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Senate President Bill Cole: Statement on petition to stop Senate meeting on Sundays

CHARLESTON – Senate President Bill Cole, R-Mercer, issued the following statement about Senator John Unger’s (D-Berkeley) petition for injunction against the Senate conducting business on Sunday:

“I am extremely disappointed by what is clearly a sad attempt at political gamesmanship and obstructionism. The West Virginia Constitution unambiguously calls for a 60-day legislative session. It makes no exceptions.

Today’s attention-seeking publicity stunt by Senator Unger is embarrassing, not only for him personally, but for this body as a whole. It shows how little respect Senator Unger truly has for the institution of the West Virginia Senate. When Senator Unger was in the majority party, he had absolutely no problem with working on Sundays.

We are certainly willing to accommodate Senator Unger’s religious freedom by providing him with leave of absence for any Sunday that he feels he cannot, in good faith, participate in the proceedings of the Senate. He is not required to be here on any Sunday, and is more than welcome to serve the parishioners of his three churches. However, it is not a reasonable accommodation to force the entire Legislature to shut down for the interests of one member.

This lawsuit has absolutely no merit, and we will continue to work whether Senator Unger chooses to be here to do his sworn duty or not. I leave it to Senator Unger to decide whether it is appropriate for him to accept pay from the taxpayers for days that he is not actually willing to work.”

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