From The Well

Thursday, March 7 2019


Day 58



Governor issues statement Wednesday night calling for special session for “education betterment”


In a news release issued after 9 p.m., Governor Jim Justice stated that the legislature has not yet achieved what he promised the people of West Virginia – a 5 percent pay raise for all teachers, school service personnel, state troopers and all other state employees.


With only three days left in the regular session, there’s not enough time to get a pay raise through, so he announced that today he would issue a call for a special session. He stated that it is critical to get the raise secured in time for the start of the fiscal year, which starts July 1.



Judiciary Committee sends eight bills to the Senate


House Bill 2049 amends §21-5-7 of the State Code 7 to provide additional language regarding how an employee may seek wages and/or fringe benefits from a prime contractor in the event that a subcontractor does not pay those wages and benefits in a manner consistent with the Wage Payment and Collection Act.


The Committee strike and insert amendment was different from the House version with regards to notification of employers. The House bill set requirements for delivery of notice including for the mail to be certified. The adopted strike and insert amendment does not set any requirements


House Bill 2709, which related to hunting licenses was amended with a strike and insert amendment that took away all of the original language of the House bill, and inserted the language of Senate Bill 414, The Protect Our Right to Unite Act.


The now amended bill protects an individual’s right to anonymously support organizations and provides that such information is exempt from production under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). It also states that the names, addresses, and other contact information of people’s hunting or fishing licenses is exempt from disclosure of a FOIA. The strike and insert amendment passed.


House Bill 2779 uses funds being held by the courts to plug orphaned oil and natural gas wells which are currently polluting the environment. The Committee adopted a strike and insert amendment proposed by Senator Romano (D – Harrison, 12) which would strike all of the language of the proposed House bill, and insert eh language of Senate Bill 541.


The amended bill now requires assurances for each well drilled instead of using a blank $50,000 bond to cover all wells drilled by an operator. In some cases, it only amounts to $20 per well. The bill would be in response to the orphaned well problem.


All three bills were approved by the Committee, and will be reported to the Senate to be voted upon.

The following bills were also passed by the Committee:

·    House Bill 2474: Relating to a reserving methodology for health insurance and annuity contracts

·    House Bill 2479: Corporate Governance Annual Disclosure Act

·    House Bill 2618: Including undue influence as a factor in the definition of financial exploitation of an elderly person or protected person

·    House Bill 2933: Modifying the criminal penalties imposed on a parent, guardian or custodian for child abuse resulting in injury

·    House Bill 2968: Adding remote service unit to the definition of customer bank communications terminals

The Committee also considered passage of House Bill 2164 which would codify the right to appeal a final judgement of a circuit court to the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals. A motion was made by Vice Chair Weld (R – Brooke, 1) to strike all of the language of the House bill, and insert the language of Senate Bill 266, West Virginia Intermediate Court of Appeals. The motion was defeated by a vote of 8 – 8, and the bill is still in the Committee.


House Budget passes Senate 


The House of Delegates’ fiscal year 2020 budget was passed by the Senate in a 20-14 vote, Wednesday.

Immediately following passage of House Bill 2020, majority leader, Tom Takubo, R-Kanawha, motioned for the bill to become effective upon passage, resulting in rejection.


The proposed budget was amended with a strike and insert amendment from finance committee Chair, Sen. Craig Blair, R-Berkeley, Tuesday, ultimately resulting in the budget being amended to include the Senate’s budget.


Senate Bill 150, the Senate’s budget bill, included reductions to the Governor’s introduced budget by a total of $100 million. Most notably of the reduced allocation is the withdrawal of the Governor’s proposed teacher raise totaling $80,000,000. Improvements to the proposed bill currently totals $137,048,000 for fiscal year 2020.


House Concurs With Senate Amendments


The House of Delegates met today to discuss and pass many Senate bills, however they first concurred with amendments the Senate had made with House bills. These bills were all passed by the House and all amendments were accepted:

·     House Bill 2311, exempting short-term license holder sot submit information to the State Tax Commission once the term of the permit has expired

·     House Bill 2405, imposing a healthcare related provider tax on certain health care organization

·     House Bill 2525, Tobacco Cessation Therapy Access Act

·     House Bill 2907, requiring a form of a certified commitment order to the Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation

·     Senate Bill 61, adding certain crimes for which for which prosecutor may apply for wiretaBills passed on Third Reading:

·     Senate Bill 1, increasing access to career education and workforce training

·     Senate Bill 187, authorizing Department of Revenue to promulgate legislative rules

·     Senate Bill 285, relating to sale of homemade food items

·     Senate Bill 537, creating workgroup to review hospice need standards

·     Senate Bill 546, relating to health care provider taxes

·     Senate Bill 587, relating to PEIA reimbursement of air ambulance providers

·     Senate Bill 617, relating to method of payment to Municipal Pensions Security Fund

·     Senate Bill 653, relating generally to practice of medical corporations

·     Senate Bill 675, requiring DEP create and implement Adopt-A-Stream Program



WV Legislature


Legislature Live
Meeting Notices


Proposed Rules
Legislative Wrap-up


Some information in this update is collected from the WV Legislature’s Daily/Weekly Blogs.



Hartman Harman Cosco, Public Policy Strategists, LLC, (H2C) is a strategically assembled bipartisan lobbying firm comprised of legal, communications and policy professionals. H2C possesses the insight and intuition that only comes from decades of hands on experience leading community and statewide initiatives.


Scott Cosco

Hartman Harman Cosco, LLC | | 800-346-5127



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