WEST VIRGINIA (WOAY) – West Virginia’s 2022 legislative session came to a hard close Saturday, March 12.
Many major bills did not pass due to a number of reasons. A missed deadline was the case for the Anti-Racism Act, a bill that would restrict how racism is taught in schools.
Reaching final passage right at midnight Saturday, the Senate staff concluded the bill failed to get passed an hour later.
“A bill has to be declared passed by the Chair, so a vote occurs and then the deciding officer has to declare the outcome of that vote,” says Senate Minority Leader in the state, Stephen Baldwin (D-Greenbrier). “And in this case, he apparently declared the outcome of that vote just literally seconds after midnight.”
Many of the other bills on the forefront were not being prioritized by lawmakers. Baldwin mentions a few major ones that ended up being overlooked, such as the Insulin Cap Bill and the Foster Care Bill.
The Insulin Cap Bill would have put a $35 per month cap on insulin. The Foster Care Bill would have gone towards improving the quality of children’s life in the foster care system.
With the highest number per capita of diabetics in the state and over 6,000 kids in foster care, Baldwin thinks not passing such bills is a major blow.
“Prices are so high right now, that’s something that we could have done to put money back into people’s pockets immediately,” he says. “For the Foster Care Bill, this will mean now that there is no more transparency or accountability on the DHHR, I think everybody agrees it’s an untenable situation right now. What it means basically is that nothing changes, we’re going to have more of the same.”
Baldwin is among several other lawmakers in attendance at this year’s 60-day session who are not happy with the outcome.
“I thought it was a waste of time. I mean frankly, I just thought it was a waste of time. What did we accomplish?”
Other bills that were not passed at this year’s session included the 15-week abortion ban, the Equal Rights Amendment, and unemployment bills.