As we enter into 2019, Congress looks a bit different. With a Democrat majority in the House, barely a Republican majority in the Senate, and a Republican in the White House, the outlook of passing Conservative legislation (or even a simple budget) is dim. However, our job to educate all our representatives on our issues must continue unabated. There are areas in which we can focus our efforts that will be worthwhile.

Spread the truth about the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) - ERA activists have ramped up efforts in Virginia to make it the “38th state” needed for ratification. What these activists are ignoring is the fact that the chance to ratify the ERA expired in 1982. However, in light of recent movements such as #MeToo and #IBelieveHer, as well as the feminist push for “equality” and “women’s rights”, lawmakers across the nation are hesitant to fight against something that could potentially label them as “anti-woman”. That is why our lawmakers, even those in Congress, need to be equipped with facts, and know that their constituency will hold them

Maintain Life Provisions - Republicans missed their chance to pass landmark legislation to protect life. Although the House passed bills that banned abortions after 20 weeks and protected babies who are born alive during an abortion procedure, both bills never made it to the Senate floor. We obviously cannot expect that kind of legislation to come from the House this year, but we can focus our efforts to maintain language that prevents abortions. One key fight should be on the Hyde Amendment which is typically inserted into the federal budget to ban taxpayer funding of abortions. We should also push to maintain funding for sexual risk avoidance education, also known as abstinence education, that does not encourage risky sexual behavior that could lead to

Defend the Conscience Rights of all Individuals - We have heard stories of individuals across our nation being forced to perform services that violate their religious and moral beliefs. Professionals have been fined, fired, and harassed for choosing not to bake cakes for gay weddings, perform abortions, and medicate children who wish to transition to another gender, just to name a few. The federal government must continue to protect our First Amendment rights by adding language in legislation that gives these victims legal representation.

Protect Our Children Against Data Mining - The reauthorization of two key education bills will be on the table this year. The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and the Higher Education Act (HEA) are magnets for bad language that will allow the federal government and big businesses to collect data on all students. This permits the federal government to make broad assumptions about our children’s education and the career pathways they should take. This data is also susceptible to hacking by individuals or countries with devious intentions. This type of legislation has been supported by lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, so we must be vigilant in voicing our opposition.

Eagle Forum will be working on these issues and many more that come our way in 2019. However, we are only effective with your dedication to stand up for families across our nation. We look forward to working alongside you in fighting these battles.

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Mike Scruggs