March 03, 2014

Another day, another hurdle or three

This is night two of being snowed into the capitol of El Cabrero's beloved state of West Virginia to attend the waning days of the legislative session. It is quite a contrast from Goat Rope Farm. For more than 24 hours, I haven't seen or heard any goats, guineas, roosters, cats, dogs or turkeys.

Well, maybe turkeys...

Seriously, though, the home team won a innings today, although the game is still uncertain. Nearest and dearest to my heart is the Future Fund, which would create a permanent source of wealth for WV. It cleared the House Judiciary today. Next stop, finance, then the House floor. If it makes it all the way through, I have taken a sacred oath to get plowed under.

Next, two good bills that already passed the House cleared Senate Judiciary. One, which heads to the floor next, is the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, which is pretty much what it sounds like. It would require employers to make reasonable accommodations to women who are of the pre-partum persuasion.

Another bill was one that I gave up for dead a year or so ago. It is now called the Valued Employee Retention Act, but we called it work sharing back in the day. Basically, it's a reform of unemployment insurance that would let employers cut hours instead of jobs while allowing workers to collect benefits for lost wages. It has one more hurdle before hitting the Senate floor.

Here's an interesting development on another front. One item on the Our Children Our Future platform is a bill that would make the kinds of Sudafed (I've never figured out how to spell that) that can be used to make meth into a prescription drug. Big PHARMA has cried havoc and let slip the dogs of war on this, to coin a phrase. But their claims are bogus. Tamper-proof forms of the drug would remain available above the counter.

Anyway, folks wanting to cut down on WV's meth problems got a boost from an unexpected quarter. Haley Barbour, former governor of Mississippi and head of the Republican National Committee wrote to House members supporting this step. He noted that when his state made it a prescription drug,  meth labs declined by 98 percent. According to Barbour, "This bi-partisan bill may be the most significant drug enforcement legislation in the history of Mississippi."

In the spirit of fair play, ippon (Japanese for full point) for Barbour for this good deed. 

In West Virginia, according to the Eric Eyre of the Charleston Gazette, "Meth lab seizures have more than tripled in West Virginia -- from 154 labs in 2010 to 533 labs last year." That is way uncool. And any kid found in a meth house gets a fast ticket to foster care. Shame on the meth lobby, however they style themselves.

1 comment:

hollowdweller said...

The crystal meth problem in WV is more about economics than addiction.

Pay people a decent wage and give them something in their communities to do other than drugs for recreation and you won't even need laws to reduce the problem.

I have always found in WV the poorer the area, the more rural the county the harder the drugs.

Give people a place to socialize, movies music some concerts and other things and a decent wage and you will see the problem level off.