By Stephen Baldwin, RealWV
March 16, 2023
The WV Legislature adjourned at midnight on March 11. Here’s a quick rundown of several bills we’ve been watching the last two months, along with whether the bill passed or failed.
TAX CUT. Passed. Citizens will see a 21.25% reduction in income taxes. Rebates will also be available on vehicle taxes and small business personal property.
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT. Passed. $650 million in the state’s remaining ARPA funds were given to economic development quietly in the final hours of the legislative session.
PAY RAISE FOR LEGISLATORS. Passed. Delegates and senators gave themselves a 25% raise.
PAY RAISE FOR GOVERNOR & OTHER OFFICERS. Passed. Legislators voted to significantly increase the pay of all constitutional officers, some by as much as $50,000 per year.
PAY RAISE FOR PUBLIC EMPLOYEES. Passed. $2,300 to every public employee.
PEIA RATE HIKE. Passed. Up to a 26% increase on rates. Retirees have been told they will not see a rate hike.
RETIREE RAISE. Passed. But it is only applies to a small categories of retirees. All state employees who reach age 70 by July 1, 2023 will receive a one-time payment of $1,500 as long as they have 20 years of total service and monthly benefits are less than a thousand dollars.
INDOOR SMOKING. Failed.
FLOOD RESILIENCY. Passed. Creates a more robust office of flood resiliency.
DARK MONEY. Failed…& then passed 90 minutes later. Lobbying groups now have to report significantly less about who donates to their causes. When the bill was initially defeated, those lobbyists got to work reversing the outcome. And they won.
PFAS. Passed. Creates state regulation of highly-dangerous PFAS chemicals.
CRITICAL RACE THEORY. Failed. The House of Delegates never took it up.
CAMPUS CARRY. Passed. Higher education institutions are now required to allow qualified people to carry weapons on campus.
REDUCING VACCINATION REQUIREMENTS. Failed.
CORRECTIONS VACANCIES. Failed. Despite everyone agreeing our jails are in crisis with the National Guard providing daily assistance, no legislation to ease the crisis was passed.
AIDES IN ELEMENTARY CLASSROOMS. Passed. This is, in my opinion, the most consequential bill passed by the legislature this year. It will put additional aides in elementary classrooms to help our children learn to read from grades K-3.
FIRE PROTECTION FUND. Failed. Allocates additional monies for volunteer fire departments annually.
SEXTORTION. Failed. The legislation would prevent someone in a position of power from demanding sex. It passed the Senate but wasn’t taken up in the House.
TRANSGENDER CARE BAN. Passed. It did make an exception for some hormone therapies.
CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICES. Passed. The bill sets a formula for allocating CPS workers, with the intent of adding additional workers.
ARMING TEACHERS IN SCHOOLS. Failed.
CERTIFICATE OF NEED REFORM. Passed. Exempts certain things from the certificate of need process.
CHARTER SCHOOLS. Passed. Creates a charter school stimulus fund.
ATHLETIC TRANSFERS. Passed. Students will be allowed to transfer for athletics one additional time in their athletic career.
That’s a quick rundown of several bills folks asked about over the last week. Several require further discussion, so expect follow-ups in the coming weeks on major pieces of legislation with long-term implications for our state.
That is the view from the back pew. May God bless you.