Everything but the Kitchen Sink: Gary’s Weekly Round-Up

ALEC Anti-Protest Slap-Down Comes to WV

Pesky protesters are the target of HB 4615 which jacks up jail time, fines and even felonies for folks exercising their right to protest on what is labeled “Critical Infrastructure”! What happened to the good old American right to protest injustice by protesting or doing peaceful Civil Disobedience? This is part of a broad concerted effort targeting many states to clamp down on protests of all kinds. It contains heightened penalties for trespass onto C.I. (one year in jail), and felony penalties for trespass with intent to “disrupt”. (3 years in prison and a $1,000 fine). There are conspiracy provisions as well, targeting any persons or organizations that “conspire” to trespass (a $5,000 fine) or to disrupt/tamper/etc. (a $10,000 fine). Any entity that “compensates, provides consideration to or remunerates a person” for trespassing is also civilly liable for any actions done. This un-American bill was passed out of House Judiciary on Monday. A public hearing will be announced before floor vote later in the week. Environmental, anti-war, and civil rights protesters could all be affected by this overreach. Call your Delegates to ‘just say no’ to this effort to stifle protests by Labor, Enviros, Peaceniks, and Civil Rights advocates.

 

Energy Freedom Needs Your Help

Other pro-environment bills are doing better. Delegate Evan Hansen’s MOJO (MOdern JObs) Act has morphed into HB 4562 which, while it gives the power to generate solar power in huge blocks over to total control of the utilities, still is a milestone for the Mountain State.

One that needs a nudge promotes Energy Freedom in allowing PPAs (Power Purchase Agreements) between a willing buyer and seller. SB611 would let you contract with a solar company to buy the power generated by their installation on your roof – without plunking down 10-15 K or going into debt. Call Economic Development Chairman Swope at (304) 357-7843 to ask him to run the bill! Tell him WV needs to catch up on the plentiful jobs in solar like our surrounding states.

 

Affordable Insulin Bill for Everyone

After helping organize the bus trip to Canada to allow patients to purchase affordable Insulin, we’re now working on HB 4543, a bi-partisian bill to limit Insulin copays to $25 a month. Some folks pay up to $800 a month for this life saving medicine. No one should have to choose between getting insulin to stay alive and buying food, paying rent or other essentials. Read Savanna’s update here to learn more and find how you can take action.

 

E-Day a Big Success

Twenty four environmental and justice groups from around the state set up displays in the Senate Hall for annual Environment Day at the legislature last Tuesday. They came from near and far. See them in a quick walk through at the beginning of our Facebook live stream of the opening and speakers. After that a large group of citizens went to House Health Committee Chair Hill to ask him to put the Clean Drinking Water Act on his committee’s agenda. 

One of the easiest ways to kill a bill is to just have the assigned committee ignore it which is what is happening to Clean Drinking Water HB4542. Call Chairman Hill at (304) 340-3269 to message him. Companion bill SB679 in Senate Judiciary needs calls to Chairman Trump (no relation) at (304) 357-7880.

 

Social Workers and Family Health wrap up the Week

Friday was Social Workers Day when Social Work students, faculty, and practicing workers come together to advocate for making our state laws more people friendly. They gathered this year at the WV for Affordable Health Care’s “Family Health Day” to learn of the Citizen’s Health Agenda we’re working on with WVAHC and other groups. See healthcareforallwv.com to see the full agenda. Highlights on healthcare bills that have promise below…

 

More Coverage for Medicaid Moms

Expanding last year’s successful campaign to deliver postpartum healthcare to new moms just over the income line for Medicaid, this year’s bill, HB 4416, seeks to extend this coverage from 60 days to 12 months. Contact members of the Finance Committee, especially Chairman Householder to get it passed to the floor.

 

Medicaid Dental Coverage Too

Senator and Doctor Takubo should be thanked for taking the lead in sponsoring a bill to provide dental care to Medicaid recipients. Right now the only care adults can receive is to have thier teeth pulled. SB 648 still needs to pass the Senate Health Committee before it goes to Finance. Your calls to this committee here will make a difference too.

 

Democracy and You

Democracy is not a spectator sport like the Super Bowl. If all you do is vote every couple of years, sorry, that’s not enough. Legislators are supposed to be working for us. We hire them every election and pay they with our tax dollars. What employer would hire a worker and then not tell them how to do a good job? If our legislators only hear from highly paid special interest lobbyists and not the folks back home, how will we get the kind of laws that work for all of us? Set yourself a goal to make several 2 minute calls on bills you are concerned about. Do this daily. These 5-10 minutes a day are a much needed investment in our democracy. Elected officials pay attention when even a few folks from their district call in on a bill. We all must do our part if we want to take our state back from the special interests who  want to run it for their own gain. Thanks for being one of the growing number of Citizen Activists who are engaged in this fight for justice for all.

Thank you also for sending in your membership renewal or tax deductible donation to support your interests at the legislature. Every dollar is important and goes toward the fight for affordable health care,  a cleaner safer environment and an economy that works for everyone!

 

Read more from this week’s Capital Eye update here.

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