West Virginia Governor Vetoes 'In God We Trust' Bill

| by Kendal Mitchell
article imagearticle image

West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin vetoed a bill that would let public groups accept private donations to display the phrase, "In God We Trust" last Thursday.

The bill would have given the State Building Commission the ability to develop guidelines for how organizations could display the motto, the Charleston Gazette reports.

Delegate John Overington, the lead sponsor of the bill, said several private groups approached him and said they were willing to contribute funds to place the national motto on public buildings.

“They have a lot of buildings they would like to see our national motto displayed on,” Overington told the Charleston Gazette.

Tomblin said he vetoed the bill because the commission does not currently exist. According to state code 5-6-1, the State Building Commission lost its authority and existence as of July 1, 2000.

In 1966, the Legislature created the State Building Commission to finance and construct state buildings, including warehouses, state hospitals and state park facilities.

After several controversial decisions made by the council, including a $19 million lease-purchase of a Morris Square building in Charleston’s East End district, legislators in the 2000 regular session decided to terminate the commission. The Department of Administration and the Economic Development Authority took over the responsibilities of the commission.

Some legislators said they did not know the commission was no longer in existence.

“I was not aware the State Building Commission had been sunsetted,” Overington said. “It’s something to work on for next year.”

Overington said he tried to introduce the "In God We Trust" bill several times throughout his 30-year tenure in the state legislature. He added that more representatives supported his measure after the Republicans took control of the House and Senate during the 2014 elections.

“Before the change in the Legislature, there had never been much interest in it,” Overington said.

Overington said he thinks the bill will be reapproved because both houses unanimously voted on it this past session.

Sources: Charleston Gazette