Over The Hump & Celebrating E-Day

By Gary Zuckett, WVCAG Executive Director

       Last week we passed the halfway mark. Tuesday, Feb. 13th, and Monday, Feb. 19th, were/are the last days to introduce bills in the House and Senate respectively. That being said, committees can still ‘originate’ or introduce bills in their meetings anytime they want. The only limit to this is the dreaded ‘crossover day’ on Feb 28th, which is the last day for bills to be passed out of their house of origin over to the other side. Any bill that  doesn’t ‘cross over’ is then considered ‘dead’. I put this in quotes because, again, there are ways to game the system by having committees ‘amend’ entire ‘dead’ bills into ‘live’ ones that have crossed over! The last word on all these arcane gyrations is that nothing is really ‘dead’ until the gavel hits the House and Senate gavel out and adjourn at midnight on March 9th signaling the end of the 2024 session — which, I suppose, is the origin of that old legislative adage to watch out for the ‘fat possums that run at midnight’! 

       E-Day #34 at the Capitol & a Short History Lesson

       On Tuesday, we celebrated Environment Day (E-Day) at the Capitol and groups from around the state came in to set up tables promoting their local issues and track down their elected officials for meetings. I still have a t-shirt from the first E-Day in 1990 promoting the upcoming “Decade of the Environment.” It’s a proud accomplishment that this even has been going on for every year for the past 34 years and counting!  

       Our former Director, Norm Steenstra, who was instrumental in the founding of the WV Environmental Council, was one of the main organizers of that very first E-Day. The prediction, making the 90’s an environmental decade, actually materialized as significant progress was made on protecting our state’s groundwater with the passage of the Groundwater Protection Act. 

       Next, a huge state-wide movement was organized to push back on the plan to make West Virginia the East Coast’s dumping ground for out of state garbage. This successful grassroots effort led to the passage of the  Comprehensive Solid Waste Act, which gave citizens a local referendum to vote on the siting of Class A landfills in their county. The Act also placed a 50 cents per ton fee on all garbage dumped into our landfills. In addition to making it too expensive to import garbage from DC, Philly, NJ & NY, the Act provided funding for newly created County Solid Waste Authorities with a mandate to set up and operate local recycling centers! 

       As noted in a previous update, Norm departed from us last month and will be missed by so many of the activists who, as one shared with me recently, ‘…he changed the direction of my life!’ Norm will be remembered by family and friends at 1PM on March 10th at the Coonskin Park Club House. All who knew him are invited to join in celebrating his life and works.

       Norm’s family has generously suggested that folks who want to honor his life and legacy do so with a donation to WV Citizen Action. So, as this section of our Update always ends with an ask for your financial support as well as your Citizen Action toward bettering our communities,  We’ll leave it up to you to take action on this. A simple membership renewal is a big help, anything more helps even further. 

       Thanks to all for your continued support!

Updated: February 15, 2024 — 4:37 pm
Send this to a friend