CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Senate President Jeff Kessler (D-Marshall, 2) said the fetal pain bill — banning abortions after 20 weeks into a pregnancy except in medical emergencies — cannot be ignored. Dealing with the legislation now, Kessler said, makes more sense.

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Senate President Jeff Kessler

“My concern is this, we are going to have this thing dominate the entire interim period and every month with people marching around the hallways of the Senate with petitions and the House and try to create division,” he said.

“We have a pro-life majority in leadership and I think we can get this issue addressed and put it behind us and move on to other topics that also need to be addressed.”

On Tuesday’s MetroNews “Talkline,” he said Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin should call a special session for the bill that, Kessler said, he would not have voted for originally if he thought it was unconstitutional.

However, Kessler does not support lawmakers calling themselves into session because he said that session would not be a special session with a narrow, defined focus.

“We’re down there with anything on the table. Any and everything that comes to whim of any legislator to introduce a bill and there we are — in a general session of the legislature,” Kessler said.

Supporters of the legislation, though, have said they’re close to meeting the threshold needed on a petition to force that session. Their argument is an unborn child or fetus can feel pain at 20 weeks in development and the state has a duty to protect that unborn child or fetus.

Last week, Tomblin issued a statement saying he would again veto the fetal pain bill if it’s approved for a second time in the same form. He says — as it’s written now — the bill is unconstitutional which is why he vetoed it back in March.

Tomblin has pledged to work with lawmakers on a different version of the bill during 2015 Regular Legislative Session.

House Speaker Tim Miley (D-Harrison, 48) voted for the bill the first time, but said, in his own statement, addressing the matter does not warrant a special session.

“I don’t believe West Virginia taxpayers will understand why lawmakers would be so eager to quickly return to Charleston at great expense to attempt to pass legislation destined for a long legal battle and a very uncertain future,” Miley said.

But Kessler argued the bill already has overwhelming support among legislators and just needs another chance to pass.

“We are going to have a pain capable bill. That’s a given,” he said. “You’ve got a pro-life governor, a pro-life speaker, a pro-life senate president and also pro-life majorities in both houses.”

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  • Charlotte

    If you are concerned about people marching around with a petition and distracting you during interims, you should be concerned about the distracting marchers coming your way if you cave in to these special interests and call a special session. You won't be able to make it through the hallways for the protesters. Of course, you will avoid THEM.
    You preach fiscal responsibility, but if WV4L wave a paper in front of you, that goes out the window. You are willing to ramp up the lawyers. Spare no expense. After all it is only taxpayers paying the freight for your bill's ride to the Supreme Court.

  • Inez

    A little early to be running for govenor, isn't it?
    Just another stunt to distract voters from how bad things are in WV.
    If you are pro-life, where was the call for a special session to save all the living children from the pain of abuse and neglect and poverty. You didn't call for that special session. Or are you like the others, only pro-life until they are born?

  • Jim

    Kessler you call yourself a lawyer, then why would you waste tax payer money for a special session for one bill that has been deemed unconstitutional when in six months you can fix it and bring it up in regular session.

  • Bob

    Hey Kessler,
    1 question and 1 comment:

    Are you nuts?

    You'll never be governor!

  • Bill

    Bring in the clowns at taxpayer expense, its party time in Charleston, WV.

  • Brian

    Another Democrat calling for a special session on another less important issue than crimes, jobs, big government ad finitum - shocking!

    • Cecil

      Governor and Speaker = NO
      Senate President and every single Republican = YES

      Make sure you know who the real clowns are calling for the special session: ALL Republicans and a 1/3 of Democrats. Pretty much how it plays out in life too.

    • Mark


  • sammy

    Another "special session" so they can do another campaign mailing at the tax payers expense? No thanks.

  • Woodchuck

    No more special session with more money in the pockets of politicians! Fix the roads!

  • Matt

    A special session would be ridiculous.

  • Jonesy

    The only reason that this route had to be taken is that Tomblin purposefully waited until the session had closed to veto the bill. He had plenty of time to veto it while the Legislature was still in session but knew his veto would like be overridden. So he chose the route of a coward. He should write out a check for the cost of the session if the real concern is to save the taxpayer $.

    • Mark

      That's simply not true.
      The bill didn't pass until the last day of the session, March 8. There is no way the Governor could have acted sooner because he didn't receive the bill sooner.