Category: Newsletter article

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Newsletter article Julie Archer March 4, 2018
“Co-Tenancy” Bill Passes Senate, Bills to Help Those Affected By Drilling Die in Committee
The “co-tenancy” bill (HB 4268) has now passed the Senate unchanged. In other news, the Senate unanimously passed SB 360, which would change the way royalties are calculated for flat-rate leases. Unfortunately, most of the bills that were a priority for WV-SORO this legislative session are dead because they were not taken up by their assigned committees and sent to the floor in time to meet yesterday’s deadline (often referred to as Crossover Day) for bills to be out of the house of origin. More
Issues: EnergyFrackingPollution
Newsletter article   March 4, 2018
You, Too, Can Follow the Money
It's a rare day when a committee hearing on a bill before the West Virginia state house makes it into the New York Times and Fox News. In what is now likely a familiar story to most reading this, Lissa Lucas was escorted from the House chamber after being called out of order for reading a list of donations that each of the committee members had taken from interests that stood to benefit from the bill before the committee. Lucas is a candidate running for a House seat in this election, but you don't have to be running for office to get access to the information on campaign donors— you can do it too. Unfortunately, there is a big hole in the information available to the public, and it’s called dark money. West Virginia can and should do better at disclosing these secret and unaccountable sources of political influence, but in the meantime, try out one of these easy tools and take a look at the wealth of information they have on your legislators’ campaign donations. More
Issues: Clean elections
Newsletter article Julie Archer March 4, 2018
As Redistricting Bill Dies in the House, Commission Proposal Considered in Senate Judiciary Committee
HB 2383, which would specify factors that can (and cannot) consider in the redistricting process, failed to advance before Crossover Day (the deadline for bills to be out of the house of origin). The next day the Senate Judiciary Committee took up a bill (HB 4002) passed by the House of Delegates earlier in the session mandating that the House go to 100 single delegate districts after the 2020 census. In an interesting twist, Senator Stephen Baldwin (D-Greenbrier) offered and amendment to HB 4002 that would incorporate the provisions of a Senate bill (SB 54), a bill he co-sponsored with Senate Judiciary Chair Charles Trump (R-Morgan) and others, which would establish an independent commission to propose redistricting plans. Read more here. More
Issues: Clean elections
Newsletter article Alexandra Gallo March 4, 2018
The ACA, Medicaid, & Medicare Are Under Attack, AGAIN: We Need Your Help
We need your help! The Affordable Care Act (ACA), Medicaid and Medicare are under attack...AGAIN! With trillions of dollars going to tax breaks for the most wealthy Americans and corporations, funding will be taken away from critical healthcare programs! We are looking for your stories to share with the public about how and why these cuts would effect you, your family, or someone you know! While we fight to protect these important programs, we continue to work for solutions to our healthcare crisis. Join us at one of these upcoming healthcare forums to learn more about how our healthcare system got so complicated, why it’s under attack and what we can do about it. More
Issues: HealthcareKids and familiesMedicare
Newsletter article Julie Archer March 4, 2018
Judicial Budget Oversight Amendment Advances; Fate of Intermediate Court Bill Uncertain
After clearing the House Finance Committee earlier in the week, (SJR 3), which would amend the state constitution to give the Legislature oversight of the judiciary’s budget was taken up and passed by the House Judiciary Committee. However, instead of accepting the proposed amendment passed by the Senate, the Committee included a procedural safeguard of requiring a super-majority (two-thirds) vote of the Legislature to reduce the judiciary’s budget by more than ten percent from the previous fiscal year. Meanwhile, the fate of the intermediate court bill is uncertain. Tell your legislators not to waste millions on an intermediate court we don’t need, and vote NO on SB 341. More
Issues: Budget prioritiesCivil Justice
Newsletter article Julie Archer March 4, 2018
Act Now: Anti-Abortion Ballot Measure Up for Final Vote Monday in the House
Yesterday, hundreds of people rallied on the steps of the Capitol to oppose SJR 12, a proposed constitutional amendment that is being deceptively explained as an effort to take away Medicaid funding for abortion, but which aims to take away reproductive rights for women more broadly. This extreme measure is up for a final vote in the House tomorrow. Act now! Contact your Delegate(s) and tell them to vote NO on SJR 12! More
Issues: HealthcareInequality
Newsletter article Gary Zuckett March 4, 2018
Teachers’ Strike Continues As We Enter the Final Week of the Session
In this article: Teachers' Strike Continues, Paycheck Deception Checked (for Now), Textbook Wars Anyone?, Medical Cannabis Act Improvements Continued, Big Win on Your Electric Bill!, State Parks Get Logging Reprieve, Hunger Games Still SNAPpening, Guns on Campus Nixed - OK'd at Work!?, Eliminating Education and the Arts, Killing Two Rules with a New One?, and Home Stretch Approaching More
Issues: HealthcareKids and familiesOur children our futurePovertySNAPWorkers
Newsletter article   February 26, 2018
Tell Your Delegate: A Tiny Minority Doesn’t Get to Decide My Rights
West Virginia made headlines in 2016 for passing more LGBTQ-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinances than any other state. But a bill making its way through the state Legislature is designed to stop our march toward fairness and equality in its tracks. HB 4158 empowers the fringe to upend protections for real people. Please take action today! This bill is moving fast. More
Issues: DiscriminationInequality
Newsletter article Julie Archer February 26, 2018
Where Are They Now?
