In our survey last week, business development and support, and local foods and healthy lifestyles were tied for second place as the issues that you are most interested in and want to hear about from us.
To us here at the Hub, your interest in business, local foods and healthy lifestyles makes perfect sense. We’re all interested in developing vibrant communities in West Virginia. For us, vibrant communities means communities that have thriving local businesses, access to fresh local foods and residents who are active, healthy and happy. It’s the trifecta of success for a dynamic community.
Our legislative leaders had a major focus on the economy and jobs this session. That focus doesn’t always translate into real improvement for communities at a local level, though.
As we talked about in the first issue of the Legislative Hubbub, while there was a lot of rhetoric that the repeal of the Alternative Energy Portfolio Act was a jobs bill, power plant operators told legislators point-blank that that bill wouldn’t change how they do business and wouldn’t affect jobs one way or another.
So what has been passed – or what is still moving – that would impact local businesses?
We’ve featured some bills in past issues that we think will positively impact local businesses, including the craft beer bill, the one-stop-shop business registry bill, and the work by the WV Food and Farm Coalition to pass a cooperative business development bill.
SB 352 is a bill born of effective coalition advocacy, with recycling, local foods and arts & crafts businesses working together to support a bill that allows for the creation of cooperatives for their industries. The WV Chamber of Commerce has signed on in support of this bill, working in partnership with WV Citizens Action Group and the WV Food & Farm Coalition to move the bill forward. It passed the Senate on Crossover Day last week and should be on final reading on the House floor on Friday.
Here are some other bills that we believe could have a beneficial impact on local businesses and communities that are still kicking and have a chance of passing by Saturday:
- SB 582 is a community development bill that we just learned about yesterday. It would create a comprehensive community development public health pilot project to be implemented on the West Side of Charleston in conjunction with the Bureau of Public Health Office of Minority Affairs. The program would serve as a model for other community public health community programs.
- SB 585 has gotten a lot of press attention in the last week. Called the “Uber bill”, this bill relates to regulation of cab companies and allows for the establishment of “transportation network companies”, such as Uber.
- HB 2515 is an elk restoration bill. This bill would charge the Division of Natural Resources with restoring the elk population in West Virginia and establishes parameters for elk hunting.
- The deer farming bill, SB 237 is a done deal. It passed and was approved by the Governor in late February. Read the bill to find more detailed on information on what this could mean for deer farming businesses in West Virginia.
We’ve scoured the bills that still have a chance of passing to find the ones we think could impact local businesses. What bills have you been watching that we missed? What bills did you think would have benefited local businesses but died earlier in the session? Let us know so we can share your comments next week!