Welcome to the 2020 Legislative Brief, your one-stop shop for legislative news from a variety of sources throughout West Virginia, and my view of the legislative happenings on the horizon. Today marks the 45th day of the 60-Day Legislative Session.
1513 House bills introduced
839 Senate bills introduced
160 passed House
139 passed Senate
48 bills completed legislative action (25 House bills, 23 Senate bills)
11 bills signed into law by the Governor
10 bills pending the Governor’s signature
We are officially in crunch time. With only 15 legislative days remaining, and all Senate and House bills introduced (except for supplemental appropriations or bills originating in committee), the remaining days will be long with split sessions starting on Monday in both chambers, and expected lengthy committee meetings.
As predicted last week, the Senate rolled out their version of the phase-out of the inventory tax (SJR 9) as well as a companion bill intended to reduce the tax on vehicles (SB 837) as well as attempt to back fill the estimated $100 million shortfall. Supporters are aiming to boost manufacturing investment in West Virginia by cutting inventory and machinery taxes for companies. Inventory taxes on retailers would also be cut under the proposal. This would be a six year phase-out if enacted.
The proposal would also cut personal property taxes on vehicles. Cutting these taxes would require a constitutional amendment. The companion piece of legislation would raise the sales tax from 6% to 6.5%. In addition, it would increase the tobacco tax 80 cents per pack on cigarettes and other tobacco and vaping products.
On a final note, earlier this month members of Steptoe & Johnson’s Energy, Environmental, Government Relations, Litigation, and Private Financing and Securities teams attended the 26th 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.
First Day – January 8
20th Day – January 27 – Submission of Legislative Rule-Making Review Bills Due
35th Day – February 11 – Last day to introduce bills in the House
41st Day – February 17 – Last day to introduce bills in the Senate
47th Day – February 23 – Bills due out of committee in house of origin to ensure three full days for readings
50th Day – February 26 – 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 7 – Adjournment at midnight