Here's a quick update on on several bills we wrote about last week, including redistricting reform, co-tenancy, and LEEP. More
Issues: Civil JusticeClean electionsEnergyEnergy efficiencyFracking
Newsletter article Gary Zuckett February 26, 2018
Strike Week at the Legislature
In this article: Hunger Games Continue; Teachers Strike On; Governor Justice MIA; Corporate Welfare Lives; Religious Nanny State; Medical Cannabis Update; Crossover Day; Greens Keep Us Going More
Issues: Budget prioritiesKids and familiesOur children our futurePovertySNAPWorkers
Newsletter article   February 18, 2018
Grow Energy Efficiency Jobs: Tell House Energy Committee to Pass the LEEP Act!
HB 2534, the Local Energy Efficiency Partnership (LEEP) Act is in the House Energy Committee and must be passed by both the House Energy and Finance Committees before it can be voted on by the full House. Time is short to get the bill passed and over to the Senate. Energy efficiency is good for our economy by creating jobs, improving our buildings, and making it easier for our businesses and families to stay in West Virginia. Energy efficiency jobs pay for themselves through utility savings. Please contact members of the House Energy Committee and Chair Bill Anderson (R-Wood) now and urge them to support HB 2534.  More
Issues: EnergyEnergy efficiency
Newsletter article Julie Archer February 18, 2018
Senate Passes Intermediate Court Bill, Judicial Budget Amendment
On Thursday, the Senate passed two measures that could dramatically reshape the judicial system in West Virginia. The first is a proposal (SB 341) that would establish an intermediate court of appeals between the level of circuit court and the state Supreme Court to hear civil appeals, appeals of workers’ compensation claims, abuse and neglect cases and some other administrative appeals. The other measure passed by the Senate (SJR 3) is a proposed Judicial Budget Amendment, which would amend the state constitution to give the Legislature oversight of the judiciary's budget. This is in response to a recent spending scandal involving extravagant renovations to the private chambers of the Supreme Court justices. More details here. More
Issues: Civil JusticeClean elections
Fracking
Newsletter article Julie Archer February 18, 2018
“Co-Tenancy” Bill Passes House of Delegates
On Thursday, the House of Delegates passes a the “co-tenancy” bill (HB 4268), with 60 votes for, and 40 votes against. As the bill came to the floor from the House Judiciary Committee it contained important protections for surface owners, requiring their consent for any surface disturbance whenever the co-tenancy law is used to develop the mineral tract beneath a surface owners’ land or into any neighboring mineral tract, regardless of whether the surface owner owns an interest in the mineral tract being developed. This is significant. The bill also contained protections for the non-consenting, and missing and unknown mineral owners that were not included in the introduced bill. On the floor, two other amendments were adopted that provide additional protections for these mineral owners. HB 4268 is now in the Senate where it has been assigned to the Energy, Industry, and Mining Committee, and the Judiciary Committee. More
Issues: EnergyFracking
Newsletter article Julie Archer February 18, 2018
Redistricting Bill Sent to House Floor Without Independent Commission
Establishing a specific list of factors that can (and cannot) consider in the redistricting process, including factors designed to promote partisan fairness and prevent favoritism toward incumbents, is an improvement, these goals would be more easily accomplished if we appointed someone other than legislators to draw legislative district maps. We need to let our delegates know that we want a process that is impartial, transparent, and accountable. This means having an independent redistricting commission lead redistricting efforts, providing ample opportunities for public participation throughout the process, and clear standards to guide the process that ensure equality and fairness. Contact your delegate(s) today and tell them to support fair districts and fair elections. More
Issues: Clean elections
Newsletter article Julie Archer February 18, 2018
SNAP Work Requirements Headed for a Vote in the House
