We completed another busy week of the legislative session last week. Many bills are now moving in the House of Delegates and we have had some long days making sure we get through our work.

By Del. Gary Howell
We completed another busy week of the legislative session last week. Many bills are now moving in the House of Delegates and we have had some long days making sure we get through our work.  
Much of the work we are doing is focusing on reducing spending by cutting out the waste.  All of which is an effort to balance the budget while making it easier to create jobs in the state. Many of the bills that will help create jobs in the state are still being worked through committee.
This week the full House passed HB 4166 titled, “Prohibiting certain sex offenders from being in a supervisory position over children.”  This is what I call a code clean up, while most organizations would never hire a known sex offender, the code didn’t specifically bar it. Now organizations like the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, 4H organizations, sporting and scholastic teams, etc., will be specifically forbidden from hiring known sex offenders if this bill becomes law.  
HB 4089 was a bill that passed that got a lot of attention. It will require the teaching of cursive writing in the school system. This is important for reading handwritten documents.  
Another interesting bill that had a lot of debate in committee was HB 2877, which will require all public handicapped parking spaces to be free and not metered. In committee much of the debate centered around who could use these parking spaces and did it make sense to give free parking to the affluent, just because they had a disability. In the end the bill passed on the House floor with little debate.
An important deregulation bill was HB 4026. Currently the Public Service Commission (PSC) regulates the collection and hauling of used tires; this bill removes the hauling regulation.  All environmental regulations remain in place. Currently only two companies in the entire state are licensed by the PSC with several companies being denied a license. This removes that barrier, allowing more people to start a business to haul away scrap tires. This should make it easier for people to dispose of used tires and reduce illegal dumping along our roads and streams.
The House Committee on Government Organization met several times during the week. One important bill for returning veterans was lost in committee on a tie vote. HB 4185 did several things within the electrical contractors’ code section.   First it would have granted returning veterans that were electricians in the armed forces the ability to get their electrical contractors license based on their military service.  It also would have removed the requirement for low voltage electrical installations to have an electrical contract license. Low voltage is considered less than 80 volts, such as alarm systems, sound systems, etc.  
I was disappointed in losing this bill. I want to give our veterans all the support I can, I believe we owe them that for putting their life on the line to defend our freedom.  
The House Technology & Infrastructure also met this week.  Several bills of note passed out. HB 4083 had a long debate. It will require the West Virginia Turnpike Authority to accept credit cards like other states. They currently do not. Director Barr explained it would take five years and a lot of money to make this happen, but credit card terminals could easily be added to the manned booths without much expense. His arguments against doing something most states already do were weak at best and the bill passed out with unanimous support and is now to the Committee on Government Organization, which I chair.
We also had HB 4478, which would ban anyone caught in human trafficking for their lifetime from holding a commercial driver’s license. This is necessary for maintaining some Federal Funding.
We continue to work towards the goal of making West Virginia a better place to live, work and raise a family.  As always if you have a question, a suggestion on how to improve our state government or need help with a state agency, then you can always call me at 304-340-3192 or if you prefer e@mail me at Gary.Howell@WVHouse.gov.