Urge VA Senate General Laws Committee to Support Public Employee Non-Discrimination

The Virginia Senate General Laws Committee is meeting on Monday, and the docket includes SB12, common-sense legislation which prohibits discrimination against LGBT government employees.

In its hiring and firing practices, the government ought to make decisions based solely on one’s ability to do the job. SB12 would simply enshrine into law this fundamental principle.

As an excellent editorial by the Richmond Times-Dispatch put it, “Government has no rights — only powers and obligations. And one of its most important obligations is to guarantee equal treatment under law. There is no rational reason to let the commonwealth do otherwise.”

Virginia has a proud reputation as a business-friendly state and passing legislation protecting LGBT public employees from workplace discrimination would help Virginia develop a reputation as an inclusive state as well.

Please contact members of the committee and urge them to support SB12 and take a stand for equal rights under law.

It’s especially vital libertarians and allies contact the Republicans on the committee. Tell them that as a supporter of limited government, you insist they support equal rights under the law.

Liberty Advocate: Cloud Hangs over Same-Sex Couples in Virginia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Nicholas Cote
(571) 425-1261
nicholas.cote@rwfvirginia.org

Liberty Advocate: Cloud Hangs over Same-Sex Couples in Virginia
Nonpartisan libertarian advocacy group prepared to mobilize Virginians for marriage freedom if Supreme Court does not settle the question

Washington, DC (April 28, 2015) – In light of today’s hearing at the United States Supreme Court regarding the constitutionality of same-sex marriage bans, Right Way Forward Virginia, a nonpartisan libertarian advocacy organization, issued the following statement attributable to its president, Nicholas Cote:

“Among Right Way Forward Virginia’s top priorities is ensuring equal protection of the laws, including marriage laws. We celebrate the marriages gay and lesbian couples in Virginia now enjoy following federal court rulings striking down Virginia’s same-sex marriage ban. However, until the Supreme Court rules on this case, a giant cloud hangs over same-sex couples in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

“Unfortunately, legislation that would have lifted that cloud failed again in the Virginia General Assembly this year. Conservative legislators stymied all efforts to repeal the statutory and constitutional prohibition of same-sex marriage, as well as legislation that would make sections of the state code regarding marriage, adoption, and inheritance gender-neutral.

“Even legislation prohibiting workplace discrimination against LGBT public employees, a simple statement of government policy, did not receive a floor vote in the House of Delegates.

“If the Court does not settle the question, Virginians should demand candidates for General Assembly pledge to stand up for marriage freedom.”

Right Way Forward Virginia (RWFVirginia.org) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, grassroots advocacy organization dedicated to promoting liberty, dynamism, and equal rights.

2015 General Assembly Wrap Up

Review the status of the bills Right Way Forward Virginia lobbied for and against during the 2015 General Assembly.

Right to Earn an Honest Living

H.B. 1277 – Virginia Industrial Hemp Farming Act

Supported – PASSED AND SIGNED INTO LAW

The Industrial Hemp Farming Act (H.B. 1277) is good for farmers, job seekers, and all Virginians who could benefit from the multitude of economic uses of industrial hemp such as textiles, oil, and building materials.

Now signed into law, the bill takes effect in July. The next step to enable Virginia to become a leader in hemp cultivation is for Congress to pass H.R. 525/ S. 134.


Criminal Justice Reform

Asset Forfeiture Reform – H.B. 1287

Supported – KILLED IN SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE

Virginia’s abusive asset forfeiture laws enable police and prosecutors to seize someone’s property without ever even charging them with a crime. In fact, the libertarian Institute for Justice rated Virginia’s laws as among the worst in the country.

H.B. 1287/S.B. 684 would be an important first step to protect individual rights and end asset forfeiture abuse in Virginia by requiring a criminal conviction.

Unfortunately, after H.B. 1287 passed the House of Delegates, Republican Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment sent the bill to the Senate Finance Committee, where it was killed.

Marijuana Decriminalization – S.B. 686

Supported – KILLED IN SENATE COURTS COMMITTEE

Eight percent of all arrests in Virginia in 2013 were marijuana-related. Marijuana prohibition wastes police resources that could be better spent keeping Virginians safe from violent crimes.

It’s time to get Virginia law in line with the vast majority of Americans who support marijuana decriminalization.

