West Virginia


A state senator (Campbell) introduced an initiative and referendum
bill in 1907, and a state delegate (Williams) introduced one in 1908. Both
were defeated. In 1915, Governor Hatfield called for I&R in his annual
message to the legislature, but his words went unheeded. The biggest
obstacle to I&R in the Progressive era was probably the corporatebacked
Republican Party’s domination of West Virginia politics, which
lasted from 1896 to 1932. Still, the state’s I&R advocates were not without
success, for a 1917 chart in the I&R movement organ Equity indicated that
the legislature had passed “special acts” granting I&R rights to residents of
some (unidentified) local jurisdictions.

Excerpted from the Initiative & Referendum Almanac by M. Dane Waters.