Larry D. Kump's personal political principles are to enhance individual liberty as well as personal accountability and personal empowerment.
(This website funded by Friends of Larry D. Kump)
Gambling is a troublesome and toxic combination, especially when it is part of the government revenue stream.
It bodes ill for the well-being of Mountaineer families.
The vote in the West Virginia House of Delegates on HB401 was 92 yeas to 5 nays, and I voted yea.
My concerns were to balance the legitimate interests and needs of the gas and oil industry, the safety of our environment, and the property rights and privileges of surface owners and residents.
Although I agree that the further development of Marcellus Shale in West Virginia will help our nation become more energy independent and perhaps also foster an economic boom for all of West Virginia, the final version of the bill still fell somewhat short, in my opinion, of giving enough protection to the rights and privileges of property owners and residents.
Even so, the adoption of Delegate Woody Ireland's proposal to have monitoring and oversight of possible disruptive effects upon residents from drilling for Marcellus gas greatly enhanced the value of this legislation.
In summary, I came to the overall conclusion that HB 401 is a step in the right direction and voted accordingly.
Footnote: Click on "WV State Legislature" under "Links" on the right hand side of this webpage, to search for more specifics about this legislation.
I would be pleased and proud to support and even cosponsor your forthcoming legislative proposal to provide single member districts in the West Virginia House of Delegates.
Furthermore, we should go and do likewise with the West Virginia State Senate districts.
Delegate Larry D. Kump
I wish you the utmost best of luck in your political career.
Our great nation needs many more like you.
Whether it's taxing the poor on their groceries, or fleecing the rich, just because there's always an open season on greed (class warfare).
I'm disgusted at his choice.
What a contrast to our Foundering Fathers. They opened sessions with prayer - sincere heartfelt prayer; not some clergyman who shows up to read a speech and call it a prayer (They don't even shut their eyes - they don't address Deity, they just read a speech).
Larry, do your duty. But, let them know that even if they don't believe in the Sabbath, we expect them to respect it.
Thomas Jefferson said the people get the government they deserve. Well, at least some of them.
Feel free to publish this bipartisan rant!
Note: See comments from others on this issue, under "comments" at the end of the previous "Sad" entry.
Postscript: The Special Session was for the purpose of certifying the recent special election for the Governor, a formality vote that only will take a few minutes, but the added irony to all of this is that an Interim Session of the Legislature already had been scheduled for the next day (Monday, November 14th). The Governor could have called this Special Session to coincide with the Interim Session which starts on Monday and, in the process, also saved taxpayers additional expenses.
I have to unload and hideout my concealed weapon every time I go to the same place for permits. Technically no firearms are allowed on any government facility. That may only apply for the second floor. Just FYI. I'm against any further restrictions on firearms. I would like all states to receive all CCW permits. However the "free state" (a.k.a. the "police state") is not one of them.
Notice: See the "County Prosecutor Wants Gun Law" entry.
When the bill was drafted (circa 1996?) great care was taken to limit its effects as much as possible. It is arguably unconstitutional in light of the US Supreme Court decision Lopez from a few years ago. And recent 2nd amendment rulings.-Just depends on who sits on the court at the time.
The mountaineer exception that the prosecutor identifies is not meant to imply some covert intent to apply safe schools to higher ed. It is meant to allow the WVU mountaineer to visit public ed schools around the state and bring the musket. Without the exception, the mountaineer would commit a felony just for showing up with the musket-even if the flint and black powder were left at home.
(Name Redacted upon Request of Writer)
Notice: See the "County Prosecutor Wants Gun Law" entry.
On the contrary, House Bill 3125 <http://www.wvcdl.org/WVCDLbills/WVGOPA2011.html> of the 2011 Regular Session, which Delegate Kump cosponsored, would have driven a wooden stake through the heart of all these useless, feel-good campus gun ban policies to which Ms. Neely refers. Moreover, I believe these policies can be overturned under existing law. Specifically, W.Va. Code § 61-7-4(r) <http://www.legis.state.wv.us/WVCODE/code.cfm?chap=61&art=7> , which was added to the statute in 2008, provides: "Except as restricted or prohibited by the provisions of this article or as otherwise prohibited by law, the issuance of a concealed weapon permit issued in accordance with the provisions of this section authorizes the holder of the permit to carry a concealed pistol or revolver on the lands or waters of this state." Because no provision of West Virginia state law restricts or prohibits the possession or carrying of a firearm on a college campus, W.Va. Code § 61-7-4(r) preempts any policy of any state institution of higher education that prohibits a licensed individual from carrying a concealed handgun on campus. State courts in Colorado, Oregon, and Utah and the Attorney General of Virginia have reached similar conclusions with respect to similar language in their states' respective concealed handgun licensing laws.
HB 3125, like Colorado's law, would permit campus carry restrictions only in secure buildings that have mandatory metal detector screenings, armed guards, and free, self-service gun storage lockers at each entrance of a secure restricted access area. We as individuals have no legal right to personal protection from the police, even if we're in some public building where we're prohibited from carrying. So-called gun-free zones amount to little more than criminal protection zones that provide a false sense of security to the unsuspecting public.