HB 4001, which would further restrict access to food assistance (SNAP) and other vital safety net programs by imposing work requirements on recipients of public assistance, and require the West Virginia DHHR to implement a costly new comprehensive verification system is headed for a vote in the House of Delegates. After a public hearing on Monday, the House Judiciary Committee took up and passed a version of the bill that made significant changes to the proposal, however the proposed changes to SNAP will still hurt our people and our economy. Contact your delegate(s) and tell them to vote NO on HB 4001. More
Issues: DiscriminationInequalityPovertySNAP
Newsletter article Gary Zuckett February 18, 2018
“Fed Up Friday” Wraps Up Week 6
In this article: Fed Up Teachers; Free-Dumb Bill of the Week: Concealed Carry on Campus; Medical Cannabis Board to Make Recommendations; SOSParks; Coal Celebrates Gazette Bankruptcy; Keep Those Checks Coming More
Issues: Budget prioritiesEducationSustainabilityWorkers
Newsletter article Gary Zuckett February 13, 2018
Week 5: Halfway
We are now halfway through the 2018 legislative session. Soon cut-off days will be reached when bills can no longer be introduced (thankfully) and then ‘crossover day’ when bills have to be voted out of their house of origin or die. As these kick-in, its full speed ahead into the maelstrom of late evening committee meetings, early morning public hearings, and longer and longer floor sessions. One thing that helps us get through this is YOU! In this article: We Won't Blink; Abortion Amendment Passes Senate; Teachers' Pay; Paycheck Deception; Correctional Officers' Pay Bump?; All Things Environmental More
Issues: HealthcareInequalityLiving wagePollutionWaterWorkers
Newsletter article Emmett Pepper February 13, 2018
FirstEnergy Ends Bid to Sell Pleasants Plant
In a notice filed Monday, Feb. 5, with the Public Service Commission of West Virginia, FirstEnergy Corp. stated that it will stop fighting to transfer ownership of the Pleasants Power Plant to Monongahela Power and Potomac Edison, FirstEnergy’s West Virginia utilities. This is a major win for the 530,000 Mon Power and Potomac Edison consumers in West Virginia. This deal was bad from the beginning and the extensive evidence presented at the PSC proceeding made clear that the proposed transfer would benefit FirstEnergy and hurt West Virginians struggling to survive in today’s economy. More
Issues: EnergyEnergy efficiency
Newsletter article Julie Archer February 13, 2018
House Judiciary Sub-Committee Nixes Redistricting Commission in Favor of Status Quo
We've written a couple of times about a bill (HB 2383) under consideration by a House Judiciary Sub-Committee the would establish an independent redistricting commission to redraw the boundaries of West Virginia's legislative and congressional districts after the 2020 Census. When the subcommittee met for the final time with the goal of approving a final bill an amendment to take out the commission and continue to leave the process of drawing legislative and congressional district maps up to the legislature was adopted, undermining the original intent of the bill, and maintaining the status quo. Voters should be choosing their elected officials, not the other way around. Let your delegate(s) know you are disappointed with this development. Urge them to honor the original intent of the bill and appoint someone other than legislators to draw legislative district maps. More
Issues: Clean elections
Fracking
Newsletter article Julie Archer February 12, 2018
Improved “Co-Tenancy” Bill Clears House Judiciary Committee
After Friday's public hearing on the "co-tenancy" bill (HB 4268), the House Judiciary Committee took up and passed an improved version of the bill that, most importantly, addresses the problems we raised regarding surface use and the need to require surface owner's consent. If version of HB 4268 that came out of the House Judiciary Committee passes, if the driller uses the statute to get the right to drill into the mineral tract beneath a surface owners' land or into any neighboring mineral tract, the driller will have to get the agreement of the surface owner to locate the well pad on their surface, regardless of whether the surface owner owns an interest in the minerals. Requiring the surface owners consent is very important, and a significant improvement that makes it worth supporting the bill. Why? Read more here. More
Issues: EnergyFracking
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