This Week in the House
CHARLESTON — The regular, 60-day legislative session has cleared the halfway point, and the week of March 15 will see the last day for bills to be introduced in the House of Delegates.
A total of 1,127 bills have been introduced in the House, with 54 House bills having passed the full House and 22 bills having completed legislation. Six bills have been signed by the Governor, including bills to offer even more educational options for families and alternative certification for teachers in the state. The first bill passed by the full House this session, HB 2001, which would create the Jumpstart Savings Account program to allow for pre-tax savings for those working toward learning a trade or establishing a new business within the state, recently completed the legislative process. It now waits for action from the Governor.
Another important component to increasing broadband coverage throughout West Virginia moved closer to being complete this week. Senate Bill 295 would expand the insurance for loans broadband builders would get from their banks to build the broadband infrastructure, along with adding in even more transparency and protections to ensure the funds are used correctly.
House committees remain busy moving proposals through the process, and with state department budget presentations completed, the House Finance Committee has begun taking up issues of importance for the state, including supplemental funding for state agencies and taxation.
“Meaningful tax reform is difficult, but we have people leaving our state every day in search of prosperity, and we’ve got to reverse that trend,” said House Finance Committee Chairman Eric Householder, R-Berkeley. “I do believe tax reform is one of the big reasons people are leaving the state, so we’ve got to work on reversing that trend, and I think we can do it with a moderate approach.”
The House Technology and Infrastructure committee passed HB 2044, which would establish Next Generation 911 services in this West Virginia. Next Gen 911 would allow dispatchers to pull GPS locations of emergency calls from cell phones and allow the transmission of photos and video from 911 callers using smart phones to help authorities better dispatch the correct resources.
House Bill 2674, which would remove the requirement that Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists or CRNAs practice under the supervision of and in the presence of a physician, passed the full House this week. The measure now is being debated in the Senate. This requirement first was removed last spring through Executive Order to help continue care through the early days of the pandemic, and there have been no adverse events and zero complaints nearly a year later.
“These healthcare workers responded to the call during the pandemic, as so many healthcare heroes did, and I think it’s time we step up for them,” said Majority Leader Amy Summers, R-Taylor, who is a Registered Nurse.
Also this week members of the House of Delegates adopted House Resolution 8 to honor the life of Charleston Police Department Officer Cassie Johnson on March 10, and on March 12 approved a bill that would create a Semiquincentennial Commission to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the founding of the United States of America.