By Gary Zuckett,
Today was the last day to introduce bills in both the House and
Senate and the list was long and varied from the good – HB 3102 –
Raising the Minimum Wage & HB 3080 improving the Alternative and
Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards; to the silly – HB 3094
requiring pedophiles to wear GPS collars and yes, yet another
restrictive Voter ID proposal.
Committees will be frantically working long hours this week because
Friday is the last day for bills to pass out of committee(s) to have
time to go through their required three readings on the House or
Senate floor and be voted on by “Crossover Day” (Wed. April 3rd)
when all bills not passing out of their house of origin are
considered dead for this session.
We are also hard at work trying to shepherd our flock of bills
through this gauntlet. Friday’s newsletter will share our successes
but also may contain the obituaries of several of our initiatives if
our efforts this week fail to get them moving fast enough to make
This is one of the times where your input can be very helpful so
please read on to see which issues move you to action and then make
those calls to Delegates and Senators right away!
Green Energy Helps Too!
Another way to help the cause is to pony up some green to help us
defray the expenses of fielding our team of five registered
lobbyists from Citizen Action. (Just getting everyone registered
cost us $1,000) Remember that our cranky major donor has put up a
$5,000 challenge daring you all to take him up on matching, dollar
for dollar, your contributions during the session. Make him pay up
by sending in a check to 1500 Dixie St, Charleston, 25311 or on-line
at www.wvcag.org. Thanks again to
all who have sent in their support!
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Clean Elections Bill
Awaits Action by House Finance Committee
HB 2805, making the Supreme Court Public Campaign Financing Program
permanent, is now awaiting action by the House Finance Committee. We
are facing a deadline of Friday, March 29 for the committee to
consider and send the bill to the full House for a vote.
Please contact committee members and ask them to support HB 2805
(see sample message below). A list of committee members and their
contact information can be found here:
Thank you for making your voice heard on this important issue.
Dear Delegate ___________,
Please support of HB 2805, which would make permanent the successful
program for public financing of state Supreme Court elections.
In response to scandals involving the state Supreme Court and former
Massey Energy CEO, Don Blankenship, the legislature established the
public financing program to help restore confidence in our judiciary
-- making us an example for the rest of the country. We need fair
and impartial courts. Making this program permanent will help ensure
outside money is not corrupting our judiciary.
Thank you for your consideration.
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energy efficiency on the House Judiciary Committee's agenda!
Contact House Judiciary Committee in support of H.B. 2210
The legislature has the opportunity to protect residents and
businesses from rising electric bills. West Virginia's residential
electric rates have risen more than 50% in the past five years. Yet,
as electric rates continue to go up, our power companies are largely
overlooking the cheapest resource: energy efficiency. Just as
utilities can invest in new power plants, they can also invest in
reducing electricity use. Utility efficiency programs are paid for
through electric rates, just as investments in power plants are -
but energy efficiency investments cost customers less than half the
cost of producing the same new electricity in a power plant.
H.B. 2210 would require the Public Service Commission to establish
long-term energy savings goals for utilities to meet by investing in
energy efficiency programs. Such programs might include home energy
audits by local businesses with rebates for efficiency improvements,
incentives for the purchase of EnergyStar appliances, custom
incentives for energy efficiency projects undertaken by industrial
customers, etc. West Virginia's electric utilities already offer far
more of these types of programs in other states where they operate
than they do in West Virginia.
Please take two simple steps to make sure H.B. 2210 is passed this
1. Email members of the House Judiciary Committee. Follow these
simple instructions to do so.
2. Email or call Judiciary Committee Chairman Tim Miley and ask him
to put a strong version of H.B. 2210 before his committee for a
vote. Del. Miley can be reached at
304-340-3252. Here is a sample script you can use when you call: "I
support HB 2210, the West Virginia Energy Efficiency Act, which
would lower electric bills by requiring our utilities to invest in
energy efficiency. Please put this bill on the Judiciary Committee's
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Reminder About Lobby Day for Women’s Live ~ Tomorrow, March 26
A Women’s Health WARNING
from our friends at WV Free: If you do not participate in Lobby Day
for Women's Lives you will forfeit an opportunity to support
positive change for women and families in West Virginia during a
time of immense attacks and apathy.
Seem a tad dramatic? Perhaps, but then again, have you heard what's
Currently in West Virginia we face:
• A state budget that slashes funding for domestic violence and
sexual assault prevention.
• Insurance companies that discriminate against our daughters and
refuse them pregnancy care coverage.
• The need for quicker treatment of STIs.
