Historic West Virginia Lawmakers Highlight Black History Month

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                                                                                          Volume XVIII, Issue 4          February 7, 2007

Historic West Virginia Lawmakers Highlight Black History Month
by: Drew Ross                                  County. Mr. Payne would later, as a result
“Those who have no record of what              of his loyalty to his party, be appointed to
their forebears have accomplished lose         several federal positions before being named
the inspiration which comes from the           by President Theodore Roosevelt to serve
teaching of biography and history.” - Dr.      as Consul General of the Danish West Indies
Carter Godwin Woodson, author, editor,         (present-day Virgin Islands).
publisher and historian (December 1875
- April 1950).                                 On January 10, 1928, more than 40 years
                                               after Mr. Payne made West Virginia history,
Known as the “Father of Black History”         Governor Howard Gore made national history.
for his innovative efforts at weaving          Upon the death of Delegate E. Howard Harper,
African-Americans into the patchwork of        a Republican from McDowell County, the
American history, Dr. Woodson moved            Governor appointed Mr. Harper’s wife, Minnie
with his family from Virginia to Huntington,   Buckingham Harper, to his seat, making her
West Virginia, when he was a young man         the first African-American woman to become a
in 1892 to seek a better life. He later        member of any legislative body in the United
                                                                                                   Delegate Christopher Payne
turned to the mines and coalfields of           States. She served on the House committees
Fayette County as a way to support and         on Federal Relations, Railroads and Labor and did not run in the state legislative
pay for his education.                         elections held later that year. She provided the inspiration and possibly the motivation
                                               for other women of color to embark on their own legislative journeys.
This February the nation and the state
recognize Black History Month, which                                             It would be more than 20 years, however, before
began as a week-long celebration                                                 another African-American woman walked the halls of
started by Dr. Woodson and centered                                              West Virginia’s Legislature. During the elections of
around the birthdays of President Lincoln                                        1950, voters in McDowell County elected Elizabeth
and Frederick Douglass, two prominent                                            Simpson Drewry to the House of Delegates, making
Americans who strived for equality. As                                           her the first African-American woman elected to the
West Virginians take time to reflect on                                           Legislature. She was extremely active in her role as
the accomplishments of famous African-                                           delegate and a strong supporter of health care reform,
Americans, it bears noting that there has                                        teachers and workers.
been no shortage of trailblazers in the
West Virginia Legislature.                                                       During her tenure, she is
                                                                                 credited with introducing
Southern West Virginia’s black population                                        several      major      bills,
saw dramatic increases during the late                                           including a bill to provide
1800s, which most likely can be traced                                           compensation       to    the
to a booming mining industry and job                                             victims of silicosis, more
opportunities for people of all ethnicities                                      commonly known as “black
and backgrounds. Once underground                                                lung disease,” as well as
and in the mines, race mattered little as                                        the legislation that led to
miners depended on the person next to                                            the 1956 constitutional
them for both safety and camaraderie,                                            amendment           allowing
regardless of their skin color. From the       Delegate Minnie Buckingham Harper
                                                                                 women to serve on juries.
burgeoning fellowship, African-Americans                                         She retired from legislative
began having a more prominent position         service due to poor health in 1964, having served longer in
in state politics.                             the Legislature than any other McDowell representative at
                                               that time.                                                           Delegate Elizabeth Simpson Drewry
Six years prior to Dr. Woodson’s arrival
in Huntington, voters in West Virginia         Some 34 years later, on November 3, 1998, another landmark was reached as Marie
elected the first African-American to the       Redd, a professor at Marshall University, was elected to the State Senate from Cabell
State Legislature, Christopher Payne,          County. She was the first African-American of either gender to serve in the Senate,
a Republican delegate from Fayette             serving for four years.
                                                                                                                  See History Month, pg. 4
            In the House
As of 4:00 p.m., Wednesday, February 7,         would enhance penalties for certain violent
2007, the 29th day of the 2007 Regular          acts, such as assault and battery, against          Completed Legislative Action
Session, 916 bills have been introduced in      court security personnel as well as define           (Week of Jan. 31 - Feb. 7, 2007)
the House of Delegates. Of those, 14 have       the term, “court security personnel.” This          Senate Bill 138 will repeal a section of
passed the House and will now go to the         bill would add that position to a list of oth-      the West Virginia Code relating to the
Senate for its consideration. They include:     ers, such as state fire and division of for-         requirement that nonresident plaintiffs
                                                estry employees, and would adopt their              post a bond to cover the costs in the
House Bill 2028 would increase the amount       provisions.                                         magistrate courts of the state.