Larry, stand your ground.
James M. "Jim" Mullins, Jr., Esq.
Notice: Please see the "County Prosecutor Wants Gun Law" entry.
From: Delegate Larry D. Kump
Sent: Oct 25, 2011 3:27 PM
To: Berkeley County Prosecutor firstname.lastname@example.org
I am aware of the situation and circumstances, but not comfortable further restricting the rights of gun owners by making it even more of a crime to carry a registered weapon.
However, I will study the law to see if the entire law can be made clearer, but also less assumptive in the restriction of our Second Amendment rights.
Delegate Larry D. Kump
From: Pam Neely email@example.com
Date: Tue, 25 Oct 2011 15:15:32 -0400
Subject:Statutory issue that needs modification
Dear Members of the Legislature and the Senate:
It is has come to the attention of my office that there is a statute which has created some unintended consequences. Almost every educational facility in this state has a written preclusion against the carrying of firearms on their property either by handbook or posting. Often both methods are used. We recently had an incident in Berkeley County, which caused a serious concern about West Virginia Code 61-7-11a. Under West Virginia Code 61-7-11a, it appears to be a crime to carry a firearm onto educational property, but only if it is a "primary" or "secondary"educational facility. It does include "vocational" but only as it related to secondary education. There is no exception for a person with a concealed weapon permit, but law enforcement officers are excepted. The statute excepts the Mountaineer. The higher education statutes have an exception for campus police to carry firearms. Not all schools however have police or a police presence.
The problem we encountered is that a student was carrying a weapon, with a concealed weapon permit, onto a college/technical school campus. He frightened several students and faculty who saw the weapon. Because the statutory language for educational facility does not include language for "post-secondary" "post-secondary vocational or technical" "community or junior college" or "other institutions of higher learning" as is defined under the educational definitions in West Virginia we could not charge that felony. (There may also need to be an exception for a gunsmithing school, a hunter education class, or concealed weapon class, and even perhaps an ROTC class or a military school-some of which do not currently exist in this state). This is very troubling especially in light of the incident at Virginia Tech.
I am a very strong supporter of the second amendment, but there must be some common sense applied here. I can think of nothing worse than people attending an athletic event, living in a dorm, or sitting beside someone in a science class with a firearm strapped to their side or worse, concealed on their person. What happens if that student, parent or other person suddenly becomes angry at the score, the roommate, the party, or even the call on the field? While the use of a firearm may be criminal, so should the presence at this type of facility. I believe this was the intent of the Legislature because of the exception for a college mascot, but the language says otherwise. Let us not have a tragedy on our hands. As a parent of college students, I do not think I should have to worry about making sure they have their books, clothes, laptop and now a 45 caliber weapon in an educational
setting. This statutory error puts higher education students, faculty and administration at risk. Most people have enough sense not to do this, but obviously we have those who do not.
Please address this error as soon as possible and add the words: " post secondary" "post-secondary vocational or technical" "or other institutions of higher learning" to West Virginia Code 61-7-11a. Make an exception for a gunsmithing school, a hunter education or concealed weapon class, a military
school only as it related to official firearms training or classes and ROTC only as to an official firearms training class (actual firing should be on a license or approved range).
I would be more than happy to help write the changes, if one or all of you would push it.
Pamela Jean Games-Neely
Prosecuting Attorney Berkeley County
As always, love your insight.
Building more government prisons isn't the answer!
Perhaps we have too many laws? Too much prohibition?
Keep up the fight!
Former WV Delegate Pat McGeehan
Chairman, Republican Party
Hancock County WV
My seventeen years working as a case manager in the Maryland Correctional system convinced me, among other things, that incarcerating folks for non-violent offenses is a tremendous disservice to the taxpayers and has very little to do with justice.
Instead of fleecing taxpayers, we need to take a serious look at all of our criminal offense laws, as one alternative to building more prisons.
Thanks for forwarding this dialogue.
The problems we face as a state need to be discussed and resolutions need to be proposed.
I appreciate your thoughts, especially, on the drug problem.
It makes no sense to incarcerate folks for non-violent crime such as drug use. Let's get beyond that.
We cannot continue to afford to lock up everyone for violations such as these.
And, of course, there are other minor, non-violent, victimless crimes which should not result in jail time.
Keep up the good work.
Berkeley County Legal Counsel
Perhaps community service should be examined?
Royden P. Gilleo, Maryland Prison Professional
Sadly, the program is that proposal(training inmates fpr employment prior to release) might help give prisoners better job skills upon release (and that will be a big help), but it is not "the" answer to the public pain and expense of overcrowding and recidivism
That answer, I believe, lies in a painful reassessment of the charges that send folks to prison.
Prison is not the answer to the drug offenses that cause the majority of incarcerations, and it is time to move past that "lock 'em up" mentality.
In point of fact, prison incarceration often worsens inmate drug problems.
