Will controversy return to General Assembly?

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) — With just over 50 days to go before Virginia’s General Assembly begins its session, there are questions as to whether or not it will be as controversial as last year.

In a post election press conference, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell hinted the conservatives needed to rethink its priorities. 

“It’s clear to me the Republican Party has some work to do,” McDonnell said.

Some have hinted the Republican party needs to abandon bills during the general assembly session that create controversy on social issues.

While some Republicans seem to be following that philosophy, others, like State Delegate Bob Marshall of Manassas appear to be hunkering down.

“I’m not doing this because I think this is a winning issue, I think this is the right thing to do,” Delegate Marshall told CBS 6 Reporter Joe St. George.

Marshall is the author of last year’s “personhood bill,” known as HB1.

In 2013, Marshall will introduce a bill that would make it optional for businesses to provide contraception services in their healthcare plans. Under President Obama’s Affordable Healthcare Act, all businesses, outside of religiously exempted providers, must provide the service.

“This isn’t some stupid war on women stuff – this healthcare bill is a violation of the First amendment which protects freedom of conscience,” Marshall said.

State Delegate Jennifer McClellan (D – Richmond) says she expects the Democratic party to be more on defense than offense this cycle but adds that she hopes her Republican colleagues do what is in the best interest of the state. 

“I think voters sent a clear message they are more concerned about the economy and jobs than they are about social issues,” McClellan said.

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