RICHMOND, Va. (WAVY) – The Virginia House of Representatives Court committee on Wednesday tabled bill to make Attorney General Mark Herring’s civil rights office permanent.
Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring established the office as an extension of the existing department for human rights. It focuses on protecting Virginians from discrimination and other civil rights issues. If passed, the firm will be part of the attorney general’s office.
“I have put protecting and expanding the civil rights of Virginians at the center of our mission and making them a focus of our actions. Now is the time to deliver on that commitment by making my civil rights office an integral part of the attorney general so the Virginians always know that their attorney general is standing up and fighting for them, ”Herring said.
Herring creates a civil rights office in the Virginia Attorney General
“I want every Virginian to know that I will always defend their rights, and wherever we find discrimination and oppression we will put an end to it. No matter what you look like, where you come from, how you adore or who you love, as your attorney general I will have your back and fight for you, ”he continued.
HB2147 says the Civil Rights Office will exist “to investigate discrimination and take action to combat discrimination,” and will implement the Commonwealth’s updated Declaration on the Civil and Human Rights of All Virginians:
The revised Commonwealth Policy on Civil and Human Rights states:
“It is the policy of the Commonwealth of Virginia to provide equal opportunities for all citizens throughout the Commonwealth, regardless of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, pregnancy, birth or related illnesses, age, sexual orientation and gender identity, disability, Marital, marital or veteran status and, to that end, the prohibition of discriminatory practices in relation to employment, public housing, including educational institutions, and real estate transactions of individuals or groups of individuals, including state and local law enforcement agencies, so as to promote peace, health, safety, prosperity and the general welfare of all residents of the Commonwealth are protected and assured. “
The Office for Civil Rights works in many ways to expand and protect the civil rights of Virginians, including:
- Carrying out sample or practice examinations to identify and eliminate unconstitutional and illegal police work
- Combating LGBTQ and gender discrimination
- Combating Housing Discrimination
- Combating discrimination in the workplace
- Combating discrimination in public accommodation
- Protecting the rights of expectant and new mothers
Under Herring’s leadership, the Civil Rights Office has thirteen employees, including seven lawyers, having inherited an office with just four employees and only one lawyer when he first took office in 2014.