Vol. 36 Iss. 12 - February 03, 2020


Expanding Opportunities for Virginians with Disabilities

Importance of the Issue

The way ahead for Virginia means inclusion and opportunity for all Virginians, including individuals with disabilities. An estimated one in ten Virginians have a disability.1 The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 defines disability as any "physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activity; [having] a record of such impairment; or being regarded as having such impairment."2 This definition is expansive and it is the responsibility of the Commonwealth to empower and provide supports to all Virginians with disabilities to maximize their inclusion, employment, and independence. All Virginians, including those with disabilities, have a right to enjoy the benefits of choice in society and the freedoms of everyday life.

The Commonwealth also has an obligation under the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Olmstead v. L.C. by Zimring, 527 U.S. 581 (1999) decision, and the Virginians with Disabilities Act to provide opportunities for individuals with disabilities to fully integrate into the community. This is more than an obligation—it is a necessity. Virginia must continue to prioritize the mandate of the Olmstead decision to ensure the integration of Virginians with disabilities in every community in the Commonwealth. Furthermore, it is the policy of this Commonwealth, as set forth in § 51.5-1 of the Code of Virginia, "to encourage and enable persons with disabilities to participate fully and equally in the social and economic life of the Commonwealth."

Education is a key part of expanding our qualified workforce. In the 2018 Census Bureau Current Population Survey, an estimated 22.6% of Virginians with a disability do not have a high school diploma or equivalency, compared to 13.7% of the population without a disability. Similarly, 34.9% of Virginians with a disability end their education at high school or equivalent level, compared to 21.8% without a disability, and only 22.1% of Virginians with a disability achieve a four-year degree, compared to 39.7% of Virginians without a disability.

Employment is a key component to supporting community integration and independence for individuals with disabilities. As the economy of the Commonwealth continues to grow and diversify, the need for qualified workers also increases. Unfortunately, individuals with disabilities are an underused resource to help address the need for qualified workers. Many job seekers with disabilities are unable to find full-time, competitive-wage jobs. The challenges that individuals with disabilities face based on their qualifications place limits on their earning potential. The 2017 Pew Research Center Disability Statistics Annual Report found median earnings for Virginians with disabilities ranged $23,874-$30,559, while median earnings for Virginians without a disability ranged $35,888-$51,302. The Commonwealth administers vocational rehabilitation programs through the Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services (DARS), the Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired (DBVI), and the Department of Veteran Services (DVS) to place workers and veterans with disabilities in public and private sector jobs. Yet, according to the 2017 Disability Status Report by Cornell University, only 41.3% of Virginians with disabilities were employed in 2016, while 81.8% of Virginians without a disability were employed during the same time period. All qualified workers in Virginia should be given the same opportunities to gain employment that utilizes their talents. This contributes to the growth of Virginia's economy and enriches our communities.

Establishment of the Initiative

The Commonwealth should be a leader in inclusivity for individuals with disabilities by prioritizing hiring and workforce diversity and ensuring community integration. This initiative highlights our commitment to ensuring that all Virginians have adequate supports and opportunities to thrive in the Commonwealth. Many state agencies are already doing great work to help individuals with disabilities find employment and live actively in their communities. I seek to build on these efforts by providing greater supports for both visible and invisible disabilities as individuals choose their educational path and prepare to enter the workforce. We should also ensure increased access to competitive and integrated community-based employment. I encourage local governments and the private sector to take similar steps to provide career-building and job opportunities to qualified workers and to ensure access for all individuals, no matter their ability status.


Therefore, by virtue of the authority vested in me as Governor under Article V of the Constitution of Virginia and under the laws of the Commonwealth, including but not limited to § 2.2-103 of the Code of Virginia, I hereby direct the Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion to provide leadership and coordinate across Secretariats the following actions:

1. The Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion shall work with the Secretary of Administration to implement § 2.2-203.2:3 of the Code of Virginia, to increase the employment of individuals within state government, including but not limited to the exploration and implementation of the following initiatives to:

a. Use available hiring authorities, consistent with statutes, regulations, and prior executive orders;

b. Increase efforts to accommodate individuals with disabilities within state government employment by increasing the retention and return to work of individuals with disabilities; and

c. Expand existing efforts for the recruitment, accommodation, retention, and advancement of individuals with disabilities for positions available in state government.

