Dedication

This website is devoutly dedicated to all of Larry's friends and associates, both early and late, who have influenced and mentored him. However, it also should be noted that, being who they are, a majority of them have been late most of the time.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Homeowners Harmonize Heft

Click on the link below to view the newspaper article:

http://www.journal-news.net/page/content.detail/id/572347/EPOHOA-meeting-draws-large-crowd.html?nav=5266#.Tu9vq4gFRic.email

Troublesome and Toxic

The recent December 18th "Christmas Memories I Can't Forget" editorial comments by Don Smith (www.journal-news.net) mirrored my thoughts, as well as my concerns, about West Virginia's unhealthy dependence on revenue from gambling clip joints.

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.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Marcellus & Woody (HB 401)

The legislation to regulate drilling into huge natural gas deposits of "Marcellus Shale" in West Virginia was intensely debated and approved by a Special Session of the West Virginia Legislature.

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.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Thornton Cooper's Legislative Proposal

Thornton,

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

Mountaineers Prefer Kump

Hi Larry,

Our PAC launches in January, and you will see significant support from us next year.

I am very happy to see you running for re-election to the West Virginia House of Delegates.

You're a model Delegate, who I hope to empower to continue achieving good for West Virginia.

West Virginia desperately needs honest folks like you, who are sincere and capable, in government.

Our taxes can be lowered, our economic climate can become employment friendly, our Judiciary can get an appellate level, and the Legislature can achieve more transparency with voters as well as be much more in harmony with our Constitution.

We can wean our government off the gambling teat, because there's even more revenue from a growing and vibrant economy.

Then our children will stay and prosper here in West Virginia, and our lives will become what they always should have been.

Few are those who can bring about this great change.

Few are those who can fight this fight.

Few are those who won't wear down, sell out, or give up.

Those few will be paid with respect, honor, and gratitude.

History will note them and We the People will revere them.

They will be the heroes of West Virginia, the greatest Mountaineers of all time.

We will do our part to help bring all of this about.

With respect and gratitude,

Greg Jessen
President: Mountaineer Tea Party LLC & PAC

Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Sunday Session

Early this morning, while continuing to ponder about the duress of choosing between participating in a special session of the West Virginia Legislature this Sunday (the Lord's Day) and my duties and responsibilities as a legislator, a passage in the New Testament of the King James Bible helped more fully persuade me to err on behalf of fulfilling my legislative Oath of Office.

"Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; or unto governors..."
(1 Peter, Chapter 2, Verses 13-14).

Note: Other entries on this issue as well as comments from others on the entries are listed herein at this website under "Sad" and "More on Sad".

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Mark Barone on Leadership

Dear Delegate Larry D. Kump,

I just wanted to take a moment of your time and let you know that I have discovered your blog, read it, approve of it, and wish ever so much that you were an Ohio legislator.

I wish you the utmost best of luck in your political career.

Our great nation needs many more like you.

Sincerely yours,
Mark Barone
Ohio Citizen.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

More on "Sad", from an upset Mountaineer citizen

No, he's just a politician doing what they do best - Thumbing their noses at God.

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!

Your Brother,

Tom

Note: See comments from others on this issue, under "comments" at the end of the previous "Sad" entry.

Sad

"It's simply so sad that the West Virginia Governor called a Special Session of the Legislature for the Lord's Day (Sunday), and also right in the middle of the day (Noon, November 13th) when many folks participate in worship services." -Delegate Larry D. Kump



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.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Unloading on the Proposed Gun Law

Larry,

 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.

Greg



Notice: See the "County Prosecutor Wants Gun Law" entry.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Legislative Leader's Rebuttal on Proposed Gun Law

Larry:
I addressed this to you so you could pass the info along to your constituents in the manner you see fit rather than it coming from me.

The safe schools act (WV code 61-7-11a, et seq) to which your prosecutor addresses her concerns is not meant to cover higher ed at all.

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.

