Editorial Roundup: West Virginia | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Editorial Roundup: West Virginia

March 11, 2020 - 11:31 AM

Recent editorials from West Virginia newspapers:

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March 11

The Intelligencer on the importance of transparency as officials learn more about COVID-19:

Three people in Ohio have contracted COVID-19, state officials revealed on March 9. Members of the public know where they live and how they came in contact with the coronavirus that causes the disease, in addition to other relevant facts.

Will West Virginians be informed in a similar fashion, should COVID-19 strike the Mountain State? Let us hope so. Depriving us of information critical in safeguarding our own health and that of those around us would be inexcusable.

In Ohio, the three people who have tested positive for the virus live in Cuyahoga County. All are in their mid-50s. One is a man who attended the America Israel Public Affairs Committee conference in Washington. The others are a man and wife who were on a cruise along the Nile River, in Egypt. All three have been quarantined.

Another five Buckeye State residents were being tested. More than 250 others deemed at risk because of where they travelled were being monitored.

Excellent. Now Ohioans in and around Cuyahoga County know it may be prudent for them to take special steps to safeguard themselves and others against the virus. People in other areas of the state understand they are at less risk.

In West Virginia, officials have revealed only that two people have been tested and cleared, while three others are awaiting test results.

As we have noted previously, some public health officials seem to have succumbed to an epidemic of political correctness. Important information — specifically in West Virginia, details on where HIV/AIDS patients live — are withheld. The claim is that such secrecy is necessary to protect individuals’ privacy.

Poppycock. No one asks for names or addresses, only for facts on whether where they live may affect exposure to diseases.

If and when COVID-19 arrives in West Virginia, officials should release details about patients immediately. Facts such as those revealed in Ohio and Pennsylvania ought to be included.

COVID-19 is no respecter of political correctness. Defending ourselves against it requires all the information public officials can give us.

Online: https://www.theintelligencer.net

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March 10

The Martinsburg Journal on the Legislature adding funding back into the state budget for the tourism industry:

For a few days last week, West Virginia legislators had planned to balance the state budget for next year by reducing some line items sought by Gov. Jim Justice. One cut was $5 million from the state Tourism Office.

Ironically, as that cutting was going on, Justice and tourism officials were unveiling the new printed vacation guide to West Virginia. More than 150,000 of them will be available (if you want one, go to the wvtourism.com website).

Money spent on promoting tourism boosts the state’s economy. In turn, that generates more revenue for state government. The $5 million Tourism Office cut would have had detrimental effects.

We understand entirely the dilemma legislative budget-writers encounter. The budget has to be balanced. Certain programs must be funded.

However, legislators found ways to avoid some of the previously planned reductions. They added $4 million back into the budget for tourism. That was a wise move, for which lawmakers are to be commended.

Online: https://www.journal-news.net

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March 9

The Charleston Gazette-Mail on the Legislature's decision not to create an intermediate appeals court:

The West Virginia House of Delegates did the right thing when it voted a day before the 2020 session ended to kill legislation to create an intermediate appeals court.

As we’ve stated before, the only people who want an appeals court between the circuit courts and West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals are those carrying the water for mostly out-of-state interests, intent on tipping the legal system in their favour.

That’s about the only motivation that makes any sense for an intermediate court in a state with less than 2 million people. There doesn’t appear to be a massive backlog of cases at any level. Indeed, the number of appeals in West Virginia have dropped substantially over the past 20 years. And the Supreme Court now automatically considers any case on appeal. An appeals court would have allowed business interests potentially on the hook to drag litigants through another round of proceedings, perhaps breaking their banks or their spirits, if not generally making the process go a lot slower. It was never about justice.

There was a queasy glimpse into the sausage-making of West Virginia politics last week when Delegate Scott Cadle, R-Mason, revealed on the House floor he had been promised a vote for one of his bills in the Senate if he would support the intermediate court proposal. Cadle is assistant majority whip, so he was probably expected to play along. He didn’t.

The defeat of the intermediate courts bill was the third strikeout for GOP leadership in the 2020 session as it pertained to flagship legislation. Also contributing to the O-fer were the failure of bills to eliminate dog racing funding (effectively killing the sport) and to phase out the inventory tax. These whiffs included some Republicans crossing the aisle to vote against their party’s leadership.

That has to sting a bit. But, as Gazette-Mail statehouse reporter Phil Kabler pointed out in his Sunday column, none of those bills addressed real issues West Virginians seemed exceedingly energized about on one side or the other. Even the dog racing bill, which could certainly be an emotional issue for some, was mostly organized and lobbied by out-of-state interests.

Some of these issues are likely to return (GOP leadership has tried for an appeals court three times in just the past few years). It’s encouraging to know, especially as it pertains to the court bill, that legislators realized those they’re aligned with in party affiliation or political leanings outside the state don’t always know what’s best for West Virginia.

Online: https://www.wvgazettemail.com

News from © The Associated Press, 2020
The Associated Press

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