House approves religious exemption bill
The AP is reporting:
A West Virginia religious-exemptions bill that opponents say would allow for discrimination has cleared the Republican-led House of Delegates.
Approved by Thursday's 72-26 vote, the proposal would let people cite religious objections to state actions in certain court proceedings. It moves to the Senate.
Proponents say it protects freedoms to express religious beliefs, unless there's a compelling state interest to restrict them.
Opponents say it sanctions discrimination, particularly targeting gay marriage.
House also approved voter ID bill
Is there a voter fraud problem that needs to be addressed by this bill or is this another ALEC-backed effort -- this time to suppress voting? According to this morning's Charleston Gazette-Mail:
Dave Nichols, of the Secretary of State’s Office, told the committee that his office has not found any substantiated cases of in-person voter fraud. Nichols noted that there have been problems with fraud related to absentee ballots but that those would not be addressed by the voter ID bill.
In passing the bill, the republican-controlled house rejected an amendment by local delegate Shawn Fluharty that would have allowed non-voters to automatically register at the Department of Motor Vehicles. As Fluharty noted:
We had an amendment that would put more people at the polls on Election Day, and it was refused because the intent is not to drive out voter fraud, the intent is to drive out voters.
The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has been very active helping conservative legislatures throughout the country to enact voter ID laws to suppress voting by providing them with model legislation. At a later date, I hope to examine how close this legislation is to the model.
SB 508 to go after nuisance law suits
Frackorporation is calling attention to SB 508 noting that residents near fracking operations have had to deal with "water contamination, air pollution, noise, traffic, and more." What can they do about it?
Residents have little recourse to stop or curtail the drilling except through the courts and this has led to the increase of filing Nuisance Lawsuits.
In a nuisance lawsuit, a plaintiff is basically saying to the defendant, “Your action is interfering with my enjoyment of my property; therefore, you must stop acting in that manner.”
But that may change:
The WVA Senate agrees it is a nuisance, but not to the WVA residents. Nuisance lawsuits are being viewed as a nuisance to the drilling corporations, factory farms, and other giant industries. The WVA Senate is going to fix that problem by prohibiting Nuisance lawsuits.
According to Dory Hippauf:
Is a factory farm runoff or odors making you sick? You won’t be able to sue.
Noise from a strip club next door too loud? You won’t be able to sue.
An industrial operation causing problems in your neighborhood? You won’t be able to sue.
Barking dogs from a Kennel business? If they have a municipal, state or federal permit – there won’t be anything you can do about it.
Hippauf notes that this legislation is similar to the ALEC model (what a surprise).
By the way, one of the bill's co-sponsors is Ryan Ferns.
I've added Hippauf's site to Duane Nichols' Frack Check WV (which referenced frackorpation) on my list of essential fracking sites.