Attorney Rebuts Prosecutor on Proposed Gun Law

As both the attorney for Joshua Beck, who was falsely charged (Ms. Neely's office dropped the charges today, to her credit) with carrying a gun on school property for 2 alleged incidents of carrying a gun on the Blue Ridge Community and Technical College Campus, and the legislative director and general counsel for the West Virginia Citizens Defense League <http://www.wvcdl.org/> , notwithstanding her correct call on the law as it presently exists, I highly resent this anti-gun hypocrite's expenditure of taxpayer time and resources to push for a further erosion of our liberties. She needs to be driven out of office in next year's election based solely on her view that those of us who choose to exercise our constitutional rights suddenly become a grave danger to society by setting foot on a college campus—and a double danger if we're lawfully concealing the gun. Sarah Brady couldn't have been more shrill. Any legislator who introduces this absurd bill similarly deserves to see the premature termination of his or her political career—which will be greatly aided if the NRA assigns said legislator(s) an unforgivable F rating, as should be the case given the NRA's expressed support for the right to carry on campus.

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.

County Prosecutor Wants Gun Law

Notice to Website Readers: Please see below and advise me of your specific thoughts and suggestions regarding Ms. Neely's proposal. [Delegate John Doyle (D-Jefferson County) has advised Ms. Neely that she is "absolutely correct".]

-----Forwarded Message-----
From: Delegate Larry D. Kump
Sent: Oct 25, 2011 3:27 PM
To: Berkeley County Prosecutor pneely@berkeleywv.org

Pam,
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

Original Message:
-----------------
From: Pam Neely pneely@berkeleywv.org
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.

Thank you.

Sincerely

Pamela Jean Games-Neely

Prosecuting Attorney Berkeley County

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Conversations about Prisons Built by Taxpayers

Good job Larry!

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

----------
Thanks Norwood.

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.

Larry


-----Message-----
Larry

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.

Norwood Bentley
Berkeley County Legal Counsel

----------
Larry

I agree.
Perhaps community service should be examined?

Royden P. Gilleo, Maryland Prison Professional

----------
Brad,

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.

Larry

----------
Larry,
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.

Brad Close
Morgan County Commissioner

Thursday, October 20, 2011

A Proposed WV Prisoner Program

Dear Corrections Commissioner Rubenstein,

Knowing of my previous background in the criminal justice system, Lester "Bill" Shanklin,  a Master Gardner and landscape artist, has shared his prisoner training proposal with me (copied below).

Accordingly, your evaluation and response to me and Mr. Shanklin regarding the merits and feasibility of this proposal would be appreciated.

Furthermore and if prudent and possible, please include in your response to me and Mr. Shanklin which of his recommendations would require legislative action and which could be effected administratively.

Looking forward o hearing from and working with you, I remain,

Yours for better governance,

Delegate Larry D. Kump

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Larry,

Briefly (see attached insert), extension services would train inmates through the master gardeners program.

Inmates would be categorized as to their groups, class, and stage of service. (For example: Those dressed in orange, those ready for
parole, and those in home/work release, etc.)

The different State agencies would list their priority projects as to season and needs.

Master gardeners and volunteers would serve as project managers. Agency employees would also direct the work as needed.

Corrections would schedule and coordinate the work with the various agencies; based on seasons, materials,and the project needs.

The recipient agencies would provide all the materials and supplies for their projects.

All 55 counties could be served through this various agencies and public assets on reclamation and
beautification projects.

Along with the inmate work week, inmates would be required to complete additional classes and training prior to their eligibility for
parole or other release.

The compensation to the inmates could be in the form of additional service time credits as well as their personal job skills improvements.

The advantage to the State of West Virginia would be increased beautification and cleanup in all 55 counties, less inmate recidivism, and a lower inmate population.

Bill Shanklin

Monday, October 17, 2011

More Information on I-81 Bridge Traffic Concerns (see addendum at end of entry)

Dear Marvin,

As West Virginia's State Highway Engineer, please advise me regarding any progress and possible solution to the restrictions on commercial truck traffic on the I-81 bridge between West Virginia and Maryland.

This problem also affects the quality of life of the Marlowe/Falling Waters, West Virginia area residents, as well as being an impediment as outlined below by Delegate Serafini.

Looking forward to hearing from and working with you, I remain,

Yours for better governance,

Delegate Larry D. Kump


cc: WV Eastern Panhandle Legislators, et al
--------------------------------------------------------------
Andy,
I share your concerns about restrictions on commercial traffic regarding the I-81 bridge between West Virginia and Maryland, and will do what I can to help.
Delegate Larry D. Kump
--------------------------------------------------------------
Dear Larry,

We need your help. Several years ago West Virginia reduced the weight allotment for trucks coming accross the I-81 bridge from Maryland to West Virginia. This has caused tri-axle trucks to travel route 11 through Williamsport, Maryland ever since. This has created significant problems for the town of Williamsport. Last week the town council voted to restrict truck traffic on a main street and are threatening to close all town streets in the near future. This will create a significant problem for the business that employ these trucks as well as the businesses that they serve in both Maryland and West Virginia.

