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Community activists fear new WV House rule could stifle public dissent for legislation

By Phil Kabler, Charleston Gazette-Mail

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Rules changes adopted by the West Virginia House of Delegates could stifle dissent during the 2021 legislative session, some lobbyists and community activists fear.

“They’ve got the votes to run just about anything up there, while keeping the public out,” Gary Zuckett, executive director of the West Virginia Citizens Action Group, said of the changes to rules for public hearings in the House. With 77 of 100 seats, Republicans have a supermajority in the House.

Zuckett is joining other lobbyists and community leaders in drafting a letter to Speaker Roger Hanshaw, R-Clay, encouraging House leadership to revisit changes to House Rule 84 adopted last week.

Previously, if there were a request for a public hearing on a bill pending before a House committee, the committee chairperson was obligated to hold a public hearing on the matter before the committee could take up the bill.

With the rule change, adopted on a voice vote during last Wednesday’s one-day organizational session, that public hearing may be scheduled at any time up to the bill’s passage vote on the House floor (House Resolution 1)…

To read more: https://www.wvgazettemail.com/news/legislative_session/community-activists-fear-new-wv-house-rule-could-stifle-public-dissent-for-legislation/article_2ef73e2e-1518-5a7a-b63a-2ba2c86a6be8.html

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