Wednesday, February 25, 2015

And Now West Virginia: Another State Considering Copycat Legislation Modeled After Arkansas's "Pro-Business" Right-to-Discriminate Law

As I noted two days ago, immediately after Arkansas enacted its new "pro-business" right-to-discriminate (against gays) legislation, a Texas legislator filed a copycat bill in that state. And now West Virginia: as David Badash writes,

West Virginia is the latest state to copycat Arkansas in a wave of state legislatures banning ordinances protecting minorities. 
West Virginia lawmakers are ramming through a bill that would ban local cities and towns from enacting or enforcing non-discrimination laws that do not already exist at the state level. Camouflaged as a "commerce bill," exactly as Arkansas lawmakers successfully did recently, the bill is designed to prohibit local municipalities from enacting protections for LGBT people. 
The legislation, called the West Virginia Intrastate Commerce Improvement Act, was introduced just yesterday, and is already scheduled for a vote today by the House Government Organization Committee. 
"Such uniform laws will benefit the businesses, organizations and employers seeking to do business in our state and will attract new ones to our state," the bill claims, despite the fact that businesses successfully navigate variations in local ordinances without issue.

David Badash ends by stating, "Expect more states to enact similar bills, and stay tuned for results of today's vote."

And why wouldn't other states copy legislation that was, as I've noted over and over in postings about this topic, designed to be a template for states resisting gay rights, and which has been enacted in Arkansas with nary a peep of protest from national business leaders? When such discrimination is wildly popular in the areas of the country in which these bills are sailing through legislatures, and when LGBT citizens are a tiny and despised minority group in these states, what's to prevent such legislation when it has the obvious, if tacit, approval of national business leaders and even of political leaders (Bill and Hillary, where are you?) who ostensibly support LGBT rights?

This legislation has been crafted by powerful, well-heeled pressure groups to do just what it is doing — kicking a vulnerable minority group in the teeth in order to satiate the hunger for discrimination on the part of the political base now running the show in the areas of the country in which it's being promoted.

The photo of a West Virginia highway welcome sign is from the Urban Ohio blog.

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