Randy Yohe Published

House Committee Moves ‘Anti-Racism Bill’ Forward

Del. Elliott Pritt, D-Fayette, speaks against the anti-racism bill.
Del. Elliott Pritt, D-Fayette, speaks against the anti-racism bill.
Perry Bennett/WV Legislative Photography

The House Education Committee had a vigorous debate Monday on the anti-racism bill. This is the same bill that died in the final hours of the 2022 legislative session.

According to the bill itself, Senate Bill 130, known as the Anti-Racism Act of 2023, prohibits teaching that one race is inherently, morally, or intellectually superior to another race, but nothing in the bill prohibits the discussion of those concepts in theory as part of an academic course. 

Supporters of the bill say it offers protection for teachers, students and parents. Those against the bill say it inhibits open discussion and creates a chilling effect for teachers.

Del. Patrick Lucas, R-Cabell, said he thinks the bill protects students, parents and teachers. 

“It protects teachers, number one, from talking about it in a way that can cause things to get out of hand,” he said. “And it also keeps teachers who might want to push their ideals onto students from doing so, too.” 

Del, Elliott Pritt, D-Fayette, voted no on the bill.

“I voted against this act because there are too many ambiguities and it leaves the door open for punitive actions against teachers with very little recourse for them to be able to defend themselves,” he said. “It’s not well defined, and that becomes a problem.” 

The anti-racism bill passed the House Education Committee and now moves on to the House Judiciary Committee.