WV Citizen Action Group
Action Alert
March 8
 Alert Archive


Fish & Chips & Selenium
By Gary Zuckett, garyz@wvcag.org

Monday I testified at the public hearing called on the bill to allow the WV-DEP to revise (downward) the allowable limits of Selenium leaching into our public waterways. This is a problem for Mountain Top Removal coal operations – several of these have been sued by local environmental groups who have won significant victories in forcing mines to clean up their runoff – a very expensive process. Hence, comes HB 2559 amending the Water Pollution Control Act to revise allowable levels of Selenium.

Most of my testimony was reading the excellent letter to lawmakers by Angie Rosser, Director of WV Rivers Coalition calling the bill a “…serious threat to health of our waterways and citizens.” At the end I added a short comment from Citizen Action saying we’d like to have West Virginia’s extractive industries play by the rules, not keep trying to change the rules. Today the bill passed the full house and now goes to the Senate. Since it’s the governor’s bill and its backed by both the coal industry and the UMWA, this one is likely to become law.

Thanks for the GREENS!
We are eternally thankful to all who have taken the time to go all the way down to the bottom of this update and click on the “donate” button! It takes lots of both time and green energy to keep this lobby effort going on behalf of the citizens of our state. Next week I’ll have a cool graph of how much of our cranky major donors cash we’ve been able to match. Remember, he’ll match up to $5,000 dollar for dollar for the rest of the session! For those who don’t want to donate on line, just drop a check in the mail to 1500 Dixie St, Charleston, 25311.1

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Progress on Clean Elections; Help Us Keep Up the Momentum

BREAKING NEWS: We just learned that HB 2805 is on the House Judiciary Committee agenda for Monday, March 11 at 2PM. We have several sponsors – Delegates Tim Manchin (D-Marion), Tim Miley (D-Harrison), John Ellem (R-Wood), Patrick Lane (R-Kanawha), Barbara Fleischauer (D-Monongalia), Mike Manypenny (D-Taylor) and Stephen Skinner (D-Jefferson) – and bipartisan support on the Committee. However, members still need to hear from you. A list of House Judiciary Committee members and their contact information can be found here -- http://www.legis.state.wv.us/committees/house/HouseCommittee.cfm?Chart=jud. Please contact Committee members and urge there support for HB 2805, making the Supreme Court Public Campaign Financing Pilot Program permanent. Thanks again for support.


Bills to make the WV Supreme Court Public Campaign Financing Program permanent have been introduced in both houses (SB 413 and HB 2805) and we expect to see some action in the Senate Judiciary Committee next week.

The good news is that half of the Senate, and eight members of the Judiciary Committee are sponsors of the SB 413. However, passage is not assured. Committee members need to hear from you. Please contact your Senators and ask them to make the WV Supreme Court of Appeals Public Campaign Financing Program permanent. If your Senator is a sponsor, please thank them for their support. A list of Judiciary Committee members is provided below (*indicates sponsor).

You don't need to say a lot. Your message can just reiterate the main message of our petition, which is:

"Please pass [OR] Thank you for you support of SB 413, 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 can't go back! 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 [OR] support."

After you call, help us keep track of how many calls have been made by clicking here:


If you want to help have an even greater impact, please share the link below with five of your friends right now.


It's critical to get more people to contact members of the West Virginia Legislature and Governor Earl Ray Tomblin. With your help, we can reach our goal.

Thank you for making your voice heard on this important issue.

Senate Judiciary Committee Members: (*indicated sponsor of SB 413)

Corey Palumbo (D - Kanawha), Chair
Capitol Phone: (304) 357-7880
E-mail: corey.palumbo@wvsenate.gov

Gregory A. Tucker (D - Nicholas)*
Capitol Phone: (304) 357-7906
E-mail: greg.tucker@wvsenate.gov

Robert D. Beach (D - Monongalia)*
Capitol Phone: (304) 357-7919
E-mail: bob.beach@wvsenate.gov

Sam Cann (D - Harrison)*
Capitol Phone: (304) 357-7904
E-mail: sam.cann@wvsenate.gov

Donald H. Cookman (D - Hampshire)*
Capitol Phone: (304) 357-7980
E-mail: donald.cookman@wvsenate.gov

Rocky Fitzsimmons (D - Ohio)
Capitol Phone: (304) 357-7918
E-mail: rocky@fitzsimmonsfirm.com

Daniel J. Hall (D - Wyoming)
Capitol Phone: (304) 357-7807
E-mail: daniel.hall@wvsenate.gov

