Governor outlines ‘opportunity’ agenda

In a move he said would boost the state’s economy, Gov. Terry McAuliffe is asking legislators to remove the requirement that Virginia women get an ultrasound before having an abortion and to “create a more inclusive environment for LGBT Virginians and business owners.”

McAuliffe announced his “full equal opportunity agenda” on Monday, calling on the General Assembly to:

· Remove references to “husband and wife” or “man and woman” in Virginia laws about marriage. Such terms would be replaced with the word “spouse” now that same-sex marriage is legal in the state.

· Raise the penalty for businesses that violate Virginia’s equal pay laws. To ensure equal wages for men and women, businesses would have to pay at least twice the lost wages of the employee.

· Repeal a 2012 state law that requires women to obtain an ultrasound before having an abortion.

McAuliffe also wants the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia to help public colleges and universities update their sexual misconduct policies by July. And he wants companies to allow employees who are survivors of sexual or domestic violence to leave work for counseling or other treatment.

The governor, who took office a year ago and promptly issued an executive order banning discrimination based on sexual orientation in the state workforce, said his proposals would be good for the economy.

“In a new Virginia economy, we need to be able to attract the best and brightest entrepreneurs here, build a workforce for the 21st century and ensure that the next generation of Virginians has greater opportunity to succeed,” McAuliffe said.

“All that depends on having a business-friendly environment where every Virginian is treated equally and fairly under the law, no matter their background, gender, or whom they love.”

Liberal advocacy groups applauded McAuliffe’s proposals.

“We commend the governor for prioritizing women’s health care access and economic opportunity,” said Anna Scholl, executive director of ProgressVA.

“We think it is incredibly important that the government get out of the way of interfering in the doctor-patient relationship and insure that women have equal economic opportunity to support their family and their children.”

Scholl said women are the breadwinners in hundreds of thousands of Virginia families. “If women aren’t being paid fairly and are struggling to get by in low-wage jobs, then Virginia families are struggling.”

But social conservatives criticized the governor’s announcement. In a press release, the Family Foundation of Virginia said McAuliffe’s proposals show that he has no idea how to improve Virginia’s economy.

“This list seems to have been pulled off of the same campaign brochures Democrats used as they lost election after election in November,” said Victoria Cobb, president of the Family Foundation.

“There is nothing here that will attract small businesses, the heart and soul of a growing economy, or encourage businesses that are seeking a fair tax or regulatory environment to come to Virginia. No one who truly wants to grow Virginia’s economy can take this governor seriously.”
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Business in brief

Henrico-based nonprofit Commonwealth Autism recently received the Standards for Excellence Institute’s Seal of Excellence for successfully completing its accreditation program. Commonwealth Autism voluntarily opened itself to analysis by a peer review team during the last 18 months that examined the organization’s compliance with the “Standards for Excellence: An Ethics and Accountability Code for the Nonprofit Sector.” These standards cover areas such as: mission, strategy and evaluation; leadership – board, staff and volunteers; legal compliance and ethics; finance and operations; resource development; and public awareness, engagement and advocacy. Commonwealth Autism was one of six organizations in the Richmond region to be recognized and the first in the region to achieve full accreditation. In addition to this accreditation, Commonwealth Autism is recognized as an Accredited Charity with the Richmond Better Business Bureau and holds accreditation from the Code of Ethics for Behavioral Organizations (COEBO). > Read more.

Purify Infrared Sauna opens at GreenGate

Purify Infrared Sauna recently opened its second Henrico location at GreenGate Shopping Center in Short Pump.

Owner Mary Woodbridge opened her first Purify location on Patterson Avenue in July 2015. The new store is located at 301 Maltby Boulevard, Suite C, west of Short Pump Town Center. > Read more.

Henrico Master Gardener training program accepting applications through Oct. 27

The Henrico County Office of Virginia Cooperative Extension is accepting applications for its next volunteer Master Gardener training program, which provides instruction in all aspects of horticulture.

Applications for the 2018 training program will be accepted through Friday, Oct. 27. Classes will be held from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays from Jan. 16 through March 22. > Read more.

Henrico Schools to host Oct. 30 job fair

Henrico Schools will host a job fair Oct. 30.

The event, to be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Fairfield branch library, is designed to attract potential full-time and substitute registered nurses, instructional assistants, bus drivers and school nutrition workers. > Read more.

Henrico Police to participate in ‘Tip a Cop’ Oct. 21

Henrico County Police Division and the Virginia Division of Capitol Police are participating in “Tip-A-Cop” to Support the Special Olympics Saturday, Oct. 21.

From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. that day at Red Robin, 11784 West Broad Street, members of the two agencies will be working for tips as a donation to the Special Olympics. > Read more.

Henrico Business Bulletin Board

October 2017

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Henrico County Board of Supervisors Vice Chairman and Fairfield District Supervisor Frank J. Thornton will hold a constituent meeting on cybersecurity at 6:30 p.m. at the Eastern Henrico Recreation Center, 1440 N. Laburnum Ave. Thornton also has invited candidates who will be seeking election to local offices on Tuesday, Nov. 7 to introduce themselves. For details, call 501-4208. Full text

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