• 2017 Legislative Agenda

    The Hampton Roads Business OutReach (HRBOR) is the oldest Chamber of Commerce for LGBT Businesses and LGBT-allies in Virginia. HRBOR represents over 125 businesses in southeast Virginia. The Chamber is dedicated to serving both its members and the many communities in the region by advocating and supporting the economic and business interests across the region.

    The Hampton Roads Business OutReach (HRBOR) promotes LGBT influence through business ownership, workforce equality and active consumerism, creating prosperity to support equality, diversity, and inclusion. 

    HRBOR’s 2017 legislative agenda has been approved by the HRBOR Board of Directors. This document outlines the Chamber’s position on nine critical issues affecting our members and the larger business community. We look forward to working both with our members, and with the General Assembly to continue to bring prosperity to Hampton Roads.

    GOOD GOVERNANCE

    HRBOR supports transparent and non-partisan redistricting reform in Virginia for state legislative and congressional districts to promote more competitive elections and a healthier democracy.

    We urge your support for:

    • The establishment of an independent commission during this legislative session to ensure the constitutional process is complete by the next redistricting occurring in 2021. 

    BUSINESS CLIMATE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

    HRBOR Supports legislation that strengthens Virginia’s competitive standing in the global economy. We believe that Virginia workers should not have to fear that they will be fired for being who they are. HRBOR asks that you reject any form of discrimination, including the religious exemptions that attempt to negate civil rights legislation.

    We urge your support for:

    • Increased resources and diversity for Virginia’s Economic Development incentive programs

    • The Federal Equality Act, which prohibits discrimination in the workplace, public accommodations, housing,   credit and more

    • New incentives that help Virginia target future growth industries

    • Virginia’s Right to Work laws

    • International marketing for tourism and business relocation/expansion

    • Policies and initiatives that grow and support small business job creation

    • An expansion of domestic travel marketing and tourism infrastructure

    • Policies and initiatives that foster an atmosphere of safety for all people

    • An Unemployment and Workers’ Compensation system that is efficient to all stakeholders

    • Changes that will modernize Virginia’s tax structure.

    IMPORTANCE TO THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY

    Economic development initiatives are an essential component of a healthy business environment. Without business and job growth, the region’s quality of life will be negatively impacted. Legislative policies and actions that provide businesses of all sizes the tools and talent they need will help increase their competitiveness, and additionally, stimulate growth while continuing to attract new industries to our region. We encourage state-level efforts to ensure our region and state are in the most competitive position possible for future growth through sound, pro-business, job-creating legislation. We believe that fostering an atmosphere of safety and security will lift all business and that an environment of Safe Commerce is the only commerce Virginia should promote.

    ENERGY

    HRBOR supports enhancing the Commonwealth’s energy resources to promote stable rates, economic development, energy independence and environmental protection

    We urge your support for:  

    • Opportunities for gas infrastructure and renewable energy investment to spur economic development

    • The development of renewable (i.e., solar and wind) as long as all such new energy supply projects do not negatively impact the mission or training for the Department of Defense.

    IMPORTANCE TO THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY:

    There is a need for additional natural gas infrastructure. The Atlantic

    Coast Pipeline Project (ACP) would improve gas supply for Mid-Atlantic markets and promote price stability while enhancing economic opportunity. The

    ACP would also create permanent, full-time jobs in the region.

    EDUCATION AND WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT

    HRBOR supports the Commonwealth’s K-12 public education systems and higher education systems to develop college-ready and career-ready citizens that strengthen Virginia’s workforce. High performing K-12 public education systems drive economic development by growing existing businesses, attracting new employers, and ensuring the workforce to support them. We support an anti-bullying policy in all schools, which includes LGBT students. The education of our children must be free of all intimidation.

    We urge your support for:

    • Full funding of early childhood education programs

    • World-class standards of excellence in Virginia’s education system by requiring the Commonwealth to pay

      55% of the prevailing cost of education

    • State contributions to assist local school divisions with creating 21st century-learning facilities that keep pace with growth in enrollment and new technologies

    • Efforts to generate more graduates with a credential in a STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics field)

    • Policies that promote diversity and provide a safe space for children to learn and express themselves

    • Policies that promote the inclusion of creativity, and critical thinking skills in all areas of study

    • Policies that aide in the recruitment and retention of STEM teachers as well as the arts

    • Private sector workforce solutions

    • Strengthening vocational training

    • Private/public partnerships

    IMPORTANCE TO THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY

    Investment in our education system must be of the highest quality for students to compete in today’s global economy. Aligning our educational and publicly funded workforce development systems with business and industry demand is critical to our success. Ensuring Virginia has a competitive K-12 education system and high quality colleges and universities will enable Virginia to meet future workforce needs. School districts that have LGBT non-discrimination policies and foster an environment where LGBT students are not harassed have a higher completion and graduation rate and all students do better, not just the LGBT students.