2. The Secretary of Education and Chief Workforce Advisor, in coordination with the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) shall identify opportunities and current best practices at institutions of higher education, community colleges, and vocational training programs to increase the number of Virginians with disabilities who are able to participate actively in advanced training and education programs they choose.

3. The Chief Workforce Advisor, in conjunction with the Secretaries of Commerce and Trade and Education, shall work with the Secretary of Health and Human Resources, who will direct DARS, and DBVI, and the Department for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing to strengthen and develop workforce pipelines for individuals with disabilities and promote the hiring of qualified individuals with disabilities by new and existing Virginia businesses as well as companies seeking to locate to the Commonwealth.

4. The Secretary of Veterans and Defense Affairs and the Secretary of Health and Human Resources will ensure that there is continued collaboration between DVS and DARS to serve disabled veterans. The Secretary of Veterans and Defense Affairs and DVS will also work with employers certified through the Virginia Values Veterans initiative to increase efforts to hire and place in jobs veterans with disabilities.

5. The Virginia Information Technology Agency shall work with other state agencies to improve the accessibility of the Commonwealth's websites for Virginians with disabilities and encourage similar efforts in the private sector.

6. The Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion shall convene, at least annually, a stakeholder meeting to advise and provide input on the directives of this Executive Order and the Commonwealth's efforts towards accessibility, inclusion, and community integration for individuals with disabilities.

Reporting on Progress of the Initiative

The Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion shall report to the Governor on the progress of this Order and the steps taken to ensure community integration, improve website accessibility, and advance employment of Virginians with disabilities.

Effective Date of the Executive Order

This Executive Order rescinds and replaces Executive Order No. 46 (2015) issued by Governor McAuliffe. This Executive Order shall be effective upon its signing and shall remain in full force and effect until amended or rescinded by further executive order.

Given under my hand and under the Seal of the Commonwealth of Virginia this 2nd day of January, 2020.

/s/ Ralph S. Northam

1Erickson, W., Lee, C., & von Schrader, S. (2018). 2016 Disability Status Report:

Virginia. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Yang-Tan Institute on Employment and Disability (YTI).

242 U.S.C. § 12102 (1).


Establishment of the Virginia Data Commission, The Virginia Executive Data Board, and The Virginia Data Governance Council

Importance of the Initiative

Chapter 679 of the 2018 Acts of Assembly established the Chief Data Officer of the Commonwealth (Chief Data Officer) and the Data Sharing and Analytics Advisory Committee (Advisory Committee). Both were charged with the development of a permanent data sharing and analytics governance structure for the Commonwealth. The Advisory Committee's "Data Sharing and Analytics Governance Structure for the Commonwealth of Virginia Report" recommends establishing a Virginia Data Commission, Executive Data Board, Data Governance Council, and Data Stewards Group to accomplish the following objectives:

• Promote and facilitate, subject to all applicable federal and state laws, rules, and regulations, the secure and appropriate sharing and use of data assets of the Commonwealth in support of data-drive policymaking, research, analysis, study, and economic development;

• Maximize the value and utility of Commonwealth data related investments and assets;

• Promote increased data sharing between state agencies and localities providing tangible operational improvements assisting state agencies and localities in fulfilling their missions in a more coordinated, cost-efficient manner;

• Leverage government data, using appropriate security and privacy standards, supporting evidenced-based policymaking addressing high priority public policy issues; and

• Provide for public access to certain data assets, where lawful and appropriate, enhancing research, innovation, and insight.

Through this Executive Order, I call on leaders across state government to review current state goals, performance objectives, and outcome measures and recommend solutions that will make Virginia a national leader in data-driven policy, evidence-based decision-making, and outcome-based performance management.

Establishment of the Commission

Accordingly, by virtue of the authority vested in me as Governor under Article V of the Constitution of Virginia and §§ 2.2-134 and 2.2-135 of the Code of Virginia, and subject to my continuing and ultimate authority and responsibility to act in such matters, I hereby establish the Commonwealth of Virginia Data Commission (Commission). The Commission will play a critical role in Virginia's data governance framework by assisting the Chief Data Officer of the Commonwealth to set, plan, and prioritize data sharing performance goals for the Commonwealth, review agency accomplishments, and achieve desired performance goals and objectives.

