From Confederate statue protection and the weakening of pollution laws to the phased elimination of state income taxes done in a manner that even the Chamber of Commerce opposes, there is no shortage of bad-intentioned lawmaking being advanced and approved by the legislative supermajority.
But, according to colleague Phil Kabler, the coming week “is when we’ll see the really crazy stuff fly out of committee” in order to get three readings in both houses before March 31 — the last day to consider bills on third reading in their house of origin.
It’s hard to imagine legislation getting any crazier than it has been so far, but I will try:
- The West Virginia War of Northern Aggression Monument Bituminous Content Bill. Requires any new statue or monument honoring Confederate combatants or supporters erected in the state to be a West Virginia-made coal statuette. Facial features and hands may be painted white for authenticity.
- The West Virginia Public School Employees’ One Strike and You’re Out Bill. Teachers and classified personnel in public schools to be paid in scrip redeemable only in supermajority-approved businesses, or not at all in the event of a work stoppage.
- The Hoo Hoo Hollow-Wood Economic Development Bill. Funds the extension of roads and utilities to a site in rural Raleigh County for a family theme park on the scale of what the governor has termed “the next Disney, the next Dollywood — whatever,” since the state has yet to acquire a seacoast.
- The Alternative Energy Stability Assurance Bill. Drops historic preservation designation for what remains of the Blair Mountain Battlefield to accommodate strip mining. Coal from the Mine Wars site is to be burned in outdoor furnaces built at strategic sites bordering the state’s wind energy farms to prevent turbines from “freezing up,” causing Texas-size outages.
- The Thin Green Wall Act of 2021. Deploys West Virginia National Guard troops to state’s southern, northern, eastern and western borders to prevent further out-migration of state’s population seeking opportunity elsewhere. Also sends troops and aircraft to U.S.-Mexico border crossing points to transport selected immigrants to West Virginia to boost population numbers.
- The West Virginia Air Piracy Prevention Bill. Requires all passengers boarding commercial aircraft at West Virginia airports to carry loaded firearms on their persons or in their carry-on baggage. Extra ammunition must be packed in 3.4-ounce containers.