From The Well

January 31, 2020

West Virginia Capitol Update

Day 24



Possible property tax cuts debated Thursday

Senators took a first look at a resolution that could later allow them to cut taxes on motor vehicles and other personal property.


The Senate Judiciary Committee discussed the resolution for about three hours Thursday afternoon before a majority of members voted to pass it. It now goes to the Senate Finance Committee for more discussion of its possible financial effects.


Read Brad McElhinny’s story on WVMetronews here.



Downstream manufacturing act postponed
Not long after staff counsel began explaining HB4019, Chairman Eric Householder stopped the presentation and stated the committee would postpone taking up the bill.


The bill creates the Downstream Natural Gas Manufacturing Investment Tax Credit Act of 2020. The amount of credit allowable depends upon the cost of the qualified investment property and the number of new jobs created. The allowable credit would be taken over a 10-year period at the rate of one-tenth per year.


Unused credit may be carried forward for another 10 years.

If enacted, the credit would apply to qualified investment property placed in service or use at a downstream natural gas manufacturing facility. The bill also includes rules for administration and enforcement of the credit.


House Democrats have asked for a Fiscal Note to asses the cost of the bill.



Mental health parity bill passes in committee with PEIA changes


Senate Health members approved a committee substitute (not yet available) Thursday for SB291, requiring health insurers to provide mental health parity. When the committee considered the bill several days ago, PEIA Executive Director Ted Cheatham, not known for histrionics, criticized the bill’s structure and called it overly broad.


Staff counsel, Cindy Dettinger, told committee members the PEIA provisions had been extensively rewritten. The bill requires PEIA, commercial insurance companies and managed care organizations to cover behavioral health costs at the same level as physical ailments and would, in some cases, restrict them from imposing a quantitive number of visits for those seeking care.


PEIA and the Insurance Commissioner are required to file separate reports with the legislature noting the progress to parity.



House Judiciary reverses 2019 law that would result in lost highway funds


House Judiciary made short work of two “rules bundles” and passed both without any discussion or questions, including rules for medical cannabis. By the time they are bundled, rules have already been well-vetted. They also quickly passed Committee Substitute for SB 311, court ordered community service.


“If you’re doing donuts in your vehicle on your private property and you’re liquored up,” said House Counsel to Judiciary, you are not breaking the law if you’re on your own property unless you injure a passenger. A bill originating in House Judiciary would seek to change this current law that was passed last year. The new law conflicts with federal regulations regarding DUI and will have a negative impact of $58 million on withheld highway funds. The bill passed despite complaints about “federalism” from two committee members.



CRNA supervision by physicians, other health bills at amendment stage Friday


HB 4356, which removes from the law the requirement of direct physician supervision for certified registered nurse anesthetists, will be at amendment stage in the House of Delegates today.


HB 3049, which provides for more immediate dissemination of boiled water advisories through local health departments and local emergency management 911 answering points, and directly to interested customers. The bill requires a local health department to be contacted by a water utility when issuing a boil-water advisory. In the future, the bill requires direct customer contact by texting or other media.


HB 4059 updates family planning laws and increases the availability of long-acting reversible contraceptives by removing barriers to prescribing. It requires practitioners be reimbursed for the full cost of LARC.


HB 4198 permits a person to obtain a 12-month supply of contraceptive drugs. This extends the 90-day requirement for most prescriptions.


Committee Substitute for HB 4434, which requires the department of commerce to conduct a health care workers feasibility study and make a report in February 2021.



Bill restricting appointees to city and county organizations laid over


House Political Subdivisions Committee had a lengthy discussion about HB 2314, imposing limits on the number of appointees to certain county and municipal bodies and imposing quorum requirements on certain county and municipal bodies. There was a bit of drama when Del. Robinson moved that the bill be postponed indefinitely (PPI), a non-debatable motion. The motion failed on a tie vote, 10-10. The specific county and municipal boards are County Parks & Recreation Boards, County & Municipal Development Authorities, and Municipal Planning Commissions.


The bill, as explained by counsel, reduces membership to “between 5 and 9” members with a deadline of Jan. 1, 2022 to reduce the members. The overriding question was, “Is there an issue?” as first asked by Del. Longstreth. The bill’s sponsor, Del. Foster, said that counties & municipalities are having difficulty finding interested people to be members of these boards. Representatives from both the Municipal League and the County Commissioners’ Association said this was not their bill and this issue had not been brought to their attention. A motion was made for the bill to lie over in order to get more information. The motion failed on a 10-10 vote. Then after much confusing discussion, the motion was reconsidered and the motion to lie over passed. We think!



Kanawha County to issue medical cannabis permits
Thursday night, the Kanawha County Commission voted to issues permits to medical marijuana growers, processors and distributors.


Health officials believe issuing the permits will help decrease the use of prescription opioids.


Watch WOWK TV’s coverage of the meeting



Activity Calendar

The following organizations will have displays at the Capitol today.


Fri. Jan 31

·     Agriculture and Conservation Day


On the activity schedule for next week:


Mon. Feb. 3

·     Jefferson County Day Upper Senate Rotunda

·     American Lung Association Tobacco Free Day

Tue. Feb. 4

·     Home School Day

·     Alzheimer’s Association

Wed. Feb. 5

·     Innovation and Entrepreneurship Day

Thur. Feb. 6

·     Veterans Visibility Day

·     VFW Auxiliary

·     WV Aviation Day

·     WV EMS Day

Fri. Feb. 7

·     West Virginia Undergraduate Research 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