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West Virginia Legislative Brief: Commentary from Gil White 2/15/19

Legislative Action by the Numbers:

1124 bills introduced in the House of Delegates
618 bills introduced in the State Senate
101 bills have passed the House of Delegates
105 bills have passed the State Senate 
17 bills have completed legislative action (3 House bills and 14 Senate bills)
bills have been signed into law by the Governor
1 bill has been vetoed by the Governor (SB 272)
10 bills have passed both Chambers and await signature of the Governor

My View from the Capitol:

The House of Delegates passed an omnibus education bill that’s significantly different from when it came over from the Senate. This has been a highly debated and emotional piece of legislation as it has worked its way through the legislative process.  

The bill passed 71-29 early Thursday afternoon, after more than an hour of debate.

That sets up a showdown with the Senate over the differences in the bill. That could take place in conference committee as soon as next week.

The 125-page bill would make a variety of changes to West Virginia’s school system. It would bundle long-promised pay raises with two possible charter schools, a change to authority over local school levies, a bonus for unused personal days, and more. On Thursday morning, the state Board of Education voted unanimously to endorse the House’s version of the omnibus education bill after previously going on record as opposing specific provisions in the Senate bill.

The House yesterday spent almost 12 hours debating some 35 proposed amendments to the proposed bill. Some of the highlights from the amendments offered were:

  • Raise Bonus from $500 to $1,000 for Teachers and Service Personnel Using 4 Sick Days or Less (Approved 65-33)

  • Amendment Requiring a Law Enforcement Officer in Every School (Approved 82-17)

  • Expand Public Charter School Pilot Program from 2 to 5 (Rejected 40-59)

  • Create Education Savings Accounts for Special Needs and Bullied Students (Rejected 37-62)

  • Eliminate all Public Charter School Language from SB 451 (Rejected 45-49)

This bill will now go back to the State Senate for what is expected to be a challenging task of addressing the differences between the two chambers.

Legislative Calendar - Important Days to Remember

First Day - January 9
20th Day - January 28 - Submission of Legislative Rule-Making Review Bills due
35th Day - February 12 - Last day to introduce bills in the House
41st Day - February 18 - Last day to introduce bills in the Senate
47th Day - February 24 - Bills due out of committee in house of origin to ensure three full days for readings
50th Day - February 27 - Last day to consider bills on third reading in house of origin. Does not apply to the budget bill or supplemental appropriation bills.
60th Day - March 9 - Adjournment at midnight

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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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