House of Delegates

West Virginia Legislature

The West Virginia Attorney General's Office has lost three top staff members to the Legislature.

The Charleston Gazette reports that senior deputy attorney general Marty Wright has accepted a job as the House Judiciary Committee's head lawyer.

Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A committee appointed by the West Virginia Board of Education has spent the past 18 months studying how they can better provide services regionally to the county school systems. They presented the final report to lawmakers yesterday which included a recommendation for the upcoming session.

Jill Upson / Twitter

On Election Day last week, Republican Jill Upson defeated Democrat Tiffany Lawrence for the House of Delegates in the 65th District.

When voters take to the polling place this November, they'll decide between five candidates vying for Sen. Jay Rockefeller's seat in the U.S. Senate. Most will recognize the names 'Tennant' and 'Capito,' but what about Baber, Buckley, and Hudok?

The three third party candidates for Senate, Bob Henry Baber of the Mountain Party, John Buckley of the Libertarian Party and Phil Hudok of the Constitution Party, talk about what they have to offer West Virginians when representing them at the federal level. 

Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The Our Children Our Future campaign wrapped up a two day symposium by taking over the West Virginia House of Delegates chamber. 

The final session of the symposium asked participants to act as delegates and advocate for the issues they want to see the legislature take up next year.

West Virginia Legislature

A member of the House of Delegates will withdraw from the race for the 35th district amidst recent legal troubles and allegations related to her living situation.

Republican Kanawha County Delegate Suzette Raines was accused by the state Democratic Executive Committee for lying about where she lives. The committee also accused her of not filing campaign finance reports with the Secretary of State’s office or campaign disclosures with the state Ethics Commission.

Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

West Virginia lawmakers are working out kinks in a budget that gives public workers raises and digs into reserves.
 
The House of Delegates and Senate are meeting this week to finalize the state spending plan for next fiscal year.
 House of Delet

Aaron Payne

With today being the next-to-last day of the regular session, time is running out for lawmakers to complete legislation to be sent to the governor. The House voted on 23 Senate items ranging from rules bills, to education and assisting veterans.

S.B. 477

Several bills were debated during the afternoon House session but the one receiving the most discussion was Senate Bill 477.

Senate Bill 376 would require onsite employees at certain works construction projects to complete an Occupational Safety and Health Administration approved ten-hour construction safety program.

Similar measures have been struck down in the past due to fears the program would decrease worker productivity.

Before the vote, one of the sponsors of a similar bill introduced on the House Delegate Phil Diserio gave an impassioned speech about why this measure needed to be taken.

Daniel Walker

There is little doubt that the bill aimed to protect water resources in the state, in response to the Jan. 9 spill of MCHM into the Elk River by Freedom Industries, has been the most closely watched and widely discussed bill of the session.

Although the Senate passed SB 373 less that two weeks after its introduction, its passage  in the House took far longer--a result of a triple committee reference that offered a chance for roughly 60 delegates to offer amendments to the bill. Delegates also labored over 20 amendments on the bill's Third Reading Wednesday night before deciding to send the bill back to the Senate.

Here's a few highlights from Wednesday night's floor session leading up to SB 373's passage:

Aaron Payne

While the House Judiciary Committee was unable to get through all 19 items in the morning session, they were able to approve a constitutional amendment that would partner with Senate President Jeff Kessler’s Future Fund bill.

The resolution would put the specific parameters of the fund into West Virginia’s constitution.

The House Finance Committee removed several of the sections added by the other House committees in the water resource protection bill.

One of which was related to medical monitoring which the committee determined was a redundancy because Dr. Letitia Tierney from the DHHR explained during the meeting her office plans to pursue testing whether it is in the bill or not.

Daniel Walker

The House Judiciary Committee looked over Senate Bill 461 which would create the Future Fund.

No substantive changes were suggested by the committee.

While none of the delegates opposed the idea of setting aside extra money from severance tax from natural resources for the sake of future projects, there were concerns the language of the bill would allow future legislatures to change the code and use the money for other purposes.

West Virginia Legislature

Members of the House Judiciary Committee spent more than 9 hours debating and discussing 50 amendments to Senate Bill 373 Sunday into Monday.

The bill is meant to regulate above ground storage tanks and protect the state’s water resources in response to the January 9 chemical spill at Freedom Industries in Charleston that resulted in the contamination of 300,000 West Virginians’ drinking water.

Three Senate Bills and Where the House Stands

Feb 28, 2014
Aaron Payne

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.

Aaron Payne

Among the seven bills discussed by the House Judiciary Committee Thursday was Senate Bill 307, authorizing community corrections programs to operate pretrial release programs. Those programs could range from work release to decreasing the cost of an issued bond.

The purpose of the program is to decrease the cost of counties having to hold these people in jails. Pilot programs have been implemented in a few counties such as Ohio and Wood.

Aaron Payne

Senate Bill 373 relating to water resources protection was sent to the House nearly one month ago to go through three committee stops. Two weeks ago the bill made it through the Health and Human Resource Committee with amendments to be sent to the Judiciary Committee. Wednesday, the second committee used its meeting to hear from Downstream Strategies President Evan Hansen.

A motion to discharge House Bill 2364 or the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act from committee and put it up for immediate vote was rejected on February 11th.

Government Fraud Prevention Act Downed by House

Feb 25, 2014
Daniel Walker

House Bill 4001 was introduced on the first day of the session as the False Claims Act. However, opponents of the bill referred to it as the “sue-and-settle” bill.

The bill offers monetary compensation to whistleblowers who bring forward information regarding fraudulent claims made against the government. That is, if the case is successful.

W.Va. House Looking to Double-Tap (Debt) Zombies

Feb 24, 2014
Daniel Walker

A rule (#2: Double-Tap) for dispatching zombies in the movie Zombieland is essentially being applied by the House of Delegates in regard to killing “Zombie Debts” with H.B. 4360.

Zombie debts are defined as debts attempted to be collected in which the statue of limitations has passed.

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