House of Delegates

Isaac Sponaugle
Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Members in the House of Delegates have considered a number of bills this legislative session that increase the penalties for breaking various laws. At least three of those bills have focused on drug crimes which Republican lawmakers say is in response to the state’s substance abuse epidemic.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

A legislative audit released earlier this year encouraged lawmaker to get rid of the state’s certificate of need process. A Certificate of Need is essentially approval from the state to open a new hospital, clinic or health related facility. Senators have introduced bills to get rid of the process, but delegates are trying to save it.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Delegates have approved a bill that its sponsors hope will expand access to mental and behavioral health medications.

House Bill 2509 allows physicians to prescribe certain controlled substances through telemedicine technologies – like over a video call. Doctors are currently prohibited from prescribing certain types of medications over telemedicine systems, including narcotics like oxycodone and morphine—drugs that have been abused in recent years in the state.

Kelli Sobonya
Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

A bill increasing penalties for drug traffickers was largely the focus of the House floor session Friday. The bill is part of the House leadership’s plans to crack down on people selling drugs in West Virginia to curb the substance abuse epidemic.

House Bill 2648 would increase the penalties for trafficking or manufacturing a controlled substance while in the presence of a minor, making it a felony. The bill carries a penalty of a three year prison term without the ability to receive parole. 

Kayla Kessinger
Perry Bennett / WV Legislative Photography

Members in the House voted on a bill Thursday that would terminate the West Virginia Women’s Commission and put roughly $150,000 back into the general revenue budget. 

The West Virginia Women’s Commission was created by the state Legislature in 1977. It’s a small, bi-partisan program under the state Department of Health and Human Resources that advocates, educates, and promotes women’s issues.

Nondiscrimination Bill Receiving Bi-Partisan Support

Mar 2, 2017
WV Legislative Photography, Perry Bennett

What do you think of when you hear "discrimination"? Black Lives Matter? LGBT rights? Do you think of someone who used to look at you funny? A childhood bully?

Everyone has something they think of when they hear the word discrimination. Joseph Cohen Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union of West Virginia said that's because discrimination touches everyone.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

The House voted on a bill Wednesday that aligns West Virginia's standards for some discharges into the state’s waters with federal limits. Opponents say the bill could put West Virginia’s drinking water supply at risk, but supporters maintain it has the potential to attract new industry to the state.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

The House voted on two education-related bills Tuesday – one that would give The West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and Blind access to the School Building Authority and another aimed at giving higher education institutions more control of their own affairs.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

A bill aimed at giving the state’s two largest universities more control over their own affairs advanced in the House of Delegates Monday.

House Bill 2542 is a large bill, 33 pages in fact, with several provisions. But its main intent is to give the state’s higher education institutions more flexibility in hiring and salary rates.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Delegates are beginning to consider bills that would cut some state agencies, no matter how big or how small they are. Members of one committee Friday looked at a bill that would put an end to an agency that receives about $150,000 in annual funding.

House Bill 2646 would get rid of the West Virginia Women’s Commission. It’s a small state agency with just two employees, one of whom works part-time. The House Government Organization Committee considered the bill Friday morning – where its sponsors defended the proposal.

Perry Bennett / WV Legislative Photography

While lawmakers discuss ways to fix the state’s projected budget deficit, a related piece of legislation is beginning to take shape -- the creation of a state earned income tax credit.

An earned income tax credit, or EITC, is an extra lump of cash refunded to low-income, working families every year at tax time. The amount a family receives varies, but it’s based on a person’s income and the number of children in the home, but only working adults qualify. The credit is meant to help struggling families get ahead and many use the extra funds to make major purchases like cars, or large appliances.

Perry Bennett / WV Legislative Photography

A bill to provide tax credits and possible reductions to newly established small businesses began working its way through the house Thursday.

If passed, House Bill 2375 would reduce some taxes for newly established businesses in West Virginia, and its sponsors said it would empower local business owners and encourage more entrepreneurship.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

One of the first bills introduced on behalf of Governor Jim Justice is one aimed at organizing the number of state-owned vehicles. The governor’s version of this bill, House Bill 2492, was introduced in the House of Delegates last week and referred to the committee on Government Organization. But lawmakers in that committee took up a different yet similar bill drafted by members in the House.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Members of the Health Committee in the House of Delegates are considering a bill that could potentially create an easier path for new healthcare providers to set up shop in West Virginia.

