RICHMOND, Va. – Gov. Mark R. Warner (search) summoned the General Assembly to return Tuesday to fix a legislative mistake that gives workers Sundays off.
In a proclamation issued Thursday, Warner said the single purpose of the brief and rare remedial session would be "considering legislation to reinstate the exemptions to the day of rest laws (search)" inadvertently stricken from the books in a bill passed this year.
The governor and legislative leaders had been under heavy pressure from business interests for about a week to provide a permanent, legislative fix of the oversight after workers statewide had begun notifying their bosses they intended to take the day off.
The crisis arose from a Senate bill to delete Virginia's anachronistic "blue laws" that mandate Sunday closings. It mistakenly repealed long-standing exemptions to a Colonial law that banned work on the Sabbath (search). The error went unnoticed and became law July 1.
News of the gaffe last week prompted workers to notify managers that they wanted their day of worship off. Businesses can be fined up to $500 for each violation, and a company that forces an employee to work on a day of rest can be forced to pay triple the worker's regular wages.
Four corporations with extensive operations statewide and the Virginia Chamber of Commerce obtained an emergency temporary injunction Friday that suspends enforcement for 90 days to allow a review of the law.
The Democratic governor had resisted calling the Republican-dominated legislature back into session, but relented after House and Senate leaders pledged in writing that the session would last only a few hours and would deal only with the "day of rest" flaw.
The governor is vacationing with his family in Idaho through the week and was not available for comment.