BY TAYLOR BENNETT, POLICY COORDINATOR, THE HUB
This Wednesday was the 30th day of session – the halfway mark. So far, we’ve tracked over 230 bills. Of those, approximately 113 haven’t moved since the first week of session, 32 have seen three weeks on the waiting list, 19 have gone two weeks since their last action, and 62 have moved forward this week.
Here are the ones we’ve been eyeing:
Bills Before the Senate
SB 117 – Creating incentives for the consolidation of local governments
- This bill provides incentives to local governments which successfully consolidate. Municipalities which consolidate would receive:
- a certain amount of money allocated from the State each year for 10 years, a free audit from the State Auditor’s Office, access to a 1% sales tax, and preference on any road construction or repair project with the Dept. of Highways.
- Counties which consolidate would receive
- 1% sales tax, preference on any road construction or repair project with the Dept. of Highways, and 10% off annual county jail fees for 10 years.
- This bill was passed through Senate Government Organization on February 1st and is waiting to be put on the agenda in Senate Judiciary.
SB 317 – Authorizing three or more adjacent counties to form a multi-county trail network authority
- The title of this bill is fairly self explanatory. The bill sets out guidelines for how such trail network authorities will manage their finances and legal liabilities. It has been substantially amended from its original version and now stipulates that the Authority may not allow motorized vehicles on the trails under their jurisdiction, with the exception of emergency vehicles.
- This bill passed out of Senate Judiciary and was reported to the Senate floor for a first reading on February 7th.
SB 391 – Relating to Unlawful Discriminatory Practices
- This bill adds sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of things for which it is illegal to discriminate against an individual for.
- The bill was introduced on January 22nd and is waiting to be put on the agenda of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
SB 486 – Making daylight savings time official all year round
- This little bill would make daylight savings time the official time in West Virginia all year round, beginning in March of 2019.
- The bill was introduced on January 31st and referred to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary.
Bills before the House
SB 1 – Increasing access to career education and workforce training
- This is the bill that would make community and technical college as well as some apprenticeship programs free.
- It’s been two weeks since this bill was passed out of the Senate and referred to the House Committee on Education.
SB 4 – Municipal Home Rule
- This bill would make the Home Rule Program Permanent. The Bill also includes stipulations about types of ordinances that municipalities are not allowed to pass through Home Rule.
- This bill passed out of the Senate and was referred to the House Committee on Government Organization on February 4th.
HB 2420 – Establishing the Mountaineer Trail Network Recreational Authority
- Another bill that would allow for the creation of a trail network authority, this time specific to an existing trail network. It lays out how the authority will function and has more specific restrictions about how the Authority can operate and how users of the trail system can behave than SB 317.
- This bill passed through the House and was referred to the Senate Committee on Economic Development.
HB 2708 – Limiting the types of ordinances and regulations municipalities can make
- This bill states that no local government would be allowed to pass any ordinance or regulation that would
- Ban plastic bags or straws
- Regulate what information an employer can or can’t ask for on a job application
- Require employers to meet minimum wage standards or provide family leave
- Require employers to participate in apprenticeship programs
- Regulate marketing of merchandise
- Regulate standards of care or licensing
The bill was introduced on January 28th, was referred to the House Committee on Government Organization, where it passed on February 6th. It is now headed to the floor to be read a first time.