CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The West Virginia Silver Haired Legislature held its annual session Friday at the state capitol.
Silver-Haired House Speaker George Moore of South Charleston said members also have at least two goals.
“One is the education of older folks on how the government works,” he said. “The other one is to identify problems of West Virginians, not just senior citizens, and to provide realistic, feasible solutions to them.”
The group voted on 28 position papers that will eventually be presented to state lawmakers. The position papers focus on issues that include, among others, enforcing regulations for handicap parking, requiring prescriptions for all drugs used to make methamphetamine and reducing personal property taxes for vehicles owned by people over 60.
Moore said one of the bigger papers they will be discussing involves organ donation.
“What we’re proposing is that we become the first state in the union to be a presumed consent state, in that everyone is presumed to be an organ donor, unless they elect out of it,” he said.
Moore said a lot of people die each year because they don’t receive an organ in time. Moore recalls his wife’s cousin dying earlier this year waiting for a liver. He said that the actual number of people who sign up to donate is low.
“About 60 percent of people say they want to be organ donors, but only about 30 percent are,” he said.
Currently all states participate in opt-in organ donor systems meaning people need to elect themselves as a donor.
Another hot button topic addressed in a position paper this year deals with legalizing recreational marijuana.
Moore said marijuana is kind of recognized as the largest agricultural crop in the state.
“Why allow the drug dealers to keep it? Why not legalize it, collect the taxes on it and use that to cut the populations in the prisons and fund the rehabilitation programs,” said Moore.
Moore believes the time has come to legalize marijuana and it’s the right thing to do.