You may have noticed that you have not heard a lot out of me here in the last 50 days. That is because I have been, almost daily, occupied with faithfully representing you and your family at the West Virginia Capitol.
Particularly, we have been working to pass a divorce reform measure and to work on an issue that would bring the State’s laws on bullying back into compliance with the First Amendment. We are awaiting the outcome of the former, but are hopeful that it will pass.
Sadly, however, I learned today that our efforts to make sure the State’s laws on bullying apply equally and fairly to everyone have been for naught.
Things seemed on track. The bill unanimously passed the Senate Committee on Education and, after a few weeks of intense negotiations, it passed the Senate Judiciary Committee. On Monday of this week, it was scheduled to be read on the first of three days before it could pass.
But, Senate leadership – at the very last minute – yanked the bill from the agenda and parked it in a place in which it would die a slow death.
This morning, it finally succumbed to that fatal blow. The question you ought to ask is not why it died (that’s obvious, or it will quickly become so). The appropriate question is, “Who killed it?”
We understand that we have the ACLU, Fairness WV, the WVEA, WVAFT, and the WV Board of Education each holding a smoking gun over SB446′s corpse.
The first two are obvious. They seem to be against whatever we stand for, mainly because we stand for it. They don’t seem to need another reason, or even a rational one. In fact, I challenged their lobbyist to tell me what, under the Constitution, made the opposed to our bill. His only response was, “The ACLU and Fairness WV have retained me to kill the bill.” No negotiation, no discussion, no recognition that our current law offends the First Amendment. They just wanted it dead.
As for the teacher unions, well, they seem to pal around the Capitol with the ACLU and their cronies. They lobby together and seem to be of one mind on this and many other issues that would strengthen the family and encourage greater religious freedom. That is not to say that their membership agrees with this tactic or even that they don’t do some good work (I’m sure they manage to some of the time at least); it’s just an observation that I very often see the leadership of the teacher unions working in tandem with several liberal activist groups (sometimes even including the abortion industry).
But, perhaps you are surprised by the Board of Education being on that list. Don’t be. I should have listed them first. Despite my repeated attempts to offer concessions and discuss what changes they would like to see to the bill, they simply dug their heels in the ground, demanded their concerns be mollified, and pouted when they didn’t get what they wanted. I’m not exaggerating! The Board was by far the biggest obstacle to this bill.
To top it all off, it is my understanding – confirmed by several sources – that one of the unelected members of the Board of Education sent a letter to Senate leadership asking that the bill be killed.
It’s hard to compete with such a cadre of expensive lobbyists and cronyism.
About Jeremy Dys
Jeremy Dys is the FPCWV's President and General Counsel. In addition to his duties of providing strategic vision and leadership to the FPCWV, Dys is the chief lobbyist and spokesman. Dys is regularly featured in local, state, and national print, radio, and television outlets. He lives close to Charleston with his wife and growing family.