We’ll bring you a full and final review of the 2016 Legislative Session on Wednesday morning next week.
But, as we go to (figurative) press, below is a quick rundown of what we’re watching.
HB 2615 – The Small Business Capital Act passed out of the Senate unanimously on Tuesday! It is now completed legislation. This equity-based crowdfunding bill has been advocated for aggressively by the small business community, and there is high expectation that great things will come from this bill.
SB 656 – Upper Kanawha Valley Resiliency and Revitalization. This bill creates a diverse collaboration to support revitalization and resiliency in the Upper Kanawha Valley region (including Smithers, Gauley Bridge, Montgomery and Pratt) in order to weather the impacts of WV Tech moving to Beckley.
The idea is the vision of retiring Senator Bill Laird who represents the region and has been vocal about the economic and community development impacts that Tech’s move will have on the towns of the Upper Kanawha Valley. The bill was passed by the House on Tuesday, and became completed legislation on Wednesday. As a named strategic community partner in the bill, The Hub is especially excited to see this bill become law.
SB 298 – The much-followed “Brunch Bill” has passed its final committee hurdle, passing out of the House Judiciary Committee with amendments yesterday. Expect the bill to be up for discussion and potential final passage in the House by Friday.
Key Bills that Need to be Moved out of Committees ASAP in Order to Survive
SB 315 – The amended Middle Mile broadband bill has run into a potentially impassable hurdle in the House. It’s been stuck in the minor House Political Subdivisions Committee since mid-February. The bill would have to get through this Committee and the Finance Committee in a very short period of time. It’s looking more and more likely that this bill will die in the House.
Generation WV is asking for considered constituents to outreach to their Delegates and urge them to get the bill moving ASAP. Click here if you want to send a note to your local Delegate.
SB 16 – The tax credits to broadband providers that expand broadband to rural areas seems just as unlikely to move as SB 315. It’s stuck in the House Finance Committee, along with 25 other Senate Bills. You may have heard that some issues are taking up huge amounts of time in the House Finance Committee. They spent most of Monday discussing the potential gas tax bill, which has reportedly died.
SB 293 – Speaking of the House Finance Committee, that committee passed the Neighborhood Investment Program Act, a bill that is of great importance to us, on Tuesday night. It’s now up for final passage on Friday.
HB 2897 – The Young Entrepreneur Reinvestment Act was introduced on the first day of session but didn’t get passed out of the House until late February. It was double referenced in the Senate and just got through it’s first committee (Economic Development) on Tuesday afternoon.
The bill was taken up from the Senate floor for immediate consideration on Wednesday, bypassing its committee reference to Finance, but was then sent back to Finance on second reading. Because of the limited time left in the session this reference likely kills the bill.