Three Senate Bills and Where the House Stands
Senate Bill 373: The Water Protection Bill
The House has had S.B. 373 for nearly a month and Thursday, a bipartisan group of delegates sent a letter to Governor Tomblin requesting a special session with the sole focus on this bill.
One senate leader was not pleased with the request. Senate Majority Leader John Unger said he and his colleagues would refuse an extended session because he feels the House has had the bill long enough.
However, Delegate Meshea Poore says that a special session might be necessary to create a bill that works for the people.
“All we’re saying is allow us to do the people’s business for these other bills that are coming over from the Senate that we have to get out for the good of the people but also allow us ample time to perfect this water bill that is crucial,” Poore said.
The bill is currently in the House Judiciary Committee where the members are comparing the Senate bill with the governors proposed bill that included exceptions to regulation.
Senate Bill 6: The Pseudoephedrine Bill
Delegate Don Perdue has been a supporter of the prescription only measure since the beginning but fears the bill will be weakened by the House.
“As the bill went up to Judiciary I was very secure with it,” Perdue said. “I’m hearing rumors that there are people that are intending to amend the bill up there and I believe that those amendments will be aimed at ultimately gutting the bill.”
Minority Leader Tim Armstead says the opposition is not pro-pharmaceutical industry but pro-law abiding citizen.
“I think there’s some concern about how that would affect people who are law-abiding citizens and whether they would have to get a prescription just to be able to get cold medicine that they use periodically,” Armstead said. “What we would like to see is something that actually centers on people who have had some history of drug abuse or drug crimes that those people would have to get a prescription.”
The Chair of the House Judiciary Committee Tim Manchin estimates the bill will be taken up in his committee either Monday or Tuesday.
Senate Bill 461: Creating the Future Fund
While Speaker Miley and Delegate Armstead say that the House is not opposed to the idea of investing in the future, current budget demands might make the legislation unwise.
“There’s a bit of a disconnect to that because if we’re taking money out of our current rainy day fund savings account and then at the same time we’re creating a new one to put money in that there’s some concern,” Armstead said. “Perhaps it might be a better use at this time to make sure we’re meeting all the needs of our citizens and perhaps looking toward in the long term giving some tax relief to our citizens.”
“There is some growing concern that establishing a future fund when we need the money currently is something perhaps we need to rethink,” Miley said. “I think a lot of current needs can be met while still establishing some type of future fund. The form that that bill may take is unknown at this time but we’ll develop and work through a lot of those issues in the coming week.”