ACTION ALERTS: From Week 2 of the 2021 WV Legislative Session

Contact Your Legislators about These Bills & Resolutions!

Since many important bills are moving so fast up at the legislature, we’ve decided to pull together a mid-week action list to help folks keep up with the dizzy pace at the capitol. We’ve never seen so much proposed legislation referenced to only one committee (which is usually a signal that leadership wants it ‘greased’). Take a look below and take action on those issues that call out for it. 
 
Please contact your Legislators Right Away. Let your voices be heard. Visit www.wvlegislature.gov to find who represents YOU in the WV House and Senate, and how to contact them.
 

SB 11 – Declaring work stoppage or strike by public employees to be unlawful
This bill seeks to ban public employee strikes by making it illegal. The ability to strike is a needed part of collective bargaining rights and should, therefore, at the very least, remain lawful. This bill has passed out of committee and will be read for the first time on the Senate floor TOMORROW, 2/18/2021.

URGENT ACTION: Call WV Legislators TODAY and TOMORROW, and tell them to vote NO on SB 11, to protect the collective bargaining rights of public employees, including the ability to strike.

HB 2013 – Relating to the Hope Scholarship Program
The Hope Scholarship Program is moving quickly through the House with a 3rd floor readng expected TOMORROW, 2/18/2021. Similar to Education Savings Accounts (ESAs), the bill would divert public education funding to private schools by allowing families to receive the state share of public education funding, about $4,600 in FY 2020, into an account that can be used for private or nonpublic education expenses.

While proponents say that this bill has no true cost to public education since money follows the student, the cost for individual schools and school districts is significant. West Virginia schools have high fixed costs like transportation and building maintenance, and these do not decrease when students leave the public school. Additionally, the value of the Hope Scholarship falls far short of average private school tuition in West Virginia and many rural counties in West Virginia do not have private schools at all, meaning that most low-income and rural students are left out of the program altogether. For more info about the impacts of this bill, visit: https://wvpolicy.org/several-bills-being-considered-that-could-have-sweeping-impacts-on-public-education-funding-2/ 

URGENT ACTION: Call WV Legislators TODAY & TOMORROW; Tell them to vote NO on HB 2013, to protect the public school system from efforts to siphon off funds towards private and charter schools, and to keep education truly equitable.

 

SB 3 – Prohibiting civil action or awarding damages for COVID-19 injuries or loss of life
This bill will make it impossible for civil action lawsuits concerning dangerous or irresponsible non-compliance actions that helped to spread and infect fellow West Virginians with COVID-19, or to ask for damages to be awarded for those harmed or who died because of it.

ACTION: Call your Legislators and tell them to vote NO on SB 3 and to protect West Virginians’ right to bring suit concerning COVID-19.

 

SB 275 – Relating generally to WV Appellate Reorganization Act of 2021
This bill is both redundant and expensive, during a year the state legislature is working to make significant cuts to tax revenues, education, health care, and other service programs. We don’t need it or the added burden on our state budget. SB 275 has passed out of the Judiciary Committee and is now in the Finance Committee.

ACTION: Call your Legislators and tell them to vote NO on SB 4 & SB 275, to NOT create an intermediate court of appeals, and to NOT pass the Appellate Reorganization Act of 2021.

 

SB 5 – Relating to claims arising out of WV Consumer Credit and Protection Act
West Virginians’ consumer rights are under attack from this bill. We will be powerless when we’re cheated, scammed, or sold shoddy goods. 

ACTION: Tell WV lawmakers to protect WV consumers and reject SB 5 at https://bit.ly/3qnySvL.

 

SB 137: DEP rule relating to requirements governing water quality standards.
The water quality standards rule listed above is one of our main concerns and will affect so many people in our state. We expect to see it be introduced in the House very shortly. We might be able to strengthen this if we all begin contacting legislators and letting them know that allowing more toxins in our water supply will harm individuals & families, as well as industries and other businesses in your area. The water quality standards rule’s first stop as it works its way through the legislature is the House Judiciary Committee. For more info, visit: https://wvrivers.org/2021/02/wqs2021/.

ACTION: Contact House Judiciary Committee members and tell them to vote NO on SB 137, and to reject any change that would weaken our water quality standards or allow more toxins to be dumped in our waterways.

 


Tell Delegates: Protect the Separation of Powers – Reject HJR 2

by Julie Archer

When we wrote last week about attacks on our courts, little did we know that one of these dangerous proposals had already been advanced. On Friday, the House Judiciary Committee approved HJR 2, which would amend the state constitution to prevent courts in West Virginia from intervening to ensure impeachment proceedings. This amendment is being proposed under the guise that an acting Supreme Court of Appeals overstepped its authority when it intervened to halt the impeachment of former justice Margaret Workman. However, the acting court only got involved because the House of Delegates failed to follow its own impeachment rules. 

The acting court’s decision explicitly makes clear that its decision was “not about whether or not a Justice of the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia can or should be impeached,” but rather about the fact that such proceedings “must be done correctly and constitutionally with due process.” The acting court’s decision also recognized that the state constitution “does not provide this Court with jurisdiction over an appeal of a final decision by the Court of Impeachment.”

Rather than protecting separation of powers, HJR 2 would erode checks and balances in our state and could be used by future legislatures to punish political rivals without cause. Tell your delegates to reject this dangerous and unnecessary amendment to our constitution that would open the door to blatant abuses of power by the legislative branch.

Follow this link to find contact information for your legislators: https://wvecouncil.org/wv-legislature/house/

 

Thursday @ 7PM EST: Lecture on Risks and Harms of Fracking
by Dr. Sandra Steingraber

https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZcqc-Cupz8sHtfcKQyDesBSDfAmdLvlQfPB
Includes the recently released “Compendium of Scientific, Medical, and Media Findings Demonstrating Risks and Harms of Fracking”.

 

Thursday @ 6PM EST: Deep Canvassing Phonebank into WV!

Take Action & help make weekly calls.
https://www.mobilize.us/peoplesaction/event/373648/
Join WV Citizen Action & People’s Action as we Deep Canvass phonebank every Thursday to win COVID Relief NOW for WV families & seniors on the brink.

Oct 18 2021  Action Alert
Freedom to Vote Relay: Fairmont Caravan Stop
Oct 18 2021  Action Alert
Freedom to Vote Relay: Charleston Caravan Kick Off
Oct 18 2021  Action Alert
Join Our Caravan Livestream!
Oct 14 2021  Action Alert
Freedom To Vote Relay – Rally At The Finish Line!
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