By DAVID BEARD
The Dominion Post
Health Committee approves bill limiting food stamps
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A divided House Health Committee approved a bill to limit food stamp benefits for certain able-bodied adults.
Supporters said it would encourage those who are capable to return to work. Opponents said it would hurt people in areas of the state where jobs are hard to come by.
HB 2132 would limit SNAP benefits – Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly food stamps – for able-bodied adults without dependents, ages 18-50, to three months during any three-year period.
It would exempt those who are working, or are participating in an education, work or volunteer program for 20 hours per week.
In a voice vote, the bill passed with about a two-thirds majority. It goes to Judiciary next.
Bills introduced March 7
SB 530, to replace RESAs with education service centers.
SB 534, to create incentives for local governments to consolidate and save money on providing local services.
HB 2811, to exempt storage tanks holding 210 barrels or less of brine water or other fluids from natural gas production, and located in zones of critical concern, from aboveground storage tank regulations.
HB 2814, a governor’s bill to increase DMV fees to raise money for the road fund. Sole sponsored by minority leader; speaker did not sign on.
HB 2815, a governor’s bill to alter higher education governance.
HCR 60, to name the Marion County 33 bridge over Piney Creek the William “Bill” R. VanGilder Memorial Bridge. Delegate Amy Summers, R-Taylor, lead sponsor; Delegates Guy Ward, R-Marion, and Mike Caputo and Linda Longstreth, D-Marion, co-sponsors.
Educators talk bill in Charleston
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Several Monongalia County educators came to the Capitol Tuesday to arouse the interest of the Senate Education Committee in an off-the-radar bill.
SB 312, sole sponsored by Sen. Randy Smith, R-Tucker, calls for a four-year pilot program to put social workers in certain elementary schools: One federal Title 1 qualifying school per county.
Mon County Head Start Social Worker Janette Lewis explained the need for the program.
The committee took no action on the bill. Overall, members agreed the bill is worthy and needs more discussion and some tweaking.
W.Va. lawmakers pass drug bills
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The House of Delegates passed two more bills March 7 aimed at fighting the drug epidemic, with the now customary long debate on whether they’ll do any good.
With far less controversy, the Senate approved a House human trafficking bill and sent it back for agreement on some revisions.
HB 2579, not quite two pages long, passed overwhelmingly, 88-1
The bill raises the penalty for transporting controlled narcotic substances into the state.
HB 2367 tackles boosting – officially termed organized retail crime, a form of organized for-profit shoplifting. It passed 93-4 and goes to the Senate.
HB 2318 attacks human trafficking. It passed 33-0. If the House approves the Senate amendments it will go to the governor.
Road sponsorship bill moves on
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The House Roads and Transportation committee greenlighted two bills on March 6 that have been at least partway around the block in previous years.
HB 2694 would allow the Division of Highways to obtain private sponsorships for rest areas, welcome centers and roads. In return for a fee, the sponsor would be allowed to place a federally approved sign or plaque at the site identifying it as the sponsor.
HB 2576 would allow autocycle riders to hit the road without obtaining a motorcycle endorsement or wearing a helmet.
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