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Bill to eliminate Regional Education Service Agencies Resurrected in West Virginia Legislature

Staff reports

The Intelligencer and Wheeling News-Register

WHEELING, W.Va.  — A bill to eliminate regional education service agencies in West Virginia has regained life and is moving again in the state Legislature.

Many wondered if House Bill 2711 was dead after it was pulled from the Senate Education Committee’s agenda on Wednesday. But Thursday morning, committee members passed out the measure, sending it to the Senate Floor for immediate consideration.

It had its first of three readings on the floor by mid-afternoon, and is set for its second reading and amendments today.

Also on Thursday, a bill introduced by Senate Majority Leader Ryan Ferns, R-Ohio, to increase the tax credits allowed for rehabilitation of certified historic structures passed the House 90-8, with all Northern Panhandle delegates voting in favor.

Ferns said Senate Bill 238 is likely to go to conference committee due to the changes added by the House.

SB 238, in its original form that passed the Senate, called for raising the tax credit from 10 percent to 25 percent. But the bill read Thursday was amended to make the increase incremental and add a cap on the amount of credits available.

For rehabilitation expenditures made after June 30, 2018, the credit allowed would be 15 percent. One year later , this would rise to 20 percent of the qualified rehabilitation expenditure; and on June 30, 2020, to 25 percent.

Also, a cap was placed at $5 million on the amount of tax credits that may be allocated by the Division of Culture and History in any fiscal year.

The Senate passed HB 2195, requiring county boards of education to implement opioid awareness and prevention programs into their curriculum; and HB 3080, requiring instruction in the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution in all West Virginia schools during the week of Sept. 11 each year.

The Senate Judiciary Committee advanced HB 2704, which would prohibit persons convicted of sexual offenses against children with whom they hold positions of trust from holding certification or license valid in public schools.

A second bill passed on to the full Senate by the committee was HB 2781, requiring West Virginia voters to provide a photo identification before voting.

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