This is NOT one bill I am happy to report on. After much deliberation prior to it being rushed to the floor, I polled my voters, asked constituents, and got the concensus that I thought I would hear. 90 percent of those I spoke to did NOT want the seat belt law to be a primary offense. It was the way I was leaning from the start, and it was how I voted when it came to the chamber floor.
Despite my efforts, the bill made passage with a 55-45 vote in the House of Delegates today, thus making it a primary offense not to wear a seat belt. My argument was quite simple. I did not run for office and get elected to ‘police’ the people or force more regulations down their throats. That is not what I am about. Even with that point, there were other basic points to make as well. There already is a seat belt law in effect for West Virginia. Currently the law is a secondary offense, and is required for ALL passengers of a vehicle under the age of 18.
But why change the law now? Perhaps the answer may be a nefarious one. Government Regulations. Lobbyists were pushing this bill HARD this week and wanted it to pass. In questioning for why, one of the lobbyist simply stated to me…’well if you arent going to support it, then we will just move on to the next one’. Guess that is the kind of answer I needed to make my final decision.
Even the statistics say it will only raise seat belt use by 6 percent in the state saving 14 lives. Even though one life is precious to me, so is our right to choose. One delegate today made that point plain and simple. In a floor speech, Dana Lynch stated he lost his son 15 years ago, but concurred that seat belt or not, if its your time to go, that seat belt isnt going to make a difference because the Lord in Heaven already has a plan for you.