Blog Posts > The Latest from Under the Dome
February 15, 2019

The Latest from Under the Dome

The big news out of Charleston continues to be on the education front, with changes to the Senate’s omnibus education reform bill (SB451) making it all the way through the House committee and amendment process, despite several attempts to put harmful measures back in the legislation.

Education Savings Accounts (ESAs) were removed in the House Education Committee, only to have an attempt to put them back in rejected in the House Finance Committee. Ultimately, efforts to put these mechanisms that take money from public schools and transfer those dollars to private schools were decisively rebuked on the House Floor by a 37-62 vote. We will be keeping a close eye on the conference process as this moves forward. For more background on ESAs and how they function, read our report “Public Money for Private Education.”

Hear Ye! Hear Ye! There will be a public hearing on the issue of Article V constitutional conventions Tuesday, February 19 in the House Chamber beginning at 8:00 AM. Come speak your piece on why it isn’t a great idea to open up our country’s founding document for what could very well end up being a bonanza of amendments to the Bill of Rights itself.

Good bills are gaining ground and landmark legislation is being introduced to support working families. House Bill 2459, legislation to lift the lifetime ban on SNAP benefits for persons convicted of drug felonies, passed the Senate unanimously. The bill was amended and awaits action by the House.

For the first time in state history, a fair scheduling/workweek bill was introduced in the House of Delegates. House Bill 3121 takes its place as yet another one of our seven policies to build prosperity to be introduced this session. Much thanks to all of the sponsors for supporting this important issue.

Tune into this Mountain State Morning podcast which features a discussion of our new report, “Falling Short,” with WVCBP Executive Director Ted Boettner.

New Report: The Illusion of Race-Neutral Tax Policy

The bulk of the federal tax cuts flowed to the highest-earning households, who received the largest tax cut both in terms of real dollars and also as a share of income.

This new report from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP)reveals solely examining the tax law in the context of class misses a bigger-picture story about how the nation’s public policies not only perpetuate widening income and wealth inequality, they also preserve historic and current injustices that continue to allow white communities to build wealth while denying the same level of opportunity (and often suppressing it) to communities of color.

Help Protect Food Security

Please take a moment to comment on the USDA proposed rule that would take food assistance away from over 755,000 people (including folks in 28 counties across West Virginia).

The Trump Administration’s proposed Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) rule would time limit food benefits for unemployed and underemployed people who can’t document sufficient weekly work hours. They would lose SNAP eligibility after three months.

Here is an easy link where you can submit comments. The deadline to comment is April 2, 2019.

February 19: Criminal Justice Reform Advocacy Day at the Capitol/Screening of Healing Justice

WV Capitol Complex, 9:00 – 1:00PM. Join youth leaders, legislative champions, advocates, and formerly incarcerated people as they stand united. Call to Action for Racial Equality and other advocates are calling for second chances and a path forward for people suffering from addiction, in recovery, and the children and families who are impacted by a criminal justice system that disproportionately impacts poor people and people of color. If you are interested in youth-led activities happening that day, contact Shanequa Smith.

Plan to round out the day by attending a screening of Healing Justice, a World Trust film that explores the causes and consequences of the current North American justice system and its effect on marginalized communities. The film walks back through the history of violence that has led to our current system, bringing into focus the histories of trauma – on a personal, interpersonal, community, and generational level. This powerful documentary addresses the school-to-prison pipeline, the need for comprehensive criminal justice reform, and the importance of healing and restorative practices. This event is sponsored by the WV Center on Budget and Policy and other local organizations.

February 25: Is West Virginia’s Economic Comeback Real?

WVCBP Executive Director will discuss the state’s economy at the Wood County League of Women Voters meeting on February 25 at 6 p.m. The meeting will take place in the Executive Conference Room on the second floor of the Parkersburg Municipal Building. Ted’s topic will be “Is the West Virginia economic comeback real?”

The meeting is free and open to the public.

 

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