An avalanche of extremist attacks on basic civil liberties is underway in the West Virginia Legislature this session. We’ve aptly branded this barrage of bad bills – the “Bigot Agenda.” Fueled by ignorance and hate, these bills are a heinous attempt to prey on prejudices and sow division. It’s critical we stand together and fight for a West Virginia strong in dignity, diversity, compassion and acceptance. Stay tuned to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to find out how you can best take action against them.
Confederate Monument Protection Act: SB 418
The fact that this bill was introduced and considered in committee is proof that institutional racism is alive and well in West Virginia. We should not be glorifying the history of treason in defense of human slavery. And when our state is finally ready to remove tributes to institutional racism, we shouldn’t need to overcome laws designed to keep them there. We are allowed to grow in our understanding and recognize past failures. We’re currently working to defeat SB 418 before it gets to a floor vote.
Sharia’ Law Bill: HB 4204
HB 4204, which purports to regulate West Virginia courts’ use and recognition of foreign law is not only unnecessary, but also has the potential to create significant unintended consequences in the everyday lives of West Virginians. This bill is a solution in search of a problem. It is motivated by an unfounded concern that so-called “Sharia law” is overtaking West Virginia courts, but there is no evidence of that. If passed, the bill would create a confusion and significant consequences for many families in West Virginia. But mostly, this bill reinforces the Islamophobia that is rampant in America today.
Refugee Hate Act: HB 4555
This bill creates unnecessary data collection mechanisms that unfairly target refugees who wish to settle in West Virginia. Its only purpose is to institute nonessential administrative hoops to deter refugees from considering West Virginia home. This bloated bureaucratic policy is racist and uncompassionate. Given our declining population and brain drain, we cannot afford to turn people away from our borders.
Campus Discrimination Bill: SB 111
While on the surface this looks like a good bill upholding the free speech rights of students and student organizations, it throws a curveball by adding an ugly handout to bigotry. In its current form, SB 111 requires universities to fund, with student fees, organizations that openly discriminate against and exclude students from their membership. For example, this could lead to certain religious organizations denying membership to LGBTQ individuals and still qualify for student funding—indeed LGBTQ student’s activity fees would be used to fund the very clubs that deny would deny their membership.
Bible In Schools Bill: SB 252
This bill would both violate students’ freedom of religion and it would violate their freedom from religion. Our public schools need to create an environment where children feel comfortable and part of the community regardless of their religious beliefs. Using our public schools for religious education violates students’ and their families’ First Amendment rights. We stand against SB 252 for this reason.