With the ERA, we will be guaranteed equal pay for the same work. We now make 77 cents in Virginia for every dollar a man makes in the same job with the same experience. What this means is that in old age, women receive less Social Security if they never married or (in the case of their ex-husband’s Social Security) if they have been divorced less than a certain number of years.
3. If we make pay equal, we will increase the tax bases locally, in state coffers, and federally. Women will have more to spend to grow the economy; more women will not need welfare, Medicaid and food stamps; and there will be a positive impact on infrastructure and other projects. None of this includes the intangibles such as self-esteem, role models for children and other women, and better housing, which affects children and their learning environments.
Article I, Section 11 of the Virginia Constitution states in the last three lines: “…that the right to be free from any government discrimination upon the basis of religious conviction, race, color, sex, or national origin shall not be abridged….” I have to ask the question, if this was written in the 1950’s before the passage out of Congress of the ERA in 1972, why hasn’t Virginia extended the rights guaranteed in the Virginia Constitution to the women of the United States?
We have women fighting and dying in Afghanistan and Iraq. They are fighting for a Constitution that affords them only the right to vote. Last week, an all female fighter squadron flew the first all female mission from the US Carl Vinson. The military knows the value of women. Think of your mothers, wives, daughters, and granddaughters. What if your daughter or granddaughter marries a man who leaves her with children to support? Guarantee them the right to make an equal wage to support their families.
Opponents of the ERA say, we have bogus arguments, but give no reasons why they oppose the amendment. Their specious arguments from the past are worn out. We have same sex bathrooms, women can be drafted at anytime, they serve in combat, and nowhere has abortion on demand been passed into law in the twenty-two states that have ERA amendments or clauses. Time has marched on and attitudes have changed, but women are still waiting to be granted full citizenship under the US Constitution. This is about the sex you are, not the sex you do. A recent survey showed that over 86 percent of Americans agreed we need the ERA. This is a civil rights issue. This is a fairness issue. After waiting forty years, I would like to be a full citizen with guaranteed rights in the Constitution. Thirty-five states have passed this, why not Virginia?
This is a matter of RESPECT. Respect us enough to give us our rights and make us full citizens, not a 1/4, not a 1/2, but full citizens with the rights men enjoy. I’ve heard male legislators say that they are protecting us. No you’re not, not without the power of the law to guarantee our rights. Again, respect us, that is all we are asking.

Tell The General Assembly – It’s About RESPECT!

The General Assembly is in full swing and Virginia NOW is busy lobbying on key bills. Make YOUR voice heard now. It is so important to write to your state delegates and senators, call their offices, visit them at their offices and attend events.

What suffragist Carrie Chapman Catt said in the early 1900s applies equally in Virginia today: “Roll up your sleeves, set your mind to making history, and wage such a fight for liberty that the whole world will respect our sex.” RESPECT is what the fight is about for the ERA and against the many proposed laws on access to abortion and reproductive health care. Click here to find out who represents you in Richmond.

On February 1, we will join the League of Women Voters of Virginia for a jam-packed lobby day that will include legislative briefings, committee hearings, and meeting with elected officials. The day starts with the Women’s Round Table from 8:30 a.m.-9:30 a.m. in the General Assembly Building (9th and Broad Street, downtown Richmond), 7th Floor West Conference Room. We’ll join LWV-VA President Lynn Gordon for lunch at 11:30 a.m.- location to be announced. Please make your appointments with your senator and delegate before February 1. If you don’t make an appointment, you will most likely meet with one of the aides.