Evidently, there have been conversations going on for several years. Most of these I am told have been with former Governor and now Senator Manchin. To date nothing has happened and that is why Williamsport has now taken this action eventhough they did not want it to come to this.

In these days of difficulties for all businesses and especially a very frail job environment we need to work together to see what we can do to help th ese businesses. Can you look into this situation and see what you can do to help?

It would be greatly appreciated. State Senator Chris Shank is also aware of this situation but as I am the resident Delegate I am taking the lead on our part. Senator Cardin has spoken with Senator Manchin but it appears we need some help from the State Delegation.

Thanks in advance.

God bless,

Andrew Serafini
Maryland Delegate 2A

=========================================

Later Addendum from Delegate Kump: West Virginia State Highway Engineer Marvin Murphy responded quickly to my above inquiry and advised me that West Virginia has not put any restrictions on the I-81 bridge between West Virginia and Maryland. He pointed out that Interstate bridge weight restrictions are federally imposed, and now are under discussion by Congress. However, he also informed me that West Virginia does allow higher weight truck loads on the parallel Route 11, which allows heavier load trucks to bypass the Interstate bridge and its more severe weight restrictions. Mr. Murphy is continuing to research this issue, and promised me a further update.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Proposed Legislation on Heinous Offenses

Dear Amanda,
I support "No Parole" legislation for murderers, rapists, and child/vulnerable person abusers.

Delegate Larry D. Kump, District #52
Morgan-Berkeley Counties (Eastern Panhandle)


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 - mandycarlnoursunshines@gmail.com
If it would help I am willing to get petitions started, IMMEDIATELY!!!!!!
Thank-you once more,
Amanda Anderson

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

WV Candidates File for 2012 Election

Please click on the underlined headline below for a direct link to the newspaper story:

Panhandle residents test political waters by filing precandidacy papers
Source: herald-mail.com

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.
 
ShareThis.

Monday, September 26, 2011

More Out of Almost Empty Pockets :(

The recent Martinsburg Journal Guest Editorial, "Sales Taxes Should be Collected Fairly" (Monday, September 26th, 2011) is truly troublesome.

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.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Magisterial Districts & Dinosaurs

A Letter to the Editor:

A hearty "Amen!" to the recent editorial by Morgan County's weekly "Morgan Messenger", suggesting that West Virginia's outmoded Magisterial Districts be abolished.

Delegate Larry D. Kump

Friday, September 9, 2011

A Political Primer & Retrospective

Please click on the link below to view this editorial:

http://www.journal-news.net/page/content.detail/id/567294/GOP-caucus-reviews-redistricting.html?nav=5003#.TmodSX47sgs.email


Footnote: The above editorial was written and submitted prior to the signing into law of HB 201 by the West Virginia Acting Governor. He declined to veto HB 201.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Tom Crouser on Electoral Justice (and eating steak)

Thanks, Tom.
Aptly put.
Let's all eat steak!

Larry
-------------------------------------------------------------
Larry,

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!

Tom Crouser,
Kanawha County, West Virginia

Captive Codices?

Click on the link below for details:

http://www.journal-news.net/page/content.detail/id/566877/Paperbacks-for-prisoners.html#.Tl5NcXMxC0A.email

Friday, August 26, 2011

Passing the "Smell" Test

Click on the link below for the news story:

http://www.journal-news.net/page/content.detail/id/566659/Kump-to-introduce-oversight-legislation.html?nav=5006#.TlepQxU9mNc.email



Postscript: I also will be drafting legislation to make the Public Service Commission more acconutable.

This Situation Stinks!

Click on the green headline below for the entire story:

Berkeley Co. Council to discuss alleged sewer violations
Source: herald-mail.com

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.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

WV Legislature Tramples Equal Justice

 Refusing to grant even a token public hearing on the new West Virginia House of Delegates redistricting proposal (HB 201), House of Delegates Legislative Leaders  continued to spurn outraged citizens and orchestrated yet another gerrymandered outcome, once again denying the principle and practice of  "one man - one vote" as well as also denying more fair representation of local communities.

 A previous session of the Legislature earlier this month approved the Constitutionally required redistricting for the West Virginia State Senate and United States Congressional Districts. These proposals were signed into law by the Acting Governor.

