The House and Senate continue to work diligently as we near the halfway point of the 2014 regular session. As of this week, a total of 1,444 bills have been introduced; 995 in the House and 449 in the Senate. Of those bills introduced, 16 have passed in the House and 15 have passed in the Senate.

Senate Bill 346, a supplementary appropriation from Lottery Net Profits to DNR and Bureau of Senior Services, is the first bill of the legislative session to complete legislative action.

The Senate passed Senate Bill 373 this week which pertains to the protection of West Virginia’s water and regulations of above-ground storage tanks.

This bill is in response to the chemical leak that occurred a few weeks ago when faulty tanks resulted in thousands of gallons of crude MCHM contaminating the water supply for over 300,000 West Virginians.

House Judiciary has also been considering legislation the past couple of weeks that would create the “Fair Claims Act.” If passed, the Fair Claims Act would establish a law similar to the federal False Claims Act and would provide substantial monetary awards for whistleblowers that bring successful FCA lawsuits against private enterprises allegedly defrauding a government agency.

A study from West Virginia University says college graduates in the Mountain State who received a Promise Scholarship are more likely to stay and work in West Virginia

A bill was introduced this week that would raise the state tax on a pack of cigarettes by $1, taking it to $1.55 total or equal to the national average.

Another bill introduced this week would allow people with debilitating medical conditions to possess up to six ounces of marijuana and 24 cannabis plants to treat their symptoms as long as they have written certification from a physician.

This week representatives from a steelworkers union lobbied for legislation that would promote American-made products. The bill would require West Virginia government purchases and contracts to concentrate on using American-made products.

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.