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West Virginia Legislative Brief: Commentary from Gil White 2/23/18

Legislative Action by the Numbers:

1136 bills introduced in the House of Delegates
637 bills introduced in the State Senate
131 bills have passed the House of Delegates
153 bills have passed the State Senate 
25 bills have completed legislative action and are waiting the Governor's review and signature 

My View from the Capitol:

As predicted, teachers filled the State Capitol Thursday and Friday as the first teachers strike in nearly 30 years began. Legislators planned to go on with normal business. Committee meetings were also going on as usual, even as teachers chanted and protested the recent pay raise and PEIA situation. 

Teachers from all 55 counties walked out over wages and health care costs. Even as the capitol crowd surged, many more were picketing outside their local schools.  

The walkout could continue if matters can’t be resolved.  

On Wednesday evening, the eve of the walkout, Gov. Jim Justice signed a bill with a pay raise averaging two percent next year for teachers, service personnel, and state police. Each group would receive another average one percent raise the following year with teachers in line for another one percent raise the third year.

In addition, the Public Employees Insurance Agency Finance Board met this week and froze the current plan. That will cost the state an estimated $29 million. But teachers and other public employees say they want serious movement toward long-term stability for the plan.

Other happenings this week at the state house included the second annual energy rally, which was well attended and showcased the numerous contributions the energy sector provides not only to the state, but individual communities as well.  

With only 15 legislative days remaining before the 60-day session adjourns, look for next week to be filled with long committee meetings and split sessions in both chambers. 

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 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 bills.

60th Day - March 10 - 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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