About a minute before midnight on the final day of the regular legislative session, state Senate leaders pushed to pass “The Anti-Racism Act”
The bill rumbled through the Legislature and, at the very end, didn’t make it through. Senators voted on the bill right at the midnight deadline on Day 60 of the regular legislative session.
In the moment, it appeared the controversial bill had passed at the wire.
But a little more than an hour later, Senate staff confirmed that the vote was just slightly too late to count.
I have confirmed with our Clerk that this bill did not make it before midnight. So, while the Senate did take a vote on it, it missed the deadline and will not be considered as completed. https://t.co/3a5C7DxyY5
— Jacque Jo Bland (@jacquebland) March 13, 2022
Senate Bill 498, which forbids talking about race in certain ways in classroom settings, had already passed both the Senate and the House of Delegates, but in different versions.
Senators worked at a steady pace all day Saturday and had taken some time in the late evening to recognize departing members. In the hour between 11 and midnight, senators picked up the pace to a rapid clip.
With almost no time left, Senate Majority Leader Tom Takubo introduced the bill for Senate action.
“I move the Senate concur to House changes on Senate Bill 498,” said Takubo, R-Kanawha. He went on to explain that delegates had removed the elements of sex and ethnicity, among other changes, from the bill senators first passed. The House version also removed higher education from being affected.
“While having these two elements in the bill would have been better, concurring is better than losing the bill.”
Senate Finance Chairman Eric Tarr quickly jumped in. “I move the previous question,” he said, meaning debate would end before it could get started.
Senators then voted to pass the bill as amended 22-10.
Just seconds after that, senators resolved “sine die” to end the regular legislative session.
“I declare the Legislature adjourned,” Blair said. “Sine die.”