BY TAYLOR BENNETT, POLICY COORDINATOR, THE HUB
It’s week two of the 2018 Session, and hundreds of bills have been introduced, referred to committee and are awaiting further consideration. Since last week, the number of bills we’re tracking is up to 78, and 12 of them have been introduced since Monday.
So, how do we decide what to track? Here at The Hub, we’re looking for two things:
- First, we think through whether the bill would impact any of the issues we’ve heard WV community members identify as important.
- Second, we analyze whether the bill might impact community development statewide, The Hub’s work, and the work of our partners.
Here are a few highlights from the bills that we’re tracking so far. Check out our bill tracker for the status of each of the bills we’ve highlighted.
In the Senate:
- SB278– This bill would allow the Public Land Corporation to acquire vacant school buildings and other public buildings for use by the State. It doesn’t require the Public Land Corporation to do so, and therefore could provide another method for county school systems to pass on some responsibilities associated with these properties.
- SB285– This bill allows two or more counties to form a regional recreation authority, so long as the counties border one another. This would mean that these counties could work together as a legal entity on endeavors that span across their boundaries, like ATV and hiking trails or recreational waterways.
- SB 98– This bill provides incentives for municipalities and/or counties who wish to consolidate their governments and become one municipality or county instead of two (or more). Incentives include preference given for work on roads and tax benefits. What is most interesting is that this legislation is proposed, but there aren’t any counties or municipalities waiting to consolidate.
In the House:
- HB 4158 This bill is interesting because it would make the Municipal Home Rule Program permanent. Currently, Home Rule is a pilot program, which requires renewal from the Legislature in order to continue. This bill also creates a way for citizens to repeal ordinances passed through Home Rule and expands the number of cities which can participate in the program and lifts some requirements related to the size of the cities which are able to participate.
- HB 2654– We’re tracking this bill because it would allow County Commissions to sell county property, like buildings or equipment, to non-profit organizations for less than market value. This means that the County would be able to transfer this property for no less than $1 to community centers, educational non-profits, and other charitable organizations.
- HB 2843– This bill is interesting to us because it would open up the option for creating a Tax Increment Financing (TIF)District to any town across WV. Right now, TIF districts are only allowed to be established by larger cities, which can block new development projects which sometimes require a TIF district.
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