We are rolling on through the legislative session and both the Senate and House are churning out an increasing number of bills each day.
At this point, nearly 200 bills have been passed by at least one chamber. Here’s an update on the bills we’ve been tracking – many of which received floor votes in the past week.
Floor Votes on Bills on Interest
SB 16 – Tax Credits for providing broadband for certain census blocks.
Sponsored by Senator Ashley, SB 16 would provide up to $1 million in tax credits for companies that expand broadband to hard to reach census blocks. The bill passed unanimously in the Senate on Wednesday and will be introduced in the House and referenced to committee on Thursday.
SB 298 – The Brunch Bill.
One of a couple of “brunch bills” sponsored by Senator Walters, SB 298 was passed by the Senate on Tuesday and has two references in the House. It must go through the House Roads and Transportation Committee and the Judiciary Committee before getting a final vote.
A similar bill passed last year in the Senate but failed to pass in the House. This year the bill faces equal challenges.
Roads & Transportation has only one more meeting this year, and more than 70 bills pending on its docket. Will it choose SB 298 for consideration? That’s up to Chairman Marty Gearheart (304-340-3179).
SB 315 – The Broadband “Middle Mile” Bill.
Sponsored by Senator Walters, the broadband middle mile bill has seen significant media coverage – and significant changes – since it was introduced during the first week of session. (The Charleston Gazette-Mail published a great article breaking down how the bill has improved during the committee process.)
The bill is up for a final vote in the Senate on Thursday.
HB 2615 – The “Crowdfunding Bill.”
Sponsored by Delegate Lane, HB 2615 is commonly referred to at the “Crowdfunding Bill” but is officially known as the WV Small Business Capital Act.
This bill, which we covered in our last Legislative Hubbub, was unanimously voted out of the House on Monday and is now in the Senate Finance Committee.
HB 4347 – Substance Abuse Treatment for Pregnant Women
Sponsored by Delegate Ellington, HB 4347 provides priority to pregnant women in accessing substance abuse treatment. The bill passed out of the House on Wednesday without any amendments or substitutions and is now pending in the Senate.
Votes Worth Watching: Senate Votes on Two Key Bills on Friday
SB 293 – Neighborhood Investment Program Act.
Sponsored by Senator Walters, the “NIP Act” would provide tax credits for local nonprofits to offer to donors who support their work.
The NIP bill, being championed by the WV Nonprofit Association and Philanthropy WV, has been passed by the Economic Development and Finance Committees and is up for final passage by the Senate on Friday. There’s still time to call your Senators and speak in favor of the bill if this is one that matters to you.
SB 434 – The “Pickle Bill.”
Sponsored by Senate Agriculture Chairman Robert Karnes, the “Pickle Bill” would allow for home-based micro-processed foods to be sold at farmers markets across the state.
The Agriculture Committee spent multiple weeks discussing this bill and revised the language to limit the number of sales and the types of food that could be sold. The bill is up for a vote on the Senate floor on Friday – and there remains strong opposition to the bill from some Senators.
It will be worth watching to see how the vote turns out.
Here’s some ways you can keep an eye or an ear on votes and floor discussions: