From The Well

January 28, 2020

West Virginia Capitol Update

Day 21



Senate Judiciary Adopts Bill for Intermediate Court of Appeals


On Monday, the Senate Judiciary Committee took two meetings to discuss SB 275, which would create an Intermediate Court of Appeals in West Virginia.


The committee engaged in lively debate concerning the bill. Some members argued that the addition of an Intermediate Court was too expensive for the budget this session. A representative from the US Chamber of Commerce spoke in favor of the bill and answered questions from the committee. The representative explained that the purpose of the bill was to modernize West Virginia’s Court systems and create a more attractive environment for out-of-state businesses.


Some members argued that small businesses would bear the burden for the expenses of the bill, while others saw it as an opportunity for businesses to be better represented in the state.


After much debate, a motion was made to table the bill, but the motion was rejected on a 7-10 vote.

The bill was then adopted and referred to the Committee on Finance before being reported to the full Senate.



Senate passes Student Right to Know Act


The Senate passed committee substitute for SB303, which creates the Students’ Right to Know Act. The purpose of this bill is to require the Board of Education to provide high school students with specific information regarding costs of colleges and universities and career paths to better prepare them for the workforce.


The Board of Education would need to collaborate with the Higher Education Policy Commission and the Council for Community and Technical College Education annually to collect the information required by the bill.


In addition to costs, information such as most in-demand occupations in the state, entry level wages the average monthly student loan payment and the average total amount of student loans would also be required to be shared with students. The bill now goes to the House for consideration.



Couple featured on Today Show recognized in House


Delegate Jason Barrett recognized Robert and Monica Kinder in the gallery of House of Delegates Monday. The couple was featured in a story aired on the Today Show last week as part of a story about the increase in need for foster care as a result of the opioid crisis.


The Kinders met with Barrett, along with House Health chairman Jordan Hill and Vice Chair, Jeff Pack, to discuss the challenges of foster care and the need for an increase in the reimbursement rate for foster parents and kinship parents.



Manufacturing tax would affect counties differently


Jonathan Adler, Executive Director of the WV Association of Counties, posed the question, “How to pay for it?,” in an interview with the Charleston Gazette-Mail about the proposed elimination of business machinery, equipment, and inventory tax. This is the $91 million dollar question that hasn’t been successfully answered in the over two decades that this proposal has been discussed as a means to attract businesses to the state.


Almost all of the $91 million in personal property tax revenue goes to fund counties and schools, so funds to make them whole would have to be appropriated from the state. Based on the 2018 tax year, four counties (Brooke, Hancock, Jackson, & Pleasants) would have lost more than 20% of their property tax revenue if this property tax is eliminated. Conversely, there are 12 counties that would have lost less than $50,000. Kanawha County would have lost the largest amount in total revenue at $11.02 million but it amounts to just 5% of their total property tax collections.


SJR 8 is the resolution that, if passed, would put the issue on the ballot to amend the state Constitution. While a constitutional amendment on the ballot requires only a simple majority for passage, the resolution to amend the Constitution and place it on the ballot requires a 2/3 majority to pass the Legislature. In addition to the issue of replacing the revenue for counties and schools, the policy dilemma is whether or not the elimination of business personal property tax will actually attract businesses to the state and encourage new investment from businesses already here.


To read the Gazette article by Phil Kabler, click here.



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


Tue. Jan 28

·     DEP Day

·     WV Environmental Council E-Day

·     WV Beer Wholesalers Legislative Reception 6-8 p.m. at Embassy Suites

Wed. Jan 29

·     Preston/Monongalia/Taylor County Day

·     Senate President’s Dinner

Thur. Jan 30

·     Marshall University Day

·     CORPE Breakfast Capitol Cafeteria

Fri. Jan 31

·     Agriculture and Conservation Day



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