May 20, 2014

The never-ending session

Regular sessions of the WV legislature generally last 60 days, which meant this year's ended in early March. Except it kind of didn't. No sooner did it end than a major corporate law firm bypassed democracy and launched a major effort to get the governor to veto a minimum wage increase. The struggle to fight off the veto threat lasted several days, but even then it wasn't over.

Governor Tomblin and legislative leaders agreed to call a special session this month in part to deal with technical problems with the bill but preserve its main purpose. I'm hoping that gets resolved once and for all tomorrow without any surprises or drama. More on that here.

There's other leftover baggage from the session as well. In his proposed budget, the governor cut around $980,000 from early childhood and domestic violence programs. The House and Senate eventually restored the cuts, but the governor used his line item veto power after the session to cut the programs again.

While some of funding has been restored, around $800,000 remains, which means some battered women won't get needed services and some may die. And vulnerable kids and families will miss out on needed services. And around 80 dedicated people in various useful social services will lose their jobs.

More than 200 people from all over WV, including yours truly, hit the capitol today to oppose the cuts, but that situation won't be fixed in the short term. More on that here and here. The struggle to restore funding is likely to continue into the summer, with more struggles likely to come.

I'm once again reminded of those Dylan lines where he ponders what price we have to pay to get out of doing everything twice. Actually, at this point, just having to do it twice looks pretty good.

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