VA NOW’s special focus will be the Equal Rights Amendment resolution that has been introduced in the House of Delegates (HJ 115) and the Senate (SJ 130). We thank the initial patrons of the resolution: Delegates Scott Surovell, Kaye Kory, Ken Plum, Jim Scott, and Mark Sickles, and Senators George Barker, Barbara Favola and Toddy Puller. We expect more legislators who champion women’s issues to become patrons. To read the ERA resolution on the Virginia General Assembly website, please click here. To learn more about the February 1st lobby day, please contact VA NOW President Diana Ecozcue at dclj@comcast.net

Breast Cancer Density Testing Virginia NOW is working with breast cancer survivors who are advocating for supplementary screening for patients with dense breast tissue (if determined by a physician). The bipartisan bill – HB 3 in the House of Delegates and SB 544 in the state Senate -requires the Board of Health to establish guidelines requiring all mammogram reports to include information on breast density. Patrons are Robert Orrock (Republican) in the House and John Edwards (Democrat) in the Senate. This bill sounds reasonable – and life-saving – but there is opposition from certain medical groups. Please be sure to tell your Delegate and your Senator that you support this bill because it can save women’s lives.

Restricting Access to Reproductive HealthcareVirginia NOW opposes the following bills and budget cuts as harmful to women’s reproductive health:
HB 1 – So-called “Rights of unborn children,” could criminalize common forms of birth control and fertility treatments (such as IVF) and make abortion illegal in all cases. The “personhood” bill was Introduced by Delegate Robert Marshall, who is hostile to women’s reproductive healthcare. (FYI – He is running against former Senator George Allen for the Republican nomination for United States Senate.)
HB 62 – would ban Medicaid funding for abortion in cases of fetal abnormality. This bill – sponsored by Delegate Mark Cole – is cruel and punitive. It’s also unnecessary. Last year, 26 women applied for funds for an abortion for a fetus with abnormalities incompatible with life, of which 22 were granted at a cost of $13,000. Certainly Delegate Cole has better things to do with his time as a public servant.
HB 462 – “Informed consent about abortion,” would require all women seeking an abortion to undergo an ultrasound (whether or not it is medically indicated or necessary) and – we quote from the bill – “require that the medical professional performing the ultrasound obtain written certification from the woman that the opportunity was offered and whether the woman availed herself of the opportunity to see the ultrasound image or hear the fetal heartbeat.” This coercive bill, introduced by Delegate Kathy Byron, is insulting to women and medical professionals and invades women’s privacy. The purpose is to further restrict access to abortion care.
Zeroing Out Teen Pregnancy Prevention Funding!
In our view, successful programs that help teens prevent pregnancy should be supported. The McDonnell budget cuts all teen pregnancy prevention funding in the seven districts with programs, including Alexandria, where it has been highly successful. We think $440,000 for these programs – last year’s funding level – is a solid investment in the future of our youth. Tell your elected officials you want this funding restored.

Disgraceful! Gov. Signs Medically Unnecessary, Politicized Clinic Regulations

Statement of Diana Egozcue, President of the Virginia Chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW)

The Associated Press reports that today (Thursday, Dec. 29) Gov. Robert McDonnell approved onerous, medically unnecessary emergency regulations for women’s clinics in Virginia that could undermine women’s access to abortion and other reproductive health care services. The regulations require existing clinics to meet the same strict building standards as new hospital construction.

On behalf of the women of Virginia, Virginia NOW denounces the politically motivated regulations signed today by Governor McDonnell. The governor and Attorney General Kenneth Cuccinelli have not fooled anyone by claiming that these regulations are needed to protect the health and safety of women. Virginia clinics have an excellent record of providing high-quality, safe services. It is incomprehensible that these burdensome regulations have any purpose other than to make it more difficult to obtain a first-trimester abortion in Virginia and ultimately to shut down clinics.

The politicization of this entire process is disgraceful. One of the medical experts who advised state health officials on these regulations was told that existing clinics could be “grandfathered in” and would not be held to standards that were not in place when they opened. However, Attorney General Cuccinelli rewrote the regulations formulated by the medical experts and then the governor stacked the Board of Health membership with appointees who would ensure the rewritten regulations were passed. Add to that the intimidation by the office of the attorney general during the Board of Health vote on the regulations and you have a process that is disrespectful to all Virginians.

We assure you, Governor McDonnell and Attorney General Cuccinelli, the women of Virginia have watched this charade. You say you are trying to protect women, but these regulations are not protection. They are harmful to women’s health and show that in Virginia, women are still considered property especially during pregnancy.

