West Virginia Legislative Brief for 3/26/21

By: L. Gil White

Published: March 26, 2021

Welcome to the 2021 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.

Legislative Action by the Numbers:

1305 bills introduced in the House of Delegates

711 bills introduced in the State Senate

129 bills have passed the House of Delegates

125 bills have passed the State Senate

53 bills have completed legislative action and await the Governor’s consideration

(25 House, 28 Senate)

My View from the Capitol

Today marks the 45th day of the 60-day Regular Legislative Session. With only 15 days remaining, it is expected that split sessions will begin next week allowing the legislative calendar to move at a quicker pace with the hope of getting bills of interest in both chambers acted upon.

COVID reared its ugly face this week at the State House as one of the House Chairmen (Brandon Steele) announced that he had tested positive. The House leadership had a plan in place should an outbreak occur. It appears no other cases have been diagnosed and Delegate Steele is in quarantine and under a physician’s care.

Lastly, prior political foes seem to have buried the hatchet and are now on the same page, that of supporting Governor Justice’s proposal for the eventual elimination of the state’s personal income tax. A newly-formed political organization incorporated by former Senate President Bill Cole, a car dealership owner, is making a communications push for a big tax proposal by his former political rival, Governor Justice.

In addition, Woody Thrasher, who owns an engineering firm bearing his name, was forced out as Justice’s Commerce Secretary and then ran in the primary election against Justice last spring.

Now, Thrasher is speaking in favor of the governor’s tax plan. Meanwhile, the House Finance Chairman has rolled out a totally different approach that raises no new taxes while establishing a multi-year phase out of the personal income tax based upon the achievement of certain financial benchmarks. Click here for HB 3300. The remaining 15 days are certain to be filled with much debate amid these vastly different approaches.

Legislative Calendar – Important Days to Remember

Forty-Seventh Day – March 28, 2021: Bills due out of committees in house of origin to ensure three full days for readings.

Fiftieth Day – March 31, 2021: Last day to consider bill on third reading in house of origin. Does not include budget or supplementary appropriation bills. (Joint Rule 5, paragraph b)

Sixtieth Day – April 10, 2021: Adjournment at Midnight. (WV Const. Art. VI, §22)

News From Around the State

House Income Tax Plan on Verge of Passage, While Justice Barnstorms for His Version

Senators Vote to Remove Ban on Edibles in Medical Marijuana Law

Intermediate Court Moves to Full House for Approval

House Finance Chairman Says New Tax Plan has ‘Wow Factor,’ but there are Complications Too

Column: West Virginia: Another Tax-free Haven?

Study Says Coal is Still a Major Player in WV Ecgilonomy

While Justice Talks Up His Tax Plan, House Finance Passes a More Incremental Income Tax Cut

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