BY: TAYLOR BENNETT, POLICY COORDINATOR, THE HUB
This week saw a tidal wave of new bills introduced, especially in the House of Delegates. This is due in large part to impending deadlines that make sure legislators move policy through the process. Feb 13th was the last day to introduce bills in the House, and Feb 19th will be the last day for bills to be introduced in the Senate. Here’s our highlights:
New this week
SB 508 – Creating a State Trail Authority
- This bill would establish a state trail authority within the WV Development Office and authorizes the authority to appoint a statewide trail coordinator and hire district coordinators.
- It was introduced Feb 8th and has a double reference, so it will go to first to the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and then the Senate Committee on Government Organization.
SB 529 – Citizen and State Accountability Act
- This bill would require any officer, agency or department of a state or municipal government applying for a grant to submit a report for review to the Governor and the Office of Fiscal Risk Management.
- The report would need to include a cost-benefit analysis of the grant, the anticipated impact of the grant, and the purpose of the program.
- This bill was introduced on Feb. 13th and referred to the Senate Committee on Government Organization
HB 4488 – Hatfield and McCoy Trail Authority
- This bill would add Braxton, Clay, Fayette, Nicholas, and Webster counties to the Hatfield and McCoy Trail Authority.
- It was introduced on Feb 14th and referred to the House Judiciary Committee
HB 4495 – Urban Renewal Authorities
- This bill would prompt Urban Renewal Authorities to create and submit plans to county boards of health for review, meet with communities and municipalities to share these plans, and make their reports available to local governments.
- It was introduced on Feb 12th and was referred to the House Committee on Political Subdivisions
HB 4503 – New Market Jobs Act
- This bill would create a tax credit for new businesses being developed in low income communities. SB 119 is another bill introduced this session about a similar issue.
- It was introduced on Feb 12 and referred to the House Committee on Small Business, Entrepreneurship, and Economic Development where it was discussed on Feb 15th.
HB 4518 – Creating Lakes in Southern WV?
- This Bill creates a commission to study the feasibility of constructing a large lake or lakes in the southern counties of WV as a method for revitalizing the region.
- It was introduced on Feb 13th and referred to the Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources.
HB 4544 – Matching Funds for Existing Entrepreneurship Programs
- The purpose of this bill is to create a matching program for the Small Business Innovation and Research Program and the Small Business Technology Transfer Program. This means that entrepreneurs making use of these programs would be eligible for more funds.
- It was introduced on Feb 13th and referred to the Committee on Small Business, Entrepreneurship, and Economic Development.
HB 4558 – Entrepreneurship and Innovation Investment Fund
- This bill would establish a fund which would be administered by the WV Development Office and is intended to be used to support entrepreneurship, creation of business startups, workforce participation, and talent pipelines.
- It was introduced on Feb 13th and referred to the Committee on Finance, where it was reviewed on Feb 15th.
HB 4567 – Ban the Box Act
- This bill would prohibit public employers from requesting information regarding a person’s criminal history on a job application. This could have an impact on the ability of formerly incarcerated folks to be employed.
- The bill was introduced on Feb 13th and referred to the Committee on Industry and Labor
HB 4605 – Out of State Property Owners Pay for PEIA
- This bill would assess an extra fee to non-occupied properties owned by out of state property owners at a rate of $4 per acre. Money collected would be applied to the Public Employees Insurance Agency (PEIA) to reduce insurance costs.
- It was introduced on Feb 13th and was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.
HB 4158 – Home Rule
- We took a deep dive on this bill in a previous post. In effect, this bill would make the Home Rule pilot program permanent and open it up to all municipalities across the state.
- It passed through the House Committee on Political Subdivisions and is on the agenda to be discussed by the House Committee on Government Organization Feb 15th.
HB 2654 – Disposal of County Property
- We’ve mentioned this bill before. It would allow County Commissions to transfer any type of property for no less than $1 to non-profit and charitable organizations without a public bidding process.
The bill passed through the House and has now been referred to the Senate Committee on Government Organizations.
To see a full list of the bills we’re tracking, click here.
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