Virginia NOW condemns the actions of the governor and attorney general and will work with our allies to protect women’s clinics in Virginia and to protect women’s health and lives.

Associated Press Reports on Politicized Abortion Clinic Regulations

This is the full AP report, showing that political – not medical – concerns – were behind the regulations. Gov. McDonnell still has not signed them. Virginia NOW continues to demand the regulations be moderated.

Some ob-gyn professionals who advised health officials on abortion regs unhappy with result
LARRY O’DELL Associated Press
First Posted: December 03, 2011 – 8:01 am
Last Updated: December 03, 2011 – 11:36 am

RICHMOND, Va. — Abortion-rights activists are not the only people unhappy with emergency abortion clinic regulations that await Gov. Bob McDonnell’s signature.

Some medical experts who advised state health officials on the development of the regulations suggest that political concerns, not safety problems, were behind the crackdown and are disappointed some of their key recommendations were not followed. Most notably, the regulations adopted by the Board of Health require existing clinics to meet the same strict building standards as new hospital construction. Critics say those guidelines will put most of Virginia’s clinics out of business.
Legislation passed last winter by the General Assembly requires that all clinics performing five or more first-trimester abortions per month be regulated like hospitals. The legislation called for emergency regulations to take effect by Dec. 31 and remain in place for a year while permanent regulations are developed.

Supporters of the regulations say the goal is to protect women’s health. Opponents claim the regulations are intended to reduce access to abortions.

A McDonnell spokesman said the Republican governor continues to review the regulations.
“That being said, he has consistently expressed his pro-life position when it comes to issues of abortion,” spokesman Jeff Caldwell said.

Dr. James E. Ferguson II, chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Virginia, is among a half-dozen medical educators chosen by state Health Commissioner Karen Remley to provide guidance in drafting the regulations.
“Everybody wants safe, appropriate facilities for patient care,” Ferguson said. “I think these things went overboard.”
Ferguson said the document adopted by the board in September went well beyond what the advisory panel recommended, and he has told Remley he doesn’t want his name associated with the regulations as they are now written.
“I don’t know where they got changed, but ultimately they were different, more stringent and more restrictive — and several of them, at least, unnecessary,” Ferguson said.

Caroline Gibson, a spokeswoman for Attorney General Kenneth Cuccinelli, said the office advised the board that the strict building standards — which cover things like hallway widths and covered entrances — are mandated by state law.

Dr. Jerome F. Strauss III, dean of Virginia Commonwealth University’s School of Medicine, said the advisory panel initially was told that existing clinics could be “grandfathered in” and would not be held to standards that were not in place when they opened. So he was surprised to later learn that was not the case.

“There were clearly changes made, and if they were made by individuals with medical qualifications I guess there could be a discussion, but it’s not clear to me that that was the case,” Strauss said.

The advisory panel also wanted to limit the regulations to clinics performing surgical abortions, exempting medical terminations of pregnancy, Strauss said. But again, the attorney general’s office advised the board that state law makes no distinction between medical and surgical abortions so the board can’t either, Gibson said.
Joseph Hilbert, the state Health Department’s director of governmental and regulatory affairs, declined to comment directly on the panel members’ concerns.

“Certainly we very much value and appreciate the assistance they provided us and their willingness to provide their time and expertise,” he said.

Ferguson credits Remley with making “a good faith effort” to give medical professionals a voice in drafting the regulations, but he believes the health department ultimately got too hung up on mirroring South Carolina’s clinic regulations, which courts have declared constitutional. He said the advisory panel also borrowed from guidelines from the American Congress of Gynecologists and Obstetricians and other sources, but the final product closely tracks the South Carolina regulations.

According to Ferguson, the South Carolina clinic regulations are inappropriate in some respects for Virginia because they cover first- and second-trimester abortions. Second-trimester abortions in Virginia must be done in hospitals.
“There were more than a few things I felt were unnecessary that were just stuck in there because South Carolina had it in there,” Ferguson said.

