The following meeting information concerning state-wide and area news, events, and activities is updated at the beginning of each calendar month. Please check with the originating organization because of likely cancellations or changes since they were originally posted here. See Local News for non-CCSJ events and activities organized and/or occurring in the Morgantown area.
There are numerous bills to watch that are moving – or not – through the West Virginia Legislature. To track them, go to www.wvlegislature.gov/Bill_Status/bill_status.cfm and enter the bill number. The legislative session ends at midnight on April 10th.
Here are just a few that may interest the social justice community with their status as of “press time” – which could change tomorrow.
HB 2121: Katherine Johnson and Dorothy Vaughan Fair Pay Act of 2020, referred to House Workforce Development Committee (2/10) and then to be referred to Judiciary Committee; a related bill is SB 43: Relating to Pay Transparency Act of 2021, referred to the Senate Workforce Committee (2/10) and then to be referred to Judiciary.
SB 108: Prohibiting racial discrimination based on certain hair textures and hairstyles (CROWN Act), referred to Workforce Committee (2/10) and then to be referred to Judiciary.
SB 13: Protecting rights of conscience for child welfare services providers, referred to Senate Health and Human Resources Committee (2/10); WV NOW and Fairness West Virginia are calling this the “License to Discriminate in Foster Care” bill and are opposing it, and it has been pulled from the committee’s agenda.
SB 341: Requiring participation in athletic or sporting events be based on athlete's biological gender, referred to Senate Education Committee (2/18), and then to be referred to Judiciary. According to Fairness West Virginia, which is opposing this bill, “This bill won’t just hurt transgender girls, though. It would allow anyone to demand “proof” that your child athlete is not transgender. That means your daughter would be forced to undergo an invasive genital exam and genetic testing — which you will have to pay for out of pocket. This bill will encourage everyone to further scrutinize whether the young women in our life look feminine enough.”
HB 2141: Relating to participation in school sports. According to the WVU Daily Athenaeum (DA) on February 25, “this would prohibit transgender athletes from participating in official or unofficial school-sanctioned athletic or sporting events at publicity-funded elementary and secondary schools, AND would require athletes born intersex to undergo invasive genetic testing to be considered for participation.” It was referred to the House Education Committee on 2/10.
HB 1257: Forbidding displays relating to sexuality in public school facilities and forbidding the teaching of sexuality in public schools. This was referred to the House Education Committee on February 10.
HB 2171: Vulnerable Child Protection Act. According to the DA, this “would make it a felony for a doctor to provide gender-affirming healthcare to transgender minors which removes parental choice in their child’s medical care, and further punish doctors with a period of incarceration. This was referred to the House Health and Human Resources Committee on February 10 with a subsequent referral to Judiciary.
HB 2232: Providing a process by which a city may hold an election to recall an ordinance. According to the DA, this would pave the way for the nullification of local fairness laws that have been enacted through West Virginia (which includes 14 locales at present,” including Morgantown. This was introduced to the House Political Subdivisions Committee on February 10 with a subsequent referral to Judiciary.
HB 2545: West Virginia Religious Freedom Restoration Act. According to the DA, this bill “aims to frustrate passage and enforcement of LGBTQ non-discrimination laws in West Virginia; to allow people to claim religious grounds for discriminating against LGBTQ people; and to shield people who discriminate on that basis from compliance requirements and penalties for non-compliance.” It was referred to the House Judiciary Committee on February 16.
HB 3293: Transgender Athlete Ban. This passed out of the House of Delegates and is now in the Senate Education Committee. You can track the vote for this in the House here. To see groups speaking out in opposition to this bill go here.
Fairness Act: This is introduced annually to add LGBTQ people to the state’s civil rights law, but no bill number was available at “press time.”
KANAWHA VALLEY NOW CHAPTER
Information about the Kanawha Valley NOW chapter is available here at their Facebook page or email firstname.lastname@example.org. There is also a new “Name and Gender Change Guide for West Virginia Residents” available here.
The ACLU is tracking numerous bills during the 2021 legislative session. Learn more here.