From The Intelligencer/Wheeling News-Register
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) – Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin signed about 200 bills and nixed eight this year, leaving teachers and abortion opponents unsatisfied.
Tomblin earned teachers’ praise by approving their $1,000 raises, but the Democrat governor opted against offering them more freedom in using their planning periods. Teachers backed the proposal that would’ve generally kept principals and administrators from scheduling meetings and assigning other tasks during school day planning times.
In his veto letter, Tomblin said the bill would have blocked collaborative planning efforts among teachers and principals. He argued it would have increased costs for county school boards.
Dale Lee, president of the West Virginia Education Association teachers’ union, said the opposition was surprising, since Tomblin’s office didn’t indicate any problems while the bill glided through the Legislature. Lee disagreed that the bill would’ve burdened school districts with additional costs to hire more teachers.
“This just gave them the ability to say no to things when it was more important to prepare for their classes,” Lee said.
Pro-life crowds detested Tomblin’s decision to veto a bill banning most abortions after 20 weeks gestation. In a fiery election year, the proposal passed the Democrat-controlled Legislature overwhelmingly.
Tomblin said state lawyers worried the bill would be unconstitutional. It resembled a law struck down in Arizona that the U.S. Supreme Court later decided not to reconsider. He said the medical community worried about legal penalties that could hinder doctor-patient relationships.
Tomblin later said he would look at another abortion ban if he considered it constitutional.
A handful of other proposals from the March-through-May session were vetoed. Tuesday was the last day to sign or veto bills…