If you think it's hard to pass a law, try repealing one

By The West Virginia Record | Feb 4, 2015

It's hard to let go of something you struggled to acquire – or labored to build – and still take pride in.

Maybe it's that first suit you spent real money on that no longer fits, or the sports car you drove in your bachelor days that hasn't left the garage in 10 years, or a failing company, or a broken marriage.

Some things last. Some don't. Things that stop working or become obsolete should be discarded, but admitting that they no longer serve a purpose can be a hurdle.

Some people are so sentimental they can't get rid of things that never worked in the first place.

Legislators often take pride in laws they've passed – and take offense at any suggestion that those laws might require revision or revocation. Imagine how many must have felt when the 18th Amendment, ratified at the beginning of 1919, was repealed by the 21st Amendment at the end of 1933.

Prohibition had been the law of the land for 14 years, but there was no denying that it hadn't worked.

Many of the key elements of the New Deal and the Great Society have proven to be mistakes that deserve to be abandoned, and yet they persist. Obamacare cries out for repeal, and repeal efforts are in the works, but will it die a merciful death or live on to prescribe merciless outcomes for us instead?

Laws don't get repealed that often, but one was repealed in West Virginia this week, and we should appreciate that occurrence for the phenomenon it is.

Last month, the House of Delegates voted 95-4, the Senate 33-0, to repeal the Alternative and Renewable Energy Portfolio Act.  Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin signed the repeal Tuesday.

To their credit, our legislators were able to admit that the law that many of them had helped pass about five years ago had not worked out well and had to go.

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