Governor Tomblin released a statement Thursday discouraging lawmakers from calling themselves into a special session to take up previously vetoed abortion legislation.
House Bill 4588 would have created a statewide ban of abortions after 20 weeks. Both the House and Senate passed the bill, but Tomblin vetoed the legislation calling it unconstitutional. Several courts in other states have knocked down similar bans.
“Should members of the Legislature take the same action again, I will again veto the bill,” Tomblin said in a release.
“I am proud of my pro-life record, and I would be happy to work with members of the Legislature during the 2015 regular session to pass a bill that is constitutional.”
The message comes after lawmakers reported West Virginians for Life was passing around a standard letter for lawmakers to sign petitioning themselves back into session to take up the issue.
Kanawha County Republican Delegate Patrick Lane said Wednesday the three-fifths threshold had been met in the Senate and was close to being met in the House. If that threshold is reached, Tomblin is constitutionally required to call lawmakers back into session.
House Speaker Tim Miley also commented on the matter, stating that, while he voted in favor of the bill, questions regarding its constitutionality remain.
“I understand there must be a great deal of disappointment by any special interest group when its bill is vetoed, but I am troubled by the demand that the Legislature be called back into a special session, at taxpayer expense, to revisit the very same legislation that appears to be legally flawed,” said Miley in the statement issued Thursday afternoon.
“I don’t believe West Virginia taxpayers will understand why lawmakers would be so eager to quickly return to Charleston at great expense to attempt to pass legislation destined for a long legal battle and a very uncertain future.”