It's time we tell West Virginia legislators, "We care about the
women in our lives and we want state policies that reflect our
Join us at Lobby Day for Women's Lives this Tuesday, March 26th.
Click here -- http://bit.ly/10IqzfV
-- to sign up now for all or part of the day. Once you register, you
will receive an e-mail with more details about the day’s activities.
If you can’t make it to Charleston, please contact your legislators
and urge them to oppose policies that put a woman’s health at risk
and support those that focus on prevention and increase access to
health care and education. Tell them to protect women’s health by:
Supporting Maternity Coverage for Dependent Daughters (HB
2383 & SB 22)
These bills would require insurers, including PEIA, to provide
coverage for maternity care for all individuals covered under a
policy, if the policy covers maternity care. Given the high rate of
teen pregnancy in West Virginia, we must ensure teens have access to
maternity care. Inadequate prenatal care contributes to poor health
for young mothers and poor birth outcomes for babies, including
premature and low-weight births. According to the Marshall
University Center for Business & Economic Research, for every $1
invested in maternity care, $2.50-$7.00 is saved.
Supporting Expanded Treatment for STIs (HB 3020 & SB 201)
These bills would allow health care providers to prescribe
antibiotics to the partner of a patient who has been diagnosed with
a sexually transmitted infection (STI) without first examining the
partner. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has
recommended this practice, called expedited partner therapy (EPT),
since 2006 because it greatly reduced reinfection rates of STIs.
STIs such as chlamydia and gonorrhea pose a serious threat to public
health. Given the increase in the se STIs in West Virginia, we must
take pro-active steps to increase access to treatment and reduce
Opposing Cuts to Funding for Domestic Violence Programs
The Governor’s proposed budget would cut 7.5% from essential
programs to prevent and address domestic violence. WV Coalition
Against Domestic Violence member programs provide free and
confidential services in all 55 counties, 24 hours a day, 365 days a
year to more than 18,000 West Virginians need, including nearly
3,000 children. The WV Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program
reported over 50% of homicides in 2011 were directly related to
domestic violence. In 2012, 27 deaths were directly related to
domestic violence. Given these statistics, we must continue to
invest in initiative to combat domestic violence and protect women
and children in West Virginia.
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Volunteer for Fairness
Fairness West Virginia is working hard to pass the Equal
Housing and Nondiscrimination Act this session, and are looking for
volunteers. EHDNA (HB 2856) would make it illegal to discriminate on the
basis of sexual orientation in the state of West Virginia. Here is
a short message from Fairness:
Already, voters have made over 800 calls to their
representatives in support of bringing fairness to all West Virginians,
regardless of sexual orientation.
Be a part of this historic campaign by following this link and
volunteering this week at a Fairness phonebank near you:
Continue building the momentum by letting your representative know that
House Bill 2856 must pass for all West Virginians. Click
this link to send a message of support for this legislation to your
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Call on Senator Manchin not to Sign on to Bad Chemical Bill
friends at the West Virginia Healthy Kids and Families Coalition have
this update on the overhaul of the Federal Toxic Substances Control Act:
Senator Vitter, the Republican sponsor of the bad chemical bill, has
been looking for a Democrat to join him.
Kelly Goes or Sara Payne Scarbro in Senator Manchin's office at 304-342-5855.
Here is a sample script, but please feel free to give your own
"My name is _____ and I live in _______. As a WV voter, I'm
urging Sen. Manchin NOT to sign on to Senator Vitter's toxic chemical
bill. I am glad that Senator Manchin has said "No" up to this point, and
I hope he will continue to say no...and instead support the Safe
Chemicals Act. The Safe Chemicals Act is the one that is best for our
kids and families."
For more information, contact
Steven Smith from the
Healthy Kids and
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Public Hearing on Compassionate Cannabis Thursday
The legislature will hold a public hearing on the
Compassionate Use Act for Medical Cannabis.
HB 2230, introduced by Delegate Manypenny, specifies medical
conditions, licensing procedures, and compassionate facilities
requirements for the medical use of marijuana. The public hearing
will occur in the House Chambers, Thursday at 4:00pm.
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Call to Reign in Wasteful Pentagon Spending
The Budget debate in Washington gives us a rare
opportunity to speak out on the issue of bloated Pentagon spending and
call for reason and moral guidance in setting our national priorities.
Please take a few minutes right now to call Senator Manchin and ask that
he support raising revenue for domestic social programs by advocating
meaningful cuts to the Pentagon.
Leave him a message (see below for sample) by calling 888.872.1238
Next send us a note to Maggie@wvcag.org to let us know you’ve called.
