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West Virginia Legislative Brief - April 7, 2017: Commentary

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 59th day of the 60-day Legislative Session.

Legislative Action by the Numbers:

  • 1108 bills introduced in the House

  • 694 bills introduced in the Senate

  • 136 bills have completed legislative action

    • 58 bills in the House

    • 78 bills in the Senate

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

  • 20 bills have been signed by the Governor

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

  • 213 bills have passed the House

  • 276 bills have passed the Senate

My View from the Capitol:

BUDGET!!!!!    BUDGET!!!!!  BUDGET!!!!!

The House of Delegates passed its budget bill 58-42 (HB 2018) a little after 8 p.m. Wednesday. Hours earlier, the Senate voted 20-14 to approve its budget bill (SB 199). 

Neither bill achieved the two-thirds majority required to set an effective date, which is a separate vote after the vote on the bill itself. That means a default date of three months out would be set. Because the legislative session started late, due to the inauguration of a new governor, three months from April puts the effective date into July, after the new fiscal year has begun. That poses a concern, although it could be resolved once a compromise budget is worked out in conference committee. 

The Senate’s $4.102 billion budget proposal makes good on the GOP leadership’s promise to keep spending in line with revenue estimates for the coming fiscal year. It would make significant cuts to higher education and healthcare spending.

The House’s $4.24 billion version would include a $137 million “broadening the base” tax proposal that includes a new tax on cellphones and landlines to raise millions in new revenue. It, too, cuts higher education and healthcare, but not as much. It also establishes a single line item for higher education institutions and delegates cuts to the Higher Education Policy Commission.

Given the fact the Governor has only extended the Session for one day for the purpose of the budget bill, it seems highly unlikely a budget compromise will be reached, and a special session will be forthcoming at some point in the future.

© Steptoe & Johnson PLLC. All Rights Reserved.National Law Review, Volume VII, Number 97


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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