Last Week in the House

Mineral Daily News-Tribune
West Virginia State Capitol

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The second week of the regular legislative session was exceptionally busy for the West Virginia House of Delegates.

After meeting in a Saturday session Feb. 13, Delegates were poised to end this week having passed a total of 18 bills to the Senate for consideration, with the full Legislature having completed two measures that would make necessary updates to the tax code as well.

The full House of Delegates passed House Bill 2012 Feb. 16, which would increase the total number of potential public charter schools while adding virtual public charter school options.

“This bill gives choice, and we believe these additional options will help families find the education settings that work best for them,” said Delegate Joe Ellington, R-Mercer, and chairman of the House Education Committee. “We know many children are perfect for a virtual school setting, and parents now will have more options to decide.”

The full House approved House Bill 2005, which would protect West Virginians from predatory health care providers and unexpected charges for emergency service by requiring cost estimates be provided when they schedule health care services, House Bill 2019, which would elevate the West Virginia Economic Development Office and Tourism Department to cabinet-level offices, and House Bill 2264, which would exempt hospitals from certificate of need requirements.

“I fundamentally believe competition raises the bar for everyone, and government has no business standing in the way of our local hospitals providing the services they know our communities need,” said Delegate Jeffrey Pack, R-Raleigh, and House Health Committee chairman. “In a time when we need to increase access to healthcare throughout the state, eliminating the certificate of need requirements for our local hospitals is one move that will improve community access to more necessary services closer to home.”

Several licensing reform measures also passed the full House of Delegates this week to pave the way for more people to come to West Virginia and get to work without unnecessary and repetitive regulatory hurdles.

“Not only will this allow more even more new and returning West Virginians continue working in the trades they’re in, but it also will open up additional avenues for new businesses to locate in West Virginia and begin providing necessary services right away,” said Delegate Brandon Steele, R-Raleigh, and chairman of the House Government Organization Committee. “We want to get government out of the way to make West Virginia the easiest choice for licensed professionals to come to the most beautiful state in the country to get right to work.”

Nearly all the subject matter committees were able to meet this week, and House leadership expects to work on the Senate’s bill that would create an intermediate appellate court next week once it passes that body.