Bluefield Daily Telegraph. January 19, 2022.
Editorial: Bad idea: W.Va.’s bill is flawed from the start
It happens almost every year. Once a new legislative session begins, a few bad ideas are introduced as bills that make us shake our heads.
The first week of the 2022 session of the West Virginia Legislature was no exception. Senate Bill 236 is probably one of the biggest headaches introduced so far in the session.
Sponsored by two Democrats, Senator Mike Romano and Senator Richard Lindsey, the proposed measure would essentially require all citizens of West Virginia to vote or face civil or financial penalty. Any violation of the proposed law would be a civil offence.
“Anyone who is an eligible voter but does not vote in a general election and does not have an exception or exemption approved by the clerk is subject to a civil penalty not exceeding $50 or eight hours of community service and any breach thereof constitutes a civil offence,” reads the text of the measure.
Good grief. Of course, everyone should vote. However, no one should be threatened with a fine or community service for not voting.
This bill, while well intentioned, is essentially another government mandate.
Let’s be clear about this.
Yes, every registered voter in the Mountain State should vote every election cycle. there is no doubt.
And if you don’t vote, better have a good reason not to vote. Don’t complain on social media after the election is over if you didn’t vote.
However, here in deeply red West Virginia, talk of taxing the vote — and penalizing voters who don’t vote with a fine or community service — isn’t going to fly.
A registered voter who misses an election cycle may have a legitimate reason for doing so. He or she may not be satisfied with the candidates on the ballot or have a medical or physical condition that prevents him or her from voting in a particular election cycle. Of course, they can vote by mail, but some voters prefer to vote in person at their local polling station.
Everyone should be strongly encouraged to vote in every election cycle. It’s that simple. You encourage, but you do not oblige.
Hopefully, this Democratic-backed measure won’t go very far in the Republican-controlled West Virginia Legislature.
Parkersburg News and Sentinel. January 20, 2022.
Editorial: The new department still needs accountability
If you’re wondering what’s going on at the newly created West Virginia Department of Economic Development, you’re not alone. On Monday, House Technology and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Daniel Linville, R-Cabell, introduced House Bill 4001, which would create a Legislative Oversight Commission on Department of Development accountability. economic.
“First and foremost, we want to make sure the dollars we deploy are well spent,” Linville said. “The department was created last year and most other departments have a legislative oversight board to oversee, protect and balance the work they do.”
While it’s tempting to say that the last thing West Virginia needs is another layer of government, in this case it’s badly needed, and lawmakers should get there quickly.
Much of what the new ministry says it does was previously handled by the Department of Commerce. But the creation of an economic development department also created the need for a director – a position that seemed tailor-made for the person in it. Former Republican State Senate Speaker Mitch Carmichael is also a former employee of Frontier Communications and Bridgeport-based communications provider Citynet.
And, while his new office so far gives the appearance of doing a good job, lawmakers have every right to want to know more about that job.
“From a political point of view, we want to make sure that the policies we try to put in place are followed through and that we keep the dialogue open between the executive branch and the legislative branch throughout the year. on these initiatives,” says Linville.
He is right; and some of the elements of the bill intended to serve as a layer of consumer protection are also important.
Yes, our state desperately needs as many hands on deck working toward economic diversification and growth as possible. This need should not exempt those doing the work from the same oversight given to all other departments.
The Smart. January 19, 2022.
Editorial: Putting History in the Right Perspective
Across the country, there’s been a realization that maybe it’s time to take another look at historical markers – those little signs we see dotting the landscape with a paragraph or two explaining the significance of a place .
One such review took place in Pennsylvania, where questions after what happened in Charlottesville, Va., in 2017 led to a review of the state’s 2,500 markers.
The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission searched for factual errors, inadequate historical context, and racist or otherwise inappropriate references, according to a report by The Associated Press. So far, two markers have been removed, two have been revised, and new text has been commissioned for two others.
Good. It’s time we got honest about whether the story some of us cling to is a reflection of all of history.
“Being able to tell everyone’s story is good for society as a whole. It’s not about taking anyone else away,” said Diane Turner, curator of the Charles L. Blockson African American Collection at Temple University in Philadelphia. “Let’s have these stories, because the more truth we have, the better. »
The authors of the markers put in place over the last century knew the power of words. To give two examples, the commission ordered changes to a marker at the Philadelphia birthplace of Continental Army Maj. Gen. “Mad” Anthony Wayne, who referred to him as an “Indian fighter”, and removed a marker in Pittsburgh’s Point State Park. where British General John Forbes won a military victory in 1758 and “established Anglo-Saxon supremacy in the United States”.
On the other hand, the review has given Pennsylvania officials the ability to tell the state’s story in richer and more accurate detail.
The efforts in Pennsylvania and elsewhere are significant and should inspire each of us to conduct our own examination by reading the historical markers. Take note of the language used and how the author wanted you to feel about the highlighted event, person or place. Be thoughtful.
History is not something to be erased. This is something that needs to be thoroughly and honestly considered. Looking at how we tell this story is an important step.
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