A graphic image that shows a clock in the WV Legislature that has finally reached midnight, with the text, "It's finally over."

Reflecting On This Year’s Legislative Session

Friends of Fairness,

I finally have some good news to share with you. The legislative session ended at midnight on Saturday, and when it did, multiple anti-LGBTQ+ bills died.

More than 2,000 bills were introduced this session, and just 280 bills made it all the way through both chambers of the Legislature. We tracked about 40 anti-LGBTQ+ bills — bills that would, in one way or another, restrict the rights of our community or put us at risk for discrimination, harassment or violence.

We defeated almost every single anti-LGBTQ+ bill this year, except for one bill, House Bill 4233, which bans listing “non-binary” on a child’s birth certificate, a practice that already isn’t currently allowed.

Our legislators threw everything they could at us. They introduced bills to overturn all the local fairness laws that 18 communities across West Virginia have adopted. They tried to lock up librarians for doing their job, and ban transgender people from coming within half a mile of public schools. They tried to ban gender-affirming care for adolescents — again. One bill we’ve talked a lot about, the “Women’s Fake Bill of Rights,” very nearly became law.

That bill had been on the verge of passage for several days, but it failed at the last minuteThat’s fantastic news. Passing that bill could have been devastating to transgender people across the state.

Along with all of these bad bills that died, many good bills also died. Our legislators still refused to even consider the Fairness Act, a bill to ban discrimination in employment, housing and public spaces. They won’t pass the Youth Mental Health Protection Act to protect our kids from the dangerous and discredited practice of conversion therapy, and they refuse to modernize our state’s hate crimes law by passing Angel’s Law.

Considering the makeup of the Legislature right now, that probably doesn’t come as much of a shock. But here’s something you may not know: when you show up, we can win.

Yes, the odds are stacked against us. Yes, Republicans control a super majority of both legislative chambers. Yes, we may not always be able to defeat every bill. But throughout this legislative process, I have seen more passion and dedication from our volunteers and supporters than ever before.

Many of you joined us at lobby days or at public hearings. You spread the word on social media and you contacted your legislator every time we asked for your help. You made your voice heard, and that matters. It has a major impact.

So take a minute to celebrate this moment. However you played a role in this legislative session, no matter how big or how small, you were a part of a winning team. Thank you.

Yours in Fairness,

Andrew Schneider
Executive Director

A headshot of Andrew Schneider, executive director of Fairness West Virginia.