The 2012 West Virginia legislative session finally will end in the wee hours of tomorrow morning, but it has not brought much jubilation to, or even much attention from, most Mountaineers.
However, there are important governing principles and policies which should prompt us to pause and ponder what our elected leaders have been and are doing.
All of us need to better understand and stand up for what we expect from our elected leaders, both here in the West Virginia State House and in our nation's capitol.
Legislators oft are prone to attempt to pass laws, in order to justify continuance in office, and, as Shakespeare once put it, "therein lies the rub".
Not all laws are good laws, and some of this year's proposed and enacted laws should send a chill down the spines of lovers of liberty.
One egregious case in point is the federally mandated "Real ID" law, which took effect here in West Virginia this past January. It makes getting and renewing drivers' licenses a horrible hassle for everyone, but especially for women whose names have changed because of previous marriages or divorces. Most of us are not yet even aware of the true extent of this waking nightmare, but it will get up close and personal for each and every one of us when we go to renew our driving licenses.
Other examples, during the 2012 session of the West Virginia Legislature, included legislative attempts to impose criminal penalties on previously legal activities and also increase the penalties for other crimes. All of this is going on when West Virginia has the second highest rate of prison incarceration in the nation and our local and state governments are reeling from the devastating expense of building and maintaining prisons and jails.
Additional legislative proposals this year also sought to limit our freedom and empower government to further dictate our choices for us.
More and more folks are becoming disgusted with both major political parties. The ranks of unaffiliated or independent voters, as well as those who have completely opted out of even voting at all, are growing.
And yet, our government belongs to each of us, and not the other way around.
Please do your part, keep an eagle eye on all of us elected leaders, and always remember that the job of West Virginia citizen legislators is to work on your behalf and to preserve your liberty.
Meanwhile, visit www.wvsos.com to learn about West Virginia's 2012 candidates in the May primary election and the November general election.
Furthermore, you can click on "WV State Legislature" for more information about specific legislative issues and leaders (right hand side of this webpage, under "Links"), and, finally, click on "Why It Matters" (under "Videos", also on the right hand side of this webpage).
Footnote: Although the 2012 Regular Legislative Session will end after Midnight tonight, legislators also will be at the State Capitol next week to finalize approval of the State Budget.