Evan H. Jenkins (D - Cabell)*
Capitol Phone: (304) 357-7956
E-mail: evan.jenkins@wvsenate.gov

Art Kirkendoll (D - Logan)

Capitol Phone: (304) 357-7857
E-mail: art.kirkendoll@wvsenate.gov

Ronald F. Miller (D - Greenbrier)*
Capitol Phone: (304) 357-7959
E-mail: ronald.miller@wvsenate.gov

Herb Snyder (D - Jefferson)*
Capitol Phone: (304) 357-7957
E-mail: herb.snyder@wvsenate.gov

John R. Unger II (D - Berkeley)*
Capitol Phone: (304) 357-7933
E-mail: john.unger@wvsenate.gov

Bob Williams (D - Taylor)
Capitol Phone: (304) 357-7995
E-mail: bob.williams@wvsenate.gov

Mitch Carmichael (R - Jackson)
Capitol Phone: (304) 357-7855
E-mail: Mitch.Carmichael@wvsenate.gov

Bill Cole (R - Mercer)
Capitol Phone: (304) 357-7843
E-mail: bill.cole@wvsenate.gov

David C. Nohe (R - Wood)
Capitol Phone: (304) 357-7970
E-mail: dcnohe@suddenlink.net

Chris Walters (R - Putnam)
Capitol Phone: (304) 357-7866
E-mail: chris.walters@wvsenate.gov

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Tell Them We Want a Resolution!

The national effort to overturn Citizens United vs. FEC got a boost this week when the Montana Senate became the first Republican-led chamber in the country to pass a resolution in support of a constitutional amendment overturning this wicked ruling.

Lawmakers in West Virginia are helping to keep the momentum going. In his speech at Wednesday's labor rally on voter's rights, Senate President Kessler urged West Virginians to demand that Citizens United be overturned and called attention to the enormous amounts of money funneling into our legislature right now. We're thrilled to see legislators calling for an end to dark monied politics in West Virginia.

Also on Wednesday, Resolution SR 24, which calls for a constitutional amendment overturning Citizens United vs. FEC, was referred to the Judiciary Committee, and though we do have support from many members of the Judiciary, we need to make sure that Senator Palumbo, makes this resolution a priority.

Please take a minute to call Senator Palumbo (304-357-7880) with a simple message:

Please put Senate Resolution 24 on the agenda and support it's passage out of committee.

If you live in the Charleston area, you can help ensure that Senator Palumbo supports the bill by stopping in to visit these members of the Judiciary, who have been reluctant to sign on (if you don't live in Charleston, please give them a call and ask that they put Senate Resolution 24 on the agenda and support its passage).

David C. Nohe (R-Wood)
Room 213W, Building 1
State Capitol Complex
Charleston, WV 25305

Capitol Phone: (304) 357-7970
E-mail: dcnohe@suddenlink.net

Art Kirkendoll (D-Logan)
Room 218W, Building 1
State Capitol Complex
Charleston, WV 25305

Capitol Phone: (304) 357-7857
Business Phone: (304) 855-7418
E-mail: art.kirkendoll@wvsenate.gov

Donald Cookman (D-Hamphsire)
Room 417M, Building 1
State Capitol Complex
Charleston, WV 25305

Capitol Phone: (304) 357-7980
Business Phone: (304) 357-7980
E-mail: donald.cookman@wvsenate.gov


You can also help keep the ball rolling by signing onto this petition -- your delegate(s) and senator(s) will get an email when you do. 

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Under the Dome, Energy Efficiency Bills in Action
By Stacy Gloss, stacy@wvcag.org

Have you ever played a game of pin ball? You pull back on the lever to release a shiny silver ball into the machine and then watch it ricochet off point obstacles until reaching the bottom. Before the ball slows down and rolls down past the flippers you do your best to strike it back up through the course to get more points.

Though our work at the legislature is no game at all, I have been feeling the adrenaline all week of working on two bills. On Monday Integrated Resource Planning (IRP), H.B. 2803, was shot into the view of the House Government Organization Committee. In the meantime, H.B.2210 - creating Energy Efficiency Resource Standard (EERS) - is rolling toward consideration by House Judiciary Committee Chair, Tim Miley.

The Integrated Resource Planning bill, H.B. 2803, was introduced in the House on Monday by Delegates Manchin, Iaquinta, M. Poling, Moore, Guthrie, Marshall and Manypenny. Once it clears the Government Organization Committee, it will be sent to House Judiciary. We rapidly responded with a request to our members to contact Del. Morgan, the Chair of Government Organization to tell him about IRP and ask to put the bill on the agenda. Then, we set to work to hand deliver fact sheets about the bill to every member of the committee, encountering support and some strong opposition from committee members who morally oppose government regulation while supporting the sole profit motive of our regulated utility companies.