It has certainly been too long since we have last talked.
Good luck on the upcoming election.
Regarding regional jail bills, Morgan County can certainly sympathize and appreciate what you are trying to do regarding the alternative sentencing methods of which you speak.
However, the issue is much more serious than folks have led on.
For instance, under the current laws, Morgan County is faced with an estimated regional jail bill of between $600,000 to $800,000 for the fiscal year ending 6/30/2012.
That is over 25% of our total budget and please keep in mind that we only have 17,500 people who live in Morgan County.
This is absurd and in no way is sustainable.
We are currently working on alternative sentencing and it does not seem to help.
The methods we currently use are community service, day report center (Martinsburg), and home confinement.
All of the necessary decision makers have been involved in monthly meetings and are well aware of the problem.
The regional jail system is broke and I am asking for legislation to repair this issue.
If the mandated rates out of Charleston do not change, we will need additional funding from Charleston as this is simply another unfunded mandate.
Otherwise, any assistance or advice would be much appreciated.
I look forward to hearing from you and keep up the good work.
Morgan County Commissioner
Postscript: I have requested West Virginia's Legislative Services to prepare draft legislation for me to approve and submit to the 2012 Legislature on this issue.
Dear Senators/ Delegates,
I am 33 yrs old, and was raped when I was a child.
I never really had anyone to talk to about this. Things did come out later on, but this man was a family friend, and my parents assumed that he wouldn't have done this, since they were such good friends.. Four or five years ago, I confronted this man and he admitted to me he knew what he had did. Only it is still fresh in my memory and hurts like hell. This man has sugar diabietes and is very sick.
I believe in karma and maybe he is paying for what he has done to me, in that sense.But that still doesn't help my heart, soul, or my ability to forgive.
I am writing you this letter on behalf of something very dear to my heart, in hopes that we can get some laws and punishments changed.
Many of you may not want to listen to me and blow me off, but you must understand, I will NOT quite writing or trying to get things changed until I know that people like myself and others not only get justice and some peace, but see that these sick people pay for their crimes..
I can not understand how I can watch TV and here that someone raped someone, and went to jail only to get out on a thousand dollar bond?? Only to return to rape someone else. If you watch tv this happening We NEED CHANGES in our SYSTEM!! where people don't go through the system only to be let out again, get told they are mentally challenged.
This is just a slap on the hand for them to do it again! I have never seen where someone of this nature has ever changed.... I don't want this to happen to someone else.This is one of the worse pains I have ever endeavoured. I don't care what we got to do , to get this law passed, that if someone rapes
or sexually abuses someone in anyway that they be held responsible and go to jail for a LONG time. People who do drugs get higher sentences than a raptist!!!! and Yes both crimes should be punished, but it sounds like to me that the SYSTEM doesn't have its PRIORTIES STRAIGHT!!
So I am asking as sincere as I can , PLEASE, PLEASE make the system, courts,judges, lawmakers make tougher laws for this crime...
And to see if we can have someone talk to children in schools, communities about this and if they need help what to do.
I AM WILLING TO DO THIS MYSELF, If I could.. But, they also have to know that if they have someone to talk too, that the law and the system will be behind them and not run from this major problem.
I thank you for your time and would greatly appreciate your comments,help
and most of all your response back to this. My email is - firstname.lastname@example.org
If it would help I am willing to get petitions started, IMMEDIATELY!!!!!!
Thank-you once more,
| Panhandle residents test political waters by filing precandidacy papers |
At least three Eastern Panhandle residents are testing the proverbial waters on whether to run for statewide office next year by filing precandidacy papers, according to Secretary of State Natalie Tennant’s office.
While touting the vigorous imposition of e-commerce sales taxes as only a "fairness" issue, this state legislator's sincere yet simply and seriously flawed proposal instead reflects the ongoing efforts of some politicos to steal the remaining loose change out of our almost empty pockets.
Even sadder, with a healthy state budget surplus, West Virginia families nevertheless remain among the poorest in the nation.
Instead of looking for more ways to tax and control, lets consider some diligent proposals to reduce the tax and regulation burdens, thereby propelling all of us toward prosperity instead of poverty.
Note: Click on the red highlighted title above for a direct link to the legislator's newspaper editorial that was published in the Martinsburg Journal.
For whatever it is worth, I thought I'd give a try at Charlene's question to you (Why does single delegate districts more accurately represent West Virginia constituents?):
Having single-Delegate districts represents the people best because we, as individuals, have more influence over who is voted in as a Delegate.
In a single-Delegate West Virginia district, I am one of 18,500 people.
In a two-Delegate district, I am one of 37,000 people, so my concerns are more easily ignored, regardless of how many Delegates for whom I get to vote. As a result, those Delegates are less pressed to listen specifically to my individual concerns.
In a single-Delegate district, campaigns are less expensive (about $8,000 on average during the last election vs. $50,000 in Kanawha County's seven member 30th Delegate District). Thus, there is less tendency to need special interests (good ol' boys) to raise money for campaigning. Also more regular people can participate as candidates. That's because the campaign expense is lower, the territory is smaller, and a candidate can more effectively communicate personally with voters in that smaller district.
