Thursday, March 17, 2011
Saturday, March 12, 2011
Note: Also visit the Friday, March 4th, 2011 "Legislative Action Alert!" entry for further details about SJR 9.
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.
Friday, March 11, 2011
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
Thursday, March 10, 2011
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Monday, March 7, 2011
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.
Saturday, March 5, 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
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.