Misinformation used in political discussions is one of the things that bother some of us. Others go with the flow, I suppose.
A fair, honest discussion of an issue is often a pleasure. But using non-facts as a rationale for decision-making is just plain wrong.
For instance, it would be nice if opponents of the state’s greyhound racing said they are against the races for humane reasons or whatever else may actually concern them. Some folks honestly believe the dogs are mistreated. In fact, they feel that simply racing them is inhumane.
Others oppose the practice for religious reasons. Many churches are opposed to gambling.
But the “other reason” often given for curtailing dog racing is that state taxpayers “subsidize” breeders. That is not true, and most opponents know it.
There may be legitimate arguments against greyhound racing. The “taxpayer subsidy” isn’t one of them.
Some believe the issue will come up again in the 2021 legislature. After an effort to eliminate the funding (which comes from track participants, not taxpayers) failed miserably in the last session, some are advocating bringing it up again next year.
That would be a mistake.
As Del. Erikka Storch (R-Ohio County) and others have pointed out, greyhound racing is a tremendous economic boost for the state.
Storch’s fellow legislator Shawn Fluharty (D-Ohio) explained, “No taxpayer money is being used in the greyhound industry, period. If you haven’t gone to the casino, you haven’t contributed to the greyhound fund; not a single penny.”
Some legislators and candidates have gone so far as to advocate “other uses” for the $15 million or so that the fund generates. What they don’t mention to voters is that the money would not exist without greyhound racing. Patrons of the tracks provide all of the breeders’ funding; none comes from tax revenues.
So there’s no surplus money to spread around. Taxpayers are not being asked to subsidize greyhound racing at all.
“Of the 1,700, or however many are employed in the industry, 1,100 of them are in the Northern Panhandle,” Storch said. She pointed out that other revenue and employment are created as an addition to those directly affected.
Neither the Panhandle nor South-central West Virginia, home to the state’s second track at Cross Lanes, are exactly booming economically at this point. Neither can afford more job losses.
So let’s be straight: if the breeders are “subsidized” by taxpayers, I guess I and many others don’t understand the definition of a “subsidy.”
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Does it matter to anyone if vaccine manufacturers are not liable if their medicine adversely affects patients?
Some care, but they may be overwhelmed by those who apparently think it’s a risk worth taking.
One bothered by legal immunity for big pharma is community activist and former legislator Chandra Adkins of Beckley. Although making her voice heard is quite a battle, she remains committed to her work with West Virginians for Health Freedom.
Others share similar concerns: first, with government-ordered vaccinations and second, with the no-liability clauses.
While in the legislature, current Cabell Republican County Commissioner Kelli Sabonya was among the few who seemed concerned when boards of education established rules governing vaccine requirements.
In the current Covid 19 pandemic, with Governor Jim Justice running the state by executive order, forced inoculations is again a hot topic.
Adkins’ organization posted a huge sign near Interstate 64 approaching Huntington to let the public know that vaccine manufacturers would have no liability in the event of negative reactions.
That brought many to their first realization of that fact.
Adkins is a licensed pharmacist. Her group’s Website says the organization is a group of West Virginians fighting to establish legislative policies involving “parental choice.”
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Meanwhile, Del. Brandon Steele (R-Raleigh) is poised to offer legislation to stop forced immunization for Covid-19. He’s working with others on a bill to do just that.
Steele also pointed out that the law that empowers boards of education to require vaccinations specifically addresses what vaccines they can require. Covid-19 is not one of them. He argues that nobody currently has the legal authority to order the vaccine to be administered except the person getting it.
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With supermajorities in both the House and Senate, we’ll see if liberty-loving Republicans will now stand up to the power-wielding governor.
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Speaking of super-majorities, one Republican legislator expressed an opinion I’ve had since we learned the election results on November 3.
“With so many Republicans, there will be divisions of different groups with various ideas,” he said. “I’m not sure we know how to handle that.”
Contact Ron Gregory at 304-533-5185 or firstname.lastname@example.org.