The Senate Courts of Justice Committee killed the bill.


Equality Under Law

Public Employment Non-Discrimination – S.B. 785

Supported – KILLED IN HOUSE GENERAL LAWS COMMITTEE

S.B. 785 would prohibit workplace discrimination against LGBT government employees. The government belongs to all people and as such should not fire or refuse to hire any individual on any basis other than ability to perform one’s job.

After barely passing the Virginia Senate, the bill was killed in the House General Laws Committee..

Freedom to Marry – S.B. 682, S.B. 1211

Supported – KILLED IN HOUSE COURTS COMMITTEE

Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to decline review of the 4th Circuit’s ruling in Bostic v. Schaefer, gay and lesbian couples have been free to marry in Virginia.

S.B. 682 would repeal the statutory prohibition on same-sex marriages and civil unions. The Senate Courts of Justice Committee killed this bill.

S.B. 1211 would would provide more certainty for gay and lesbian couples regarding marriage, adoption, and inheritance by revising references to gender-specific terms (wife, husband, father, mother, etc.) in the Code of Virginia. The House Courts of Law Committee killed the bill after it narrowly passed in the Senate.

Special Privileges for Anti-Gay Sentiment – H.B. 1414

Opposed – KILLED IN HOUSE GENERAL LAWS COMMITTEE

Delegate Robert Marshall’s H.B. 1414 would uniquely privilege one particular moral belief (opposition to same-sex marriage) in the law. Read more about this bill and Delegate Marshall’s career-long crusade to limit the rights of LGBT Virginians.

Virginia Libertarian Group Announces Dynamism Agenda for 2015 General Assembly

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Nicholas Cote
(571) 425-1261
nicholas.cote@rwfvirginia.org

Virginia Libertarian Group Announces Dynamism Agenda for 2015 General Assembly
Right Way Forward Virginia agenda promotes criminal justice reform, equal rights, and economic liberty

Richmond, VA (January 14, 2015) – Right Way Forward Virginia, a nonprofit, nonpartisan grassroots advocacy organization has sent its 2015 Dynamism Agenda to all Virginia Delegates and Senators and urged them to advance liberty and equal rights in this session of the General Assembly.

“Avoiding new taxes, burdensome regulations, and unsustainable spending are just a part of the equation to encourage growth and prosperity,” stated Right Way Forward Virginia President Nicholas Cote. “Virginia’s economy will be even more dynamic if the General Assembly opens new markets, enables more Virginians to become entrepreneurs, and attracts the best talent by sending the message that we have an open and tolerant society.”

The first section of the Dynamism Agenda recommends two pieces of legislation — asset forfeiture reform (H.B. 1287, S.B. 684) and marijuana decriminalization (S.B. 686) — to improve Virginia’s criminal justice system and protect the rights of all Virginians.

“Our criminal justice system is supposed to ensure that the accused are innocent until proven guilty, but Virginia’s forfeiture laws turn that principle on its head,” stated Cote. “Meanwhile, marijuana prohibition wastes police resources and disproportionately targets minorities.”

The second section promotes equality under the law. Right Way Forward Virginia supports legislation to protect gay and lesbian public employees from workplace discrimination and bring Virginia’s Constitution and statutes in line with court rulings overturning the ban against same-sex marriage. The organization also opposes Delegate Robert Marshall’s H.B. 1414, which would uniquely privilege one particular moral belief in the law.

“At best, H.B. 1414 is a solution in search of a problem, but it is more accurate to say the bill would enshrine anti-gay sentiment into law,” argued Cote.

Finally, the Dynamism Agenda promotes two pieces of legislation that would create new jobs and enable more Virginians to run their own businesses, the Industrial Hemp Farming Act (H.B. 1277) and Food Freedom Act (H.B. 1290).

“Ironically, one of the first steps Virginia can take to foster a more dynamic future is to look to Virginia’s past,” said Cote. “Hemp was grown on the farms of Thomas Jefferson and George Washington, and legalizing hemp cultivation would enable Virginia farmers to grow a new cash crop and spur additional economic activity in textiles, building materials, and other industries.”

Right Way Forward Virginia (RWFVirginia.org) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, grassroots advocacy organization dedicated to promoting liberty, dynamism, and equal rights.