The latest was Saturday, when Delegate Mark Hunt, D-Kanawha, at the behest of House leadership, amended an innocuous bill allowing the state Retirement Board to set employer contribution rates without having to get legislative approval (SB507) to also allow eligible legislators to draw state pensions and their legislative salaries simultaneously.
Thompson was one of five delegates excused from voting because they qualify under the rule of 80 (age plus years of service equal that magic number for retirement in the state pension plan), and would immediately be able to begin double-dipping.
However, at least 21 delegates asked if they should be excused from voting on the bill, since all are close to qualifying for the proposed double benefits.
"Let's hope we have a quorum when we're done," Thompson quipped, regarding the Rule 49 requests.
The bill passed the House 54-40 but, to its credit, the Senate wouldn't accept the bill with Hunt's amendment, and it died Saturday.
Of course, one of the more shameful matters of the final day, as eloquently addressed by Sen. Brooks McCabe, D-Kanawha, was how a bill intended to give cities more autonomy and self-governance (SB435) became loaded down with gun lobby rhetoric and religious right mandates.
Ultimately, rather than expanding authority of home rule cities, the bill is a laundry list of things participating cities cannot do: They cannot restrict sales of firearms or ammunition; they generally cannot prevent people bringing guns into city parks or public facilities; and they cannot recognize same-sex marriages.
Delegate Kelli Sobonya, R-Cabell, insisted on keeping the prohibition on city sanctioned marriages -- even after legislative attorneys pointed out that municipalities have no authority under state law to issue marriage licenses or otherwise ordain marriages.
Finally, it's a tie for most absurd floor speeches of the 2013 session. First, there was Delegate Dana Lynch, D-Webster, who opposed the seat-belt bill based on the theory there's some big scroll in the sky with everyone's birth and death dates on it, and nothing one does on earth can change those predestined dates. Of course, that's exactly the kind of misguided fatalism that keeps West Virginia last or near-last on health and wellness rankings.
When we thought no one could match that, Delegate Ray Canterbury, R-Greenbrier, came up in the 59th day with his pronouncement that poor children should have to work for their free school lunches, and followed it up Saturday with a bizarre speech about how students in Japan have to clean their schools -- a floor speech cut off in mid-stream of consciousness by Speaker Thompson.
Reach Phil Kabler at ph...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1220.