Legislative Action by the Numbers:
1134 bills introduced in the House of Delegates
668 bills introduced in the State Senate
133 bills have passed the House of Delegates
137 bills have passed the State Senate
34 bills have completed legislative action (13 House bills and 21 Senate bills)
11 bills are pending the Governor's review and/or signature
2 bills have been vetoed by the Governor
10 bills have been signed into law by the Governor
My View from the Capitol:
For the second time in two years, West Virginia was once again in the national news for a teachers strike. While this strike only lasted two days, the disruption and chaos was evident.
Ultimately, 12 Republican members of the House of Delegates joined all 41 Democrats in a motion to "postpone indefinitely" SB 451, the Comprehensive Education Reform Bill. This motion is a parliamentary tactic to effectively kill a piece of legislation. Once adopted, no more debate or work can continue on a bill. The leadership of the House and a majority of Republican delegates opposed the motion in order to continue working on this important bill.
SB 451 contained many important provisions that were considered to be beneficial to public education in West Virginia, including:
- A 5% pay raise for all teachers and service personnel
- $2,000 bonus for certified math teachers
- $250 tax credit to reimburse teachers for out-of-pocket expenses
- $24 milliion for more school counselors and student support personnel
- Increasing the state aid formula to provide funding for West Virginia's smallest counties
- Allowing county school boards and voters to increase regular levy to invest in public education
- Permit counties to designate critical need subjects and increase pay to those teachers
- Creating a "safe schools fund" for schools to use for safety and security
Nonetheless, the bill was defeated. Meanwhile the House is gearing to pass a stand alone pay raise bill where it's destiny is unknown in the Senate.
With only 15 legislative days remaining, look for the legislative pace to continue to be hectic with split sessions expected in both Chambers for the remainder of the session.
On a final note, last week members of Steptoe & Johnson's Energy, Environmental, Government Relations, Litigation, and Private Financing and Securities teams attended the 25th Annual NAPE expo in Houston, Texas. In addition to a strong showing from our West Virginia offices, Steptoe & Johnson also had attendees from our Pennsylvania, Texas, Ohio, and Colorado offices. Steptoe & Johnson continues to increase its footprint in the energy sector throughout the nation. Sharon Flanery, Energy and Natural Resources Department Chair, led the delegation.
Legislative Calendar - Important Days to Remember
First Day - January 9
20th Day - January 28 - Submission of Legislative Rule-Making Review Bills due
35th Day - February 12 - Last day to introduce bills in the House
41st Day - February 18 - Last day to introduce bills in the Senate
47th Day - February 24 - Bills due out of committee in house of origin to ensure three full days for readings
50th Day - February 27 - Last day to consider bills on third reading in house of origin. Does not apply to the budget bill or supplemental appropriation bills.
60th Day - March 9 - Adjournment at midnight
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