Composition of the Commission

The Commission shall be chaired by the Chief Data Officer. Membership shall include the following individuals or their designees:

• The Auditor of Public Accounts;

• The Chief Workforce Advisor to the Governor;

• Secretary of Administration;

• Secretary of Health and Human Resources;

• Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security;

• Secretary of Finance;

• Secretary of the Commonwealth;

• Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry;

• Secretary of Natural Resources;

• Secretary of Commerce and Trade;

• Secretary of Education;

• Secretary of Defense and Veterans Affairs;

• Secretary of Transportation; and

• Seven non-legislative citizen members to be appointed by the Governor each representing one of seven geographic regions within the state.

The non-legislative citizen members shall be residents of the Commonwealth of Virginia. The chair may invite other members of state government to participate in Commission meetings as he deems necessary.

Responsibilities of the Commission

The Commission's responsibilities shall include the following:

• Study, report and make recommendations to the Governor on all areas of data governance, quality, sharing, analytics, reporting, intelligence, and performance management;

• Advise and assist the Chief Data Officer to set, plan, prioritize, and review data and outcome performance goals and objectives to improve operational efficiency, increase delivery of customer-centered services, and promote better outcomes for constituents;

• Make recommendations to the Governor on performance goals and objectives requiring engagement from organizations across state government; and

• Cooperate with local governments and governmental agencies.

Establishment of the Board

The Chief Data Officer shall have the authority to convene the Executive Data Board (Board).

Composition of the Board

The Chief Data Officer shall chair the Board and select its membership. The Board, however, shall consist of executive leadership, or their designees, from executive branch agencies engaged in data sharing and analytics projects.

Responsibilities of the Board

The Board shall:

• Translate the Commonwealth's data-driven policy goals and objectives to agency performance targets;

• Allocate appropriate agency resources to support data governance, sharing, and analytics initiatives; and

• Provide to the Commission any reports on the Board's recommendations and work as required by the Commission.

Establishment of the Council

The Chief Data Officer shall chair the Data Governance Council (Council).

Composition of the Council

The Board shall select the members of the Council. The Council, however, shall consist of employees of the state agencies represented on the Board.

Responsibilities of the Council

The Council shall:

• Liaise between state agency operations and the Chief Data Officer;

• Advise the Chief Data Officer on technology, policy, and governance strategies;

• Administer data governance policies, standards, and best practices as set by the Board;

• Implement data sharing and analytics projects;

• Review open data assets; and

• Provide to the Board any reports on the Council's recommendations and work as required by the Board.

Support of the Commission, Board, and Council

Staff support for the work of the Commission, Board, and Council shall be provided by the Office of the Governor and the Office of the Secretary of Administration. An estimated 500 hours of staff time will be required to support this work.

The Commission shall commence its work promptly and suggest legislative and budgetary proposals that will enable the implementation of any identified recommendations. The Commission shall provide an annual report to the Governor no later than December 1st of each year. The Commission shall issue such other reports and recommendations as necessary or as requested by the Governor.

Effective Date of the Executive Order

This Executive Order shall be effective upon signing and shall remain in force and effect for one year, unless amended or rescinded by further executive order.

Given under my hand and under the Seal of the Commonwealth of Virginia this 7th day of January, 2020.

/s/ Ralph S. Northam


Declaration of a State of Emergency
Due to Potential Civil Unrest at the
Virginia State Capitol

Importance of the Issue

The Commonwealth of Virginia is a welcoming state. Virginians understand that diversity of opinion keeps our democracy strong. The more voices involved in our political dialogue, the stronger we are. Civil discourse, even and especially, amongst those who disagree, is critical to our democracy's evolution and success. When the civility of that political discourse breaks down, the Commonwealth suffers. Three years ago, Virginia and the nation, watched horrified as civil protest was marred by violence and hate. The events that occurred in Charlottesville, Virginia demonstrated what can happen when peaceful demonstrations are hijacked by those who come into the Commonwealth and do not value the importance of peaceful assembly. We lost three Virginians. We must take all precautions to prevent that from ever happening again.

Credible intelligence gathered by Virginia's law enforcement agencies indicates that tens of thousands of advocates plan to converge on Capitol Square for events culminating on January 20, 2020. Available information suggests that a substantial number of these demonstrators are expected to come from outside the Commonwealth, may be armed, and have as their purpose not peaceful assembly but violence, rioting, and insurrection. Assuring that Virginia's Capitol Square and surrounding public areas are sheltered safe places for those who come to participate in the democratic process, as well as those who work on or near Capitol Square, is my greatest priority.

