Editorials, Opinion

The Good, the Bad and the Stupid 4

Good: SB 293 — the “Glucagon for Schools Act” allows all schools to keep glucagon on hand and to allow personnel to administer glucagon to a diabetic student who is severely hypoglycemic (after receiving training, of course). This bill failed to pass last year, and we’re glad to see it come back up. It passed the Senate and is up for consideration in the House.

Several studies indicate youth diabetes (both Types 1 and 2) is on the rise and will continue to increase. Having glucagon on hand during a severe low-blood sugar episode could save a child’s life.

Bad: HB 5243 — the “Women’s Bill of Rights,” which does nothing to protect, affirm or restore any actual rights but instead explicitly excludes transgender women and girls from any “female” space. This bill is on second reading in the House.

Its only purpose is to codify that there are only two sexes, those sexes are assigned at birth and people can be excluded from certain environments based on their at-birth designation. Everything about this is anti-trans and not a single thing about it supports women (biological or otherwise). To call it the “Women’s Bill of Rights” is a joke and a slap in the face.

Stupid: HJR 21 (same as SJR 7) — “to propose an amendment to the Constitution to provide that in all elections held in West Virginia only citizens of the state who are citizens” of the U.S. can vote.

It is already federal law that non-citizens cannot vote in any state or federal election and most local elections. Some counties and municipalities do allow non-citizens to vote in local elections only — think school board or city council — with the rationale that, although they aren’t citizens, they are members of the community and should have some say in local government. This resolution obviously plays on fear of immigrants, and it undermines local control over local elections for no practical reason.

Good-ish: HB 4229 — the “Ban the Box Act,” “prohibiting public employers from asking applicants for employment to disclose information concerning the applicant’s criminal record or history, under certain circumstances.” This bill is on second reading in the House.

We give this “good-ish” because there are a lot of exceptions, so it basically just says that public employers (the law wouldn’t apply to private employers) can’t ask up front if you have a criminal history and instructs them to consider various factors before rejecting an applicant with a criminal history. Several studies have found that finding employment decreases the chances of someone being reincarcerated, although low-wage jobs had less impact. That makes sense — when you have a job that pays a decent wage, you can afford to meet your basic needs and are less likely to need to return to crime to meet those needs. If HB 4229 becomes law and leads to less recidivism, we’d like to see it expanded in the future.

Stupid: HB 4233 — “require birth certificates issued in this state to include the gender of the child at birth and prohibit use of the term ‘non-binary’ on birth certificates.” This bill is on second reading in the House.

Let’s pretend for a moment that this isn’t a pot-shot at the LGBTQ+ community (which it obviously is). This bill completely ignores and erases the existence of intersex people. Someone who is “intersex” is born with both male and female sex characteristics. Some may be immediately visible, others not.

In the past, parents have chosen to have surgery performed on their infants so their visible anatomy better fits the male/female binary. Intersex advocates have been pushing to stop these surgeries and to allow intersex individuals to make that decision later in life. Allowing “non-binary” on birth certificates could relieve some of the pressure parents feel to “fix” their children and encourage parents to give their kids the autonomy to decide their own identity.