House Bill 2259 was taken up by the House’s Health Committee Tuesday afternoon. It would allow the West Virginia Healthcare Authority to provide exemptions for Certificates of Need.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Lawmakers in the House have approved a bill that would increase the penalties for littering in the state.

Littering on public or private property in West Virginia is already a misdemeanor, but House Bill 2303 increases the fines and community service hours associated with it.  

Perry Bennett / WV Legislative Photography

Members of the House are considering a bill that changes the way lawmakers report political donations during the legislative session.

House Bill 2319 would require candidates running for legislative offices, or their candidate committees, to disclose any fundraising they do during the legislative session to the Secretary of State’s Office within 5 days of the fundraising event.

Perry Bennett / WV Legislative Photography

During both the 2015 and the 2016 state Legislative sessions, the House of Delegates pushed a bill that would make the West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and Blind eligible for funding from the West Virginia School Building Authority, or SBA. In 2015, it was vetoed by then-Governor Tomblin, and in 2016, it never made it out of the Senate’s Finance committee. Now, members in the House are trying once again this year, with House Bill 2123.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

The House of Delegates voted on its first bill of the 2017 state Legislative Session Wednesday – one of many ethics bills expected to move through the chamber this year.

House Bill 2006 increases the penalties for someone who violates West Virginia’s Whistle-Blower Law.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Leaders in West Virginia’s House of Delegates say they plan to strengthen a number of ethics laws in West Virginia this legislative session. The first piece of legislation making its way through that chamber this year is House Bill 2006, increasing penalties for violating the state’s Whistle-Blower Law.

West Virginia Legislative Services

West Virginia's House of Delegates had amended its rules to require all witnesses appearing before its committees must be sworn in before testifying or answering lawmakers' question.

The amended rule requires every house committee to administer oaths to anyone appearing before a committee.

West Virginia Legislative Services

Logan County Delegate Rupie Phillips will officially file his paperwork with the West Virginia Secretary of State’s office today to become the only “Independent” in the West Virginia Legislature.

Editor's Note: The previous story reported an incorrect total of seats gained by the West Virginia Republican Party in the state Senate. This story has been updated with correct totals.

Heading into Tuesday night, state Republican Party leaders were confident they could maintain their majorities in both the state House of Delegates and Senate. Their predictions were correct with the GOP's number increasing in the Senate by four.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

West Virginia House Speaker Tim Armstead is urging state lawmakers to revisit a more than decade-old flood protection plan to find ways to avoid a repeat of the disaster that killed at least 23 people last month.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports Armstead released a statement Tuesday that he wants a "comprehensive review" of the plan to be a focus of study in interim legislative committee meetings.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Over the next two days, ten members of the legislature will participate in a conference committee looking to write a balanced budget for 2017 - the fiscal year that begins in July. But Democrats in the House of Delegates are criticizing the makeup of that committee.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Editor's Note: For the latest updates on the final day of the legislative session, be sure to keep checking our live blog.

In the final day of the 2016 Legislative Session, the House of Delegates has refused to adopt the Senate's amendments to House Bill 4013, the voter ID bill.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Editor's Note: For the latest updates on the final day of the legislative session, be sure to keep checking our live blog.

Update: Saturday, March 12, 2016 at 5:36 p.m.

The West Virginia Senate adopted House Concurrent Resolution 36, after it was adopted by the House of Delegates late Friday night.

Del. Josh Nelson of Boone County attempted to amend the resolution Friday to put it into an interim study, but his amendment failed after hours of debate.

The resolution calls for an Article 5 Convention of States to amend the U.S. Constitution for a singular purpose: to require Congress to balance the federal budget except in times of national emergency.

Brunch, Alcohol
MAT HAYWARD / Dollar Photo Club

Lawmakers have passed a bill to allow the Sunday sales of alcohol in restaurants, private clubs, wineries and distilleries at 10 a.m.

Capitol Dome, Capitol, Legislature
Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

A bill to bump up alcohol sales on Sundays from 1 p.m. to 10 a.m. is moving in the House even after Speaker Tim Armstead said it wasn’t a priority this session. Businesses across the state have cried out for the bill’s approval, calling it an economic development measure.

Earlier this week, House Judiciary amended Senate Bill 298 in committee; a bill that has been affectionately referred to as the “brunch bill” to include a provision requiring county voters approve of the time change through a referendum. 

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

The House of Delegates passed a bill Wednesday that would require drug testing for recipients of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

The House of Delegates will vote on a bill Wednesday that would require drug testing for recipients of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.

Senate Bill 6 requires the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources to apply for permission from the federal government to begin a drug screening and testing program.

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