Week Two with Two Marches
The legislative session is building momentum but still has a month to the frantic deadlines for bills to crossover to the other house or die. So far 988 House bills and 594 in the Senate have been introduced. As mentioned last time, blessedly the majority won’t make the crossover, or even make a committee agenda.
No public hearings have yet to be scheduled on our issues, and Rev. Martin Luther King’s celebration was the sole reason for marching up to the Capitol for the ceremonial ringing of the Liberty Bell in the plaza. Rev Matthew Watts, Director of Hope Community Development, was interviewed on Public Broadcasting’s Legislature Today about the lingering disparities in education and health of our states African American communities.
Correction – on Saturday morning, the WV Can’t Wait movement held a rally in front of House Chambers and afterward, Stephen Smith, their candidate for governor marched with 70 other candidates to the Sec of State’s office and officially registered to run for office! They’re running for seats ranging from local county school boards to WV House of Delegates to US Congress! It was inspiring to see that many potential public servants step up and be counted!
Insulin CoPays Target of Bipartisan Effort
Delegate Barbara Fleischauer and Health Committee Chairman Jordan Hill co-hosted a press conference on Monday to highlight bi-partisian support for a soon to be introduced bill to limit copays on the ever higher cost of Insulin. Delegate Fleischauer organized a bus to Canada last month to underline the outrageous costs compared to other nations.
One woman saved over $400 on her insulin by riding the bus. Diabetic patients were also at the press conference and our Citizen Action team was there to guide them around to seek out their lawmakers to ask for their support. Insulin is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to overpriced medications. Watch for another bill to create a drug price commission to look into ways of lowering all Rx costs.
MOJO Act is Back
The MOdern JObs Act (MOJO Act) would allow the electricity from large scale industrial solar installs on Mountain Top Removal properties to be sold directly to large companies looking for renewable energy to power their plants, factories and malls. This frees up businesses to bypass the utilities’ electric monopoly and create lots of jobs in solar technology. WV needs this as outlined by sponsor Delegate Evan Hansen’s hometown newspaper the Dominion Post: “Hansen makes it clear that his legislation is not trying to make value judgments on renewables over fossil fuels. Indeed, it is simply addressing what markets value in 2020 and that is clean, sustainable energy sources. We endorse Hansen’s proposal and urge every legislator to support the bill.”
HB4172 is referenced to the House Energy Committee, then Judiciary. Click here to read it on the WV Environmental Council’s page.
Delegate Hansen also plans to introduce legislation to create an Office of Just Transition in WV to help workers and communities suffering from the nation’s movement toward renewable energy sources.
Tank the Tank Degreg Bill
Keep those calls and letters coming into the legislature opposing the oil & gas bill to deregulate their tanks in zones of critical concern above water intakes. For now this bill appears to be stuck under the weight of the 700 calls and e-mails you’ve sent so far! Click here for the link to send a NO message to your lawmakers.
“This Bill Does Nothing”
Is the opinion of so many, including Gazette/Mail statehouse reporter Phi Kabler in his Sunday column. They’re speaking of the ‘Born Alive’ anti-choice bill that passed the House last week. “Are we going to be a body that is complicit to creating law based on political statements, propaganda, mistrust and medical fallacy? Is that the chamber we are?” commented Delegate Sammi Brown as part of the floor debate. House bill 2007 ‘requires’ a doctor to administer health care to an infant who might be born alive after a abortion procedureat 20 weeks. Of course a doctor must do this already. Also, the one and only clinic in WV which performs the procedure doesn’t do it after 16 weeks. However, this bill does do something – it gives the anti-choice lobby a weapon to beat up any legislature who votes no and to get many pro-choice ones to vote yes to avoid being a target over a bill that does nothing. What a waste of valuable legislative time and effort!
‘All Kinds Welcome’ Day Thursday
January 23th is the annual ‘All Kinds Welcome Here’ civil liberties lobby day at the state Capitol. Citizen Action has been a co-sponsor of this event since its inception several years ago. Diversity makes us stronger and helps keep our young professionals here. We’ll have a booth set up and our Executive Director will be making comments at the press conference outside the Senate. See WV-ACLU post for more info.