Declaration Alliance

West Virginia Goes on the Attack
Introduction of HB 4369 "The American Heritage Bill"
Christian Heritage Council Press Release
March 22, 2002


The Christian Heritage Council is pleased to announce the introduction of "The American Heritage Bill" in the West Virginia State Legislature. Known as House Bill 4369, "The American Heritage Bill" would require all public, private, parochial, and denominational schools in West Virginia to teach the primary founding documents of the United States on the secondary level as a requirement for graduation. "This legislation, as proposed by The Christian Heritage Council, is designed to perpetuate the principles and spirit of the political process in America, as well as preserve our heritage through the establishment of a national standard in civic education," says Randy Skaggs, Founder and President of the Christian Heritage Council. "The required teaching would include the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, with an emphasis on the Bill of Rights. The required teaching would also encompass the historical, political, and social environments surrounding each document at the time of its initial passage or ratification. Included in the framework of this new requirement for graduation will also be historical documents such as the Federalist Papers and the Anti-Federalist Papers to firmly establish the historical background leading to the establishment of the provisions of the Constitution of the United States and Bill of Rights by the Founding Fathers for the purposes of safeguarding our constitutional republic."

HB 4369 was introduced by Delegate Ray Canterbury in the House of Delegates on February 1, 2002 and immediately assigned to the House Education Committee. The Bill was debated in committee the same day and voted on. With minimal deliberation and testimony and no consolidated opposition, HB 4369 passed the House Education Committee and was later the same day assigned to the House Finance Committee. Supported by a unanimous vote, HB 4369 was recommended for passage by the House Education Committee. It remains in the House Finance Committee until brought to the floor of the House sometime this week for its required readings and vote.

"I started the process of proposing this legislation back in June of last year, when I first became aware of what was happening in other parts of the country," Skaggs says. "I contacted some of the other states that have proposed similar pieces of legislation. I especially want to thank Gerry Poulos of the Ohio Conservative Coalition for his contribution to our efforts, and Greg Tolen of Representative Rick Green's office in Texas for his suggestions in the area of research. I would also like to thank the Declaration Foundation for calling the states to action. They are well on their way to accomplishing their goal of renewing civic literacy in America."

The following is a brief history of the journey of HB 4369 "The American Heritage Bill".

by Randy Skaggs, Founder and President of The Christian Heritage Council to the Honorable Delegate Ray Canterbury (R-Greenbrier) 28th District on December 7, 2001.

to the House Education Committee as House Bill 4369.

by Lead Sponsor Ray Canterbury [R-Greenbrier (28th District)] on February 1, 2002 as HB 4369 "The American Heritage Bill". Upon recommendation for passage by House Education Committee Chairman Jerry Mezzatesta [D-Hampshire (50th District)], the bill traveled through the committee with minimal deliberation and testimony. With no consolidated opposition, the bill passed by a unanimous vote and was assigned to the House Finance Committee later the same day.


    Ray Canterbury [R-Greenbrier (28th District)] Lead Sponsor

    Steve Harrison [R-Kanawha (32nd District)] House Education Committee Minority Chair

    Larry Williams [D-Preston (45th District)] Assistant House Majority Whip

    Tom Louisos [D-Fayette (29th District)]

    Robert Beach [D-Monongalia (44th District)]

    Randy Swartzmiller [D-Hancock (1st District)]

Status as of March 3, 2002:

Originated in the House Education Committee and passed by a unanimous vote with minimal deliberation and testimony, and no consolidated opposition. Sent to the House Finance Committee on February 1, 2002 where it remains until budget deliberations are completed. This will be sometime this week.

I contacted all of the HB 4369 sponsors on February 4th via telephone and thanked each of them personally. I called Tom Campbell [D-Greenbrier (28th District)], a member of the House Finance Committee, on February 5th to discuss the current status of the bill and its future. He told me that the journey of HB 4369 out of the House Finance Committee and through the House should be relatively smooth. A representative of his office called me back about two weeks ago and told me that if the bill passes the House Finance Committee it should also pass the House. If the bill is not taken up by the committee according to House rules and prior to the adjournment of this session of the Legislature, it is considered a "dead bill" having "died in committee." This, of course, is not what we want. We are hopeful that this bill will be placed before the Governor for his signature very soon. is authorized and paid for by Declaration Alliance (DA), a 501(c)(4) social welfare organization which focuses on nonpartisan civic education and advocacy regarding important national issues.