From the Desk of Delegate Perry – February 26th, 2014
The 2nd Regular Session of the 81st Legislature is in the homestretch with only 16 days of the 60-day session remaining.
Monday was the last day bills could be introduced in both the House and the Senate. The only exceptions to this are supplementary appropriation and originating bills. It also does not apply to resolutions.
A total of 1,870 bills were introduced his session; 1,240 in the House and 630 in the Senate.
Of those bills introduced, 62 have passed in the House and the Senate has passed 70 bills. Five bills have completed legislative action.
When the regular session ends at Midnight on March 8, the Legislature will go into an extended budget session where only the Budget and supplementary appropriations can be considered.
It seems that this year’s budget is a point of contention as there is some disagreements occurring between the governor and the legislature regarding where funding should come from in order to balance the state’s budget.
The governor wants lawmakers to move $39 million in state Lottery subsidies and $13 million from the state Road Fund to the general revenue fund.
Lawmakers do not agree with the Governor’s proposals and suggest more money should come out of the Rainy Day Fund.
House Judiciary continues to consider House Bill 4001, the False Claims Act which has been problematic and filled with disagreement. The committee only has until Sunday to move this bill out of committee.
Senate Finance passed out a bill from their committee that would extend driver’s license renewal cycles. This extension means that some drivers could use the same identification photo for up to 16 years if this bill passes.
A bill up for passage this afternoon is ruffling the feathers of the state Attorney General. The bill is known as the “Attorney General Ethics and Accountability Act” and would dramatically redefine the powers and authority of the office.
This bill would prohibit the attorney general from participating in lawsuits involving individuals or companies that contribute to his campaign.
The Senate Select Committee on Children and Poverty is backing a bill to streamline ways community groups can use public facilities for programs that promote healthy lifestyles.
The bill addresses issues like insurance liability and how to cover staffing costs if facilities remain open longer hours.
A report released this week shows that West Virginia’s income gap is widening with more than half of West Virginian’s income growth over the past three decades went to the state’s top 1 percent of taxpayers which is one of the highest rates of unequal income growth in the nation.
If you have any concerns or questions, feel free to call my office at 340-3337 or write Delegate David Perry at the State Capitol, Building 1, Room 442M, Charleston, WV, 25305.