Latest News, West Virginia Legislature

Senate resolution recognizes shelter dogs and rescues as state dog

MORGANTOWN — The state Senate took a moment Tuesday morning to hug warm puppies. Later in the day, committees gave nods to a couple bills that passed the Senate last year and died in the House.

The full Senate adopted SCR 1, which designates dogs adopted from animal shelters and rescue facilities or organizations as the state dog.

Lead sponsor Ryan Weld, R-Brooke, said he and his wife are “big dog people” and adopt all their dogs from shelters.

He cited some numbers from the resolution. Shelters and rescues take in about 5.5 million dogs annually; 1.6 million get adopted; 800,000 get euthanized.

He acknowledged that some people want specific types of dogs or purebreds, and he isn’t faulting them. “I just wanted to highlight the issue of shelters.” But, he added, about 25% of dogs in shelters are purebreds.

Many of the dogs are adults, already trained. And they cost less to bring home.

“You have a chance to save a life when you adopt a dog from a shelter,” he said.

The concurrent resolution now goes to the House for adoption.

Education bill

Senate Education made quick work SB 42. It says comprehensive drug awareness and prevention programs offered in K-12 schools may include faith-based electives for drug awareness. The state school board would craft a rule to make sure the electives are constitutional.

Senate Education Committee members contemplate a bill.

Committee counsel noted that a similar bill cleared the Senate last year.

There was no discussion and no dissenting votes. It goes to the full Senate.

Right to Unite

Senate Judiciary made almost-as-quick work of SB 16, the Protect Our Right to Unite Act.

Committee counsel Sarah Canterbury reminded the members that similar versions of the same bill cleared the Senate in 2018 and 2019 and died in the House.

Canterbury said the bill is based on a 1958 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that said Alabama could not compel the NAACP to disclose its membership lists. Such disclosure could effectively chill membership enrollment and serve as a restraint on the right to freedom of association.

The committee substitute members took up, including some additional provisions. Says a state public agency may not compel disclosure of donor or membership rolls of any tax exempt organization. If the agency obtains it, it may not disclose the information without permission of the organization or donors or members. Lawful court orders are exempted.

The bill also provides a cause of action for individuals to sue for unlawful disclosure.

Sen. Mike Romano, D-Harrison, posed a few questions to make sure that the bill wouldn’t apply to state election law and protect “dark money” PACS.  Canterbury said it doesn’t.

There was no other discussion and no dissenting votes. It goes to the full Senate.

Tweet David Beard @dbeardtdp Email