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CROWN Act, prohibiting racial discrimination primarily based on hair, will get punted to Senate Finance after flooring debate

MORGANTOWN – The resurrected CROWN Act got here to the Senate flooring Friday morning, after narrowly passing out of Judiciary the night earlier than, solely to be swatted again to a different committee – the place it might die.

SB 496 goals to ban discrimination primarily based on race that features discrimination primarily based on hair textures and protecting hairstyles traditionally related to a selected race, the place the time period protecting hairstyles contains braids, locks, and twists.

After being learn for the primary time, Finance chair Eric Tarr, R-Putnam, moved to have the invoice referred to his committee.

He stated the invoice carries vital fiscal implications and the requested fiscal notes haven’t been issued.

The state, he stated, might see a rise in lawsuits spurred by the laws, and the lawyer common suspects it has issues and desires to assessment it. He later modified that remark, when pressed, and stated the AG simply desires to assessment it. Whereas admitting he has no proof that lawsuits will improve, he desires to see the fiscal notes.

“As Finance chair I’m very conscious of issues that convey dangers to the final income,” he stated. “I’ve like a 99% confidence that we now have an elevated expense to the state.”

Sen. Patricia Rucker, R-Jefferson, supported Tarr, saying witness testimony about incidents in faculties signifies lawsuits will come up. And by including one other protected class to the Human Rights Act, “there’s some schooling that should occur.”

Three attorneys within the Senate all disputed Tarr’s declare.

Judiciary chair Charles Trump, R-Morgan stated the invoice will actually scale back lawsuits and state bills. Racial discrimination is already unlawful, and this invoice clarifies that discrimination primarily based on hair is a type of racial discrimination. “It can require fewer instances, no more if we cross this invoice.”

He identified that the very same invoice handed the Senate 32-2 in 2020. (The 2 votes in opposition to got here from Tarr and Sen. Mike Azinger, R-Wooden, who once more opposed the invoice Thursday in Judiciary.)

On condition that Crossover Day – when payments have to go away their home of origin and go to the opposite aspect – comes Wednesday, “I consider it’s pointless and imprudent this late within the session” to ship it to finance.

Sen. Mike Woelfel, D-Cabell, stated Tarr and his supporters make the invalid assumption that West Virginians are racist.

And Sen. Ryan Weld, R-Brooke, contradicted Rucker, saying the invoice doesn’t create a brand new protected class, as a result of it falls below racial discrimination.

Lead sponsor Sen. Mike Caputo. D-Marion, listed a number of the states which have already handed this laws and have acknowledged they’ve seen no fiscal impression – together with Alaska, Oregon and Tennessee.

The vote to ship it to Finance was 22-12, with 9 Republicans and all three Democrats voting to maintain it earlier than the complete Senate. Domestically, Sens. Charles Clements, Mike Oliverio, Randy Smith and Jay Taylor all voted to commit it to Finance. Caputo and Sen. Mike Maroney voted no. President Craig Blair, R-Berkeley, was amongst these within the majority.

The 2020 invoice, after passing out of the Senate, died in Home Judiciary. A Home flooring effort to discharge it from committee to have the complete physique contemplate it failed.

Nothing in SB 496 calls the invoice the CROWN Act, however this has been the identify of a number of the Home variations, and of laws in different states. CROWN stands for Making a Respectful and Open World for Pure Hair.

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