  However, the technically flawed and ill conceived "back room" redistricting proposal for the West Virginia House of Delegates (HB 106) was vetoed by the Acting Governor, requiring yet another and expensive special legislative session to redo the redistricting for the House of Delegates (the new HB 201).

  Concern already has  been voiced that HB 201 has  been yet another rushed and "insider" production by the House of Delegates Leadership, containing numerous drafting errors.

  From the Eastern Panhandle and voting as well as cosponsoring today for the "one man - one vote" amendment to HB 201 were  Delegates Daryl Cowles, Larry D. Kump, Walter Duke, Eric Householder,and John Overington. Delegates Tiffany Lawrence and John Doyle also voted Yea, but were not cosponsors of the amendment.  Not voting and not present at the Legislative Session was Delegate Jonathan Miller. No Eastern Panhandle Delegates voted Nay. The amendment failed (Roll Call # 545: 55 Nays, 41Yeas, and 5 Not Voting)

 Although numerous court challenges are poised to be filed on HB 201 (if the Acting Governor signs the final passage of HB201 into law), the final verdict on this miscarriage of justice will be rendered by Mountain State voters when they vote in the 2012 elections. 

 Please share this message with others.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Road Apples (a Letter to the Editor)

 The Charleston Daily Mail's Thursday, August 18th "West Virginians Want One Delegate Districts " editorial accurately reflects the public outcry for state legislators to repent of efforts to disenfranchise voters.
 
 Ongoing legislative efforts to thwart "one man -one vote" in West Virginia and gerrymander legislative districts for partisan political ends is nothing more than  a serving of steaming road apples.
 
 If the Legislature  and Governor fail to do their duty and fulfill their sacred oaths of office, then the citizens no doubt will appeal to the courts for justice.
 
 In any case, the final appeal will be decided by voters in the 2012 elections.
 
Delegate Larry D. Kump
  
 
Post 2012 Election Postscript: Notwithstanding the rampant and poltically partisan election districts gerrymanding by the political party in power, West Virginia voters still were able to make their voices heard and throw many of those rascals out. More to come in 2014.

WV Special Session Update

HB 201 is the title of the newly introduced bill on legislative redistricting that now is being considered in the West Virginia House of Delegates.

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.

Friday, August 12, 2011

WV Legislature Called Back into Another Session

Another Special Session of the Legislature, regarding a "Do-Over" of HB 106 (redistricting the West Virginia House of Delegates), will convene at 12:00 Noon, Thursday, August 18th.

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")

Thursday, August 11, 2011

WV Governor to Order a "Do-Over"

After a tidal wave of outrage from citizens about the ill-conceived and poorly executed legislation recently enacted by the West Virginia Legislature, West Virginia's Acting Governor has announced that he will veto HB 106 on redistricting the elected representation in the West Virginia House of Delegates.

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

Monday, August 8, 2011

WV Special Legislative Session News

The two major outcomes of the West Virginia 2011 Special Legislative Session were the vote to completely eliminate the grocery sales tax and the legislative redistricting for the 2012 elections.

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.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Fighting for Legislative Justice

Delegate Larry D. Kump, speaking in the Chamber of the West Virginia House of Delegates on behalf of single-member legislative districts:

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Vote on Single Member Districts

Minutes ago, the West Virginia House of Delegates voted down a proposed amendment to HB 106 (39 YEAS and 61 Nays, Roll Call Vote #511, 1:12 PM 8/04/11). The amendment would have created single-member election districts throughout the State of West Virginia.

Eastern Panhandle Delegates voting FOR single-member districts were Berkeley and Morgan County Delegates Larry D. Kump, Walter Duke, John Overington, Jonathan Miller, Daryl Cowles, and Eric Householder. Voting AGAINST single-member districts were Jefferson County Delegates John Doyle and Tiffany Lawrence.

HB 106 now is awaiting further action by the House of Delegates.

Postscript: The House of Delegates will reconvene at 12:00 Noon on Friday, August 5th, 2011, and will consider further amendments at that time.


Please share this news with others, and also let all your West Virginia legislators know how you feel about how they voted on this issue, which will affect all of West Virginia for the next ten years.

Legislators Shun Citizen Scrutiny

Yesterday afternoon, the West Virginia House of Delegates voted against the process proposal by Delegate Tim Armstead (R-Kanawha) to create 100 single member delegate districts, but, and perhaps even sadder, they also voted against allowing a reasonable time for grass-roots citizen voters to be able to review and provide feedback to legislators on the gerrymandered redistricting proposal before allowing amendment votes.

