AND THEN AGAIN……by Tamara Pettit

…..The Bill which wiped out some of the exemptions for childhood vaccines passed on the last day of the session.  Was amended in the Senate to remove the exemption for a parent simply writing a letter.  The Chairman of the Senate Health & Human Resource Committee spoke against passage in an unprecedented move.  A physician himself, he said he could not support the bill.  Is it law?  Not yet, the Governor could veto it.   Please direct all your efforts towards the Governor in the next weeks.

……Every bill that passed is listed in the article regarding the end of the legislature.  You’ll find the short title, bill number and where it stands with Governor.  If you go to the legislative website you can pull up the bill and any amendments.  Problems.  Call me and I’ll guide you through.

……The West Virginia Legislature adjourned “sine die” Saturday night.  A pretty fancy term for West Virginia, but it means “without recall” meaning every bill in the session is now dead.   It’s dramatic.   The clock strikes midnight and Speaker of the House and President of the Senate pound their gavels and loudly proclaim the ___- Session of the Legislature is adjourned sine die.

…..We used to have tv cameras through the end and it was nothing for a bill to slip from the bottom of the pile to the top and 11:59 p.m.   .

……..This session, the budget has passed, so Legislators won’t be called into a special session to pass the budget.    But, that doesn’t mean that the Governor can’t call an extra-ordinary session to fix a clerical or legal error in the title or text or to revisit a bill.   Such was the case in 1994 when the video lottery bill died in the Senate when agreement could not be reached on the percentage management got to keep to run the  casino.  The funding of Gov. Caperton’s computers in the school program had been tied to the money coming from video lottery in House Finance and the computers  went down on the Lottery ship.  Sure nuf, I awoke Sunday morning to hear the Governor was calling us into a extraordinary session to pass the bill, Immediately.  Now.   Get yourself out of bed even though you were up until 3 a.m.   In other words, we weren’t going home until the bill was passed.  It passed quickly.  You know the rest of the story.  (Actually there are parts that have never been told but I think it would take a book.)

……In 1990, the teacher’s pay raise bill died and their was no move by Governor Caperton to call us back.   The legislature, however, upon signature a percentage of its members   can call itself back into session,    Pretty soon, a petition started circulating to call us back into session.    Those who signed it new they were calling down the wrath of the Governor and all his powers upon not only them but their District.  (Like that little industrial access road, fraid we couldn’t find the money to do it this year.)    Calling ourself back into session was an embarrassment and meant the Governor had a legislature out of control.  I was new, naïve and truly thought the teachers deserved the raise.  I signed the petition.  The late Sam Love, the other delegate from the 1st District did not.    As the petition gained votes and the possibility of calling ourself back into session came closer, Caperton himself called us back into session to avoid the embarrassment.  I’ve never regretted doing so because it was quite frankly a question of whether you were in the Legislature to “horse trade” or vote your principals.  I learned about horse trading later when I had to deal with Mountaineer Race Track.