The ACLU of West Virginia is a nonpartisan organization dedicated to protecting and strengthening the civil rights and liberties of everyone in the Mountain State. Together with our thousands of supporters, we advance our mission through advocacy, education, and lawsuits on behalf of people whose rights are being violated by the government.
Our Priorities for the 2024 Session
In recent years, attacks on our civil rights have increased dramatically. Politicians have banned abortion and restricted affirming health care for trans kids.
What’s next? Honest classroom discussions about racism and Black history could be banned from schools; books that even mention LGBTQ+ people could be pulled from library shelves; and the death penalty, banned since 1965, could even be reinstated. It might seem unthinkable, but all of this and more is under consideration this session.
Over the next 60 days, West Virginia politicians will continue to make decisions that affect your everyday life. They are accountable to you. Make sure to use your voice and advocate for policies that protext everyone's civil liberties. Our lives, our future, and our democracy are at stake.
Here are our legislative priorities for 2024.
Protecting First Amendment Values
In recent years, the Legislature has attacked the right to boycott, and now they’re coming for our books, for drag performers, and for open and honest classroom discussions about race and Black history. If some lawmakers had their way, West Virginia would label anything having to do with the LGBTQ+ community “obscene” and anything that discusses racism “indoctrination.” They’re also trying to push their religious views into schools by allowing teachers to present creationism as a valid scientific theory and force schools to post “In God We Trust” in their hallways. These measures undermine academic freedom, limit access to diverse perspectives, favor certain religions over other views, and deny students a complete education about the world they will inhabit. We oppose any legislation that seeks to silence or violate the exercise of any person’s First Amendment rights in West Virginia.
The freedom to vote is fundamental to democracy. We will work to ensure that we have a system of fair elections in which all voters — regardless of gender, race, socioeconomic status, disability, or any other category — are able to cast a vote and have it accurately counted. We oppose any legislation that seeks to manipulate our electoral system, disenfranchise eligible voters, or make it more difficult for voters to exercise their fundamental freedom to vote.
Dismantling West Virginia’s Deadly and Overcrowded Jails
West Virginia’s jails are bursting at the seams, and recent studies suggest they are among the deadliest jails in the nation. We will support legislation that prioritizes restorative justice and diverting those convicted of crimes away from jail or prison. We oppose legislation that adds more criminal charges and harsher sentences because these laws exacerbate the problem of overcrowded and deadly jails, harm Black communities and other communities of color the most, and do not lower crime rates.
Defending LGBTQ+ Rights.
We will support comprehensive LGBTQ+ protections in areas such as employment, housing, public accommodations, education, medical care, and government services. We are committed to advocating for legislation that ensures LGBTQ+ people can live openly with dignity and respect. We will oppose any legislation that denies them basic human rights.
Fighting for Immigrants' Rights.
West Virginia has one of the lowest concentrations of undocumented people, but one of the highest ICE arrest rates, according to recent data. Every session, lawmakers seem to search for ways to make immigrants’ lives even harder. That’s why it is critical that every person in our state, regardless of their status, be able to live, work, go to school, raise children, and travel without fear of violence, harassment, and discrimination by the state. We support legislation providing greater protections for all West Virginians, regardless of their place of birth.
Calls to Action