Editorials, Opinion

The Good, the Bad and the Stupid 3

Good: HB 4074 — Meghan’s Law; to train public school personnel and students regarding self-harm and eating disorder signs, prevention and treatment. The mental health crisis is real — especially among our young people. Anything that gets kids the help they need is good in our book.

Bad: HB 4315 — to require inmates be housed based on their sex/gender as assigned at birth. Surprise, surprise — yet another transphobic bill. Our Legislature is disturbingly pre-occupied with other people’s genitals. This legislation specifically states that placement in a correctional facility cannot take into account medical gender reassignment. So imagine a trans man or a trans woman who has fully transitioned being imprisoned in a jail suited for the opposite gender: A “man” who is, for all intents and purposes, a woman housed with men or a “woman” who is, for all intents and purposes, a man housed with women. The Legislature is creating the very circumstances that they use to fearmonger people into supporting anti-trans bills in the first place.

Stupid: HB 4309 — to allow physicians to prescribe and to force pharmacists to fill prescriptions for hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin for the treatment of COVID-19. Both hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin have been debunked as effective treatments for COVID-19. And that’s not a liberal or Fauci conspiracy — both drugs went through clinical trials to study their efficacy in fighting COVID. The hydroxychloroquine trials showed the drug did not improve symptoms or mortality, but people who were hospitalized for COVID were more likely to end up on a ventilator after taking hydroxychloroquine. As for ivermectin, the jury is still out, but health experts and institutions do not recommend people take ivermectin for COVID unless they are part of an ongoing clinical trial. A group of academics analyzed the results of 14 studies and concluded there was not enough reliable data to prove ivermectin’s effectiveness. The only saving grace of this bill — if there is one — is that it says pharmacists cannot be held liable for any ill effects of these drugs, but they will be fined $5,000 for trying to save people from their own stupidity.

Good: SB 482 — to dedicate tax proceeds from the sale of parts, tires and repair services for motor vehicles to the State Road Fund for the purpose of construction, repair and maintenance of public roads. We’re preaching to the choir when we say West Virginia’s roads are horrendous. Fixing roads aren’t cheap, and it makes sense that the tax revenue collected on items that contribute to road use goes to road repair and maintenance.

Good, but …: SB 483 — to allow West Virginia residents to purchase prescription drugs from Canada in order to generate cost savings to consumers. A bus full of people went to Canada to purchase insulin two years ago specifically to highlight this issue. We hope this bill can work in conjunction with HB 4252, which caps insulin copays at $35, to allow West Virginians the access to affordable medication they need. It’s sad, though, that it’s cheaper to drive to Canada for insulin or have it shipped across the border than to buy it in our own state.

Stupid: Gov. Justice’s and Babydog’s message to Bette Midler that she can kiss Babydog’s hind end. While not related to the Legislature, this incident is related to West Virginia governance, and it is stupid. Therefore, we deemed it close enough to count for our roundup. Midler’s degrading comments about West Virginians were inappropriate and unfair — if she wanted to insult Sen. Manchin, that’s her prerogative, but there was no need for her to insult the rest of us. That said, two wrongs don’t make a right, and Justice’s response was undignified and only proves Midler’s point. We expect more class from the state’s top elected official.