CHARLESTON – With Friday the de facto deadline to withdraw bills from committees and with the West Virginia House of Delegates giving away until today, a bill dealing with concepts and lessons derived from the critical race theory failed to make it out of its final committee.
The House Judiciary Committee decided Friday night to turn Bill 4011, the anti-stereotyping law, into a study resolution and bring it back for consideration in the 2023 legislative session in a vote of 13. vote against 9.
HB 4011 was low on the committee’s agenda for much of Friday as lawmakers worked on 15 bills and resolutions that saw lengthy debates erupt over cattle trespassing, the disclosure of some information by online marketplaces and whether to call a convention of states to amend the United States Constitution.
Sunday was the last day for bills to come out of the original House committees, but the House of Delegates and the State Senate adjourned until today, making Friday the last day to withdraw committee bills. With the House gavel at 6:30 p.m., the House Judiciary Committee resumed meeting thereafter.
“We have passed the deadline for flagging bills out of committee,” House Judiciary Committee Chairman Moore Capito, R-Kanawha, briefed committee members.
Of the. Steve Westfall, R-Jackson, moved a motion to turn HB 4011 into a study resolution, which will allow the committee to study the issue throughout next year at interim legislative meetings and bring the bill back of law for the next ordinary session.
“With so many calls I’ve had in the last week and emails against it, I think that’s pretty important,” said Westfall. “As we have been here for many, many hours, we need to look at it over the summer and see if we can get it right.”
The bill’s primary sponsor, Del. Chris Pritt, R-Kanawha, opposed the motion, urging the committee to continue examining the bill.
“We have come this far. It shouldn’t take much longer.” said Pritt. “Technically the deadline for this to come out of committee is – according to the rules – the 27th. We can finish this and this bill can be reported on Monday. I think we have to deal with it. »
HB 4011 would require greater transparency of curricula for public schools regarding non-discrimination, diversity, equity, inclusion, race, ethnicity, gender, bias, or any combination of these concepts. The bill would also ban the teaching and discussion of specific topics related to race and non-discrimination, often categorized as critical race theory, or CRT.
The bill states that no one should be blamed for an act committed in the past by a person of the same race, sex, ethnicity, religion or national origin. Schools and county school board officials would be prohibited from coercing students and staff to adopt any belief or concept that any one race, gender, ethnicity, religion or national origin is inherently superior or inferior to another.
The bill was passed by the House Education Committee on February 3, with the House Judiciary Committee first considering the bill on Thursday, hearing testimony from a representative of the conservative Pacific Legal Foundation, who proposes a model legislation similar to HB 4011.
Although the bill was not sent from committee on Friday evening, it is possible that a motion could be introduced during today’s sitting in the House to discharge the bill and have it read a first time so that it passes by Wednesday, the day the bills are due to go to the opposing body.
“I think this is a very, very important bill,” said Pritt. “This is an extremely important bill for many people. This is a bill that deserves to be heard before this committee.
(Adams can be contacted at [email protected])