of the required bond of certain businesses
regulated by the Division of Motor Vehicles                                                         Senate Bill 140 relates to depositing
from $10,000 to $50,000. These businesses                                                           certain monies into a magistrate court
                                                 A Sampling of
include: new motor vehicle dealers, used         Bills Introduced In the House                      fund. The bill clarifies that the amount
motor vehicle dealers, house trailer dealers,                                                       of $10 in fines and fees collected in civil
recreational vehicle dealers, motorcycle        House Bill 2783 would exempt full-time              and criminal cases in magistrate court
dealers and used parts dealers.                 undergraduate students who attend a state           must be deposited into the magistrate
                                                public institution of higher education from         court fund.
House Bill 2571 would clarify the deadline      paying state income taxes, and would
                                                                                                    Senate Bill 141 will provide family court
for redeeming delinquent lands. Current         exempt them from paying those same
                                                                                                    jurisdiction over sibling visitation peti-
law is vague on the exact time of payment       taxes for the first two years following the
                                                                                                    tions. Currently, such cases are solely
for overdue land fees, stipulating only         successful completion of an undergraduate
                                                                                                    within the jurisdiction of circuit courts.
“before sale,” and it has been a source of      program. If the graduate owes money to
confusion for sheriffs throughout the state.    the institution or to a lending entity through
                                                                                                    Senate Bill 218 will make a supple-
The change would compel payment by the          the procurement of student loans, he or she         mentary appropriation of federal funds
close of the last business day before the       would be required to pay a minimum sum of           out of the state treasury from a balance
sale date, and it includes a requirement that   75 percent of the tax liability that would have     of federal monies remaining unappro-
affected landowners are notified in the local    otherwise been paid in state income taxes.          priated for the purpose of establishing
paper or by certified mail.                                                                          the availability of federal funds for new
                                                House Bill 2785 would allow a law-enforce-          and continuing programs now available
House Bill 2770 would amend current law         ment officer to temporarily detain a criminal        for expenditure in the fiscal year ending
relating to court security personnel and        suspect in order to determine his or her iden-      June 30, 2007.
                                                tity and the reason for their presence in the
                                                detainment location. The detainment cannot          Senate Bill 270 will extend the time for
     The West Virginia Legislature’s            extend beyond the immediate vicinity where          the city council of Piedmont to meet
  Reference and Information Center
                                                it was first affected and cannot last for more       as a levying body. This bill was con-
          Building 1, Room MB 27                than six hours.                                     sidered for the purpose of presenting
           State Capitol Complex
           Charleston, WV 25305                                                                     to the voters of the city an election to
               (304) 347-4836                   House Bill 2786 would require the governor          continue an additional municipal levy to
                                                to fill vacanies in the positions of State           maintain the existing public streets, fire
              Charlene Glagola
                 Director                       Supreme Court of Appeals Justice and                hydrants and lines for the city of Pied-
                                                circuit court judge within 90 days. The bill        mont and for payment of any obligation
                Drew Ross                                                                           by the city due to higher costs and for
              Deputy Director                   would allow for challenges questioning the
                                                qualifications of the appointed person for a         the purpose of paying all costs incurred
             J. Zachary Kessler                 period of 20 days following the governor’s          in the laying of this additional levy.
                Alicia Leonoro
                 Joe Merical                    nomination.
        Public Information Officers                                                                  These bills now will go to the Governor
                                                House Bill 2794 would require a preliminary         for his consideration.
                Randy Cain
                Webmaster                       breath analysis test of all surviving drivers
              Dave Martin
                                                involved in a fatal automobile accident to        in violation of this law would be found
            Web Administrator                   determine his or her blood alcohol content.       guilty of a misdemeanor, and for the first
               Dee Spelock                                                                        offense would be fined at least $100; for
            Resource Manager                    House Bill 2795 would prohibit the                the second offense be fined at least $100
                                                transportation of a loaded or cocked              and sentenced to three days in jail; and for
                Martin Valent
               Photographer                     crossbow in a motor vehicle.                      the third and subsequent offenses be fined
                John Tice                                                                         at least $500 and lose his or her driver’s
             Graphic Designer                   House Bill 2801 would provide a $50,000           license for a period of up to six months.
