West Virginia Legislative Brief February 24, 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 17th day of the 60-Day Legislative Session.
Legislative Action by the Numbers:
708 bills introduced in the House
442 bills introduced in the Senate
25 bills have passed the Senate and await House consideration
14 bills have passed the House and await Senate consideration
My View from the Capitol:
If you are among those thinking the Legislature isn’t taking the state’s half-billion dollar budget gap seriously, that was proven wrong this week as both chambers went on the attack. There’s no agreement on a budget yet, but a lot of debate — sometimes emotional — broke out in both the House and the Senate on Wednesday. Lawmakers got vocal after Tuesday’s announcement that the bond ratings agency Moody’s downgraded West Virginia’s rating for a third time in one year.
The Republican majorities in the Legislature and the Governor, a Democrat, have been far apart on their visions for the budget. The Republicans favor a financial fix that goes heavier on cuts, although neither house has presented a budget proposal yet. Justice presented a budget with $450 million in “revenue enhancements,” based largely on new or increased taxes and only about $26 million in cuts. It's fair to say the budget bill will be a major sticking point between the Legislature and that of the Administration.
Click here to view the West Virginia Legislative Membership Directory - 2017
Legislative Calendar - Important Days to Remember
First Day - February 8
20th Day - February 27 - Submission of Legislative Rule-Making Review Bills Due.
35th Day - March 14 - Last day to introduce bills in the House.
41st Day - March 20 - Last day to introduce bills in the Senate.
47th Day - March 26 - Bills due out of committee in house of origin to ensure three full days for readings.
50th Day - March 29 - 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 - April 8 - Adjournment at midnight.