Historically, multi-Delegate districts have been used to disenfranchise
minority voters ("Jim Crow" voting districts, which are now illegal).
For example, if there were 10,000 steak eaters in a district of 18,500; then the steak eaters would have a great influence over the election of the Delegate in that district.
However, when you pack that district with just one additional Delegate, you reduce the steak eaters' influence to 10,000 out of 37,000.
With three Delegates in a district, that influence is reduced further to 10,000 out of 55,500.
So, the more Delegates in a district, the less influence any voter has over the selection of Delegates.
Now, aren't each of us a minority of one?
And, don't we have the most influence when we are in a single-Delegate district?
Hope this helps
Thanks for your email updates. They're great!
Kanawha County, West Virginia
Postscript: I also will be drafting legislation to make the Public Service Commission more acconutable.
Berkeley Co. Council to discuss alleged sewer violations
The Berkeley County Council will meet behind closed doors with members of the county's Public Sewer Service District next week to review allegations that the utility committed more than 250 major violations since 2007.
The Acting Governor vetoed the previous special session legislation on redistricting the House of Delegates (HB 106), and, HB 201, as currently pending, only makes a few technical corrections to the previously vetoed bill.
Multiple amendments to HB 201 will be intensely debated by the House of Delegates on Friday and Saturday.
Now is the time to let ALL legislators (not just the legislators in your local region) know how you feel about this issue, which will affect all of West Virginia for the next ten years.
More information about this important issue is posted in the entries below. Also, check out the links under "Videos" on the right hand side of this webpage.
Now is the time to continue to contact all members of the Legislature and have your voice heard on this important issue, which will affect all of West Virginia for the next ten years.
Click on "WV State Legislature" on the right hand side of this webpage for information on how to contact legislators. (While you're at it, also check out the video links under "Videos")
As legislators return to the State Capitol in Charleston, now is the time for each and every one of us to do our part and tell each and every legislator that we expect no less than "one man - one vote" and absolutely no "green apple side shuffles" or gerrymandering of legislative districts for political skullduggery.
Tell all the legislators that we're counting on and watching them, with every expectation that they will faithfully fulfill their oaths of office with full faith and integrity.
Scroll down on the right hand side of this webpage and click on "WV State Legislature" for information about how to contact legislators. (Also check out "Why It Matters" under the "Videos" links)
Now is the time, so spread the word to all of your friends, family, and other associates.
Let's get working together to stay independent and give West Virginia a better tomorrow.
Yours for Better Governance,
Delegate Larry D. Kump
The Legislature voted to further reduce the grocery tax to one percent (1%) on July 1st of 2012 and then completely eliminate it on July 1st of 2013. (The grocery tax already is scheduled to be reduced from three percent to two percent on January 1st of 2012.)
The legislative redistricting process was tragically flawed, with transparency and citizen review of the final proposal more farce than fact.
However, the seven (7) member Kanawha County legislative (District #30) was changed from a seven (7) member delegate district to two (2) new delegate districts of four (4) and three (3) delegates, which, given the initial and entrenched opposition from the House of Delegates leadership to any meaningful reform in Kanawha County, was a partial victory for West Virginia citizens.
Unfortunately, House of Delegates leadership could not bring themselves to understand or support the "one-man, one-vote" principle for all of West Virginia, and even went so far as to actually slide backwards by eliminating or gerrymandering single delegate districts elsewhere throughout the State.
Sadly, although all the Delegates in Berkeley and Morgan Counties had
unanimously agreed on a superior delegate redistricting proposal for these two counties, proffered on our behalf by Redistricting Committee Member and Delegate Walter Duke (Berkeley County), a seriously flawed proposal drafted by Delegate John Doyle (Jefferson County) instead was adopted by the committee, even though Delegate Doyle was not even a member of the Redistricting Committee.
The House of Delegates then again rejected the Duke proposal by a vote of 63 nays to 34 ayes (HB 106, Roll Call #530).
Berkeley and Morgan County Delegates Daryl Cowles, Walter Duke, Eric Householder, Larry D. Kump , and John Overington voted Aye on that amendment to HB 106. Jefferson County Delegates John Doyle and Tiffany Lawrence voted Nay. Berkeley County Delegate Jonathan Miller was absent and did not vote.
On the final vote to pass HB 106 by the House of Delegates (64 Ayes to 33 Nays, Roll Call #532) Berkeley and Morgan County Delegates Daryl Cowles, Walter Duke, Eric Householder, Larry D. Kump, and John Overington voted Nay. Jefferson County Delegates John Doyle and Tiffany Lawrence voted Yea. Berkeley County Delegate Jonathan Miller was absent and did not vote.
