POLYNERVOUSTICKS - WV Hits Another Bottom, Ethics Pure As The Driven Snow


Opinion and Comment: Bob Weaver

STATE RANKS NEAR BOTTOM IN WOMEN'S HEALTH - About 25% of West Virginia women do not have health insurance, and many more have "low benefit" coverage, one of the factors contributing to West Virginia being ranked near the bottom in health care. West Virginia was 47th.

The study was done by the National Women's Law Center, the Oregon Health and Science University and FOCUS on Health and Leadership at the University of PA School of Medicine. The study tabulated over 60 categories, including health care access, wellness and prevention.

Despite numerous health, wellness and outreach programs directed toward educating women to pursue a healthy lifestyle and access care in the state, Delegate Mary Pearl Compton, who heads the Health and Human Resources committee in the House of Delegates, said a key to providing better care is having women insured. West Virginia has the highest number of uninsured in the nation.

Say it ain't so.

NO ETHICS BROKEN IN WEST VIRGINIA - The West Virginia Ethics Commission is the only ethics commission in the USA that has not cited one single legislator for violating conduct laws or disclosure requirements in the past five years.

It "defies imagination" that West Virginia legislators are that squeaky clean, commented Bill Allison for the Center for Public Integrity in Washington, D.C. He said "I don't think convents have records that good."

Only a few ethics eyebrows went up when Senator Oshel Craigo was selling his property for a golf course, or Earl Ray's mom gets that greyhound dog breeding money, or dozens of tales in the realm of campaign financing. The list is long, but sweet.

West Virginia and Florida are the only states that cannot initiate an investigation or investigate anonymous complaints.

West Virginia passed a law creating an Ethics Commission in 1989 after two successive presidents of the State Senate were convicted on federal corruption charges. We won't get into talking about some of our Guvs.

The West Virginia Ethics Commission renders private advisory opinions, not issued for public reflection. Lew Brewer, lawyer for the group, said "All opinions are confidential, to encourage people (politicians and bureaucrats) to ask questions and not be embarrassed."

"There are evil people out there who might want to use them (investigations) for purposes other than good government," said Brewer.

Allison said "I don't think West Virginia legislators are such high-profile target that they need such a veil of secrecy."

But Mr. Allison, you do not understand life at the Mouth of the Elk.

Please, someone, say it ain't so.

SELL-OUT FOR SENATE REDISTRICTING? - It seems the WV Legislature carefully re-arranged and diluted West Virginia's 779,000 voters in order for Kanawha County to keep four senators.While they are fussing with Roane and Clay, many others have been thrown together to create geographic voting blocks.

They came up with some strange concoctions and stretches to get the job done, when in fact Kanawha should have kept only two senators by almost any standard, or the standard applied to everyone else.

A suit has been brought to correct the matter. Its success is not likely, even though WVU law professor Robert Bastress is leading the charge for the little folks.

Attorneys for the legislature like the arrangement.Bastress says the case comes down to whether there was a rational basis for a different or special approach for Kanawha County.

They wouldn't do that, would they?

Say it ain't so!

Hur Herald from Sunny Cal
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