                                                benefit to the families of firefighters and
             Amanda Campbell
                Lacie Pierson                   Emergency Medical Services personnel              House Bill 2834 would require motorcycle
                  Holly Rice                    who are killed in the line of duty.               operators and passengers under 21 years
               Rachel Sargent
        Interns - Marshall University                                                             of age to wear a helmet. Drivers 21 years
                                                House Bill 2803 would prohibit a person           and older would be permitted to refrain from
               Brittany Ranson                  from smoking tobacco products in a motor
      Intern - West Virginia University         vehicle when a minor is present. A person                               See In the House, pg. 4
            In the Senate
As of 4:00 p.m., Wednesday, February 7,            lar amount of these distributions may not          election, extending the meeting time will be
2007, the 29th day of the 2007 Regular             exceed $3,000.                                     on the ballot for voters’ approval.
Session, 497 bills have been introduced in
the Senate. Of those, 20 have passed this          Senate Bill 192 would allow the Commis-            Senate Bill 412 would prohibit the use of
week and will now go to the House for its          sion of Corrections to issue arrest orders         hand held cell phones by a minor while driv-
consideration. Some of the bills include:          for persons inadvertently and improperly re-       ing. Penalties would apply to those minors
                                                   leased. The Division of Corrections person-        who are holding a level-one instruction permit
Senate Bill 69 would authorize the practice        nel may also obtain warrants for escapees          or a level two intermediate driver’s license.
of E-prescribing, by which prescription or-        under this bill.
ders are electronically transmitted between                                                           Senate Bill 413 would clarify procedures
health care providers and pharmacists.             Senate Bill 196 would clarify that the law         for seizing abandoned, neglected or cru-
                                                   enforcement agency that takes custody of or        elly treated animals. If found with life threat-
Senate Bill 70 would penalize contractors          arrests a juvenile, would be responsible for       ening conditions, a licensed veterinarian
and subcontractors who knowingly employ            the initial transportation of the juvenile to a    would determine if the animal should be eu-
workers without the proper state credentials.      detention center. Also, the bill states that the   thanized. If a magistrate is not convinced an
The penalty would include fines and the par-        detention center would not be responsible          animal was neglected or cruelly treated, the
tial or complete revoking of said contractor’s     for the juvenile if he/she is in need of medi-     magistrate may dismiss charges and return-
contracting license.                               cal care by a physician. If the juvenile needs     the animal to its original owner.
                                                   medical attention, the attending physician
Senate Bill 96 would authorize fire depart-         must submit a form stating the juvenile is in      Senate Bill 416 would create misdemeanor
ment-owned apparatuses to use yellow or            suitable condition to be kept in the center.       offenses for attempting to defeat drug or al-
amber flashing safety lights.                                                                          cohol screening tests.
                                                   Senate Bill 199 would create a building
Senate Bill 134 would require employ-              code authority in Raleigh County and Beck-         Senate Bill 435 would clarify the Consolidat-
ers to submit member contributions and a           ley to adopt and enforce the state building        ed Local Government Act and give the legis-
summary of member contributions to the             codes. The code authority would consist of         lature authority to permit home rule for mu-
Teacher’s Retirement system. This must be          five members appointed by the City of Beck-         nicipalities, to reform county commissions
submitted 15 days following the end of the         ley and the Raleigh Commission and would           and to permit county consolidation. This
calendar month.                                    be required to be in place by July 1, 2007.        would also allow municipalities and counties
                                                                                                      to consolidate and create a new executive
Senate Bill 166 relates to the State Teachers      Senate Bill 208 would provide notice to the        or legislative tribunal, or both, in the form of
Requirement System. The bill would remove          Supreme Court and the Consolidated Public          a metro government that performs both the
the requirement that an employee who is no         Retirement Board upon a judge’s retirement.        duties of a municipality and a county.
longer disabled return to his or her former job,
provide for reemployment and permit admin-         Senate Bill 354 would provide penalties            Senate Bill 436 would allow the County
istrative hearings before disability retirement    to clinics, physicians, hospitals or facili-       Commission on Crime, Delinquency and Cor-
termination. The board may terminate early         ties that are responsible for diagnosing or        rections to use one of the group’s members
retirement benefits if someone has fraudu-          providing treatment for Alzheimer’s Disease        as secretary, relinquishing the circuit clerk of
lently obtained them. Jail and monetary pen-       when they fail to report to the Alzheimer’s        any secretarial duties for the commission.
