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Regional News, Events, and Activities

The following meeting information concerning state-wide and area news, events, and activities is updated at the beginning of each calendar month. Please check with the originating organization because of likely cancellations or changes since they were originally posted here. See Local News for non-CCSJ events and activities organized and/or occurring in the Morgantown area.

"DIVISIVE EDUCATION" and WV LEGISLATURE

The following information was sent by the West Virginia Coalition for Truth in History. Web links will be added shortly.

On Thursday, January 13, three bills were introduced/reintroduced prohibiting discussion of "divisive" topics and teaching of "Critical Race Theory." This is what we anticipated.

SB182 states: A BILL to amend the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, by adding thereto a new section, designated §18-2-44, relating to the teaching of divisive acts and critical race theory in West Virginia schools; providing definitions; prohibiting public schools and charter schools from teaching or training students to believe certain divisive concepts; allowing a teacher to be dismissed or not re-employed for teaching or training students to believe certain divisive concepts; providing certain construction; providing for promulgation of rules; providing for codification; and providing an effective date.

And among the avalanche of bills introduced were three bills the Coalition was expecting, brought back from last year:

Senate Bill 45: Prohibiting certain divisive acts from school curriculum, state agencies, and any groups receiving state funding, by Sen. Robert Karnes, R-Randolph, double referenced to Education and then Judiciary. (Karnes serves on both committees.)SB 182: Prohibiting teaching of divisive acts and critical race theory in public schools, by Sen. Michael Azinger, R-Wood, co-sponsored by Rupie Phillips, R-Logan, also double-referenced to Education and Judiciary. House Bill 2595: Prohibit “divisive concepts” from schools, state agencies and any groups receiving state funding, by Del. Riley Keaton, R-Roane, co-sponsored by Dels. Josh Holstein, R-Boone; Trenton Barnhart, R-Pleasants; and Johnnie Wamsley, R-Mason; triple-referenced to Workforce Development, then Education, then Judiciary.
If you would like to follow these, or any other bills, you can start by going to this page.

NEXT STEPS
 We will want to try to keep these bills from getting onto the agenda of the Committee they are assigned to. You should call, email, speak in person to these folks. Use your talking points. To find contact information for each person click on the link provided below. Alright folks, it's time to work!!

Senate Education Committee
Senator Rucker - Chair
Senator Roberts - Vice-Chair

Senate Judiciary Committee
Senator Trump - Chair
Senator Weld - Vice-Chair

House Workforce Development
Delegate Westfall - Chair

House Education Committee
Delegate Ellington - Chair
Delegate Hornbuckle - Minority Chair
Delegate Thompson - Minority Vice-Chair
House Judiciary Committee
Delegate Capito - Chair
Delegate Fast - Vice-Chair
Delegate Lovejoy - Minority Chair
Delegate Brown - Minority Vice-Chair

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west virginia now

West Virginia NOW has a Facebook page and a web page.

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ACLU WEST VIRGINIA

ACLU Posts New Year's Resolutions: “Here are our resolutions for our 101st year of work in the Mountain State:

“1. Defend Reproductive Freedom – We will continue to oppose any attempt to legislate forced birth on West Virginians, and we’ll keep fighting not just for the right to abortion, but also access for all who need it.

“2. Reform Our Brutal Incarceration System – West Virginia’s jails are bursting at the seams. Most of the people being held in our regional jails haven’t been found guilty of a crime; they’re just too poor to afford bail. These overcrowded facilities are breeding grounds for COVID-19. At one point in 2021, more than one in seven people at North Central Regional Jail was infected. We will advocate forcefully in the upcoming session for a bill capping regional jails at their maximum occupancy levels, in addition to many other reforms of our brutal criminal legal system.

“3. Protect Our LGBTQ+ Neighbors – When the Legislature banned trans girls from playing sports in 2021, we promised to take the state to court. Weeks after the session ended, we made good on that promise. This summer, we secured an injunction against the discriminatory ban for our 11-year-old client, Becky. There are already rumors that lawmakers will take up bills banning lifesaving medical care for trans youth and allowing businesses to discriminate in the name of religion. We won’t stand by while state lawmakers attack our communities for political gain.

“4. Defend Democracy – The 2022 elections will be a crucial moment for civil liberties and we’ll do our part to make sure voters are informed of the issues and that they can continue to participate in our democracy safely. Because of the pandemic, West Virginia allowed everyone to vote by mail in 2020. The program was a huge success, helping lead to the second-highest turnout in our history. Voting by mail is effective and it’s safe. It’s time to let West Virginia vote by mail permanently.

“5. Resist Efforts to Criminalize Poverty – West Virginia is one of the poorest states in the nation, and from the state to the local level, elected leaders seem hellbent on making it a crime to be poor. We will never stop advocating for an equitable society, whether that means defending evidence-based harm reduction efforts, opposing panhandling and “nuisance property” laws, or fighting to reform our cash bail system.

“6. Protect Immigrants – West Virginia has one of the lowest undocumented populations in the country, but one of the highest ICE arrest rates. As Congress continues to shamefully drag its feet on passing immigration reform, it’s up to us to help our immigrant neighbors know their rights and fight back.

“7. Build for the Next 101 Years – As long as this nation exists, we will need the ACLU to uphold democratic processes, fight for civil rights and civil liberties, and make our systems more genuinely inclusive and equitable for all people. We need you to join us in fighting the battles ahead and building for the future.”

ACLU Bill or Rights Bash is on March 19th: “Join the ACLU-WV staff, board and friends for an evening of civil rights and celebration!

“We hope you can be a part of our Bill of Rights Bash fundraiser this year as we celebrate the work of the ACLU of West Virginia, honor giants in the civil liberties community, and look forward to the challenges ahead.

“Three outstanding West Virginians will also be honored at this event: Rabbi Victor Urecki and Ibtesam Barazi will receive the Sid Bell Memorial Award for their service to the ACLU of West Virginia, and West Virginia Delegate Danielle Walker will receive the Roger Baldwin Award for her service to our state.

“Interested in being a sponsor? View sponsorship options and descriptions here, and contact Rose
Winland at rwinland@acluwv.org with questions.

“We are looking forward to seeing you at the Bill of Rights Bash!” The event will be held at the Beni Kedem Temple, 100 Quarrier Street, Charleston, WV 25301.

See more about ACLU West Virginia here or Facebook. Email them at mail@acluwv.org.

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FAIRNESS WEST VIRGINIA

“The 2022 legislative session is just around the corner, and we’re expecting an unprecedented number
of attacks against LGBTQ West Virginians. Some lawmakers want to make it legal for foster care
agencies to turn away LGBTQ kids and parents, and others want to ban gender affirming health care
that that is lifesaving for transgender people. Now, more than ever, we need to stand together as a
community to push back against these attacks!

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“That’s why we’re launching the Fairness For All Day at the state capitol! On Jan. 21, 2022, hundreds of
LGBTQ people and our allies from across the state will come to Charleston to lobby for full equality.”

RSVP for January 21st here.

Please go here to submit contact information to join the team.

Follow Fairness West Virginia on Facebook or at their website.