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CCSJ Annual Report
To download and view the 2019-19 CCSJ Annual Report please click here.
ACLU OF West Virginia T-shirt
You can support the ACLU’s work for immigrant rights by buying a red or blue t-shirt that features the New River Gorge Bridge and the message of “Build Bridges Not Walls.” The shirts are $25 each and can be ordered at this webpage.
ACLU OF West Virginia Announces Plans for 2020 Legislative Session
On December 26th, the ACLU issued this press release on its web site:
“As we approach the second session of the 84th West Virginia Legislature, we at the American Civil Liberties Union of West Virginia (ACLU-WV) are preparing again to protect constitutional liberties. The First Amendment, as well as rights to equal protections under the law, due process, and privacy are all at stake.
“We will support policies that protect civil liberties of all West Virginians, particularly the most vulnerable, and we will oppose those that deny the promise of the Bill of Rights to all.
“One of our top priorities will be bail reform. We’ll seek legislation that balances public safety with people’s basic freedoms, meaning their ability to live and work and to not be confined to a cell without being found guilty of a crime. We’ll work to end cash bail, a system that enables those with financial means to escape pretrial imprisonment while keeping the poor locked up. This system costs the state enormous amounts of money and disrupts the lives of those who are accused – but not yet convicted – of a crime.
“We’ll demand more transparency in policing and support the creation of a statewide cooperative review board. These boards allow the public to hold officers accountable for actions taken while on duty. We will also continue our efforts on civil asset forfeiture, encouraging the creation of a database of all goods and money that the government seizes from people accused of crimes.
“Juvenile justice reform is another top concern. We’ll back legislation that promotes a safe and harassment-free school environment, one that prioritizes comprehensive mental and behavioral health services for our students over treating them like criminals.
“We’ll promote democracy with legislation for ranked-choice elections for the state judiciary, allowing a true representation of West Virginians’ choices to be reflected in election outcomes. This system allows voters to rank candidates in order of preference. If a candidate receives more than half of the first-choice votes, that candidate wins. If no one receives a majority of first-choice votes, the candidate with the fewest first choices is eliminated. The voters who ranked the eliminated candidate first then have their second-choice votes distributed to other candidates. This continues until a candidate has a majority of the active votes.
“We’ll also defend democracy by expanding an amendment to the state Constitution to allow dual employment of most state employees -- who are typically civic-minded and knowledgeable -- so that they may serve in the Legislature. Currently, no state employees are permitted to serve in the Legislature.
“As part of our support for marginalized communities who lack protections, we will advocate for passage of the WV Fairness Act, which would add sexual orientation and gender identity to the state’s Human Rights Act.
“We’re also ready to fight back against the latest attack on bodily autonomy -- a rumored “born-alive bill.” This legislation falsely portrays the reality of abortion services and invites government intrusion into the doctor-patient relationship.
“Finally, to help you make sense of it all, we’ll track legislation and keep an updated list on our website. At the end of the session we will create a scorecard on legislation that received a floor vote and on which we took a public position.
“We’re ready to make real, positive change in West Virginia, and we hope you’ll join us in this fight.”
You can get email alerts about these issues by signing up here.
The ACLU is also responding to the recent incident at the Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation basic training class, where trainees were photographed giving the Nazi salute. The organization announced on December 30th that “During the upcoming session, we will advocate for a Holocaust education requirement in West Virginia middle and high schools. We cannot let the session end without making certain that all of our students know about the horrors of the Holocaust and other genocides.” To follow developments on this issue, please go here.
Fairness West Virginia Announces Online Fairness Act Advocacy Training
With the legislative session starting now, Fairness is offering two online training programs.
“We're gearing up for a tough legislative fight. If we want to finally pass a statewide law in 2020 that bans discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, we need your help. We need a engaged group of advocates across the state willing to step up and join the fight.
“Please join us for one of our two online advocacy trainings in January. All you need to join us is a computer and desire to make West Virginia a better place for LGBTQ people to live. We'll learn about the time-tested messaging you can use to persuade family and friends, equip you with the answers to difficult questions you might face and expand the advocacy tools you have to make your voice heard at the capitol.
“As the training gets closer, you will be sent a link to the online training in your email.” Sign up for one of the trainings – January 7 at 6:00 p.m. or January 18 at 1:00 p.m. at fairnesswv.org/2019/12/27/become-a-better-advocate/.
Fairness also has a list of Faith Leaders for Fairness available here that includes people from around the state who support passing the Fairness Act to protect to include LGBT people. Morgantown faith leaders who have signed as of December 31, 2019, are Rev. Wes Bergen (Church of the Brethren, a CCSJ member organization), Rabbi Joseph Hample (Tree of Life Synagogue), M. Div. Amanda Kathryn Hill (WVU Medical Center), Rev. Matthew Johnson (Suncrest United Methodist Church), Rev. John Elliott Lein (St. Thomas à Becket Episcopal Church), Rev. Emily Misfeldt (Ruby Memorial Hospital), Rev. Zachary Morton (First Presbyterian Church), Rev. Stephen Prince (Mountaineer Charge, United Methodist Church) Moira Reilly (WVU Medicine Children’s chaplain), Pastor Bob Roberts (First Christian Church), Rev. Shawn Weaver (Cheat Lake United Methodist Church), and Rev. Jennifer C. Williams (United Methodist Church). Others can sign up from the website so please spread the word.
Fairness West Virginia Announces Human Rights Commission Municipal Scores
Fairness announced these scores, which are based on municipal law, on November 19th. Huntington scored a perfect 100, the first time a West Virginia city has achieved this score, while Charleston scored 91. In addition to those two cities, there are scores for Charles Town (45), Lewisburg (43), Morgantown (75), Parkersburg (13), and Wheeling (57).
Morgantown received a score of 30 out of 30 for non-discrimination laws and 8 of 8 for leadership on LGBTQ equality. We scored 14 of 28 on “municipality as employer,” 7 of 12 on “municipal services,” and 12 of 22 on “law enforcement.” Details of the Morgantown score are available here. The full index for the country is available here.