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.
The West Virginia Legislature will be in session until midnight on March Saturday, March 11th. Many of the groups listed here, including the ACLU and Fairness West Virginia, are tracking bills and organizing lobbying efforts. You can follow their efforts and get legislative updates from their websites and Facebook pages or track bills at the “bill status” tab at www.wvlegislature.gov/. All information on a bill’s status is current as of “press time,” but can change at any time.
There are three bills that we did not track before:
SB 10: Campus Self-Defense Act (Campus Carry). This was opposed by many people involved with higher education but was signed into law by Governor Justice on March 1st. It is effective July 1, 2024.
HB 2092: CROWN Act (prohibiting discrimination based on natural hair). This was introduced on January 11th and assigned to the Government Organization Committee and then to Judiciary. There has been no action on this bill.
HB 3503: Relating to nondiscrimination at institutions of higher education. This was introduced on February 14th and assigned to the House Education Committee. The attempt seems to be to eliminate DEI offices at public institutions of higher education. There has been no action on this bill by “press time.”
Key dates on the Legislature’s calendar are:
50th Day March 1, 2023: Last day to consider bill on third reading in house of origin. Does not
include budget or supplementary appropriation bills.
60th Day March 11, 2023: Adjournment at Midnight.
You can also find information on how to contact your legislators here.
CCSJ is a 501 (c) (3) organization so we do not endorse candidates, but we do track legislation related to social justice.
West Virginia NOW has a Facebook page and a web page.
NOW also has a legislative agenda:
SB 158: Prohibiting person under age of 18 from entering into marriage. Assigned to Judiciary Committee.
HB 3018: Establishing that 18 is the age of consent and removing the ability of an underage person to obtaining a consent to marry through their parents, legal guardians, or by petition to the circuit court. This passed the House of Delegates on March 1 and now goes to the Senate.
HB 2007: Prohibiting certain medical practices (deals with gender affirming care). Has passed through Health and Human Resources Committee and Judiciary Committee. The Judiciary Committee amended it to include prohibiting all gender affirming care, including hormone therapy for trans, nonbinary, and gender nonconforming youth. It passed the House of Delegates and was sent to the Senate with referrals to the Health and Human Resources Committee and then to the Judiciary Committee. At “press time,” it had not moved in the Senate.
HB 2244: Providing a process by which a city may hold an election to recall an ordinance (could be used to overturn ordinances establishing Human Rights Commissions or CROWN acts, etc.). It passed through Political Subdivisions Committee and was sent to the Judiciary Committee. At “press time,” it had not moved in the Judiciary Committee.
HB 2972: Prohibits public universities or university associated healthcare facilities from performing gender reassignment surgeries or gender affirming care upon minors. It was assigned to Health and Human Resources Committee and then to Judiciary Committee. At “press time,” it had not moved out of the Health and Human Resources Committee.
HB 2998: Non-binary not permitted on birth certificates. It was assigned to the Judiciary Committee, and, at “press time,” had not moved out of that committee.
HB 3001: To prohibit punishment for teachers who refuse to use pronouns inconsistent with a child’s sex. Assigned to Education Committee and then to Judiciary Committee. At “press time,” it had not moved out of the Education Committee.
SB 252: Prohibiting obscene materials in or within 2,500 feet of WV schools. It was assigned to the Judiciary Committee, and at “press time,” it had not moved out of that committee.
The ACLU tracks hundreds of bills during the legislative session. You can find these here.
The ACLU of West Virginia announced that the “United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit has granted a request to stay a lower court’s decision in a case challenging West Virginia’s cruel and discriminatory ban on young transgender athletes.”
Bill of Rights Bash 2023 is Saturday, April 1st from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. at the Beni Kedem Temple, 100 Quarrier St., in Charleston. “Join the ACLU-WV staff, board and friends for an evening of civil rights and celebration!”
Sponsorship and ticket information is available here.
“We hope you can be a part of our Bill of Rights Bash fundraiser this year as we celebrate the work of the ACLU of West Virginia, honor giants in the civil liberties community, and look forward to the challenges ahead.
“If you would prefer to mail your payment, you can view sponsorship options and descriptions and mail your reply form and payment to: ACLU WV Foundation, P.O. Box 3952, Charleston, WV 25339-3952.
“Contact Rose Winland at firstname.lastname@example.org or (304) 881-6950 with questions.
“We are looking forward to seeing you at the Bill of Rights Bash!”
See more about ACLU West Virginia here or Facebook, especially for information on the West Virginia legislature and access to abortion laws.
Email them at email@example.com.
Fairness West Virginia is tracking these bills, which it says “threaten to erase LGBTQ people from public life:
SB 252: Prohibiting obscene materials in or within 2,500 feet of WV schools. Assigned to the Judiciary Committee.
SB 278: Protecting minors from exposure to indecent displays of sexually explicit nature. It was assigned to the Judiciary Committee, and, at “press time,” had not moved out of that committee.