The anticipated effects of the potential convergence of tens of thousands of demonstrators on Capitol Square, some of whom may not come to assemble peacefully, constitutes an emergency as described in § 44-146.16 of the Code of Virginia (Code). Therefore, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution of Virginia, by §§ 2.2-103 and 44-146.13 et seq. of the Code, as Governor and Director of Emergency Management and Commander-in-Chief of the Commonwealth's armed forces, I proclaim that a state of emergency will exist starting on January 17, 2020 through January 21, 2020. Accordingly, I direct state and local governments to render appropriate assistance to prepare for this event, to alleviate any conditions resulting from the situation, and to implement recovery and mitigation operations and activities so as to return impacted areas to pre-event conditions as much as possible. Emergency services shall be conducted in accordance with § 44-146.13 et seq. of the Code.

In order to marshal all public resources and appropriate preparedness, response, and recovery measures, I order the following actions:

A. Activation of the Virginia Emergency Operations Center and the Virginia Emergency Support Team, as directed by the State Coordinator of Emergency Management, to coordinate the provision of assistance to state and local governments and to facilitate emergency services assignments to other agencies.

B. Authorization for the heads of executive branch agencies, on behalf of their regulatory boards as appropriate, and with the concurrence of their Cabinet Secretary, to waive any state requirement or regulation, and enter into contracts without regard to normal procedures or formalities, and without regard to application or permit fees or royalties. All waivers issued by agencies shall be posted on their websites.

C. To provide for the shelter and safety of state employees who work on or near the Virginia State Capitol and those who come to peacefully assemble, and consistent with the General Assembly's prohibition on weapons in the Virginia State Capitol and the Pocahontas Buildings, and Executive Order 50 (McAuliffe), which prohibits firearms in offices occupied by executive branch agencies, no weapons, including firearms, may be carried or possessed on any land, real property, or improvements owned by the Commonwealth of Virginia within the area bounded by Broad Street, Ninth Street, Bank Street and Governor Street in the City of Richmond, Virginia, as well as any Commonwealth-owned parking lots for Virginia's Department of Transportation, the Madison Building, the Monroe Building, the Patrick Henry Building, Washington Building, the Jefferson Building, and the Oliver Hill Building.

1. "Firearm" means any handgun, pistol, revolver, or other weapon designed or intended to propel or expel a projectile or missile of any kind by action of an explosion of any combustible material; rifle, shotgun, automatic or semi-automatic gun; assault firearm as defined in § 18.2-308.2:2 of the Code; machine gun; 3D printed gun; or similar weapon. Firearm does not include any ceremonial firearm currently on display in a legislative branch agency.

2. "Weapon" means any weapon as defined in paragraphs (ii) through (v) of subsection A of § 18.2-308 of the Code and any stun weapon, as defined under § 18.2-308.1 of the Code, with the exception of a pocket knife having a folding metal blade of less than three inches. "Weapons" also includes, but is not limited to, sticks, torches, poles, bats, shields, helmets, caustic substances (i.e., pepper spray), hazardous materials, scissors, razor blades, needles, toy guns, toy weapons, fireworks, glass bottles, laser pointers, aerosol containers, baseballs, softballs, UAVs/Drones, or any item that can inflict bodily harm that is visible, other than firearms.

3. The prohibition with respect to weapons (other than firearms) shall not apply to (a) any person possessing a knife customarily used for food preparation or service and using it for such purpose, (b) any person who possesses a knife or blade that he uses customarily in his trade and using it in such trade, (c) any tool used by a person customarily in his trade and being used pursuant to a contract with a legislative branch agency, or (d) any tool used by a state employee as a condition of his position and being used in the scope of employment. The prohibition with respect to weapons (other than firearms) shall not apply to any ceremonial weapon currently on display or use in a legislative branch agency.

4. This prohibition applies to both the open and the concealed carry of firearms and other weapons.

D. Exempt from paragraph C's prohibition are:

1. All on-duty sworn law enforcement personnel providing security for the areas listed in paragraph C during this emergency, as determined by the Chief of the Division of Capitol Police; and

2. Any other person otherwise acting in coordination with the Division of Capitol Police, as determined by its chief.

Effective Dates of this Executive Order

This Executive Order shall be effective from 5:00 p.m., Friday, January 17, until 5:00 p.m., Tuesday, January 21, 2020. Capitol Square will be open from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on the above days. Nothing in this Order rescinds or amends Executive Order 50 (McAuliffe), which remains in full force and effect.

Given under my hand and under the Seal of the Commonwealth of Virginia, this 15th day of January, 2020.

/s/ Ralph S. Northam