Political maneuvering wins the day as HB 2007 advances out of committee

By Matthew Young, RealWV

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The full array of political theatrics was on display Wednesday, as Senate President Craig Blair, R-Berkeley, and Judiciary Committee Chair Charles Trump, R-Morgan, played a nearly four-hour-long game of legislative chicken with HB 2007, the highly controversial bill seeking to prohibit minors from receiving gender-affirming medical and psychological treatments. 

After last week’s chaotic meeting of the Senate Health and Human Resources Committee which saw the testimony of a world-renowned doctor go largely ignored; Sen. Mike Maroney, R-Marshall, blast the bill’s cruelty before voting in favor of it; and Sen. Eric Tarr’s, R-Putnam, attempt to horse trade an amendment yes-vote in exchange for Sen. Tom Takubo’s, R-Kanawha, support of the full bill, HB 2007 appeared on the Judiciary Committee’s Wednesday agenda. 

Trump, along with Vice-chair Sen. Ryan Weld, R-Brooke, seemed to slow the meeting to a crawl in an effort to “run out the clock” ahead of the scheduled 4:30 p.m. floor session. After nearly three-hours, the committee still had more than half of their business still before them, with HB 2007 being the last bill on the agenda. 

At 4:17 p.m. Trump attempted to adjourn the meeting due to the Rules Committee meeting scheduled at 4:20. However, Trump was then advised that the Rules Committee meeting had been canceled by, as Trump called them, “Somebody in authority.” At 4:28 p.m. Sen. Mike Woelfel, D-Cabell, motioned for the meeting to be recessed until after the floor session. 

Blair then seemingly passed the “hot potato” right back to Trump. The floor session, which began approximately 15 minutes later than scheduled, immediately recessed until the conclusion of the Judiciary Committee’s meeting. 

Round two of the Judiciary Committee meeting began at 5:18 p.m., with Trump telling committee members, “The chair will make an announcement: here’s what the plan is that the president (Blair) has suggested – and that is to take up and dispose of (HB) 2007, if we can dispose of it within five minutes.”

“Also,” Trump continued, “To take the other three bills on our agenda and report them all to the floor without any recommendation, except to ask that they be read a first time on the floor, and immediately re-committed to the (Judiciary) committee.”

Exactly five minutes later at 5:23 p.m., HB 2007 was adopted by the committee, and immediately reported to the full Senate with a recommendation for passage. No discussion took place, no questions were asked, and no expert testimony was heard. 

HB 2007 is scheduled for a second reading before the full Senate on Thursday. With the bill now being advanced out of committee, there is sufficient time remaining in the current session for HB 2007 to complete the legislative process. 

RealWV will provide updates regarding HB 2007 as additional information is made available. 


Related stories

Give us your feedback