Kaine's discrimination order largely still in effect, McDonnell says
An executive order barring discrimination in the state workforce signed by Gov. Tim Kaine four years ago remains in effect, Gov. Bob McDonnell told reporters yesterday, with the exception of language including protections based on sexual orientation that McDonnell opposed as attorney general.
"The executive order that Governor Kaine signed I believe is in effect," McDonnell said. "It had no expiration date with the exception of the portion that I ruled as attorney general that the portion of that order that dealt with expanding new legal rights and new legal remedies to the classification of sexual orientation I said that I believed under the law was not valid. But the rest of Governor Kaine's executive order is still valid."
We reported over the weekend that McDonnell is the first governor in 36 years not to issue an executive order on discrimination as one of his first acts in office. It has not been the position of past governors that their predecessors' orders remained in effect. This weekend's story included a response from the governor's office, but his spokesfolk did not indicate he was taking this position on Kaine's order before the story was published.
McDonnell spokesman Tucker Martin said Monday that McDonnell's legal team reached the conclusion last week that Kaine's executive order remained in effect. But he acknowledged the information was not made clear in the statement issued by his office last week.
So, bottom line: McDonnell did indeed break with past practice in not issuing his own executive order on discrimination. He believes Kaine's order remains in effect, with the exception of the sexual orientation language. But he has pledged not to discriminate on any grounds in his administration.
"I've said very clearly that my policy as governor would be the same as my policy as attorney general -- that is, we will not discriminate on any basis against people who want to be employed in state government," McDonnell said Monday. "So the bottom line is the policy is in place already. Governor Kaine's executive order did not expire. I just consider that one provision to be invalid by my one provision opinion."
McDonnell has always said adding language to legally ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is a policy decision that would have to be made by the General Assembly. Legislation to do so was narrowly approved by a senate committee last week and is scheduled to be voted on by the full senate today.
February 2, 2010; 10:43 AM ET
Categories: General Assembly 2010 , House of Delegates , Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman , State Senate , Timothy M. Kaine
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