West Virginia Legislative Brief: Commentary - 1/19/18
Legislative Action by the Numbers:
708 bills introduced in the House
321 bills introduced in the Senate
2 bills have completed legislative action and passed the House
My View from the Capitol:
Governor Jim Justice gave his second State of the State address on Wednesday, January 10th, 2018, the opening day of the 2018 Legislative Session. Leading up to the Governor's address, it was quite clear the financial outlook for 2018 was vastly improved from that of 2017 where the Legislature faced a $450,000,000 deficit. Worth noting, this month was the first time in 59 months that collected revenues have beat or exceeded estimates. In fact, the six year budget outlook for the state is totally in the black, which is the first projection of such in many years. Some of the highlights from the Governor's speech include a seven year phase out of the personal property tax on manufacturing inventory, machinery, and equipment. Also proposed are a 1% pay raise for all state employees in each of the next two years, with an additional 1% pay raise per year for the next three years for teachers. Once enacted, the Governor's plan would boost teachers pay by 5% over the next three years.
Today marks the conclusion of the first full week of the 60 day Legislative Session.
As is standard practice, committees are in full swing with budget hearings as well as committee consideration of various Senate and House bills introduced. Look for the pace to continue as both the Senate President and Speaker of the House have indicated the Legislature will conclude its work and pass the budget all within the allotted 60 days. Stay tuned.
Lastly, listed below are some of the more recent changes in the makeup of the State Senate and House of Delegates due to either resignation or a member's passing.
Speaker Tim Armstead announced today that he will not seek re-election in 2018. There is speculation he is eyeing a seat on the West Virginia Supreme Court in 2020.
Jeff Campbell (D) replaced Stephen Baldwin (District 42) who was appointed to replace Senator Ron Miller who resigned
D.R. “ Buck “ Jennings (R) replaced Delegate Tony Lewis who passed away (District 53)
Dianna Graves (R) replaced Delegate Nancy Foster (District 38)
Mark Drennan (R) replaced Senator Mike Hall (District 4)
Jeffrey Pack (R) replaced Delegate John O’Neal (District 28)
Jeff Mullins (R) resigned his Senate seat on January 12th (District 9)
Legislative Calendar - Important Days to Remember
First Day - January 10
20th Day - January 28 - Submission of Legislative Rule-Making Review Bills Due
35th Day - February 13 - Last day to introduce bills in the House
41st Day - February 19 - Last day to introduce bills in the Senate
47th Day - February 25 - Bills due out of committee in the house of origin to ensure three full days for readings
50th Day - February 28 - Last day to consider bills on third reading in house of origin. Does not apply to the budget bill or supplemental appropriation bill