Coal Tattoo

Should we only have rules coal lobbyists agree to?

In case anyone missed it, I wanted to go back and focus some attention on remarks that our friend Delegate Mike Caputo, D-Marion (and a UMWA representative):

“I’m not saying ‘Something we can call agree on,’ I’m not saying ‘Compromise,’ I’m saying something that protects the health and safety of miners,” Caputo said. “If the industry doesn’t like it, that’s just too damn bad.”

That’s what Delegate Caputo told the Daily Mail’s Ry Rivard when asked about the House leadership’s new mine safety bill, introduced yesterday — ahead of legislation promised in last week’s State of the State address by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin.

Delegate Caputo’s comments highlight what appears to me to be an increasing trend, in which political leaders don’t want to tackle tough issues at the statehouse before first making sure that a powerful industry isn’t going to derail their efforts. This happened here in West Virginia with last month’s special session on natural gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale. The governor’s office has said it hasn’t finalized its mine safety bill because it was still talking with industry lobbyists about it, to ensure there was consensus support for it.

What ever happened to proposing a bill you think is good, debating its merits, and then voting it up or down? That way, if lawmakers vote with industry over miners’ safety, the public will know and can base their own votes on Election Day accordingly …