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West Virginia Legislative Brief: Commentary from Gil White 3/1/19

My View from the Capitol:

Putting the recent two-day teachers strike and proposed pay raises on the back burner for the week, the new hot topic this week was HB 2519, the campus self defense act.

Despite multiple attempts by delegates — including the Republican judiciary committee chairman — to amend a bill to alleviate concerns of the state’s colleges and universities, the House of Delegates passed the bill to allow students to carry concealed handguns on campus. Even with some Republican House members voting with the Democratic minority, a majority of Republicans and a handful of Democrats shot down nine out of ten amendments offered Wednesday night to the House Bill. The bill passed 59-41 and now heads to the Senate for consideration.  

Also called "campus carry," this bill would allow college students to carry handguns at colleges and universities as long as they have a valid concealed weapon permit. There are exemptions, including organized events, stadiums and arenas with more than 1,000 attendees. Colleges and universities would have to provide storage for weapons in prohibited areas and could charge storage fees.

At one point, there were 14 amendments pending when the House gaveled back on Wednesday night, with 10 of those from House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Shott, (R-Mercer). After lawmakers pulled some of the amendments, a total of 10 amendments were voted on with only one being adopted.  

With only eight legislative days remaining in the regular session, it is already being rumored there will inevitably be a special session called by the Governor to address the proposed teacher and state employee pay raises proposed by the Governor earlier in the session. The House has sent to the State Senate a stand alone bill providing these pay raises. To date, the State Senate has yet to consider this bill as a result of SB 451 being defeated in the House of Delegates.

Legislative Action by the Numbers:

1,142 bills introduced in the House of Delegates

676 bills introduced in the State Senate

215 bills have passed the House of Delegates

224 bills have passed the State Senate 

49 bills have completed legislative action (13 House bills and 21 Senate bills)

11 bills are pending the Governor's review and/or signature

1 bill has been vetoed by the Governor

17 bills have been signed into law by the Governor

Legislative Calendar - Important Days to Remember

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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