Abortion, income tax bills pass committees in W.Va. Legislature’s special session

Proposed bills modernizing West Virginia's abortion and income tax bills passed their...
Proposed bills modernizing West Virginia's abortion and income tax bills passed their respective committees Tuesday.
Published: Jul. 26, 2022 at 7:23 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - Two bills in the West Virginia House of Delegates are closer to moving to the state Senate after they were passed out of their respective committees Tuesday during the West Virginia Legislature’s Special Session.

The House Judiciary Committee voted to pass a bill that would clarify the state’s abortion laws. It would only permit the procedure in certain medical emergencies.

During the Judiciary Committee’s hearing, members voted to include the Born Alive Pain-Capable Act into the bill.

“Previous legislatures had passed the Born Alive Pain-Capable Act,” explained Delegate Johnathan Pinson, a Mason County Republican who serves on the committee. “What that bill did was, it provided protection in the event a child would have been born alive as a result of what I’m going to call a botched abortion, that medical aid would be rendered to that child as any other child.”

Not all proposed amendments made their way into the bill.

Marshall County Democrat Lisa Zukoff proposed exceptions to be made for instances of rape and instances. It did not pass out of the committee.

“It’s been extremely disappointing that the folks on committees just don’t take the consideration of women who are forced to have sex without their consent,” she said. “Now we’re going to force adults and children who have been raped to carry those children, we’re going to be forced birthers in West Virginia.”

Pinson said he thinks the bill fits the beliefs of his constituents.

“I ran to be elected as a staunch, pro-life advocate,” he said. “I’ve said from the beginning, life begins at conception so I believe as I’m here, I’m a really good example in representation of our community because I believe Mason, Jackson, Putnam individuals believe these are unborn children and they’re worth protecting.”

Zuckoff, however, finds the bill rushed and will ultimately hurt the future of West Virginians.

“I’ve been working on this since Roe was taken away by the Supreme Court,” she said.

“I have a whole file folder filled with information to help at home with statistics to fight on the floor with because we were told we were coming down here for interim meetings and personal income tax. That’s what we came prepared to do and doing this bill at the last minute is a huge disservice for the women of West Virginia.”

A proposed bill that would cut income taxes for all West Virginians made its way out of the House Finance Committee.

The current bill would reduce income taxes by 10% for all West Virginians.

“A tax reduction at any time and any place is a good thing, but especially right now with inflation above nine percent, gas prices through the ceiling food prices ever increasing,” said Delegate Mike Honaker, a Greenbrier County Republican. “Some people may say ‘well it’s not very much’ but anything that helps West Virginians is a good thing.”

Kanawha County Democrat Delegate Larry Rowe proposed an amendment that failed that would cut income taxes based on a universally equal dollar amount instead of a percentage to be fairer.

“I think what’s important about this is that we need to be fair in our tax cut,” he said. “There’s no reason to give regular West Virginians almost no tax cut and give millionaires $11,000 a year in tax cuts. It’s just not fair, and I think we have to look at it from that standpoint.”

Rowe said he will attempt to sway more of his colleagues on during a full House vote on Wednesday.

A public hearing on the abortion bill is expected to begin at 9 a.m. Wednesday.

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