The House then approved the Senate’s changes to HB219 and passed the final version of the bill. It will now go to the Governor for his approval.
HB219 was the final bill of the Second Special Session of 2008. During the session, which began Tuesday, lawmakers passed 19 bills.
The Senate and the House both adjourned sine die.
The Senate adjourned until 11 a.m. tomorrow.
The House is adjourned until 11:00 a.m. tomorrow.
Senate Bill 2010, which was originally the same as House Bill 219, was advanced to third reading with the right to amend.
The Senate adjourned until 6 p.m. tomorrow.
One report received concerned the passage of amended House Bill 212, which the House passed with an additional amendment and sent back to the Senate for passage. Also taken up for consideration was amended House Bill 210, which the House concurred with Senate amendments and then passed.
The House is adjourned until 6:00 p.m. tomorrow.
Senators also concurred in a House amendment to a Senate amendment to House Bill 212. The bill, which relates to the creation of a testing schedule for school bus drivers, was then passed again and sent to the Governor for his approval.
The Senate is in recess until 12:15 p.m.
Six bills were read three times and passed without amendments and have now completed legislative action. These bills are: House Bill 211, House Bill 214, House Bill 215, House Bill 216, House Bill 217 and House Bill 218.
The Senate also took up and passed a supplemental appropriation bill, Senate Bill 2014, which would make an appropriation to various state accounts from the General Revenue Fund. This bill now advances to the House for their consideration.
The Senate will reconvene tomorrow at 11:00 a.m.
The bills that passed were all supplemental appropriations allocating state money, they included: Senate Bill 2011, Senate Bill 2012, Senate Bill 2013, Senate Bill 2015, Senate Bill 2016, Senate Bill 2017, Senate Bill 2018 and Senate Bill 2019.
The House adjourned for the evening and will reconvene tomorrow at 11:00 a.m.
Nine of those bills were advanced to third reading and passed including House Bill 218, which would freeze the fuel excise tax.
House Bill 219, relating to the regulation and control of elections, was advanced to second reading. This measure seeks to modify certain provisions of current state campaign finance laws in order to comply with a decision by the United States Court for the Southern District of West Virginia in the matter of Center for Individual Freedom v. Ireland, et. al. That decision struck down several provisions of the State’s campaign finance laws deemed to be in violation of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.
The House stands in recess until 3:00 p.m. this afternoon.
The Finance Committee will meet briefly at 2:55 p.m. today in the Senate Chamber.
The Senate is in recess until 3 p.m. today.
The House Finance, Judiciary, Government Organization and Education committees and the Senate Finance and Judiciary committees met immediately after the floor session to begin work. If necessary, those committees will meet again tomorrow at 9 a.m.
The Senate Confirmations Committee will meet tomorrow at 10:45 a.m. in the President’s Conference Room.
The House and Senate will reconvene tomorrow at 11 a.m.
Also included in the Governor's Call is the plan to freeze the expected increase in the tax on the wholesale price of motor fuel and creating a special fund to offset the loss in revenue this tax provides for the state Road Fund; as well as a bill clarifying state election law. A number of the bills to be introduced were passed by the Legislature during the 2008 Regular Session but vetoed due to technical problems. Several bills will also be introduced dealing with legislation to provide supplemental appropriation expending money to state agencies prior to the new fiscal year starting July 1, 2008.
Due to rising gas and oil prices, the wholesale gas tax is set to automatically increase as much as 6 or 7 cents per gallon in October. The freeze would prevent an increase in the tax until Jan. 1, 2010, the governor said.
Senate President Earl Ray Tomblin noted that high gas prices have affected everyone in West Virginia and the rest of the nation. "By freezing [the gas tax],” he said, “this will mean more money back in people’s pockets."
To offset the loss in revenue from the freeze, the Legislature will consider a $40 million supplemental appropriation to pay for highway maintenance.
Speaker of the House Rick Thompson noted that maintenance services were significantly affected when the tax was last frozen in 2006. This time around, he said had assurances from the Division of Highways that "no services will be cut as a result of this freeze."
The special session – the second of the year – will begin at 5 p.m. tomorrow after the conclusion of monthly interim meetings.
Also at the press conference, the governor announced the approval of disaster relief from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The money will go toward helping those affected by the flooding on June 3. Residents affected by the flooding can find out information on receiving assistance by calling FEMA at 1-800-621-FEMA (1-800-621-3362).
In addition to Speaker Thompson and President Tomblin, several lawmakers attended the press conference. The Senate was represented by Majority Leader Truman Chafin, Finance Chair Walt Helmick, Government Organization Chair Edwin Bowman, and Health and Human Resources Chair Roman Prezioso. Delegates at the press conference included Judiciary Chair Carrie Webster, Finance Chair Harry Keith White, and Government Organization Chair Jim Morgan.
The Finance Subcommittee A, shown here, took up the issue of West Virginia's many fairs and festivals - and how state money is distributed and allocated for these events. A representative from the Grant Office within the Division of Culture and History spoke briefly about the compliance requirements in State Code 12-4-14, which governs Public Moneys and Securities, regarding required audits for recipients receiving $50,000 or more in state funds. The representative stated that grant recipients must be registered with the state Purchasing Division and with the Department of Administration before becoming eligible to receive funds.
Members plan to continue studying this issue among the other assigned study topics in the coming months.