Perhaps the saddest part of the redistricting vote was when Delegate Patrick Lane offered a hopeful amendment to make future legislative redistrictings more transparent, solicit more public input, and make the initial redistricting recommendations nonpartisan. The amendment never even was allowed to be brought to a vote, because Speaker of the House Richard Thompson ruled it "not germane" to the issue and "out of order".
Legal questions regarding HB 106 also were raised when Delegate Walter Duke pointed out independently confirmed errors in the population statistics used to draft the legislation. These issues remain and may become part of a larger court challenge.
All eyes now are upon Acting Governor Earl Ray Tomblin, to see if he will go along with this continuation of the West Virginia good old boy system and sign HB 106 into law, or stand with the people and veto it.
Only 36 members of the House of Delegates voted in favor of allowing citizens the opportunity to review and provide comment on HB#106 prior to further action by the House of Delegates (Roll call #510, 36 votes yea and 61 votes nay, Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011).
In the Eastern Panhandle, voting FOR further citizen review and feedback were Berkeley and Morgan County Delegates Larry D. Kump, Daryl Cowles, Walter Duke, Jonathan Miller, John Overington, and Eric Householder. Voting AGAINST further citizen review and feedback were Jefferson County Delegates Tiffany Lawrence and John Doyle.
HB#106 was written behind closed doors by Delegate John Doyle (D-Jefferson) and the House of Delegates Leadership. As has been otherwise and widely reported by the media, it was not written by or even reviewed in committee by the House of Delegates Redistricting Committee prior to their Tuesday morning (August 2nd) meeting. Further, and at the insistence of the House Leadership, all attempts that morning by committee members (in both political parties) to amend HB#106 were summarily squelched.
Further amendments to HB#106 will be considered on by the West Virginia House of Delegates after the session convenes at 12:00 Noon on Thursday, August 4th, 2011 (today).
To contact any or all Delegates, click on the "WV State Legislature" link on the right hand side of this webpage.
PLEASE SHARE THIS MESSAGE WITH OTHERS!
They even opposed amendments proposed by fellow Democrat Delegates and persuaded other Democrat Delegates to vote as a group against their colleagues.
The bill now moves to the floor of the House of Delegates for further votes by entire House of Delegates.
You may visit the West Virginia Legislative webpage by clicking on the "WV State Legislature" link on the right hand side of this webpage.
On the issue of your query if Delegates should only respond to citizens within their legislative districts, it is true that many Delegates do this. This is simply because only voters in their districts have a say in their re-election to the House of Delegates.
However, elected Delegates take an oath of office to serve all the citizens of West Virginia and abide by Constitutional principles of governance.
To that end, Delegates who ignore the concerns of citizens outside of their voting districts are not fulfilling their oath of office.
Furthermore, to disregard the input and concerns of all the citizens of West Virginia marginalizes a Delegate's informational resources and, I think, makes him or her more likely to fail to defend essential principles of good governance as well as to fall prey to pandering partisan parochialism in their voting and advocacy.
Too many legislators run for and serve in office for the wrong reasons, such as personal aggrandizement and political power.
The purpose of serving in elected office should be to bring forth the optimum public good and to preserve the right and responsibility of individual liberty and personal accountability for all of us.
Doing that will benefit all West Virginians. That rising tide will lift all of our boats.
If legislators rise above partisan politics and adhere to principles of good governance, then regional squabbles also will diminish
and we all will prosper.
Delegate Larry D. Kump
Now the time for all concerned citizens to be intensely involved in communicating to legislators on this issue, inasmuch as it will affect every citizen of West Virginia for the next ten years.
More of this about that is available by using the direct link on the right hand side of this webpage to the "WV State Legislature" webpage. Using that link will give you further information on who is serving on the redistricting committees in the Senate and House, how to contact legislators and discover your current district boundaries, and even a toll-free telephone number.
By the way, when contacting legislators, simply use your own words. A sincere short message is even more effective than copying and resending someone else's message under your name.
Please share this message with others.
House of Delegates Majority Leader and Redistricting Chair Brent Boggs avowed that there still are no official legislative redistricting proposals to discuss, but there was a steady stream of anxious incumbent legislators making their way in and out of the redistricting office in the basement of the State House.
The next meeting of the redistricting committee was not announced yesterday, but most probably will be during the next Interim Legislative Session, Monday through Wednesday, July 11th - July 13th.
The results of these legislative deliberations will affect every West Virginia citizen and every election for the next ten years.
Meanwhile, visit the right hand side of this webpage for a direct link to the official "WV State Legislature" website and the latest official news on redistricting and how to email all the redistricting committee members and all other legislators, a toll-free telephone number, and even how to view your current legislative district and how to find out who are your current West Virginia Delegates and Senators.
Click on "WV State Legislature" under "Links" on the right side of this webpage to connect directly to the official West Virginia State Legislature Website.
At that site you can click on the "Senate" option near the top of the page and then the "Redistricting" suboption option to learn about the redistricting committee in the Senate.
Under the "House" option near the the top of the page, click on the "Speaker" suboption and then click on "News Releases" on the right side of his photo. Then, under "Select Committee", use the arrow to get his official release, "Speaker Appoints Select Committee". (Not very user friendly, is it?)
