WV Senate recognizes Fairness, Pro-Life days; passes four bills - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

WV Senate recognizes Fairness, Pro-Life days; passes four bills

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Members of the Legislature have recognized several causes this week. Tuesday was recognized as Pro-Life day at the statehouse, while Monday was Fairness West Virginia Day.

Sen. Erik Wells, D-Kanawha, said Tuesday he was disappointed with the way his fellow senators treated guests of the Legislature during Fairness Day.

"It is a privilege for us to be in this body and represent our communities," Wells said. "I view (guests) as coming into my home and I want to treat them with the utmost respect.

"Yesterday, folks from Fairness came and I was literally embarrassed," he said. "There are groups that will come here and I will go up, take a photograph with them, because I am proud and feel it is a privilege to be here."

Wells said while honoring Fairness Day on Monday, 11 senators opted out of standing up to take a picture with the guests.

Several years ago, the Senate passed the Employment Housing Non-Discrimination Act, or Senate Bill 472, unanimously, but it died in a House committee. Last year, the bill was introduced again and passed the Senate by a thinner margin. It again died in a House committee and never made it to the floor.

Senate President Jeffrey Kessler, D-Marshall, on Feb. 3 reintroduced the bill to the Senate. If passed, the bill would prohibit the discrimination in housing or employment in the state based on a persons age or sexual orientation.

The bill is set for discussion in the Senate Judiciary committee.

The Senate on Tuesday also passed four bills to be sent to the House of Delegates for further consideration.

Senate Bill 90, which would create a criminal offense of interfering or preventing a call for assistance of emergency service personnel, passed the Senate. Senate Bill 450, which would allow for sales of alcoholic beverages other than beer to be consumed in outdoor areas dedicated to dining also passed and Senate Bill 454, which would define the owner of a dam for purposes of the Dam Control Act, passed as well.

Senate Bill 403, which would regulate the possession and importation of certain aquatic species in order to protect West Virginia's water and aquatic life,  also passed and sent to the House. 

The Joint Committee on State Water Resources, chaired by Sen. John Unger, D-Berkeley, will meet at 10 a.m.  Wednesday. The agenda has not been posted, but Dr. Letitia Tierney with the Bureau for Public Health was asked to revisit the committee after she spoke for a short time last week.