Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Letters to the Editor

April 12, 2013

West Virginians losing basic rights

— — While Mercer County becomes obsessed with the rights of pit bulls, our state Legislature is diminishing human rights one vote at a time.

The West Virginia House of Delegates just passed H.B. 2513. This bill allows law enforcement to extract blood samples without a warrant or permission during traffic stops. Unfortunately, two of three delegates from the 27th District supported this bill. John Shott and Joe Ellington voted in favor of the bill. Fifteen of the 46 House Republicans broke rank to support this intrusive measure. I congratulate Delegate Marty Gearheart for standing up for Fourth Amendment rights as he voted against the bill.

H.B. 2513 bill was pushed by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin. Just last year, Gov. Tomblin suggested that law enforcement have access to prescription drug data of all West Virginians. Obviously, Gov. Tomblin is willing to violate HIPPA federal law to combat southern West Virginia’s drug epidemic. He apparently has no regard for protected health information or privacy. And to make matters worse, he has more than a majority of delegates willing to support him.

Tomblin is known for his persuasive micro-management of the legislative bodies. Apparently, he has found allies in Shott and Ellington. The overall irony is that Tomblin, a career politician, has presided over southern West Virginia’s social and economic decline for decades. The result: He and an anxious group of lawmakers think they can legislate the problem away by violating U.S. Constitutional rights.

Many of the GOP members who voted for this bill sought support of the Tea Party during elections just a few months ago. Now, these members are voting our Constitutional rights away. It is humorous that these individuals would be so vocal about gun rights when they are more than willing to terminate other basic rights. Gun rights and turnpike tolls seem to be a Red Herring.

 Apparently, the public is not paying attention to the slippery slope our government is laying out for all of us.

Greg Shrewsbury

Charleston

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