MLK Day was celebrated in Charleston with the traditional ecumenical service at Asbury UMC and the noon bell ringing at the capitol. Reverend King’s courage and vision is a constant call for racial, civil, economic and social justice!
Also that day was a press conference we supported with Rep Fleischauer and Health Committee Chair Hill to roll out HB4543, the bi-partisan insulin copay bill to limit patient’s costs to $25/month for this lifesaving medicine. The bill is single referenced to House Banking and Insurance so contact chairman Nelson and members of his committee to get it to the floor for passage.
Thursday was ‘All Kinds Welcome’ Civil Liberties Lobby Day outside the Senate chambers where SB 270, which seeks to add sexual orientation to the state’s non-discrimination law, is stalled. The bi-partisan bill’s lead sponsor is the Senate majority leader Tom Takubo, a local doctor. The Fairness Act is in Senate Judiciary so calls to Chairman Trump to get it on their agenda are needed.
Also outside the Senate that day conservative Talkline radio commentator Hoppy Kercheval was broadcasting live from his remote setup. Hoppy’s commentary on his conversation that day with a Trans woman and his evolving understanding of gender issues is refreshing and revealing.
WVPB legislature Today is a great program to keep up with major events at the capitol. Last Friday’s week in review covered several topics including the progress (or lack thereof) on ending prohibition on Cannabis, Disabilities Advocacy day, and many others.
Business Property Tax Giveaway Introduced
The much ballyhooed efforts to do away with the business inventory and equipment property tax, SJR 8 were finally introduced this week. Also a total legislative takeover of the power to manage all local property taxes with SJR 9. Right now it’ll take a 2/3 majority of both Houses and majority of voters in November to make these constitutional changes. But not if SJR9 is approved by voters. Not to be outdone, the Governor has a proposal to just value all business equipment at salvage value – 15% of real value. All this takes essential property tax money used for schools, fire & police right out of counties’ budgets. Contact members of Senate Judiciary, first stop for this bad idea.
Article V Threat
SCR4 is in House Judiciary – yet another excuse well-funded out-of-state interests have come up with to get their greedy fingers on our constitution. We already have term limits, they’re called elections. How many of the articles in the bill of rights would remain untouched in a convention of the states? No one knows what our founding document would look like after one. Phil Kabler’s Statehouse Beat column in Sunday Gazette/Mail calls this out for what it is.
Unneeded and expensive court add-on
The WV Association for Justice listed Intermediate Courts, SB275, on their oppose list. We agree. Its a big waste of tax money allowing corporations to drag out litigation when taken to task by consumers. All judges in this court would be appointed by our current governor as opposed to elected by voters. Take action on social media from here: https://www.facebook.com/WVConsumerProtectionAlliance/ Here is a link to web page action option https://bit.ly/2vmf30r.
Coal Subsidence Blues
‘Trust Us’ says big coal in both a rules package and SB 290, to decide what remedies are needed when one of their mines cracks or caves in your home or businesses or ruins your only water well. Really? Yes, they want to be the ones to decide what they’ll pay to fix and how much. Their arrogance is only matched by their greed. Tell Senate Judiciary chair to bury it.
Foster Parents & Kids Bills of Rights
Bill or Rights -HB 4092 passed out of both HHR and Judiciary and then got sent to Finance. Hopeful of passage in House. Let’s get real about taking care of our kids. Other good ones are: HB4129 Adoption Bill passed in House; 4094 Continuing Foster Care Ombudsman; HB4128 CPS Workers should have Social Work Licensing. For more info : Marissa Sanders firstname.lastname@example.org WV Foster, Adoptive, & Kinship Parents Network.
Power Purchase Agreements
SB 611 introduced Friday and sent to Economic Development in Senate with Judiciary Chair Trump and Energy Chair Smith as leads. This makes it clear that private energy contracts for solar or other installations on churches, schools, are not to be regulated as public utilities. This paves the way for affordable ‘no up-front money’ installs and jobs this creates. Lead instigator on this, Rep Evan Hansen (D- Mon) also says his MOJO (Modern Jobs) Act is being re-released with bi-partisan sponsors in a version more likely to pass. This one deals with industrial solar installs on mined out Mountain Top Removal sites ported to specific commercial sites over existing grid structure. Again the potential for increased employment for emerging solar industry.
Clean Water Anyone?
A new bill led by Delegate Hansen (D-Monongalia), called the West Virginia Clean Drinking Water Act of 2020, was introduced in the House as HB4542. This bill aims to identify and reduce exposure to class of chemical toxins known as polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS. These substances are the “forever chemicals” that polluted the water in Parkersburg and have had documentaries and the ‘Dark Waters’ movie telling the story. A main source of exposure to PFAS is through contaminated drinking water. WV Rivers Coalition encourages members of WV-CAG to take action now – Let your delegates know that you support the Clean Drinking Water Act!
We Thank YOU!
WV Citizen Action is you, the active and supportive members of the Group! We want to send a big THANKS to everyone who reads this, shares this, and takes positive actions to make WV a better place. Another positive action you can take is to become a supporting member or make a tax-deductible donation through our Education Fund. Either or Both will help keep the lights on and these updates coming into your mailbox.