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!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Leaders Stonewall Reform

The leadership of the West Virginia House of Delegates and the House Redistricting Committee successfully opposed each and every amendment offered to amend and improve legislative redistricting.

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.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Just FYI & for the Record

The West Virginia Republican Party is hosting an executive committee meeting on Saturday, July 23rd at the Bavarian Inn in Shepherdstown, WV.


During that meeting, they will be considering a proposal by Republican Party Leaders to have a convention to elect many of West Virginia's delegates to the National Republican Convention, instead of a Primary Election to chose all of West Virginia's Republican Delegates for the 2012 Republican National Convention.


I am adamantly opposed to a convention and only will support a Primary Election for the election of all of West Virginia's Republican National Convention Delegates for the 2012 Presidential election.


Delegate Larry D. Kump, R-Morgan & Berkeley Counties.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Who Should Pay?

A Letter to the Editor of the Morgan Messenger printed on Wednesday, July 20th, 2011:

Dear Editor,

Your recent (July 13th, www.morgan-messenger.com) editorial lamenting the expense of political party conventions to taxpayers strikes a chord deep in my heart.

Political party primaries are a huge improvement over political party conventions, because political primaries give a direct vote for candidates to the voters, and political conventions do not.

Nevertheless, you are absolutely correct in proposing that taxpayers should not bear the expense of financing political party primaries.

Delegate Larry D. Kump
Falling Waters

Friday, June 17, 2011

Sent to a Citizen Outside My District

Dear XXXXXX,

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

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Special Legislative Session Set on WV Redistricting

If you would, please spread the word that the Speaker of the House of Delegates has indicated that the Special Session of the Legislature on Redistricting probably will be convened on Monday, August 1st.

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.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Returning & Reporting on Redistricting

The first official meeting of the West Virginia House of Delegates Redistricting Committee yesterday mostly was a proforma and procedural non-event.

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.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Now is the Time

Take a moment to learn more about what's going on with legislative redistricting.

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.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Update on Upcoming "Town Hall" Forums

West Virginia Delegates Daryl Cowles, Walter Duke, Eric Householder, Larry D. Kump, John Overington, and Jonathan Miller are hosting a series of "Town Hall" forums in Berkeley and Morgan counties.

It is the Constitutionally required duty of the West Virginia Governor to call a forthcoming, but yet to be scheduled, special session of the West Virginia Legislature to realign the legislative districts of West Virginia's Delegates, Senators, and Congressional Representatives.

These public forums will focus exclusively and seek additional citizen feedback on this process for their voting districts.


The purpose of these forums is to help promote a fair and open political process while striving also to preserve the unity of local communities within voting districts and to avoid multi-county voting districts in the House of Delegates.

Information providing at these public forums will include census data, population growth statistics, maps showing the updated populations by precincts, and also current legislative district boundaries.

Forum meeting dates, times, and places are as follows:


*Tuesday, May 31st, 2011, 6:00 PM-8:00 PM: Angus & Ale Steakhouse, 146 South Ridge Drive, Berkeley Springs, WV.

*Thursday, June 2nd, 2011, 6:00 PM-8:00 PM: CNB Bank Community Building, 2646 Hedgesville Road (building is immediately behind the bank), Hedgesville, WV (near "Panhandle Motors").

*Saturday, June 4th, 2011, 10:00 AM-12:00 Noon: Bedington Volunteer Fire Department, 775 Bedington Road, Bedington, WV.

*Tuesday, June 7th, 2011, 6:00 PM-8:00 PM: First Baptist Church, 634 Middleway Pike, Inwood, WV.

*Wednesday, June 8th, 2011, 6:00 PM-8:00 PM: Martinsburg City Council Meeting Room, 232 North Queen Street, Martinsburg, WV.


All citizens are encouraged to attend and participate in these forums.

These meetings are not being conducted at taxpayer expense, and town hall forums in other nearby counties also are under consideration and discussion.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Gerrymandering Stalks West Virginia Voters?

Click on link below for the newspaper story:

Districts will be redrawn to address shift in West Virginia population
Source: times-news.com

 


Also note that Delegate Kump previously introduced a proposed West Virginia Constitutional Amendment in the 2011 legislative session, to make legislative redistricting done on a non-partisan and equitable basis. He will continue this effort.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Gerry Manders Us at Our Peril

Anna Maria,

That is an excellent question, and one which I hope that non-office holding citizens all over West Virginia continue to bring up to each and every one of their legislators and via every other available communication outlet.

