BY TAYLOR BENNETT, POLICY COORDINATOR, THE HUB
With only 72 hours left in the 2019 session, the pace of reviewing bills has reached a fever pitch. Legislators, citizen lobbyists, staff members, and interest groups are hustling to try to make sure that the bill they care the most about make it across the finish line. Here are a few that we’re keeping our eye on:
Bills before the Senate
SB 1– Increasing access to career education and workforce training
- This bill establishes a grant fund that would cover tuition costs for students at community and technical colleges.
- SB 1 passed the House and was sent back to the Senate for concurrence. If they agree to the changes that were made by the House- which were relatively minor- the bill will head to the Governor’s desk.
HB 2941– Reinstating the film investment tax credit
- This bill would reinstate the film investment tax credit- a credit that was discontinued during last year’s session.
- The bill was passed through the House, was introduced in the Senate and referred to the Senate Finance Committee.
HB 2005 – Broadband Expansion Act of 2019
- This bill would streamline processes for approval and installation of broadband development projects including small wireless cells, antennas, etc.
- The bill was passed through the House early in the session on January 28th. Once introduced in the Senate, it was referred to Senate Government Organization and then to Senate Finance. It hasn’t yet been put on the agenda, so it’s got a long way to go.
HB 2420 – Creating the Mountaineer Trail Network Recreation Authority
- This bill creates the Mountaineer Trail Network Recreation Authority, which would work with necessary landowners, leaders, and community members to create trail recreation facilities.
- The bill passed through the House, was introduced in the Senate and was referred to the Economic Development Committee and then to the Judiciary Committee. It passed through Economic Development and members of the House voted to skip the second committee reference and move it straight to the floor. It has been read once and has been “laid over” twice.
Bills before the House
SB 29 – Creating a 10 year tax credit on post coal mine sites
- This bill would create a tax credit for businesses choosing to locate on post coal mine sites.
- It passed through the Senate on February 19th, was introduced in the House and was referred to the Small Business, Entrepreneurship, and Economic Development Committee and then to the Finance Committee.
- With just 72 hours left in the 2019 legislative session and a double committee reference, this bill is a bit of a long shot this year.
SB 383 – Creating WV Healthy Food Crop Block Grant Program
- This bill would provide financial incentives for WV farmers who choose to grow fruits and vegetables that serve community health programs.
- It passed the the Senate, was introduced in the House and was referred to House Finance. It’s still waiting to be put on the agenda.