Ferguson also questioned the need for the strict regulations.
“I asked, ‘Do we have evidence there are problems in this area? Are women getting sick and are women dying?’ And the answer was no,” Ferguson said.

Not all medical professionals who contributed to the process were dissatisfied. Dr. John W. Seeds, a senior associate dean at VCU, said the regulations “were written carefully to be compliant with constitutional safeguards.”
He also said clinic structure requirements were “not within the expertise of the advisory group” and acknowledged that the board had no obligation to follow the panel’s recommendations.

VA NOW PAC-Endorsed Candidates

Today – Tuesday, Nov. 8 – is Election Day. The polls are open from 6 am to 7 pm.

A lot is at stake for the women and families of Virginia in this election. Several legislators who have been solid supporters of our issues and values are in tight races. There are also close races for open seats and seats in redistricted areas. Candidates who have been endorsed by VA NOW PAC will work to protect reproductive rights and LGBT rights, pass the Equal Rights Amendment, improve safety on campuses, fund comprehensive sexuality education, and restore voting rights to ex-felons. They deserve our support.

VA NOW PAC-Endorsed Candidates in Competitive House of Delegates Races
Connie Brennan in District 59 (Buckingham, Appomattox Counties, parts of Albemarle, Nelson and Campbell Counties. A Nelson County Supervisor, she is the first woman elected to that board. She is a retired nurse-practitioner with 28 years at the University of Virginia, where co-founded the Women’s Health Center in Charlottesville, a non-profit health center that provided affordable and accessible health care to women and their families throughout the region.

Robin Abbott (D), District 93 (Newport News, etc.).
Abbott is a consumer advocate who is excellent on issues of concern to families. She deserves our support.

Adrienne Bennett (D), District 21 (Virginia Beach, Chesapeake City) Bennett is in a tough race. She is good on our issues and deserves support.

VA NOW PAC-Endorsed Candidates in Competitive Races for State Senate
Barbara Favola (D), Senate District 31 (Arlington, McLean, Loudon). Favola is a long-time NOW member and a strong supporter of women’s rights and reproductive rights.

Edd Houck (D), incumbent Senator in the 17th District (Spotsylvania County, City of Fredericksburg, Orange County, parts of Albemarle County, Culpeper County, Louisa County). Houck is chair of the Senate Education and Health Committee, where harmful legislation affecting reproductive health is often stopped. He has strong ties to our Fredericksburg/Spottsylvania members.

Shawn Mitchell (D), Senate District 13 (Loudon, Prince William). A veteran, small business owner, and father of young children. His opponent – Dick Black – is known for his extreme anti-choice views, including distributing plastic fetus dolls.

Ralph Northam, MD (D), incumbent Senator in the 6th District (Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Matthews County, etc.). His record on our issues is excellent. He has sponsored sex education legislation and has been on the Senate Education and Health Committee.

John Miller (D), incumbent senator in the 1st District (Newport News, Williamsburg, etc). Miller has been supportive of NOW’s issues and deserves re-election.

Toddy Puller (D), three-term Senator in District 36 (Prince William, Fairfax, Stafford). She is excellent on our issues. Her opponent, Jeff Frederick, was ousted as state Republican Party chairman in April 2009.

John Edwards (D), four-term Senator in the 21st district (Roanoke, Montgomery County). Edwards has been supportive of NOW issues and is a member of the Senate Health and Education Committee.

George Barker (D), Senator in the 39th District (Prince William, Fairfax, Alexandria City). Barker is in a close race. He is exellent on NOW issues and an expert on health care.