You also may use the West Virginia State Legislature website to contact any legislator and to learn more about any legislator and current legislative district. You even can learn who represents you and your current legislative district boundaries.
Now is the time to tell the legislators, especially those on the redistricting committees, how you feel about this process and what should be done.
Please share this message with others.
Delegate Larry D. Kump
P.S.: While you're at it, also check out the animated videos under "Videos" on the right hand side of this web page.
On Wednesday evening, the 4th of May, 2011, I attended the first of several public meetings put on by the WV Senate Redistricting Task Force, chaired by Sen. John Unger, (D-Jefferson).
The Martinsburg event was well attended by several senators, members of the task force from around the State, as well as several local Delegates and interested members of the public from as far away as Charleston.
Sen. Unger conducted a very open event, continually soliciting input while emphasizing that on the Senate side no new district maps have been drawn or circulated and that this was the first ever meeting of the task force.
Virtually every speaker urged the task force members to set aside politics and partisanship and focus on the needs of communities and on the population count to get as close as is possible to one-person-one-vote, as required by the Constitution.
These proceedings are only from the Senate side.
As became apparent at the event, there has been no action by the House or the House leadership to include most Eastern Panhandle Delegates.
However, Del. Tiffany Lawrence (D-Jefferson), spilled the beans when she said that Del. John Doyle, (D-Jefferson), who, she said, could not be present, had sent her documents and maps and that her "kitchen table is turning into a redistricting office".
So, apparently on the House side something is happening; in the dark, behind closed doors, on kitchen tables, and apparently whatever is happening there is highly partisan.
Why does the House not make any moves to get the crucial redistricting process out into the open, into plain view of the public, or do they not want to conduct it with public input?
It appears that if we want to be informed and included in this important process, we, the public, the voters, must demand it from the House of Delegates.
We need to put some pressure on the House leadership.
Locally, in the Eastern Panhandle, we must urge the above named Delegates to open up the process.
It appears that it will take intense pressure by the public to accomplish this.
It is a sad reality that our House of Delegates shows itself again to be a totally partisan institution led by the Majority, as if they owned the State.
As one of the speakers said: Redistricting should not be done to serve the legislators. It should be done to serve the citizens.
My dad gave me one dollar bill
'Cause I'm his smartest son,
And I swapped it for two shiny quarters
'Cause two is more than one!
And then I took the quarters
And traded them to Lou
For three dimes-I guess he don't know
That three is more than two!
Just then, along came old blind Bates
And just 'cause he can't see
He gave me four Nickles for my three dimes,
And four is more than three!
And I took the nickels to Hiram Coombs
Down at the seed-feed store,
And the fool gave me five pennies for them,
And five is more than four!
And then I went and showed my dad,
And he got red in the cheeks
And closed his eyes and shook his head-
Too proud of me to speak!
-"Where the sidewalk ends", Shel Silverstein, "Scholastic" (October,1996)
Postscript: On the other hand, are the above stanzas any goofier than the policies and practices of some of our leaders?
For the record, SB 550 was voted for (on final passage) by Delegate Doyle. Voting against SB 550 were Delegates Cowles, Duke, Householder, Kump, J. Miller, and Overington. Delegate Lawrence was excused from that final vote, but not excused from the other votes to amend SB 550.
Prior to that final SB55 vote and on Friday, March 11th at 5:11 PM, Delegate Tim Armstead offered an amendment to SB 550 (Roll Call Vote # 329, HFA Armstead 3-10 #2).
The Armstead amendment would have eliminated the $100 million giveaway to gambling dens and instead use that money to completely eliminate the West Virginia grocery tax.
The Armstead amendment failed by a vote of 66-33.
Eastern Panhandle Delegates voting to eliminate the grocery tax were Delegates Cowles, Duke, Householder, Kump, J. Miller, and Overington. Voting against the Armstead amendment and against eliminating the grocery tax were Delegates Doyle and Lawrence. Only Delegate Crosier did not vote, inasmuch as he was absent.
Click on "WV State Legislature" on the right hand side of this webpage to verify this information for yourself, access the entire text of the Armstead amendment, and to see the entire House of Delegates voting record on all the SB550 votes.
So now you know.
SB550 gives away $100 million in our tax dollars to gambling dens, so that they can buy new slot machines and other stuff to fleece the
I stood up and spoke in the House of Delegates, asking "How come we can afford to finance and encourage West Virginia betting parlors, but can't afford to completely do away with our regressive grocery tax, which hurts those of us who are the most vulnerable?".
I'm still waiting for an answer that makes good sense.
West Virginia is a wonderful place to live, and it's far past time for West Virginia to stop being infamous for bars, strip clubs, and clip joints.
Click on the above Martinsburg Journal editorial, which is"spot on" about the need to quickly purge the 11.600 free-riders from the West Virginia Public Employees Insurance Agency (PEIA), thereby saving $22 million a year.
