Governor Northam signed Executive Order #32 on June 4, 2019 to establish the Commission to Examine Racial Inequity in Virginia Law. The Commission’s establishment was partially inspired by legislation sponsored by Senator Lionell Spruill (SB1079) and Delegate Marcia Price (HB2473), related to minimum wage exemptions for jobs traditionally held by minorities. At that time, the Commission was charged with identifying racially discriminatory language on Virginia’s books.
The Governor said upon his signing of the executive order that “Identifying the vestiges of racial discrimination that still remain in Virginia’s laws today is critical to the work before us to build a Commonwealth that is equitable for all who call it home. The task before the Commission is significant and its efforts will help lay the groundwork for further progress.”
The Commission’s charge included review of the Virginia’s Acts of Assembly, Code of Virginia, and administrative regulations with the goal of identifying and making recommendations to address laws that were intended to or could have the effect of promoting or enabling racial discrimination or inequity. In the case of the Acts of Assembly, discriminatory laws were enacted and in some cases obviated by court rulings, but the words still remain.
The Commission issued its interim report on November 15, 2019 and presented it to Governor Northam on December 5, 2019.
On June 4, 2020 Governor Northam signed Amended Executive Order #32 to extend the Commission’s term until June 4, 2021 with second report due to the Governor on November 15, 2020.
Executive Order 32: Establishment of the Commission to Examine Racial Inequity in Virginia Law
Amended Executive Order 32: Continuing the Commission to Examine Racial Inequity in Virginia Law
Meet Our Commissioners
Cynthia Hudson, Chair
Counsel, Sands Anderson
Former Chief Deputy Attorney General of Virginia
Andrew “Andy” Block, Vice Chair
Professor of Law, University of Virginia
Former Director, Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice
Henry “Hank” Chambers
Professor of Law, University of Richmond
Health Attorney, Virginia Poverty Law Center
Hon. Michael “Mike” Herring
Partner, McGuire Woods
Former Commonwealth’s Attorney, City of Richmond
Assistant Commissioner for Legal Affairs, Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles
Hon. Birdie Jamison
Retired Judge, Richmond General District Court
Hon. Jerrauld Jones
Chief Judge, Norfolk Circuit Court
Leslie Chambers Mehta
Chief of Staff and Counsel to the CEO, Richmond Metropolitan Transportation Authority
Meet Our Staff
Hon. Jay Deboer
Special Assistant to Governor Ralph Northam
Deputy Counsel to Governor Ralph Northam
Policy Assistant & Confidential Assistant to the Counsel to Ralph Northam