Commission to Honor Contributions of the Women of Virginia Announces Public Forum Schedule

Governor Robert F. McDonnell, chairman of the Commemorative Commission to Honor the Contributions of the Women of Virginia, along with other commission members and legislative leaders House Speaker William J. Howell and State Senator Mary Margaret Whipple, announced that the Commission would hold a series of nine forums or “community conversations” across the Commonwealth during October to gather ideas and broad public input on an appropriate monument in Virginia’s Capitol Square in Richmond to commemorate the contributions of the women of Virginia. Virginia NOW members will attend the forums. If you have ideas for women to be commemorated, please contact marj.signer@gmail.com

The schedule of the nine “community conversations” to which everyone is invited is:

October 12 – Southside Virginia
7:00 PM at Danville Community College – Regional Center for Advanced Technology & Training Auditorium
121 Slayton Avenue, Danville, Virginia 24540

October 17 — Hampton Roads
2:00 PM at Christopher Newport University
Freeman Center, Room 202,
University Place, Newport News, Virginia 23606

October 17 — Hampton Roads
7:00 PM at Norfolk City Hall
810 Union Street
Norfolk, Virginia 23510

October 19 — Southwest Virginia
7:00 PM at Radford University
Heth Hall
801 East Main Street, Radford, Virginia 24142

October 20 – Central Virginia
2:00 PM at University of Richmond
Tyler Haynes Commons, Room 305
28 Westhampton Way, Richmond, Virginia 23173

October 20 – Central Virginia
7:00 PM at Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
Lecture Hall
200 North Boulevard, Richmond, Virginia 23229

October 24 – Valley / Western Virginia
7:00 PM at James Madison University
Festival Board Room
1301 Carrier Drive, Harrisonburg, Virginia 22807

October 26 — Northern Virginia
2:00 PM at Fairfax County Government Center
Conference Rooms 9 or 10
12000 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax, Virginia 22035
7:00 PM at Fairfax County Government Center
Conference Rooms 9 or 10
12000 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax, Virginia 22035

The Commemorative Commission to Honor the Contributions of the Women of Virginia is charged with erecting a monument on the grounds of Capitol Square in Richmond. In addition to Governor McDonnell, Speaker Howell and Senator Whipple, other Commission members are Delegate James P. Massie, III; Senator Jill Holtzman Vogel, eight non-legislative citizen members – Em Bowles Locker Alsop, Mary Abel-Smith, Kitty Claiborne, Carol Price, Mary Blanton Easterly, Jacqueline Cook Hedblom and Rita D. McClenny; Secretary of Administration, Lisa M. Hicks-Thomas; Librarian of Virginia, Sandra G. Treadway; Executive Director of the Capitol Square Preservation Council, James E. Wotton; Executive Director of the Virginia Capitol Foundation, Alice Lynch, Clerk of the Senate of Virginia, Susan Schaar; and G. Paul Nardo, Clerk of the Virginia House of Delegates.

The Commission’s work is privately funded.

Information about how to participate in the “community conversations” follows:

• The ideas and opinions of the citizens of the Commonwealth are important. Respecting everyone’s schedules, the time allotted for these forums will be no more than two and one-half hours. These constraints could limit the time that each speaker is granted, in order to enable as many speakers as possible to speak. The person facilitating the conversations will determine what time limits, if any, are necessary and will announce any guidelines at the beginning of the forum.

• Notice of the nine “community conversations” also is listed on the Internet website of the Virginia General Assembly. To access the meeting schedule, please click on “meetings” at http://leg1.state.va.us

• Special Assistance: For interpreter services or other accommodations telephone (804) 698-7450 or (804) 698-1540, TDD number 1-866-267-1474 or (804) 786-2369. Written requests may be made to Lori Roper or Angi Murphy, 910 Capitol Street, Richmond, Virginia 23219. Requests for interpreters should be received seven days prior to the meeting.

• Submitting written comment in lieu of public participation: As noted above, letters or written correspondence stating your support or opposition will be accepted in lieu of oral participation at one of the “community conversations.” Persons wishing to submit such written material should address their correspondence to the Virginia Women’s Commission, Post Office Box 396, Richmond, Virginia 23173.

• If you have any questions or require additional information about these public forums, please contact Lori Roper at (804) 698-1540 or Angi Murphy at (804) 698-7450, or by email at lroper@house.virginia.gov or amurphy@senate.virginia.gov. For inquiries about the work of the Commission, please contact Laura Jennings in the Office of the Secretary of Administration at (804) 786-1201 or laura.jennings@governor.virginia.gov.

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