And, that's just the beginning of our wasted taxpayer dollars (such as the $3 BILLION in unclassified spending) that could and should be saved throughout the West Virginia State Budget.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, March 11, 2011
Americans for Prosperity Applauds
-Signs No Climate Tax Pledge-
"The one thing elected officials should be able to agree on is that global warming shouldn't be used as an excuse to hike taxes on citizens and businesses," said AFP Vice President for Policy
President Obama has made no secret of his support for a cap-and-trade energy tax, which would be the largest tax increase in American history. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office scored a cap-and-trade scheme as an $846 billion increase in federal revenue, a burden that will be borne by taxpayers and consumers for decades to come. Analysis by the Institute for Energy Research found the tax cost the nation more than 500,000 jobs by 2015 and decrease household income by over $1,000 by 2020.
"Using the guise of climate change to transfer dollars from hard-working citizens to bureaucratic big government is unacceptable," said Kerpen. "Regardless of their stance on global warming, this should be common ground for all of our elected officials at all levels of government."
The pledge is available online at www.NoClimateTax.com. AFP does not endorse candidates. All elected officials and candidates are encouraged to sign the pledge and go on the record in opposition to using the climate change issue to increase taxes and grow the size of government.
Americans for Prosperity (AFP) is a nationwide organization of citizen-leaders committed to advancing every individual's right to economic freedom and opportunity. AFP believes reducing the size and intrusiveness of government is the best way to promote individual productivity and prosperity for all Americans. AFP educates and engages citizens to support restraining state and federal government growth and returning government to its constitutional limits. AFP is more than 1.7 million activists strong, with activists in all 50 states. AFP has 31 state chapters and affiliates. More than 70,000 Americans in all 50 states have made a financial contribution to AFP or AFP Foundation. For more information, visit
Americans for Prosperity does not support or oppose candidates for public office.
Director of Government Affairs
Americans for Prosperity
Cell: (248) 875-3387
Direct: (703) 224-3224
Fax: (703) 224-3201
In a similar vein, I previously have introduced legislation to enable
nonpartisan elections in West Virginia (see previous 1/25/11 entry, "More Good Governance Initiatives"), and will continue to pursue this elevation of citizens over political parties.
Here in West Virginia, we have effective nonpartisan elections for
our school boards, and more of the same could provide even more
George Washington and our Founding Fathers were dissenters from
the notion of political parties, and perhaps it's now past time for us to revisit their concerns.
The Law Offices of
James M. Mullins, Jr., PLLC
101 North Kanawha Street, Suite 401
Beckley, WV 25801
For Details, Contact:Jim Mullins
Phone: 304-929-3500 or 304-687-5492
Attorney Criticizes Cold Medicine Legislation
Mullins Says Existing Laws Would Adequately Control Access to
Methamphetamine Precursors. If Existing Laws Enforced, New Laws Not Necessary!
Beckley, W.Va. —Today, Jim Mullins, an attorney in private practice in Beckley who serves clients throughout the State of West Virginia, urged the West Virginia Senate to reject House Bill 2946, and instead demand more aggressive enforcement of existing state laws regulating various methamphetamine precursors.
On Wednesday, March 2, 2011, the West Virginia House of Delegates passed House Bill 2946, which would require a person to obtain a doctor's prescription before a person could purchase numerous over-the-counter medications that contain pseudoephedrine or certain other drugs that are associated with the manufacture of methamphetamine.
Supporters of HB 2946 claim that methamphetamine manufacturers have been able to effectively circumvent current state laws regulating these drugs by constantly going from one pharmacy to another and accumulating the extremely large quantities of regulated drugs used to engage in the
extremely dangerous process of manufacturing meth.
Mullins says HB 2946 is entirely unnecessary and will only burden frequent cold & allergy sufferers who will be forced in many cases to switch to less-effective medications when less-restrictive alternatives exist.
He said: In 2005, the Legislature passed the Methamphetamine Laboratory Eradication Act. As part of this law, the Legislature extensively regulated the sale of numerous over-the-counter cold medicines. These regulations simply are not being enforced. Instead of enforcing the current law, our public servants who have the legal responsibility to enforce the law have instead chosen to seek new, more restrictive laws rather than make the current laws work.
West Virginia Code § 60A-10-4(a) provides that "[a]ny person who within any thirty-day period knowingly purchases, receives or otherwise possesses more than three packages of" certain regulated drugs is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and/or a $1,000 fine. A second or subsequent offense is a felony.
The same section also provides that "any person who knowingly possesses any amount of" any of the same regulated drugs "with the intent to use it in the manufacture of methamphetamine or who knowingly possesses a substance containing" any of the same regulated drugs "in a state or form which is, or has been altered or converted from the state or form in which these chemicals are, or were, commercially distributed" is guilty of a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and/or a $25,000 fine.
West Virginia Code § 60A-10-5 requires the same regulated drugs to be kept behind a pharmacy counter, prohibits their sale to minors, and requires a person purchasing any of them to show a photo ID and sign a sale registration form.