alties would be given for fraud.                   Disease Registry. The West Virginia Univer-
                                                   sity governing board established a registry
Senate Bill 169 would require that insur-          for Alzheimer’s Disease, ane the central da-        A Sampling of
ance companies obtain the title to a totaled       tabase is used to assist in the development         Bills Introduced In the Senate
vehicle when they pay a claim to the insured       of public policy and planning. The registry
or the claimant.                                   is issued to prepare reports and perform           Senate Bill 417 would prohibit open con-
                                                   studies for hospitals and clinics.                 tainers of beer and alcoholic beverages in
Senate Bill 180 would authorize the West                                                              any area of a motor vehicle readily acces-
Virginia Consolidated Public Retirement            Senate Bill 360 would extend the time dur-         sible to the driver or passenger(s). The first
Board to give tax-free distributions from          ing which local levying bodies may meet.           offense would be a misdemeanor punish-
government retirement plans to pay certain         Each local levying body must hold a meet-          able by a $5 to $100 fine. The second and
premiums for health and long-term care in-         ing or meetings between March 7th and 28th         subsequent offense would result in a felony
surance for public safety officers. The dol-        for business transactions. During the primary      and would carry a sentence of up to three
                                                                                                      years in a state correctional facility.
   West Virginia Legislature’s Web site                                                               Senate Bill 423 would increase the pen-
   Designed to strengthen your connection to West Virginia’s legislators and the laws that            alties charged to minors for the use or
   govern this state, the West Virginia Legislature’s Web site provides you with access to            possession of tobacco products. This bill
   various resources, including contact information, legislation and educational materials.           would require minors who are convicted
   The Legislature’s online Bulletin Board maintains prompt information during legislative            of a first offense to pay a $100 fine and to
   sessions through the Legislature’s Calendars, Meetings, Abstracts, Indexes and Journals.           serve 40 hours of community service. Mi-
   Citizens also can view the entire West Virginia Code, interactive district maps, committee
   agendas and membership information at: http://www.legis.state.wv.us                                                      See In the Senate, pg. 4
   History Month - continued from pg. 1                         In the House     - continued from pg. 2         In the Senate     - continued from pg. 3

Since 1896, a total of 21 black men and                       wearing a helmet only if they have had a valid   nors who commit a second or subsequent
women have served in the West Virginia                        motorcycle license for at least two years.       offense would be charged a $150 fine and
Legislature up to this past election,                                                                          would be required to complete 60 hours of
including 11 who hailed from McDowell                         House Bill 2840 would permit people, who         community service. The drivers license of
County. One was Delegate Ernest “Ernie”                       are legally entitled to posses an animal         the minor would be revoked until age 18
Moore, whose tenure lasted over 20 years                      according to current state law, to transport     and if the minor is ineligible for a drivers
and who received the 1992 Distinguished                       that animal out of state.                        license at the time of conviction he/she
West Virginian Award for his dedicated                                                                         would be not have the opportunity to re-
service to the state.                                         House Bill 2842 would amend current state        ceive a license until age 18.
                                                              law pertaining to beverages sold or served
The progress made by each of these                            to students in public schools. Elementary,       Senate Bill 429 would require counties or
trailblazers is a decidedly groundbreak-                      Junior High and Middle Schools would be          municipalities to receive a closure form and
ing component of Mountain State his-                          required to serve only “healthy drinks,”         permission from the State Fire Marshal be-
tory -- but it’s also a reflection of the                      and could not serve soft drinks. “Healthy        fore closing a paid or volunteer fire depart-
true spirit of public service. They are                       drinks” are defined as water, 100 percent         ment. After closure has been secured, the
recognized not only for the avenues they                      fruit or vegetable juice, and reduced or         profits of the sale of certain vehicles from
created, but also for their countless con-                    low-fat milk. High Schools are permitted         the closed department would be transferred
tributions and compelling dedication to                       to sell soft drinks at any time during the       to a special revenue account.
West Virginia.                                                day except during the breakfast and lunch
                                                              periods. In addition, if soft drinks are sold,   Senate Bill 449 would encourage public
                                                              “health drinks” must be equally accessible       schools to implement the usage of school
                                                              and account for 50 percent of the total          uniforms. It would allow uniform policies to
Delegate Christopher Payne photo courtesy The West Virginia
Encyclopedia, 2006; Delegate Minnie Buckingham Harper         beverages offered for sale. The bill does not    be discussed on a school-by-school basis,
photo courtesy The West Virginia Blue Book, 1928; Delegate    limit the sale or service of food or beverages   and the decision to implement uniforms
Elizabeth Simpson Drewry photo courtesy The West Virginia
Blue Book, 1961.                                              during fund-raising activities when the items    would be at the discretion of the school
                                                              are intended for after-school use.               and would not be mandatory.

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