There should be a huge and adamant public outcry on this important voting rights issue.

The Senate Acting President authorized Senate Majority Leader John Unger to hold public feedback forums on the Senate redistricting process, but Speaker of the House Rick Thompson so far has not addressed this fundamental electoral concern.

Meanwhile, word on the street is that House Democrat Delegates are having their own internal backroom and kitchen table strategy sessions on how to push through their partisan gerrymandering schemes with their large voting majority in the House of Delegates.

For instance there was great concern recently voiced at the Senate redistricting forum meeting in Martinsburg that there is a supposed Democrat conspiracy afoot to split little Morgan County into three Delegate districts that they then would have to share with Berkeley County.

There now is talk among a few folks about just going ahead and organizing independent town hall meetings on this issue if the Speaker of the House doesn't schedule bi-partisan public hearings soon.

The important thing is to have single member election districts that fairly concentrates voters in reasonable community centered districts that, insofar as possible, do not cross county lines, regardless of who is an incumbent.

Larry


Message-----
From: Anna Maria
Sent: May 17, 2011 8:00 AM
To: "Larry D. Kump"

Are the Delegates going to have any mtgs regarding single delegate districts &/or redistricting? I know the Senate is having mtgs but have not seen if the delegates are going to have a public forum for input.

Thanks,
Anna Maria

Back Room Political Shenanigans?

The following letter to the editor was published this morning by the Martinsburg, West Virginia Journal:

On Wednesday evening, the 4th of May, 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.

Rainer Kissel

Saturday, May 14, 2011

"Smart" (A Leadership Primer?)

My librarian friend Dana is anxious to help me be a smarter and better self-actualized legislator, so she shared this with me:


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?

Monday, April 18, 2011

Gambling or Groceries?

There has been some confusion and publicity in our Eastern Panhandle about which Delegates voted for or against entirely eliminating the West Virginia grocery tax, as well as consternation and confusion about which Delegates voted for a $100 million giveaway of tax dollars for gambling dens to buy new slot machines (SB550)

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.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Gambling Away Prosperity

West Virginia Senate Bill 550 recently was signed into law, and it's,pure and simple, just plain bad governance and bad news for West Virginia.


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
unwary public.


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.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Even More State Budget News

Click on the link below:

http://www.journal-news.net/page/content.detail/id/559041/Savings--Study-of-PEIA-rolls-finds-millions-wasted.html?nav=5003


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.

Friday, March 25, 2011

More about the Law of Unintended Consequences

Click on the link below:

http://www.journal-news.net/page/content.detail/id/558120/Expect-controversial--meth--bill-to-return.html?nav=5003


The above Saturday, March 19th newspaper editorial provides an important learning opportunity about the "Law of Unintended Consequences".

Well intentioned lawmakers and others are rightly concerned about the use of common cold medications to produce the life destroying and devastating "Meth" drug.

They then rush to respond by attempting to restrict this over-the-counter drug abuse, by trying to make these otherwise benign medications illegal without a doctor's prescription.

And, as Hamlet once said, therein "lies the rub".

In attempting to deal with a minority rogue criminal element, should the majority of us be punished and our freedom diminished?

Is there an "absolutely" correct answer?

Perhaps not, but Beckley lawyer James M. Mullins does have an insight.

He simply and effectively argues that "agressive enforcement of existing laws" is a better way.

I agree.

Postscript and Simply Put: The aforementioned "over-the counter" medications aleady require folks to show proper identification to the pharmacist, sign for receipt, and restrict the amount of medication received. A much better idea would to require pharmacists to report these purchases to a central data bank and then share this information with law enforcement agencies. In this way, medication "surfing" at various pharmacies by "Meth" addicts could be monitored and stopped - all without imposing a larger and expensive burden on the rest of us law-abiding folks.
We have all the data and the tools. Let's return, report, and use this data and tools. Let's not make life more difficult for those of us who aren't drug abusing criminals.

By the way, this legislation narrowly failed to win passage this year, but look for it to return. Click on the March 5th, 2011 entry, "More on Meth (HB 2649) for even more.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Legislative Session News Wrap-Up

 The forthcoming West Virginia State Budget continues to be insufficently transparent and accessable for citizen review. In addition to failing to tackle massive unfunded and growing budget liabities, it also has Constitutional flaws in regard to line item accountability.
 
