Omega Covid 19 2020 1120x140 1

The first regular session of the 85th Legislature is now in the books, as both the House and Senate adjourned at midnight Saturday April 10, 2021. A total of 2,039 bills introduced, with 281 being sent to the Governor, 78 of which have already been signed into law.

Obviously, COVID related legislation was at the top of agenda. Capitol building access was limited due to capacity restrictions, social distancing and other CDC recommended protocols. Several legislative initiatives were advanced to encourage remote workers, and much needed broadband expansion through House Bill 2002, as well as Senate Bill 277- Creating COVID-19 Jobs Protection Act, the Governor’s bill for COVID-19 liability reform. This legislation provides a liability shield for employers in West Virginia for claims that may arise due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 2020 Regular Legislative Session proved to be extraordinarily busy in that a record 355 bills were sent to Governor Justice’s desk for a signature.

Below is a summary of the high points.

March 7th, The House concurred with the Senate amendments to Senate Bill 150, the Budget Bill, and completed legislation on it.

The Budget Bill allocates $108 million to fully eliminate the wait list for the I/DD Waiver. This was a priority for this session by both bodies of the legislature and Governor Jim Justice. The budget allocates $16.8 million for the foster care system within the state under House Bill 4092. The budget also provides $3.3 million to fund a second location for the Mountaineer Challenge Academy, which is a program that trains and mentors at-risk youths from the ages of 16-18 in a 22-week program.

The first regular session of the 84th Legislature is now in the books, as both the House and Senate adjourned at midnight Saturday March 9, 2019. A total of 1,823 bills were introduced, with 294 being sent to the Governor (per the House Clerk, this is the highest number since 2002).

Once again education was a hot topic at the Capitol. The Legislature sent SB 1 to the Governor, which provides tuition assistance for post-secondary education. Another attempt was made at education reforms (including Charter Schools and Education Savings Accounts “ESAs”), only for the bill to die on a procedural vote in the House. In response to the proposed reforms, the state’s two largest educator unions called for a work stoppage that lasted two days.

The 2018 Legislative Session ended at midnight on Saturday Night.

A total of 1778 Bills were introduced during the 2018 Session. Of those, 260 Bills were successfully passed by the Legislature and sent to the Governor. Many of those Bills are now pending in the Governor’s Office, awaiting his signature or veto.

For the first time in decades, the West Virginia Legislature passed a budget bill in time to avoid an extended session. While passing a balanced budget by the end of the regular legislative session is required under the state Constitution, it ordinarily takes a few days after the end of the session to iron out differences between the House and Senate versions of the spending plan.

The 2017 Regular Session of the West Virginia Legislature adjourned sine die on Sunday, April 9th. There were 1,702 bills introduced this Session. 132 House bills passed this session and 130 Senate bills.

Both chambers of the Legislature passed a $4.1 billion budget bill. Highlights are:

  • Maintains its balance in part by using $90 million out of the Rainy Day Fund
  • $140 million cut to the medical services line in DHHR; the medical services line item is reduced from $490 million to $350 million.
  • Higher education is cut of just under $30 million. Most state colleges have a 4-percent across-the-board cut. West Virginia and Marshall universities have an 8.5 percent cut.
  • Public education is relatively unchanged from current funding. 
  • No money in this budget for the governor's Save Our State fund for infrastructure and economic development.
  • No money for a classroom teacher pay raises or for pay raises for any state employees.
  • No tax increases.  

The 2nd session of the 82nd Legislature came to a close on Saturday the 12th. The Republican-led Legislature continued their work on legislation that would make our state friendlier to the business community by passing bills that attract new industry and promote growth. The two most significant pieces being the legislation to make West Virginia a Right-to-Work state (SB 1) and a bill repealing the Prevailing Wage (HB 4005). The Legislature also continued their work on improving the legal climate in our state and, as promised in the months leading up to the session, addressed much needed regulatory reform. 

Members of the Legislature knew the most significant challenge they would face during this session would be dealing with the state’s growing budget deficient for the remainder of the 2016 fiscal year and passing a budget that addressed those problems for 2017. The two chambers passed vastly different budget bills, with the Senate’s bill included revenue from the tobacco tax that they passed and the House’s budget bill dipping into the state’s Rainy Day Fund, cutting agency budgets by an additional 4.5 percent and sweeping large portions of the state’s reserve accounts. 

The Legislature concluded their business for the 60-day 2015 Regular Session at the stroke of midnight on Saturday, March 14th. The Legislature began their extended session to address the state’s budget on Monday, March 16th and concluded their work today.

For the record, 1,607 bills were introduced this session. Legislation was completed on a total of 261 bills (roughly 16% of the bills introduced) including - 135 Senate bills and 126 House bills. The Regular Session ended with 115 casualties that survived “crossover day” by passing the initial chamber in which they were introduced but ultimately did not pass both chambers. Ten percent of the completed legislation was either an appropriations or rules bill. For a complete listing of legislation passed this session, click here.

encova 2020 omega
OMEGA Members Receive a 3.4% discount

federated Ins web graphic 2