West Virginia Code § 60A-10-8 requires each registration form to include the date of the transaction; the name, address, and driver's license number of the purchaser;and the name, quantity of packages, and total gram weight of the regulated drugs purchased. Moreover, that section requires this information to be regularly reported to and retained by the state Board of Pharmacy.
There is simply no good reason why the state Board of Pharmacy should not have created and maintained a fully-functional database of the information collected on the same of the regulated drugs, as required by the Legislature in 2005.
The Legislature intended for the Board of Pharmacy to create and maintain this database for use by the Board and local law-enforcement agencies, prosecuting attorneys, and responsible pharmacies to detect and apprehend individuals illegally stockpiling regulated drugs. The information in this database should be able to alert the appropriate agencies when certain individuals have purchased large amounts of regulated drugs.
In turn, this information should be used by law-enforcement officials to obtain video surveillance from each pharmacy confirming the identity of the individual(s) involved, which should lead to criminal prosecutions under the current law.
Furthermore, in 2006, Congress passed the Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act of 2005, which enacted many of these same regulations under federal law. Unlike West Virginia's law, the federal law did not mandate the maintenance of centralized electronic tracking databases. However,unlike state law, the federal law contains far more severe penalties for individuals who knowingly make false statements when purchasing one of the regulated drugs: a felony punishable by up to 5 years in federal prison and/or a $250,000 fine.
The federal law does not preempt more restrictive state laws or more aggressive means of enforcing parallel state laws. In many cases—as already happens with other crimes where both state law and federal law are involved—there could be collaboration among federal, state, and local officials to use federal law enforcement, judicial, and corrections resources to partially relieve our state of the burden of dealing with the meth problem alone.
For these reasons, the Legislature must avoid the easy way out and instead demand that the laws on the books now be enforced before new, more restrictive laws are passed.
Over the course of many years, I have personally lobbied the Legislature on behalf of various pro-freedom causes where individual rights have faced opposition from well-meaning but misguided opposition that have sought to combat various social and public safety problems with laws that do more to restrict the personal freedom of honest, decent, law-abiding individuals rather than focus the efforts of government more closely upon the sources of the problems at hand.
Before the Legislature drops a sledgehammer on lawful users of regulated cold medicines, fellow West Virginians need to know whether the state Board of Pharmacy has complied with the Legislature's 6-year-old mandate to create an electronic tracking database.
If not, why not?
If this database is being operated in compliance with the Legislature's mandate, why is it not being used to identify the individuals who are allegedly driving from one pharmacy to another, amassing large quantities if regulated drugs for making meth?
No one should deny that effective enforcement of the current law may well be a time-consuming task that will require more financial resources and personnel to effectively combat the current meth problem.
The alternatives are to either tolerate a further breakdown in law and order or pass new, more restrictive laws that will severely inconvenience legitimate users of the regulated medications and whose enforcement simply cannot be taken credibly in light of apparent lack of enforcement of what I believe are more than adequate state and federal laws.
If, in fact, aggressive enforcement of the existing state laws would be too great a burden on state and local law enforcement and judicial resources, why has there not been sufficient collaboration with federal law enforcement agencies to seek federal prosecution of individuals who are violating largely identical federal laws?
The state Senate has a choice: it can do the seemingly easy thing and pass HB 2946 and the Legislature can bask in self-congratulatory praise for "doing something" or they can do the right thing and insist upon the enforcement of a good law passed 6 years ago that seems to have been all but ignored if we are to believe all the hype surrounding HB 2946.
Our fellow West Virginians deserve better.
Montani Semper Liberi!
Also check on the other entries on this issue ( 3/10/11 "Sudafed Prescription Bill (HB 2946), 3/5/11 "Sudafed Up?", and 3/3/11 "Legislative Session News Update #7").
I heard that the House passed a bill to make it necessary to have a prescription in order to purchase Pseudofed.... which I already have to show an ID for.
1) I will just make my purchase of pseudofed in Maryland or Virginia as we use this medication for sinus/congestion conditions in my house... rather than the more common use(?) of purchase for making methamphetamines, or so it would seem.
2) My husband used to have a prescription for Clariton-D... then it became OTC... now it will be prescription again? (Will my insurance company pay for it then as it will not currently pay for it because it does not require a prescription?) So now, in order to get the medication for my husband (which, BTW, his Doctor suggested) I have to make a $65 doctor appointment (now that my deductible is very high, I will pay that out of pocket) in order to get the same medicine?
3) Once again, I feel that I am being unfairly burdened because some people are abusing something. It's like leaving SAM's club and being subjected to a bag search, in case I have stolen something... not because I have, but rather because some people have... so now we all have to be treated like criminals in order to not discriminate against the criminals?
Not making my life easier Larry!!!!
Note from Delegate Kump: Check the other entries on this and other topics. For even more legislative information, as well the vote on HB 2649 in the House of Delegates and how to contact your legislators, click on "WV State Legislature" (on the right hand side of this page, under "Links"). HB 2649 now is pending a vote in the Senate.