Senator Manchin, I am shocked that America’s defense spending is
equal to the next thirteen largest nations combined and yet some
lawmakers have the audacity to claim that we need to cut Meals on Wheels
in order to fix the national debt. This makes no sense and it’s just
Clearly, we can cut wasteful pentagon spending without endangering the
lives of our citizens or our national defense; however, cutting
education, healthcare, childcare and care for the elderly puts millions
of people in serious jeopardy. The vast majority of Americans will
suffer if congress continues down this immoral path.
Please stand up for ordinary, hardworking West Virginians and demand
that obsolete, overpriced weapons and pentagon programs are cut from our
budget. We don’t need a bigger military, we need security at home.
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No to Dumping Electronic Waste!
SB 449 is moving through the Senate Judiciary Committee.
This bill removes the ban on dumping TVs, computer monitors and other
electronic devices in landfills. Although the 3 year old ban has been
problematic to local governments and to the public, the reuse, recycling
and eventual disposal of electronic devices by a reputable company is
preferable to dumping heavy metals and mercury in landfills that will
eventually leak its toxins into the ground water. If you agree call your
senators and tell them to vote against SB449. Be prepared to carry the
fight to the House of Delegates next week.
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Did You Do Your Part to Expand Healthcare to
120,000 West Virginians?
Within the next two weeks, the Governor will likely
decide on Medicaid expansion in West Virginia. Don't miss out on
your opportunity to make sure that 120,000 West Virginians have access
Call the Governor at 304.558.2000 or send him a letter
Next meeting Monday, 1030am, in the Capitol cafeteria
(in the basement, below the Rotunda).
Also, don't miss the Statewide Forum and Training on
Sunday * April 7 * Charleston
Christ Church United Methodist, 1221 Quarrier
2:00pm – 3:30pm (Registration and Food start at 1:00pm)
To find out more, email
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From Buffalo Creek to Broadway
From Buffalo Creek to Broadway, A Visit with “Miracle
Baby” Kerry Albright (free event)
Who: “Miracle Baby” Kerry Albright hosted by OVEC, the Ohio Valley
When / Where: 7 to 9 p.m. March 26, West Virginia Culture Center Theater
Speakers: Kerry Albright
Maria Gunnoe, organizer with OVEC
Jack Spadaro, mine safety and health specialist
Film: Clips from Mimi Pickering of Applashop’s film The
Buffalo Creek Flood: An Act of Man
Why: 41 years have passed since the Buffalo Creek disaster, but many
dangers to communities still persist. Albright understands the need for
greater protection from the dangers of coal sludge impoundments and
underground coal slurry injection.
OVEC believes the current moratorium on underground coal slurry
injection should be made permanent and that coal companies should be
moving to dry press technologies for processing coal prep plant waste.
Nothing like Buffalo Creek should ever happen again.
More Info: Just before 8 a.m. on Feb. 26, 1972, coal slurry dams
constructed by Pittston Coal collapsed, unleashing a deadly flood of
coal waste on Buffalo Creek in Logan County, W.Va. About 132 million
gallons of water and coal waste thundered down the hollow from Saunders
to Man. 125 people died, 1100 were injured, 16 communities were
obliterated and 4,000 people were left homeless.
Kerry Albright was only 9-months-old that day. Just moments before the
tidal wave of coal waste took her life, Albright’s mother had thrown him
as far as she could up an embankment. Albright’s brother perished at his
As soon as the dark floodwaters receded, townspeople began to search the
devastated valley for survivors. The local preacher and his son saw what
they at first thought was the leg of a doll protruding from the muck.
They pulled baby Kerry from the mire, and cleared the muck from his
mouth. It had been 20 - 30 minutes since the wall of coal waste passed
through, but baby Kerry gasped for breath.
Albright was dubbed the “Miracle Baby.”
Kerry’s father, Robert Albright had sacrificed much of his health to
provide for the family he loved. Now, with the oldest son’s death in
Vietnam, all the members of his family except for Kerry were gone
forever. “It was just like a whole lifetime went with a snap of a
finger,” the elder Albright said. “I killed myself working up there in
those lousy mines – but they only killed me little by little. I tell
you, if it wasn’t for that child, I wouldn’t be alive today.”
The January 2013 issue of Reader’s Digest published Kerry Albright’s
story. On February 26, the West Virginia Legislature marked the 41st
anniversary of the Buffalo Creek Disaster by presenting Albright with a
Albright currently lives in New York City, where he is an opera singer,
story-teller, actor and dancer. He has appeared in Broadway shows.
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