West Virginia (WV) spoke very loudly this election year. The WVGOP (Republican Party) not only maintained their majorities in both the House and the Senate, but they extended their seat tallies to “Super Majorities”. The executive branch was won by GOP Governor Jim Justice with over 65% of the vote. Both results are resounding messages from West Virginia voters that they do not wish to go back to the ways of the past under Democrat “leadership”.
This seems like an outstanding position for the WVGOP to be in, but it is potentially lining up to be a rather interesting for the next few months. Will the GOP legislature choose to take the Governor to task for exerting overarching executive power with enforceable mask-mandates, the halting of high school athletics, school, church services and many other things? It is rare that something as nonsensical as “postponing” high school sports comes down from the Governor’s desk instead of league and school offices, but it has. Things like this are occurring more and more in our country. We have forgotten that fear should not dictate whether we live life, have liberty, or pursue happiness. Now is no time to begin allowing that fearful sentiment to weasel its way into our state. Certainly, there is such a thing as executive authority in West Virginia. Many citizens would love to know its appropriate scope and how perceived overreach can be combatted. There are avenues that the legislature can take, with its super majority, to dampen the power of executive authority. They could pass a bill limiting the scope of Executive Orders. One possible example is a “forced sunset” bill. This bill would force an executive order to be deemed obsolete after 7 days if it is not upheld by the legislature. Of course, ideas such as this would come with future unintended consequences if not carefully constructed.
It is incumbent on our locally elected officials to do their jobs and protect West Virginia citizens from an overreaching executive office, even if they are of the same party. This is part of the reason why we elected them and we have full confidence that they will address this issue as they continue to work for the betterment of our great state.