BY: KATELYN CAMPBELL, COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT POLICY VISTA, THE HUB
This week at the Legislature has been a busy one, filled with packed galleries, long lines, and stressful deliberations. In the midst of this flurry of activity, we’ve got updates on the bills we’re watching.
Monday marked the last day for introduction of bills in the Senate, so now no new bills are allowed to be introduced in either chamber. Committees are now rushing to evaluate the bills they’ve been assigned before the deadline to make it out of committee arrives on Sunday to ensure that each bill can be read on the floor for the mandatory three days before the dreaded Crossover Day. If a bill is not passed by the house in which it originated by then, it is not allowed to advance.
Community Development Bills Moving in the Senate
SB 475 – Industrial Hemp
- This bill would allow the Department of Agriculture to create an industrial hemp seed development program. Currently, West Virginia industrial hemp farmers must purchase their seeds internationally. The seeds available from these purchases are often not well suited to West Virginia’s climate.
- SB 475 passed the Senate this week. It was sent on to the House, where it was referred to the committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources then the Judiciary committee.
SB 479 – Low Cost Audits for Municipalities
- If enacted, this bill would allow for the Auditor to create partnerships between the State Auditor’s office and the state’s colleges and universities to provide audits at low cost to local governments.
- Learn more about this bill from our coverage of it last week.
- SB 479 passed the Senate on Wednesday. It was sent over to the House, where it was referred to the House Government Organization Committee.
SB 412 – More Authority for Litter Officers
- If enacted, SB 412 would allow any litter control officer who is certified as a law enforcement official to exert the same authority as a law enforcement official when enforcing litter laws. This could be a big deal for communities who use litter control officers to help manage abandoned and dilapidated building issues.
- SB 412 passed through the Senate today and has been sent over to the House for further consideration.
SB 416 – “Noodling”
- If enacted, SB 416 would make catching a catfish with one’s bare hands (“noodling”) lawful in West Virginia.
- SB 416 passed through the Senate Natural Resources Committee and has been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
SB 313 – Professional Licenses for Low Income and Military Families
- If enacted, SB 313 would make it easier for low income people, military families, and workers ages 18-25 to obtain licenses from boards to be barbers and cosmetologists, tattoo artists, land surveyors, and more.
- SB 313 passed the Senate Government Organization Committee on Wednesday, and was then referred to the Finance Committee.
SB 432 – Municipal Home Rule
- SB 432 would make the Municipal Home Rule Pilot Program permanent.
- SB 432 was bumped from the Senate Judiciary Committee’s agenda on Wednesday, and is still awaiting consideration.
SB 458 – Local Government Labor and Consumer Marketing Regulatory Limitations Act
- If enacted, SB 458 would limit the ability of local governments to regulate employer-employee relations. For example, a municipality would not be able create its own minimum wage.
- The bill passed through the Senate late last week and has been assigned to the House Judiciary Committee.
Community Development Bills Moving in the House
HB 4158 – Also Relating to Municipal Home Rule
- A committee substitute for HB 4158 passed the House Government Organization Committee on Wednesday with substantial changes from the original bill language.
- Today, it was sent to the full House for a first reading.
HB 4488 – Hatfield McCoy Trail
- HB 4488 makes changes to the board structure of the Hatfield McCoy Regional Recreation Authority, as well as outlawing consumption or possession of non-intoxicating beer on the trails.
- HB 4488 was approved by the House on Wednesday and sent on to the Senate for introduction. It has been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
HB 4296 – Creating Artificial Lakes in Southern WV
- HB 4296, if enacted, would authorize the creation of a commission to study the potential for development of recreational lakes in Southern West Virginia.
- HB 4296 was advanced to third reading in the House today.
HB 2843 – TIF Districts
- If enacted, HB 2843 would allow Class III municipalities to participate in TIF Financing. A previous version of this bill would have also expanded this authority to Class IV municipalities as well, but that provision was rejected in Committee.
- HB 2843 is on Second reading in the House.
For updates on more of the bills we’re tracking, check out our bill tracker.
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