CHARLESTON, W.Va. – House Speaker Tim Miley (D-Harrison, 48) said it’s unlikely the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act — the bill banning abortions in West Virginia after 20 weeks into a pregnancy — will be taken up in a special legislative session this year.

Last month, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin vetoed HB 4588 calling it unconstitutional and unduly restrictive to the doctor-patient relationship.

Those with West Virginians for Life, a pro-life group that worked for passage of the bill during the 2014 Regular Legislative Session, have since been talking with lawmakers about ways to potentially revisit the issue in a special session.  They’ve pointed to a provision in the state Constitution that says a governor must call a special session if three-fifths of members of both the state Senate and state House of Delegates petition for it.

Earlier this month, Bob Bastress, a West Virginia University law professor, said he saw nothing in West Virginia’s Constitution prohibiting the Legislature from reconvening in a special session to override the gubernatorial veto of the bill — if there is enough support for such a move.

File photo

House Speaker Tim Miley (D-Harrison, 48)

Miley does not agree.  He said the time for action on the veto has passed.

“We could have adopted a resolution extending our session so that we could remain in session to retrieve the message from the governor, which we didn’t do, or the bill could have been passed by the 54th day which would have required the governor to take action within five days where we still would have been in session to have taken action, such as overriding a veto, if that was the will of the body,” he said.

“Neither of those actions was taken.”

Citing information from attorneys for the House of Delegates, he said the Legislature concludes its legislative work once it adjourns sine die, which happened in March, and cannot take action on a bill that is no longer in the possession of the state Senate or the state House of Delegates.  The vetoed bill has now been sent to the Secretary of State’s office, so the bill would have to be introduced again during any special session.

“It’s my understanding that the governor doesn’t have a desire to reconsider such a contentious, controversial bill in a special session, in part, because special sessions should be reserved for only the most important of matters because we go back into session every year, unlike some others states where they meet every other year,” said Miley.

Miley said he does expect fixes for the minimum wage bill along with supplemental bills to fund certain agencies, including the Courtesy Patrol, to be taken up during a May special session.  That session will likely be called after the May 13 Primary Election.

As for the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, Miley said it may have to wait until next year.  “We’re all disappointed at times and that’s life,” said Miley on Tuesday’s MetroNews “Talkline.”  “But we shouldn’t react so hastily and act like the world’s going to come to an end if we don’t override the governor’s veto.”

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  • New West Virginian

    No we CAN'T wait till next year. Innocent children are being murdered in abortion clinics EVERY DAY. Their blood is on Miley's hands as much as it is on Tomblin's.

  • Bob

    Once again Barry Bledsoe show his lack of intelligence. Some things never change.

  • Adam

    Not to gloss over the fact that Miley thinks he knows more about the State's Constitution than a WVU law professor and the Attorney General, but Miley's point is he doesn't think the legislature reconvening itself to override the veto of this bill is constitutional after they adjourned in the matter they did, since that bill was from the last legislative session.
    Why not just reconvene with approval from 3/5 of the legislature to re-pass the same bill under a new name and stay in session until the Governor vetoes it and then override the veto of that bill?
    They don't want to pass it, but also don't want to admit to that in front of all their pro-life constituents in an election year. I wish these wordsmiths would man up and just say what they feel, rather than treat us like a bunch of rubes.

  • George

    Yea these stupid Democrats knew from the onset that our no respect for human life governor was going to veto this bill. Just a gimmick from the Democrats to fool the citizens of WV. It did't work.......can't wait until Election Day"...........and those of you that do not think that this is a vital issue consider this..if we have leaders that don't even care about the rights of the unborn then they care little about anyone else's rights

    • Butch

      hey go back to 1973, the rest of the world have moved on.

  • Pro Baby

    Can we now focus on the things that will solve the problems hurting children? This issue was decided in 1973. Drugs are much worse right now and hurt so many. Focusing on that isn't unconstitutional either.

  • jimbo

    BLEDSOE, maybe when you win YOU CAN CHANGE THE WORLD. i love how the other side always bashes what is being done, but they NEVER have any answer or how to fund it

  • jimbo

    BLEDSOE

  • jimbo

    if you knew anything about the process this would not be hard to understand. i wish you all would worry more about the drinking water in charleston and jobs and important issues. besides, miley voted for the bill and he is pro life. give him a break

  • Abram

    It will never be made easy to kill a child. It's a shame you can't feel the pain of the life you so choose to take...

  • NotARepublican

    I cannot fathom why this is an issue... Are there not more important things to worry about than allowing a woman the peace to control her own body and sexual health??? I would think growing our economy and perhaps bringing in some decent 21st century industry into this state to retain younger people would be more important. What is next? Taking away the right to vote unless your a white, Christian, male who owns property? GET OUT OF THE DARK AGES people...

    Some states are progressing while others are regressing... Colorado has already brought in A BILLION dollars in additional taxes from the recreational use of Marijuana. We sure could use that here...

  • Kevin G

    Can we please just move on now? This should never have been brought up in the first place.

  • Barry Bledsoe

    Of course he says it has to wait for the next session, AFTER the election! His Democrat cohorts get to pull the wool over the eyes of their voters, hailing their "pro-life" vote, even though all along this was the plan. Then, guess what? Next year, things won't go so well for the pro-live advocates, (although I guess you can't say they went well this year, considering the outcome).

    HOWEVER, when the Republicans get control of the legislature for the first time in 82 years, things could go VERY well!

  • Imgrill

    Several points to mention , spending so much effort to try to force a bill which conflicts with Supreme Court view seems wasteful. Second can we drop the " pro-life" tag. All those who are anti - life please step forward. We have issues way more pressing that our legislature needs to spend time on. Let's turn the page to the 21st century people.

    • Barry Bledsoe

      I've heard this argument before also. "Let's not pass a good bill, because someone might fight it in the Supreme Court!" More bunk.