House of Delegates

Legislature
3:51 pm
Mon March 10, 2014

W.Va. Lawmakers Finalizing Budget, Tapping Reserves

Credit 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

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House of Delegates
5:59 pm
Fri March 7, 2014

Four Senate Bills the House Passed on the Next-to-Last Day of the Regular Session

The House works on legislation during the next-to-last day of the regular session.
Credit 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.

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House of Delegates
6:36 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

Bill to Require Construction Workers to Participate in Safety Program Passes

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.

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Chemical Leak
1:40 am
Thu March 6, 2014

Five Things That Happened Before W.Va. House Passed the Water Resources Protection & Management Act

Credit 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:

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House Judiciary
2:58 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

Committee Approves Constitutional Amendment, Bill to Adjust Crime Victim Compensation Awards

The House Judiciary Committee approved S.J.R. 14, proposing constitutional amendment designated Future Fund Amendment and S.B. 204, relating to crime victims compensation awards.
Credit 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.

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House Finance Committee
3:56 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

Water Resource Protection Bill Passes Final House Committee Reference

The House Finance Committee approved S.B. 431, relating to issuance and renewal of certain driver's licenses and federal ID cards.

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.

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House of Delegates
5:40 pm
Mon March 3, 2014

Committees Approve Bills to Create Future Fund, Increase Teacher Salaries

The House Judiciary Committee discussed and approved S.B. 431, creating the Future Fund.
Credit 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.

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Chemical Leak
2:04 am
Mon March 3, 2014

Delegates Advance Water Legislation after Debating 50 Amendments

Credit 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.

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House of Delegates
6:03 pm
Fri February 28, 2014

Three Senate Bills and Where the House Stands

The House will work on many Senate bills before the end of the session at midnight on March 8th.
Credit 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.

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Corrections
4:03 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

Senate Bill to Expand Pretrial Release Programs in W.Va. Approved By House Committee

Senator Donald Cookman answers delegates’ questions about S.B. 307.
Credit 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.

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House of Delegates
6:09 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

Downstream Strategies Issues New Water Protection Report to Judiciary Committee

Downstream Strategies President Evan Hansen presents a new report to the House Judiciary Committee.
Credit 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.

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House of Delegates
8:33 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

Bill to Restrict Abortion Past 20 Weeks Passes House

The House passed H.B. 4588, protecting unborn children who are capable of experiencing pain by prohibiting abortion after twenty weeks.

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.

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House of Delegates
7:52 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

Government Fraud Prevention Act Downed by House

Delegate John Shott speaks in opposition of H.B. 4001, the Government Fraud Prevention Act.
Credit 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.

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House of Delegates
6:05 pm
Mon February 24, 2014

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

The House Banking and Insurance Committee discusses H.B. 4360, relating to consumer credit protection.
Credit 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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House Judiciary
5:24 pm
Fri February 21, 2014

Public Hearing Held on a Bill Relating to the Future of Toll Collection in W. Va.

The House Judiciary Committee held a public hearing on a bill that would affect the way tolls are collected in the state.

House Bill 4156 as introduced would create the Safe and Efficient Parkway Act, authorizes electronic collection and enforcement of tolls.
 
The bill would only apply to the current tolls on the turnpike in regard to enforcement as it is already equipped with the technology such as photographing license plates to detect violations.

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House Judiciary
6:08 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

False Claims and Taxpayer Protection Act Once Again Approved to House Floor

House Judiciary Committee discusses H.B. 4001, creating the False Claims and Taxpayer Protection Act.
Credit Daniel Walker

House Bill 4001 was reported to the floor earlier in the session from the House Judiciary Committee. However, concerns from the business sector lead House leadership to request the bill be sent back to address those concerns.

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House Finance
5:43 pm
Tue February 18, 2014

Bill to Keep West Virginians Working Passes in House Finance Committee

The House Finance Committee goes over H.B. 4409, creating the Valued Employee Retention Program.
Credit Daniel Walker

House Bill 4409 creates the Valued Employee Retention Program with the goal of giving employers incentive to reduce workers’ hours rather than laying them off.

It requires employers to enter an agreement to submit a plan explaining how instead of laying off their employees they would reduce their hours. In exchange, the employee could get unemployment benefits proportional to the amount of hours that they’ve been reduced.

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House of Delegates
6:01 pm
Mon February 17, 2014

'Brunch Bill' for Alcohol Sales Passes W.Va. House

Delegate John Overington speaks to his amendment that would make 2 a.m. the new time for last call.
Credit Daniel Walker

The bill that incited the most debate during Monday’s floor session was one that would allow private licensees to begin alcohol sales at 10:30 a.m. on Sundays instead of 1:00 p.m. as dictated by current code. Aaron Payne reports.

House Bill 4454 would allow restaurants and tourism destinations such as a bed and breakfast to serve alcoholic beverages as part of Sunday brunch.

Supporters of the bill said that it could boost profits from tourism in the state.

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House of Delegates
5:55 pm
Fri February 14, 2014

House Approves W. Va. Launch Pad Act

Delegate Doug Skaff speaks in support of H.B. 4343, the West Virginia Launch Pad Act.
Credit Daniel Walker

House Bill 4343 provides economic benefits for businesses working with technologies not currently in West Virginia if they locate or expand in launch pads areas in the state.

These benefits would begin on January 1, 2015 and last until December 30, 2030 and include state and local tax relief and assistance in moving a business here.

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News
5:40 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

Bill Passes to Prohibit Sale of Electronic Tobacco Products to Minors

Lead sponsor of H.B. 4237 Delegate Tiffany Lawrence speaks to her colleagues during the House floor session.
Credit Daniel Walker

In Thursday’s House session, one bill on third reading and two bills mentioned in a speech dealt with the health and well-being of West Virginia’s children.

H.B. 4237 would protect the health of children from new products alternative to the traditional sources of tobacco.

These new products include electronic cigarettes and cigars and dissolving products such as toothpicks, gum and lozenges.

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