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Health & Science

Bill On Political Oversight of Health Boards Advances

Delegate Shawn Fluharty (D) of Ohio County spoke against Senate Bill 12 on the House Floor.
West Virginia Legislature

A new piece of legislation from West Virginia’s state senators would give county commissioners more control over decisions made by local health departments. Senate Bill 12 passed one chamber, and then the other, in less than a week.

This bill would give local elected representatives the authority to strike down rules coming from local health officials.

The measure passed the senate Tuesday, and the house Friday.

Democrats like Delegate Shawn Fluharty of Ohio County oppose the measure. He called out a fellow delegate for not wearing a mask on the house floor. He said that behavior is why elected officials should not control public health decisions, especially during a pandemic.

“Now we’re going to say 'let’s get more politicians involved with our local health departments' and expect them to magically follow the rules, when they’re not even professionals in the field,” he said.

Republican Delegate Jeffrey Pack of Raleigh County defended the bill, and pushed for passage.

“But it is inherently democratic that these rules come before an elected body,” he said.

The Bill passed 63-33 in the house and is now on the way back to the Senate for their acceptance of amendments.

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