West Virginia groups oppose “religious freedom” bills publicly, donate to lawmakers who support it

By : Wire Report
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) – While business groups and some of the state’s largest corporations are organizing to oppose any new “religious freedom” legislation in West Virginia, campaign finance reports show some are donating to lawmakers who voted for the state’s unsuccessful 2016 Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

The Chamber PAC -the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce’s political spending arm – has given at least $28,000 to 38 lawmakers in the West Virginia House of Delegates who are running for re-election and voted for the 2016 bill, the Charleston Gazette-Mail reported. The list includes Roger Hanshaw, R-Clay; Terry Waxman, R-Harrison; and House Speaker Tim Armstead, R-Kanawha.

Opponents have said the House-passed bill – later defeated in the state Senate – would allow discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

Chamber President Steve Roberts said his organization is still opposed to such a measure but said its decision to donate was based more on candidates’ willingness to cut regulations and limit lawsuits against corporations. And while he hasn’t talked to lawmakers about the issue, Roberts said he believes there is a “decided lack of interest” in the proposal moving forward.

“I think there is good reason to think that, given the pretty resounding rejection in the Senate, that the issue is done,” Roberts said.

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