 Some good news from this legislative session is that the Legislative Leaders finally backed off  previous  and spurious claims of no need for a special election for Governor as well as their fall-back preference for "insider" control through a political convention. Moreover, I and other delegates sponsored legislation to require a Special Primary election for Governor, thereby giving citizens a direct vote. The Special Primary election now is scheduled for Saturday, May 14th. Are you registered to vote?
 
 Other good news is the reduction of the grocery sales tax from 3% to 2%, even though the Speaker of the House of Delegates procedurally blocked an amendment proposed by me and thirteen other delegates, which would have completely eliminated the grocery tax.
 
 Even more good news is the final failure to pass HB 2946, which would have required doctors' prescriptions for common cold medicines. Voting for HB 2946 were Delegates Doyle, Duke, Lawrence, and Overington. Voting against HB 2946 were Delegates Cowles, Householder, Kump, and J. Miller (Roll Call Vote #196).
 
 Yet another bit of good news was the failure of a Constitutional Amendment to make it easier for local and county governments to pass non-school bonds and levies, thereby raising property taxes (SJR 9 & HJR 29). Delegates John Doyle and Tiffany Lawrence were sponsors of HJR 29.
 
 The worst bit of news was passage of SB 608, mandating an over $43 million increase in motor vehicle fees. Voting for SB 608 were Delegates Doyle and Lawrence. Voting against SB 608 were Delegates Cowles, Duke, Householder, Kump, J. Miller, and Overington. (Roll Call Vote # 342). Along with this bad news was that the Legislature also spent $100 million (SB 550) to buy new gambling machines for state approved betting parlors. Voting against SB 550 were Delegates Coles, Duke, Householder, Kump, J.Miller, and Overington. Delegate Doyle voted for SB 550 and Delegate Lawrence was excused from voting, inasmuch as she is employed by one of the recipients of this funding.
 
 Again, are you registered to vote?

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Reprieve on Property Tax Increases

 SJR 9, a proposed Constitutional Amendment which would have made it much easier for county and local governments to pass non-school bonds and levies (and thereby increasing our property taxes) was not brought to a final passage vote in the House of  Delegates.
 
 Accordingly, SJR 9 will not go to the voters for a referendum vote and it will not become law.
 
 
Note: Also visit the Friday, March 4th, 2011 "Legislative Action Alert!" entry for further details about SJR 9.

 
Postscript: The House of Delegates' version of SJR 9 was HJR 29. Among HJR 29's sponsors were Delegates John Doyle and Tiffany Lawrence. For further details on this and all other legislation, go to "Links" on the right hand side of this website and click on "WV State Legislature".

"Obamacare" System Approved for West Virginia

The Democrat majority of the West Virginia House of Delegates today approved an Obamacare "Health Insurance Exchange" system for West Virginians with final passage of SB 408 (Roll Call #379, 63-34).

Eastern Panhandle Delegates voting for SB 408 were Doyle and Lawrence. Voting against SB 408 were Delegates Cowles, Duke, Householder, Kump, J. Miller, and Overington.

On Wisconsin?

 
http://frodo/wv/House/H_Resolutions/hr42%20intr.pdf

This resolution (see above link to the West Virginia Legislative Website) was introduced on the floor of the West Virgina House of Delegates on Saturday, March 12th. However, the Speaker of the House did not allow it to be voted upon by the Delegates.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Legislators Gamble Away & Increase Your Taxes

 On Friday evening, March 11th, legislators in the House of Delegates managed to vote in favor of both gambling away and increasing your taxes.
 
 SB 550 (Roll Call #337,  68-30) will increase the amount of bets that can be made at race tracks and also appropriates $100 million to state sanctioned betting parlors to upgrade their gambling machine equipment. (In the Eastern Panhandle: Delegates Cowles, Duke, Householder, Kump, J. Miller, and Overington voted NAY. Delegate Doyle voted YEA. Delegate Lawrence was excused from voting.)
 
 SB 608 (Roll Call #342, 58-39) will grossly increase our motor vehicle fees for services and documents. (In the Eastern Panhandle: Delegates Cowles,  Duke, Householder, Kump, J. Miller, and Overington voted NAY. Delegates Doyle and Lawrence voted YEA).
 
