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West Virginia Legislative Brief - 3/31/17

Welcome to the 2017 Legislative Brief, your one-stop shop for legislative news from a variety of sources throughout West Virginia, and my view of the legislative happenings on the horizon. Today marks the 52nd day of the 60-day Legislative Session.

Legislative Action by the Numbers:

  • 1108 bills introduced in the House

  • 695 bills introduced in the Senate

  • 24 bills have completed legislative action

    • 16 bills in the House

    • 8 bills in the Senate

  • 1 bill has been vetoed by the Governor (SB 330) and overriden by the Senate awaiting action by the House

  • 16 bills have been signed by the Governor

  • 2 bills are pending the Governor's review and consideration

  • 214 bills have passed the House

  • 249 bills have passed the Senate

My View from the Capitol:

Wednesday marked the 50th day of the 2017 Legislative Session, also known as "Crossover Day," since all bills must pass the house of origin by this day in order to continue receiving consideration.

The Senate passed SB 409 on a 22-12 vote. This bill replaced SB 335 which previously was expected to be the Senate’s vehicle for proposed tax reform and any proposed new revenue enhancements.

SB 409 now is in the finance committee in the House where other budget proposals are expected to be amended into the bill. The changes reaching a House and Governor agreement were enhanced today after a closed session of the Republican Caucus and the Governor. After coming out from behind the big wooden doors of the House, Gov. Jim Justice said he learned more about the Republican majority’s positions and questions about the budget as it takes shape. These are all good signs moving forward, and it is hoped the Senate could agree if and when an expected proposed compromise is reached. With only eight days remaining in the regular session, look for talks to continue at a hectic pace.

Worth noting, late last night in the House, following a procedural move, the medical marijuana bill that passed the Senate on Wednesday will now be before the full House. Members were able to bypass the wishes of leadership and move the bill (SB 386) straight to the floor, skipping the committee process. Leadership planned to send the bill to a pair of House committees, Health and Judiciary, with just more than a week left in the regular session, but Delegate Mike Folk (R-Berkeley) made a motion to put the bill on the floor. Following an hour-long debate, the House approved the motion 54-40 with 35 Democrats and 19 Republicans voting in favor. The bill was then read a first time. This will undoubtedly slow down the remaining eight legislative calendar days.

Click here to view the 2017 West Virginia Legislative Membership Directory.

Legislative Calendar - Important Days to Remember

60th Day - April 8 - Adjournment at midnight.

News from Around the State

VP Pence Addresses Small Business Leaders, Rally in West Virginia

Movement Quickens on Budget Talks Between Governor, Legislators

Senate Decides to Eliminate Greyhound Breeding Fund in Close Vote

Landowners Worry Drilling Bill Isn’t Giving Them a Fair Shake

Justice Says It’s Crunch Time — and Time to Focus — on Budget

Justice Vetoes Right to Work Bill

Senate Narrowly Advances Natural Gas Drilling Bill

Justice Wants to Call Attention to Budget as Sides Inch Closer

Manchin to Vote for Gorsuch Confirmation

Senate Votes to Override Right to Work Veto

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About this Author

L. Gil White, Government Relations Coordinator, Political Liaison Lawyer,
Government Relations Coordinator - WV

Gil White is a former 14-year elected member of the West Virginia State Legislature and a former political liaison to Governor Joe Manchin III.

During the 2016 WV Legislative Session, Mr. White discussed the sales tax exemption bill with Phil Kabler of The Charleston Gazette-Mail.  Click here to read the article.  

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