From The Well

January 23, 2020

West Virginia Capitol Update

Day 16



MUST SEE TV: Barrett gives moving foster care speech to the House of Delegates


West Virginia House of Delegates member Jason Barrett from Berkeley County rose from his seat near the end of Wednesday’s floor session to address his colleagues. His persuasive remarks recalled Tuesday’s Today Show segment about a foster care family in West Virginia. The story, which we highlighted in yesterday’s From the Well newsletter, detailed the heart-wrenching story of two foster sisters Serenity and Haven. Delegate Barrett’s remarks asked the Legislature and Governor Jim Justice to get their priorities straight and pass HB 4092, which increases per diem rates for foster parents in order to help those parents financially, and also to help recruit additional parents to the foster care system.




Senate introduces constitutional amendments to change tax structures


The Senate spent an hour debating Senate Concurrent Resolution 4, which urges Congress to hold a convention of the states, under the authority given to the states in Article V of the Constitution. This convention would propose an amendment to the Constitution to create term limits for those elected to the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives.


Some members expressed concern about the potential undermining of the Constitution due to the amendment, while others posed the argument that doing so under Article V is to exercise the freedom of the states under the Constitution. A third concern was expressed that the action could open a Pandora’s box of changes to multiple parts of the Constitution. After much deliberation, the resolution was adopted, and will advance to the House for further consideration. Should the resolution be approved in the House, West Virginia would be the 16th state to do so, out of the 38 states required to approve it.





House Education passes Business Promise Plus Scholarship bill


The House Committee on Education passed HB 4143, which create the Business Promise+ Scholarship. The bill allows West Virginia businesses to donate to a fund managed by the Higher Education Policy Commission. Businesses who participate have the opportunity to interview up to three prospective students that qualify. A student who is chosen is entitled to funds from the Business Promise Plus the same as the original Promise Scholarship. The scholarship allows for up to $15,000 annually but the funds may not exceed the amount funded by the business.


The academic requirements for Business Promise Plus are the same as the Promise. However, a student may not benefit from both scholarships at the same time. The businesses participating in the program are eligible to receive tax credits against the Corporate Net Income Tax up to 50% of the total donation. HB 4143 now heads to the House Finance Committee.



Bill provides for physician tax credit

SB 77, which passed the Senate Committee on Health and Human Resources and is now in the Finance Committee, allows medical school graduates “who graduated from an accredited medical school … and completed an approved residency or fellowship program within the preceding 12 months” to claim tax credits.


“The maximum allowable amount of annual credit under this article to an eligible taxpayer is the eligible taxpayer’s personal taxable income … This amount may be claimed only for three consecutive years,” according to the legislation



Senate Judiciary passes animal cruelty bill and two others


The Senate Judiciary Committee took up SB 51, which updates visitation rights for grandparents. The bill allows daytime visitations, overnight visitations, and electronic communication. The bill was adopted and will be reported to the full Senate with recommendation for passage.


Next was committee substitute for SB 191, relating to cruelty to animals, passed out of Senate Judiciary. It creates a misdemeanor for recklessly causing the death of an animal and a felony for intentionally causing an animal’s death. Counsel explained that the bill refers to companion animals.


The committee also discussed SB522 and SB529, both of which were recommended by the WV Legislative Claims Commission.


SB 522 would provide additional benefits to juvenile victims of abuse and neglect cases for services not covered by Medicaid or other resources, such as psychological care.  Committee substitute for SB 529 establishes a time limit for claimants to file claims against the state for unjust arrest, wrongful convictions, and wrongful incarceration and to limit damages under certain conditions. The bill also establishes a 10-year limit on claims benefits.  Both bills passed and will be reported to the floor.



Here’s how to get rid of an anti-business tax in WV


The West Virginia State Senate has started work on what may turn out to be the most controversial legislation this session—the effort to get rid of the property tax on manufacturing inventory, machinery and equipment.


This is a burdensome anti-business tax that punishes investment in new equipment and discourages companies from maintaining inventory in the state. The tax makes West Virginia an outlier among the states, but eliminating it won’t be easy.


Full article here



Activity Calendar

The following organizations will have displays at the Capitol or events this week.

Thur, Jan.23: All Kinds Welcome Here

County Commissioners Association

WV Crime Victims Compensation Fund

Health Smart

WV Chamber Legislative Reception

Fri, Jan. 24: WV Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation



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