The Virginia General Assembly boosted small businesses on May 30 when it voted to expand the state’s Medicaid program as part of a budget plan. Giving more people access to affordable healthcare will level the playing field for small firms, foster a workforce that is healthier and more productive and direct additional funds to the state’s economy.
Small business owners nationwide are doing all they can to strengthen their businesses and put the Great Recession’s effects behind them. Now more than ever, it’s critical they have the help of smart employment laws allowing them to attract and retain the best talent. National scientific opinion polling shows the vast majority of small business owners believe we’re long overdue for federal and state policies protecting all workers from discrimination, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.
Small businesses make up 99 percent of businesses in the United States and employ about 56 million of the nation’s private sector workers. New scientific polling shows small business hiring of lower-level employees is diverse and varies geographically, but more can be done to increase diversity in the hiring of upper-management employees.
The topic of religious liberty and how it relates to business practices has been front and center in the media. And once again, small businesses are in the middle of the debate. A national scientific opinion poll conducted for Small Business Majority by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research found entrepreneurs strongly believe small business owners should not be able to refuse goods or services to lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) individuals, or to deny services related to the wedding of a same-sex couple, based on an owner’s religious beliefs.
On December 15, Small Business Majority released a new scientific opinion poll that found a majority of Colorado small businesses believe business owners should not be allowed to deny services to LGBT individuals based on the owner’s religious beliefs, including for wedding-related services.
New scientific polling in Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi and New Mexico shows small business hiring of lower-level employees is diverse, but more can be done to increase diversity in the hiring of upper-management employees. Additionally, some small employers plan to hire or promote in order to increase the diversity of their high-level workforce within the next few years.
Small Business Majority released a national scientific opinion poll—including oversamples in five states—that found small business owners oppose denying services to LGBT customers based on religious beliefs, rights to free speech or freedom of artistic expression. Further, the poll showed that a majority of small businesses support enacting federal and state laws to protect LGBT individuals from discrimination in places of public accommodation. Small business owners feel that nondiscrimination policies are good for their state’s business climate and their own business’s bottom line.
Tracy duCharme does not fit the traditional profile an entrepreneur. Tracy’s background is in the arts, and her experience with illustration and graphic design inspired her to open a branch of Color Me Mine, the world's leading paint-it-yourself ceramics franchise studio chain, in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Across the Tar Heel State, small businesses brighten up main streets, drive innovation and provide a paycheck to nearly half of the private sector workforce. In a state that’s known as a research and innovation hub and a basketball powerhouse, entrepreneurs depend on a steady stream of tourists, loyal customers and talented employees to keep their businesses thriving. That’s why the fallout over HB 2, the state’s anti-LGBT law, has been particularly harmful to small firms.
While LGBT individuals won the right to marry last June, battles are still being fought in state legislatures around the country about a different right for LGBT people — particularly, their right to work and patronize businesses without facing legalized discrimination. Many states are considering or have passed broad religious exemption measures, also known as Religious Freedom Restoration Acts (RFRA), which allow businesses, like bakeries, florists or wedding photographers, to deny service to individuals based on the owner’s religious beliefs.