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Member's Press Release

Release Date: 02/28/2016
Contact: Jacque Bland at (304) 590-4678


President Cole


This Week in the West Virginia Senate

CHARLESTON – Regulatory reform was featured this week as the Senate passed the 2016 Regulatory Reform Act. The bill, which creates the Small Business Regulatory Relief Act, incorporates numerous changes to West Virginia’s rulemaking processes, including:

  • Requiring sunset provisions in all future rulemaking affecting agencies and higher education;
  • Requiring agencies to respond to public comment during the rulemaking process;
  • Requiring additional information to be included when an agency submits proposed legislation to the Legislative Rule-Making Review Committee, including an economic impact statement, detailed description of the rule’s purpose, and public comments received.

    The bill is the culmination of extensive regulatory reform efforts from earlier in the session. Last month, the Senate Judiciary passed eight Originating Bills that targeted more than 120 outdated or obsolete rules from West Virginia’s State Register.

    Senate Bill 619 is sponsored by Senators Craig Blair (R-Berkeley), Majority Leader Mitch Carmichael (R-Jackson), Sue Cline (R-Wyoming), Ed Gaunch (R-Kanawha), Robert Karnes (R-Upshur), Jeff Mullins (R-Raleigh), and Charles Trump (R-Morgan).

    The bill passed 18-16 on Saturday, February 27. It is pending introduction in the House of Delegates.

    *** Sunday, the 47th day of the legislative session, was the last day for a bill to be passed out of a committee in its house of origin to allow for three full days of readings. Wednesday, March 2, is what’s known as “crossover day.” This is the day all bills must be passed out of its house of origin, excluding supplemental appropriations bills or the budget.

    *** By the Numbers (through February 28) Number of Senate bills introduced: 699 Number of Senate bills passed: 170 Number of House bills passed out of Senate: 14 Number of bills that have completed legislative action: 34 Number of bills signed by Governor: 14 Number of bills vetoed by Governor: 3 Number of Legislative overrides: 2 (Senate Bill 1 and House Bill 4005) *** The West Virginia Senate passed 42 Senate bills this week, 5 House bills, and advanced several others through committee.

    Passed: Senate Bill 411 – Creating Second Chance for Employment Act

  • Passed unanimously on February 27
  • Sponsors: Walters (R-Putnam), Laird (D-Fayette), Minority Leader Kessler (D-Marshall), Miller (D-Fayette), Facemire (D-Braxton), Romano (D-Harrison), Gaunch
  • Provides a procedure for the expungement of certain nonviolent felony convictions, which in some cases may make it easier for those who were previously convicted to attain employment
  • Pending introduction in the House of Delegates

    Passed: Senate Bill 420 – Increasing tax rate on cigarette and tobacco products

  • Passed February 23 by a vote of 26-6 (two members absent)
  • Sponsors: Minority Leader Kessler, at request of Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin
  • Would raise per-pack tax on tobacco products $1 per pack. The Governor’s Bill called for an increase of 45 cents per pack.
  • Pending before House Finance Committee

    Passed: Senate Bill 508 – Relating to civil claims for private nuisance

  • Passed February 23 by a vote of 20-12 (two members absent)
  • Sponsors: Ferns (R-Ohio), Kirkendoll (D-Logan), Majority Leader Carmichael, Mullins, Palumbo (D-Kanawha)
  • Establishes standards applicable to a common law claim for private nuisance
  • Pending before House Judiciary Committee

    Passed: Senate Bill 634 – Creating the William R. Laird IV Second Chance Driver’s License Act

  • Passed unanimously on February 27
  • Sponsors: Senate President Cole (R-Mercer), Minority Leader Kessler (at request of Gov. Tomblin)
  • Creates a program, administered by the Director of the Division of Justice and Community Services to allow a person to obtain a stay of a driver’s license suspension or revocation for the purpose of obtaining and maintaining employment, if certain conditions are met
  • Pending introduction in the House of Delegates

    Passed: House Bill 4145 – Relating to carry or use of a handgun or deadly weapon

  • Passed February 22 by a vote of 24-9 (one member absent)
  • Sponsors: Delegates Blair (R-Berkeley), Azinger (R-Wood), Butler (R-Mason), Cadle (R-Mason), Eldridge (D-Lincoln), Householder (R-Berkeley), Marcum (D-Mingo), Overington (R-Berkeley), Phillips (D-Logan), Sobonya (R-Cabell) and Upson (R-Jefferson)
  • Also known as “constitutional carry”
  • Allows West Virginians who are over the age of 21 to carry a concealed firearm without a permit, pending compliance with certain conditions
  • Currently, there are seven states that do not require permits for residents to carry concealed firearms – Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Kansas, Maine, Vermont, and Wyoming
  • Awaiting further action by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin

    Legislation to Watch

    Senate Bill 622 – Composition of PEIA Finance Board

  • Sponsors: Walters, Blair, Mullins, Takubo (R-Kanawha), Majority Leader Carmichael
  • Would change the experience requirements for members and reduce the number of members of the Public Employees Insurance Agency Finance Board
  • Proposes taking number of members from 10 to 8, and would include someone who represents the interests of education employees (and is a teacher), public employees, retired employees, a participating political subdivision, and four members from the public at large (each with experience-specific requirements)
  • Bill is on First Reading on Monday Senate Bill 700 – Authorizing Berkeley County Council own or operate a drug treatment of drug rehabilitation facility
  • Sponsors: Blair, Boso (R-Nicholas), Facemire, Ferns, Maynard (R-Wayne), Mullins, Walters
  • Bill originated in the Senate Committee on Government Organization
  • Authorizes Berkeley County Council to own or operate a drug treatment or drug rehabilitation facility within the city limits of the City of Martinsburg on the site of the former Royce Hosiery, which the county purchased in 2015 for $250,000
  • Bill is on Third Reading on Monday House Bill 4228 – Relating to transportation network companies
  • Sponsors: House Majority Leader Cowles (R-Morgan), Delegates Brad White (R-Kanawha), Shott (R-Mercer), Espinosa (R-Jefferson), Eric Nelson (R-Kanawha), Howell (R-Mineral), Upson (R-Jefferson), Trecost (D-Harrison), Reynolds (D-Cabell), Gearheart (R-Mercer), Hamrick (R-Harrison)
  • Allows transportation network companies such as Uber and Lyft to operate in West Virginia, and provides guidelines for their operations
  • Proposes taking number of members from 10 to 8, and would include someone who represents the interests of education employees (and is a teacher), public employees, retired employees, a participating political subdivision, and four members from the public at large (each with experience-specific requirements)
  • Bill is on Second Reading on Monday

    Coming up for a vote in the Senate next week

    Senate Bill 12 – Relating to County Local Powers Act

  • Sponsors: Leonhardt (R-Monongalia)

    Senate Bill 104 – Classifying Marshall University Forensic Science Center as a criminal justice agency

  • Sponsors: Plymale (D-Wayne), Woelfel (D-Cabell), Stollings (D-Boone) House Bill 2852 – Relating to legalizing and regulating the sale and use of fireworks
  • Sponsors: Delegates Hamrick, Trecost, Zatezalo (R-Hancock), Waxman (R-Harrison), Eric Nelson (R-Kanawha)


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