West Virginia State Government

“Week in the Know” January 27, 2018



The 2018 Legislative Session



Statement from Justice: ‘Please stop the rumors’ about health
“I’ve had no recent doctors’ appointments but the last time I did they told me I’m in wonderful health, except for being a little chunky, and that I have incredible stamina,” Gov. Jim Justice stated in the release.


Leaked Trump Infrastructure Plan Would Put Onus on States
The Trump administration has hinted for months that its long-awaited infrastructure plan would lean heavily on new spending by states, local governments and the private sector. On Monday, a leaked outline of that plan seems to confirm that the federal government would take a back seat in funding its own infrastructure initiative.





Manchin Will Seek Re-election but Sends Democrats a Stern Warning
Senator Joe Manchin III of West Virginia told colleagues on Tuesday that he intended to run for re-election this year after all, ending an anxiety-making flirtation with retirement and easing Democratic fears that the most conservative Democrat in the Senate was about to effectively hand his seat to a Republican.



The Governor


Arvon moves to Senate, plans to seek full-term
State lawmaker Lynne Arvon made the short walk from the House of Delegates where she has served since 2012 to the state Senate Tuesday morning where she attended her first floor session as 9th District State Senator.


Governor has included $3 million in latest budget proposal for Yeager Airport
Governor Jim Justice has included nearly $3 million dollars in his latest budget proposal to be used by Charleston’s Yeager Airport, according to Justice’s Chief of Staff Mike Hall.


Justice administration changes pay raise bill to reflect multi-year increases
The bill (SB 267) passed the Senate Finance Committee on a voice vote Thursday afternoon. The committee voted on a bill that was different from the original language that called for a one-year one percent raise for teachers, service personnel, state troopers and all other state workers.



Taxes and Reform


Film tax credits fading to black after House vote
After debate lasting almost two hours — and after mentioning almost every film or television show that ever had a West Virginia connection — delegates voted to discontinue the state film tax credit.


Proposed inventory tax exemption won’t benefit non-industrial businesses
In his State of the State address, Gov. Jim Justice drew the loudest round of sustained applause from legislators when he announced his plan to “Just Cut Taxes and Win,” saying, “What I want to start with is the elimination of the tax on manufacturing machinery and equipment and manufacturing inventory.”


Airbnb’s Tax Deal With Kansas May Be Model for Midwest


Airbnb has reached a tax agreement with the Kansas Department of Revenue to begin collecting taxes on its home-sharing bookings in the state.


The company will announce Monday that it will automatically collect and remit the taxes, putting Airbnb lodging on the same footing, taxwise, as hotels and other lodging establishments.

Airbnb and Tennessee Reach Tax Deal


The home-sharing company said Thursday it has reached an agreement with the Tennessee Department of Revenue to collect and remit the 7 percent state sales tax, plus local sales taxes in varying rates, on rentals rather than relying on its 7,700 Tennessee hosts to do so.





Atlantic Coast Pipeline gains approval of key WV permit
In West Virginia, the project gained approval for a stormwater permit that is one of the state Division of Environmental Protection’s main enforcement tools on the project. That is the last remaining regulatory approval necessary in West Virginia.


Debate begins over natural gas drilling bills
Debate has started on key pieces of natural gas legislation, particularly co-tenancy policy that would allow drilling on a tract if three quarters of property owners are agreeable.





Rural Broadband: Taking a Broad-Scope Look at State Legislation
Lawmakers seem more aware than ever that the Internet is a key component to building healthy economies and educational systems. In rural areas, where access to certain utilities and Internet can be sparse, lawmakers at all levels of government have been making a concerted effort to expand access to oft-overlooked constituents.



Health Care


WV child dies from the flu
“This is one of the most unfortunate things for pubic health that we have to report,” Gamble said. “Flu is somewhat preventable, but it is a very difficult virus.”


Cabell Huntington, Steel of WV, others settle of court on eve of High Court arguments
A more than two-year-old dispute between Steel of West Virginia and Cabell Huntington Hospital settled late Monday night just before the case was to be argued before the state Supreme Court Tuesday, leaving justices somewhat miffed about the late cancellation of oral arguments.


DHHR releases analysis of 2016 overdoses
Among items included in the report, the analysis said 81 percent of people who died of an overdose interacted with at least one health system in 12 months prior to their death, and those who died were three times more likely to have three or more prescribers compared to the state Board of Pharmacy’s Controlled Substances Monitoring Program.


Rite Aid will pay $4 million for improper pseudoephedrine sales
Rite Aid will pay $4 million for improper sales of pseudoephedrine, a key methamphetamine ingredient, as part of a settlement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in West Virginia’s Southern District.


Abortion bill clears first committee in House
Abortions in West Virginia would be paid with Medicaid funds only if the life of the mother is in danger, according to a bill moving through the House of Delegates.





Education and arts secretary defends department’s work on MetroNews ‘Talkline’
“Through our reorganization and our restructuring, we have built a very effective group of agencies and programs that support one another and deliver resources across this state every single day,” Secretary Gayle Manchin said on Monday’s MetroNews “Talkine.”


Senate Finance Committee passes free community college bill
The Senate Finance Committee passed Wednesday the bill regarding free community and technical college in the state.


Gov. Jim Justice and Senate President Mitch Carmichael, R-Jackson, support Senate Bill 284, which now heads to the Senate floor. The governor’s proposed budget sets aside $7 million to fund tuition, fees and other forms of financial aid.


Teachers becoming informed about “risk and reward” of possible work stoppage
The president of one of the two teachers unions in West Virginia didn’t say a teachers strike would be wrong during an appearance on MetroNews “Talkline” Thursday but West Virginia American Federation of Teachers President Christine Campbell did urge teachers to become informed.


“I don’t want people to do anything without being completely informed,” Campbell said.


WV House passes textbook flexibility bill
The West Virginia House of Delegates passed to the state Senate Monday a bill advertised as providing county boards of education more flexibility in choosing print and electronic textbooks and other instructional materials.



In Other Legislative News


Sports betting bill to be introduced this week at State Capitol
 Betting on sports could become legal at West Virginia’s four racetrack casinos along with The Greenbrier Resort and available via mobile apps for those locations under legislation on track to be introduced in both the state Senate and state House of Delegates before the end of the week.


Single-member districts bill passes House
By the numbers: The House of Delegates debated more than an hour whether to approve a one-paragraph bill to establish 100 single-member House districts after the 2020 Census.


The bill passed 72-25. It now goes to the Senate.