BY TAYLOR BENNETT, POLICY COORDINATOR, THE HUB
This week, a storm is looming on the horizon as teachers and public school employees organize against the sweeping Omnibus Bill that has been hurtling through the legislative process at break-neck speed.
And I have a question.
The parliamentary acrobatics that the Senate has undergone – specifically, the use of a Committee of the Whole – in order to move this bill along so quickly has meant that the bulk of the work our legislators need to complete in the short, 60 day session has been put on hold.
Regular committee meetings have been cancelled so that Senators can attend the Committee of the Whole to debate the Omnibus Bill. This means that many other policies which arguably, could provide much needed assistance to West Virginia’s communities – like SB 4 or SB 29– have been pushed to the side.
Our legislative session is a short one, and yet each year it seems that one bill rises to the top of legislators priority lists, limiting the amount of work that gets done. I’m concerned that this is happening again and that regardless of how fast the Senate is able to rush this bill through, that it will continue to co-opt the legislative process as it moves along.
Let me be clear: the practice of public discussion around policies – particularly those which stand to have as sweeping an impact as the Omnibus Bill does – is absolutely vital. At the same time, it is the charge of our Legislators to introduce, review, and pass policies which meet the needs of the citizens of West Virginia.
So my question is this:
There are hundreds of bills – many of which could provide much needed assistance to WV communities – that are awaiting consideration by committees and on the Senate floor. Whether they choose to review the Omnibus bill or not, shouldn’t Senators be moving bills forward in a manner that allows the legislative process to continue to handle the massive amount of bills waiting for review?
What questions are you asking?