    HEALTH CARE

    HRBOR supports the Certificate of Need (CAN) Program in Virginia should not be eliminated or substantially modified until the General Assembly can guarantee that doing so will not adversely impact access, quality, public safety or the cost of health care to Virginia businesses.

    We urge your support for:

    • The Certificate of Need (CAN) Program

    IMPORTANCE TO THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY

    Hospitals are required to provide care to every individual who seeks care in the emergency room, regardless of ability to pay. Government programs, such as Medicaid and Medicare, reimburse hospitals and physicians at rates far below the cost of treating their beneficiaries. Hospitals absorb many of those costs themselves, but a substantial portion is passed on to large and small businesses in the form of increased health insurance premiums for employees. The Certificate of Need program is one of the single best ways to help keep rising health care costs in check, making sure there is a real, true need for a new hospital or expensive equipment before any money is spent.

    TECHNOLOGY

    HRBOR supports enhanced policies that support innovation and job creation in the technology sector.

    We urge your support for:

    • Favorable tax policies for technology start-up businesses/ventures

    • An enhanced entrepreneurship culture

    • Private sector partnerships with colleges and universities to increase commerce

    IMPORTANCE TO THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY

    Technology-based industries and businesses create tremendous growth and opportunity and are essential to competing in an interconnected world. HRBOR supports policies that foster investment in the technology industry.

    TRANSPORTATION AND INFRASTRUCTURE

    HRBOR supports a balanced investment in the Commonwealth’s transportation system that ensures the efficient and effective development of all modes of transportation infrastructure.

    We urge your support for:

    • Viable and transparent public/private partnerships

    • Port growth and development coupled with multimodal systems

    • Improved and expanded use of technology

    • High speed rail connections with major metropolitan centers

    • Strategic and expedited use of the new regional transportation revenues to address congestion within the region as well as connectivity beyond Hampton Roads

    • Using smarter project and service delivery methods to efficiently connect communities across the region with transit infrastructure and services

    • Flexibility and diversity of funding sources and financing options, including new dedicated regional transit funding, with the ability to leverage resources to make each available dollar go farther

    • Protecting the Intercity Passenger Rail Operating and Capital Fund (IPROC) and funding source, and strongly encourages the advancement of the Tier II Federal Richmond to Hampton Roads Higher Speed Rail Study which focuses on service along the Peninsula and the Southside of Hampton Roads. 

    IMPORTANCE TO THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY

    HRBOR’s members of the believe transportation is a state-wide problem and should be dealt with on a statewide basis. Sustainable long-term funding for transportation is still necessary on a state-wide basis for the Commonwealth to remain competitive and to sustain our significant military and federal presence.

    MILITARY AND VETERANS AFFAIRS

    HRBOR supports the protection and growth of Virginia-based military and federal assets through support of targeted military strategic initiatives.

    We urge your support for:

    • Veteran job transition

    • Marketing of military workforce to potential employers

    • Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) related infrastructure investments and land acquisitions.

    • Increased educational and workforce opportunities targeted to Veterans and their families.

    • Continued support for cyber security infrastructure

    IMPORTANCE TO THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY

    The Department of Defense is a leading driver of our economy, serving as the region’s most significant industrial cluster and heavily influencing the region’s economic well-being. The business community stands behind our military personnel and the services and industry which support their activities.

    CULTURAL TOURISM

    HRBOR supports investment in the promotion of cultural tourism.  Tourism is a major economic engine for Hampton Roads and the businesses that support and nurture this industry. 

    We urge your support for:

    • Policies that promote private sector support of tourism

    • Tax revisions to promote giving to non-profits

    • Funding to promote tourism from the historic triangle to the ocean front

    IMPORTANCE TO THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY

    Investment in cultural tourism is an economic engine that creates jobs, promotes creativity, and returns needed meal, sales, and occupancy tax revenues to local treasuries. Tourism is a renewable resource that does not require schools, or urban sprawl.