Nov 9, 2022
CHARLESTON — While Amendment 2 and the question about whether to eliminate tangible personal property taxes dominated much of the conversation over the last two months, voters made their voices heard on three other amendments to the West Virginia Constitution Tuesday night.
Amendment 4, dealing with oversight over education public policy in West Virginia, was rejected by voters 58 percent to 42 percent with all counties reporting in by press time Tuesday night according to unofficial results posted by the West Virginia Secretary of State’s Office.
Amendment 4 would clarify that “the policy-making and rule-making authority of the state Board of Education is subject to legislative review, approval, amendment, or rejection.” The board reviews new or amended policies submitted to it by the state Department of Education at monthly meetings in Charleston.
The state Department of Education keeps the Legislature informed of its approved rules, regulations and policies. While every other state department and agency must submit its rules to the Legislative Rule-Making Review Committee, the state education board is not required to get approval from lawmakers for policies and rules.
Amendment 4 was opposed by the West Virginia Association of School Administrators, the West Virginia Education Association, and the West Virginia chapter of the American Federation of Teachers, and the West Virginia School Service Personnel Association.
The state Board of Education also put out a statement earlier this year opposing Amendment 4, but the new state board president, Paul Hardesty, did not sign on to that statement and has taken a neutral stance on the amendment since being approved as board president in July.
“It is my desire to put this issue behind us,” Hardesty said in a statement Tuesday night. “It’s time for the (Department of Education) and the State Board of Education to work with the Governor and the Legislature to provide the best educational opportunities available for ALL West Virginia children. No more us-versus-them, but all of us working together every day to promote student achievement.
“We know our children are behind. We know the data. No more excuses,” Hardesty continued. “It’s time to roll up our sleeves and get to work on real solutions. We owe it to our children.”
Amendment 1, dealing with the impeachment process by the Legislature, was rejected by voters 58 percent to 42 percent.
Amendment 1 would add language to the Constitution stating that “courts have no authority or jurisdiction to intercede or intervene in or interfere with impeachment proceedings of the House of Delegates or the Senate.” Amendment 1 would also clarify that no judgments rendered by the state Senate in an impeachment trial can be appealed or reviewed by the judicial branch.
Lawmakers adopted the joint resolution for Amendment 1 after an all-appointed state Supreme Court panel made up of circuit court judges put a stop to the impeachment trials of former justice Margaret Workman in 2018. The House adopted 11 articles of impeachment spread out between Workman and other sitting justices at the time. Workman filed a lawsuit to block the impeachment process, alleging that the House did not follow its own rules for impeachment.
Amendment 3, dealing with civil liability protections for church leaders, was rejected by voters 54.5 percent to 45.5 percent.
Amendment 3 would allow churches and other religious denominations to incorporate. West Virginia was the last state in the nation with a ban on the incorporation of churches and religious institutions. West Virginia’s ban was a carryover from Virginia’s constitution when the state was formed in 1863.
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