BACK PEW–The Twilight Zone

Column by Stephen Baldwin, One time during debate on the Senate floor, I referred to the legislative session as “the twilight zone.” Because nothing makes sense there. This week’s news proves the point.  EQUAL DOES NOT MEAN EQUAL. The House of Delegates passed a “women’s bill of rights” that doesn’t appear to secure women any […]

BACK PEW–Do as I say, not as I do 

Feb 1, 2024 By Stephen Baldwin, RealWV The first thing long-time legislators told me about life under the dome was, “Your integrity is all you have.” That rang true to me, as a lifelong West Virginian. When an Appalachian gives their word, it means something important to them and the person to whom they give […]

THE BACK PEW–Contentious special session spends big bucks

By Stephen Baldwin, RealWV August 9, 2023 The legislature just completed a three-day special session. It was…special.  If you haven’t heard about what happened, you aren’t alone. And it wouldn’t be your fault. Legislators were called into special session at 3:30pm on Sunday, given 44 bills with spending of around $700 million, and asked to […]

THE BACK PEW–Quick rundown of which bills passed & which ones failed

By Stephen Baldwin, RealWV March 16, 2023 The WV Legislature adjourned at midnight on March 11. Here’s a quick rundown of several bills we’ve been watching the last two months, along with whether the bill passed or failed.  TAX CUT. Passed. Citizens will see a 21.25% reduction in income taxes. Rebates will also be available […]

BACK PEW–Breaking down the details

By Stephen Baldwin, RealWV March 8, 2023 Last week, I wrote at length about how politics has become a performance. Right on cue, our leaders proceeded to hold a balloon drop photo op to celebrate a tax cut and pay raise for public employees…while quietly giving themselves a much larger raise and increasing employee insurance […]

BACK PEW–Lights, camera, action!

By Stephen Baldwin, RealWV March 1, 2023 With 10 days to go in this legislative session, we’ve learned several important lessons about the state of our state.  One, money still runs the show. Despite broken personal relationships, the House, Senate, and Governor compromised on the largest tax cut in state history…so they can say, “We […]

THE BACK PEW–Watch out for the quiet ones

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By Stephen Baldwin, RealWV February 16, 2023 They say you should always watch out for the quiet ones. That’s especially true of legislation. Because politicians try and get you to look left while they’re pulling a trick to your right.   Here are some bills I’m watching right now.  COAL SEVERANCE TAX CUT. SB168 passed the […]

THE BACK PEW: Sparks fly at halftime

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By Stephen Baldwin, RealWV February 8, 2023 It’s officially halftime under the dome! This is day 30 of the 60-day legislative session. And it began with a bang this morning!  COMPETING TAX CUT PLANS. Senate Republicans and Democrats joined together in a press conference to present their tax cut plan. The main parts are: 15% […]

THE BACK PEW: Yes, there are a few good bills moving under the dome!

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By Stephen Baldwin, RealWV February 2, 2023 A reader asked this question: “We hear about the bad bills the legislature passes; have any good bills passed?”  Yes! A number of good pieces of legislation are moving through the legislative process right now. All of the following bills have passed through at least one legislative body […]

THE BACK PEW–Jan 18, 2023

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By Stephen Baldwin, RealWV January 18, 2023 Last week, I predicted a series of bills would pass on day one in the Senate. Some of you wrote to say, “Really? Wouldn’t that be very unusual?”  Yes and yes. It really happened, and it is very unusual. Senate Republicans did this for a few reasons. Because […]