 West Virginia cannot afford to eliminate the grocery tax or provide proper upkeep of our roads, but can we afford to gamble away $100 million of tax revenue to promote gambling while increasing motor vehicle fees on those who can least afford it?
 
  Is this someone's idea of a sick joke?
 
 If so, I'm not laughing.
 
 

Americans for Prosperity Applaud Kump

NEWS RELEASE

 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, March 11, 2011

Contact: James Valvo (703) 224-3200

 

Americans for Prosperity Applauds West Virginia State Delegate Larry Kump

-Signs No Climate Tax Pledge-

 

Arlington, Va.—The free market grassroots group Americans for Prosperity (AFP) today applauded West Virginia State Delegate Larry Kump (52nd District) for signing the group's "No Climate Tax Pledge."  Kump joins over 500 lawmakers and candidates on the federal, state and local levels pledging to "oppose legislation relating to climate change that includes a net increase in government revenue." 

 

"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 Phil Kerpen.  "We encourage all of West Virginia's elected officials and candidates for elected office to sign the pledge."

 

West Virginia signers include: U.S. Representative David McKinley; and State Delegates Troy Andes, Kelli Sobonya, Linda Sumner and Jonathan Miller.  

 

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 www.americansforprosperity.org

Americans for Prosperity does not support or oppose candidates for public office.

###

 

 

 

 

James Valvo

Director of Government Affairs

Americans for Prosperity

 

2111 Wilson Blvd.

Suite 350

Arlington, VA 22201

 

Cell: (248) 875-3387

Direct: (703) 224-3224

Fax: (703) 224-3201

 

Thursday, March 10, 2011

"Sudafed" Prescription Bill (HB2946)

The West Virginia Senate today rejected final passage of HB 2946.


See "More on Meth", "Sudafed Up?", and "Legislative Session News Report #7" entries at this website for more details about this legislative proposal.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Legislative Session News Report #8

 The West Virginia Legislature now is racing to finish passage of legislation by Midnight, Saturday night, and many of the major issues will remain unresolved until the last stroke of the clock. The Legislature will continue to meet during the following week to approve the final version of the annual state government budget for the coming year.
 
 Meanwhile, the Senate has resurrected the immediate reduction of the grocery tax from 3% to 2% by amending HB 2971. When the Senate's action on HB 2971 was brought to the House of Delegates for a vote on Wednesday evening (March 9th), I and thirteen other delegates authored another amendment to completely eliminate the grocery tax. Sadly, the Speaker of the House of Delegates ruled this amendment attempt as out of order, so I and an overwhelming majority of the House  of Delegates subsequently voted to concur with the Senate's amendment to HB 2971 in order to at least reduce the food tax from 3% to 2%. It now is expected that Acting Governor Tomblin will sign HB 2971 into law.
 
  In other developments, I have met with the Attorney General's Chief Deputy regarding the need to protect West Virginia's right to access our Potomac River water resource. The Potomac River jurisdiction long has been claimed by Maryland, even though the West Virginia watershed contributes 23.8 % of the water to that river. More to come, including public meetings between the Attorney General and local stakeholders on this issue.
 
 Also, in regard to post legislative session "Interim Studies" by the Legislature, I have proposed that the Senior Citizens Issues Committee investigate the effect of West Virginia laws and regulations on our senior citizens, including an analysis of the size and growth of West Virginia's elderly population as well as a comparison to that of other and surrounding states.
 
 In regard to citizen protection against fraud, I am working with the Attorney General Consumer Protection Division. Furthermore, their Senior Citizens Liaison, Julia R.Stevenson, has invited senior citizens with individual concerns and problems to contact her directly at (304) 636-6466 or (800) 368-8808.
 
 The Legislature soon again will assemble in a special session this Spring to approve new citizen voting districts for West Virginia's Senators and Delegates. These new voting districts will be based on the population change results from the 2010 census. During that session, I will work in favor of creating voting districts that more reasonably reflect and represent the folks in local communities, instead of designing districts to protect the re-election of incumbent legislators and the special interests of political parties.
  

Monday, March 7, 2011

Art's & George's Calls to Action

Art Callaham's previous newspaper column promoting nonpartisan local elections is worthy of serious reflection.("The timing is right to take politics out of local elections", Herald-Mail, March 6th, 2011, www.herald-mail.com)

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
citizen empowerment.

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.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

More on "Meth" (HB 2649)

Friday, March 4, 2011

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
E-mail: jim@mullinslawoffices.com

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").