By Dave Andrusko
West Virginia Senate President Jeff Kessler (D) today added more pressure to the call for a special session to address the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, the bill that Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin (D) vetoed at the end of the regular session in March.
Appearing today on MetroNews “Talkline,” Kessler said, “We have a pro-life majority in leadership and I think we can get this issue addressed and put it behind us and move on to other topics that also need to be addressed.”
Gov. Tomblin has said he would again veto the bill, arguing it is unconstitutional. House Speaker Tim Miley again brought up cost. “I don’t believe West Virginia taxpayers will understand why lawmakers would be so eager to quickly return to Charleston at great expense to attempt to pass legislation destined for a long legal battle and a very uncertain future,” he said.
Kessler rebutted both contentions in his appearance on Talkline. Had he thought the law was unconstitutional, Kessler said he wouldn’t have voted for it in the first place.
“Kessler argued the bill already has overwhelming support among legislators and just needs another chance to pass,” according to reporter Shauna Johnson of West Virginia Metro News. Kessler said, “We are going to have a pain capable bill. That’s a given.”
Kessler made clear he wants the governor to call the special session. If the lawmakers (in effect) call themselves into special session, Kessler said “that session would not be a special session with a narrow, defined focus.”
As NRL News Today reported over the weekend, Tomblin would have no choice but to call a special session if three-fifths of the members of both houses request it in writing. That means 22 in the Senate and 60 delegates. West Virginians for Life believe they are very close to reaching those numbers.
Last week West Virginians for Life Legislative Coordinator John Carey said, “It is unfortunate that the Speaker does not think that the passage of legislation to protect the unborn child is important enough to place on the agenda of a special session.” Carey added, “The people of West Virginia are overwhelmingly pro-life. It is time that the state legislature took action to ensure that these pro-life values are reflected in the laws of the Mountain State.”