ACLU-WV Legal Director Loree Stark addressed members of the Capitol Building Commission during a virtual meeting Wednesday regarding the commission's authority to remove Confederate monuments from the Capitol grounds.
"Good morning, everyone. My name is Loree Stark and I am the legal director at the ACLU of West Virginia. I want to thank you for providing me the opportunity to speak today.
I am here to speak to the issue of whether or not this body has the authority to address the continued placement of Stonewall Jackson on the Capitol grounds.
Remarks made by various government officials indicate that there seems to be some confusion as to whether the Capitol Building Commission, as a governing body, has the authority to order the removal of the Stonewall Jackson statue from the Capitol grounds.
We have researched this issue. The law is clear. Pursuant to West Virginia law:
[T]he Capitol Building Commission has the authority to: review and approve or reject all plans recommending substantial physical changes inside or outside the state capitol building or surrounding complex, including the public meeting rooms, hallways and grounds, which affect the appearance thereof.
This is not an issue to leave to the governor. This is not an action to leave to the legislature. In fact, in enacting the law granting this responsibility to the commission, the legislature has spoken on what body has the authority, discretion, and responsibility to act on this issue, and that body is this Commission. It is incumbent on you to act.
We join other organizations and West Virginians in requesting the commission to join take this item up as quickly as possible and move to rectify this wrong.