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Tue March 11, 2014
The Bills that Failed: What Happens Now?
Senators and Delegates worked late into the night, as usual, on the final day of the session voting on bills. The frenzy, however, was too much for some issues. Here are a few of the bills that got lost in the mix and didn’t pass before the midnight deadline.
The prescription only pseudoephedrine bill was sent to a conference committee around 8:30 Saturday night. The agreement between lawmakers did not make it to the clerks’ desks in time for the bill to be taken up, though, and the bill died.
“The intent of the bill was to prevent or reduce meth labs. We’re not going to stop the meth problem,” said Sen. Greg Tucker, lead sponsor of the bill, “but the meth lab problem continues to grow and I think you’ll see over the next year it grows even more.”
The bill would have allowed counties to give raises to some elected positions, including assessors, circuit clerks, county clerks, sheriffs, prosecuting attorneys and county commissioners. Had it passed, the state auditor would’ve determined if individual counties had the funds to increase pay and counties would sign off on the raises. The Senate refused to agree with House changes and the bill was never sent to conference.
“It’s been eight years now since we’ve had a raise,” said Boone County Circuit Clerk Sue Anne Zickefoose. “We put a lot of work into this bill and without raises we’re not going to get good candidates to run for these positions.”
Zickefoose added the funds were all to come from the counties and not the state. She believes Boone County would have had the additional revenue to commit to the raises.
Disposal of drill cuttings from hydraulic fracturing sites at landfills is not regulated through legislation. This bill would have required landfills apply for permits to accept waste, installations of monitoring systems, prevented mixing cuttings with municipal waste and assessed a fee for a scientific study of the material. The bill died after not meeting a deadline from conference committee.
“This is sound environmental policy because it keeps cuttings in one place, regulated by a strict set of standards,” Department of Environmental Protection spokesman Tom Aluise said in a statement.
“In light of (the bill) not passing, it will be incumbent upon companies to find alternative disposal methods, which will likely consist of moving the drill cuttings to lawfully regulated facilities out of state.”
The “Brunch Bill,” as it was called for short, would have allowed businesses to begin serving alcohol at 10:30 a.m. on Sundays. As it passed the House, it made last call 2 a.m., however, instead of the 3 a.m. in code now. Senators realigned last call hours with current code, also keeping the 10:30 a.m. Sunday standard, but the House would not agree. The bill did not make it to conference and died.
“Not allowing adults to make adult decisions on a Sunday morning is shortsighted,” said Keeley Steele, owner of Bluegrass Kitchen and Tricky Fish just a block from the Capitol.
“We’re already fighting tainted water and the overall perception of West Virginia, but to not be allowed to serve a drink with brunch is archaic. It would have brought a lot of money to my business and other businesses that wait until 1 p.m. to open so they can serve alcohol.”
West Virginia Morning