SB 253: Criminalizing engaging in adult cabaret performance where it may be viewed by minor. It was assigned to the Judiciary Committee, and, at “press time,” had not moved out of that committee.
SB 103: Prohibiting certain funding and attendance of minors to drag shows. It was assigned to the Judiciary Committee and then to the Finance Committee. At “press time,” had not moved out of the Judiciary Committee.
Sign up to take action against these bills here.
Follow Fairness West Virginia on Facebook or at their website.
And, in an example of what can happen at the legislature, Fairness posted this notice on its website:
WV Senators approve HB 3042, the License to Discriminate Bill
CHARLESTON, West Virginia — Members of the state Senate voted 30-3 in favor of the License to Discriminate Bill on Tuesday night [a day after it passed the House of Delegates]. Moments before the bill passed, Senate Republicans suspended the state’s constitutional rules that require bills to be read and considered on three separate days.
Senators also refused to allow any committee to consider the proposal and instead brought the bill directly to the floor for a vote. The bill, dubbed the “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” by its supporters, will now head to the Governor’s desk for his approval or veto.
“It’s pretty clear to me why our Senators are so fond of this fly-by-night Democracy,” said Andrew Schneider, executive director of Fairness West Virginia. “Proponents of the bill like to pretend it’s a harmless proposal that merely protects religious freedom, but it’s nothing more than a license to discriminate under the guise of religious freedom.”
HB 3042 could allow anyone to be exempt from following a law or a governmental policy if they believe that law or policy burdens their religious beliefs. That means that any individual religious belief has the potential to determine which state and local laws a person or corporation must follow.
“If that’s not a license to discriminate, I don’t know what is,” Schneider said.
Last week, dozens of Mountaineers packed the Capitol for a public hearing on the bill. Opponents vastly outnumbered supporters of the bill by three to one. Multiple religious leaders spoke out against it, telling lawmakers that the bill is unnecessary because West Virginia already has strong protections for religious freedom.
“The truth is, Mountaineers just don’t support discrimination,” Schneider said. “As more people have learned about this bill and what it will do, more and more people have spoken out. It seems like Senators were afraid of facing even more backlash about the License to Discriminate, so they rammed it through in a single night.”
“The West Virginia Transgender Coalition is a grassroots organization that works to ensure the wellbeing, safety and lived equity of all trans, nonbinary, and gender expansive community members within the state of West Virginia.”
This group is tracking several anti-trans bills before the legislature:
HB 2972: Prohibits public universities or university associated healthcare facilities from performing gender reassignment surgeries or gender affirming care upon minors. Assigned to Health and Human Resources Committee and then to Judiciary Committee.
HB 2007: Prohibiting certain medical practices (deals with gender affirming care). Has passed through Health and Human Resources Committee and Judiciary Committee. The Judiciary Committee amended it to include prohibiting all gender affirming care, including hormone therapy for trans, nonbinary, and gender nonconforming youth. It now goes to the full House with recommendation to passage.
HB 3001: To prohibit punishment for teachers who refuse to use pronouns inconsistent with a child’s sex. Assigned to Education Committee and then to Judiciary Committee.
HB 2998: Non-binary not permitted on birth certificates. Assigned to Judiciary Committee.
“We will be holding our next meeting on March 3rd at 7pm via Zoom. In the mean time, you are welcome to join our discord channel (please note, there is a vetting process in place for the safety of our group): go here.
“If this will be your first time attending a WVTC meeting, you MUST fill out the Google Doc to be appropriately vetted. This is a one time security measure put in place for the well-being of our organization. Upon being vetted, you will be emailed the Zoom link.
“We will be holding our next meeting on March 3rd at 7pm via Zoom. In the mean time, you are
welcome to join our discord channel (please note, there is a vetting process in place for the safety of
our group): go here.
“As a reminder, WVTC members must be 18+ and identify along the trans, nonbinary, gender expansive spectrum.”
For more information, please go their Facebook page.
This group organized in December 2021 in Charleston “to illuminate the experiences of LGBTQ+ people of color in West Virginia and provide them with a safe space of fellowship,” according to a story in the Juneteenth edition of Black By God: The West Virginian. For more information, email WVBPfoundation@outlook.com or Kasha@wvpfoundation.com.
According to its website, blackbygod.org, “We are an emerging news and storytelling organization centering Black voices from the Mountain State. We provide a more nuanced portrayal of the Black experience in the Appalachian region.” Crystal Good is the editor/publisher/founder of Black By God.
There is a weekly online edition and a quarterly print edition. The Juneteenth edition was more like a magazine – 64 pages of news from around the state.
To contact BBG, email Info@Blackbygod.org or call 3O4-207-0352. The mailing address is 2156 University Ave. Suite 400, Morgantown, WV, 26505. To make a tax-deductible donation, go to blackbygod.org/donate.