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Opinion: WV House of Delegates adjourns from another history-making session

Release from the West Virginia House of Delegates

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The House of Delegates adjourned Saturday, March 11, at midnight, after another history-making regular legislative session.

A total of 332 bills completed the legislative process, including adopting a balanced budget during the regular legislative session for the fifth year in a row, again eliminating the need for the extended budget session of years past.

The first session of the 86th Legislature marks the first time in West Virginia history the state is represented by single-member House districts. This Legislature includes 31 new members and 88 Republicans, the largest number of Republicans in modern history.

The full Legislature passed House Bill 3035 with a near-unanimous vote to boost reading and math in early grades. House Speaker Roger Hanshaw, R-Clay, described the bill as a true team effort among the executive branch, the state Senate and the House of Delegates.

Delegate Roger Hanshaw, R-Clay, Speaker of the House of Delegates

“The bill was introduced as a governor’s bill, but it’s something we’ve worked on here at the Legislature for the past two years and it represents one of the biggest investments we’ve made in early childhood education since Gov. Arch Moore established the statewide kindergarten program,” Hanshaw said. “With this bill, through the hard work of the Education Committees in both the House and the Senate, we’ll be able to expand on the successful assistant teacher program we’ve had in the state for kindergarten classrooms to eventually put an additional trained, caring adult in every first-, second- and third-grade classroom.”

Members of the House took time on the final day of the legislative session to recognize the seven inaugural recipients of the Medal of Valor. House Bill 3552, which also completed the legislative process on the final day of the regular legislative session, will give counties a new process to receive certain regional jail reimbursements when municipal police arrest an inmate who is taken to the regional jail.

In addition to the legislation adopted March 4 to stabilize and secure the long-term viability of the state Public Employees Insurance Agency, lawmakers approved additional historic measures.

“With this legislative session, we have successfully divided the biggest state agency to make it more effectively serve every single resident of this state and provided the largest tax break in the history of the state to the tune of $750 million, on top of another well-deserved state employee pay raise,” Hanshaw said. “We should all be proud of the work we were able to accomplish together for the state of West Virginia in these 60 days.”

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