We thank our supporters for contacting the members of the Government Organization Committee and ask that you help us keep the pressure on until they run the bill. Please help us by calling and e-mailing Delegate Morgan and the members of the Government Organization Committee to show strong support until the bill is put on the agenda and voted on in the committee.

What is Integrated Resource Planning?
Integrated Resource Planning (IRP) legislation requires our power companies to submit long-term plans to the Public Service Commission every two years to determine the mix of resources to best meet future energy needs. Power companies would be required to evaluate all options to meet electricity demand and give investments in energy efficiency (reducing demand) equal consideration to investments in traditional power plants, which they currently do not do. Over half the states in the country currently require their utility companies to use IRP. Learn more at EEWV's website and sign up for our Action Alerts.

Look for EEWV under the Dome.
You can find us on Monday, March 11 between 9 am and 3 pm at the Industries of the Future – West Virginia “Innovation and Entrepreneurship Day” at the Capitol showcasing just how energy efficiency jobs can power our future. We’ll be handing out tips on how to be more energy efficient at home and discussing the legislation we support.

On Thursday, March 14, we will have a table set up at the Environmental Council Sponsored “E-Day”. We hope you’ll join us to show your support

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Consumer Protection Bills Need Your Voice

On Monday, 2:00pm, the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee will be discussing two bills supported by our allies at the West Virginia Association for Justice.  Please take a few minutes to call members of the Banking and Insurance and ask that Senate Bills 410 and 434 are passed out of committee.   You can find the the Banking and Insurance Committee here.

SB 410 prohibits an insurance company from refusing to renew or cancelling a property insurance policy that has been effective for three years or more when claims are filed following natural disasters.  That is why the policyholder has paid for insurance -- so that coverage would be available with it is needed without threat of cancellation. SB 410 covers only natural disasters --- not any claims arising from accident caused by human involvement.

SB 434 prohibits insurance companies form raising premiums when a policy holder files a claim in an accident in which they are not at fault.  


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Our Daughters Need to Be Covered!

A message from our allies at WVFree and Planned Parenthood:

We all agree our daughters deserve the best:
So, why are they singled out from receiving insurance coverage for pregnancy?
Despite an increasing amount of teen pregnancies, many young, pregnant women do not have access to pregnancy care. In fact, the West Virginia’s Public Employees’ Insurance Agency (PEIA) does not cover pregnancy care for dependent daughters.

Don’t our state employees and our daughters deserve better?

West Virginia’s Senate Banking & Insurance Committee is taking up this issue of pregnancy care coverage for daughters on Monday, March 11th at 2pm in Room 208 West at the State Capitol and they need to hear from you!

Please TAKE ACTION NOW by sending an email to your legislator! It takes seconds---just click here.

Want to do more for this issue? Please join us for food, fun, and prizes TUESDAY, MARCH 12th from 6-8pm for a phone bank for coverage! Call (304.342.9188) or email me (Danielle@wvfree.org) to reserve your spot today!

Don't Forget!
Lobby Day for Women's Lives hosted by ACLU-WV, Planned Parenthood Health Systems, Coalition Against Domestic Violence, and WV FREE is March 26th! Click here to RSVP today!! 

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Plan to Attend this Important Meeting of the Select Committee on Children and Poverty

The Southern Appalachian Labor School will host the West Virginia Senate Select Committee on Children and Poverty at the SALS Historic Oak Hill School on Wednesday, March 13, 2013, 7 pm. The Select Committee consists of the Chair of every Senate Committee in the West Virginia Legislature and is chaired by Senator John Unger. The urgency and magnitude of the issue has mobilized the Legislature and we are told that this will be the first time that a Senate Committee has met outside the Capitol during the regular 60 day session.

It is important that people come to tell their stories of despair, hope, and needs. It is important to note what caused the problem in their lives…how bad the problem is…..and what would really help fix the problem in order to make a difference and move forward. It is also important for people including you to talk about their observations and make suggestions…and we plan to include participants in our YouthBuild program. Basically, the Senators want to listen and learn, and we need your help to make the session be one that permits them to have a reality check and initiate a process to “walk the talk”.

This is an important opportunity -- please share the news and help people (transportation would be very useful) come forward who need to be heard. SALS is currently raising funds for transport and to serve Stone Soup (bring something for the pot!) with Miners’ Strawberries (Pinto Beans and Cornbread)…..bring a dish to share!

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