Legislative session enters final week

The West Virginia Legislature is quickly approaching the end of regular session, as both chambers will adjourn at midnight April 8.

The West Virginia House of Delegates and Senate have been meeting multiple times a day and also on Saturdays to discuss a number of bills before the end of session.

The budget has been a main topic of discussion as Gov. Jim Justice has released numerous statements of his proposals compared to the chamber’s suggestions.

Justice shared a press release where he compared the House Finance Committee plan compared to his.

The press release describes Justice was against the proposal, which would “increase taxes on businesses to the tune of $94 million.”

In comparison to the House Finance Committee plan, Justice’s plan would affect businesses by having them pay $45 million in his tax plan, according to the release.

“Why come up with such a bizarre and incomplete proposal with only five days left in the session?” Justice asked in his release.

Not only has the budget been a frequent topic of discussion by the West Virginia Legislature, so has a variety of other topics.

Senate Bill 437 was voted on in the House of Delegates April 1, and passed after debate with a vote of 56-44, according to the West Virginia Legislature website.

Senate Bill 437 is summarized on the West Virginia Legislature website as “Discontinuing WV Greyhound Breeding Development Fund.”

The Senate received the message on the same day marking SB 437 as completed legislation.

Senate Bill 222 also completed legislation on Monday.

According to the West Virginia Legislature website, SB 222 is summarized as “Relating to disqualification for unemployment benefits.”

Another bill of large discussion since its passage from the Senate is SB 386, the Creating WV Medical Cannabis Act.

Since the passage of the bill in the Senate, SB 386 was introduced in the House and there was a motion made to skip the committee process and read the bill for the first time, according to the West Virginia Legislature website.

The West Virginia Legislature website shows the motion did pass, the bill was read the first time and was placed on the Special Calendar for Monday.

During the floor session Monday, Majority Leader Delegate Daryl Cowles said the bill would be placed at the foot of the calendar.

Delegate Cowles said this action was not to try and stop the bill, but to give time for both parties to caucus and consider the two amendments added to the bill over the weekend.

Cowles also said the delegates would be able to propose more amendments if lawmakers felt they were needed.

Kylee Hurley can be contacted at [email protected]