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Regional Education Service Agency Bill pulled from WV Senate Education Committee agenda


The Intelligencer and Wheeling News-Register

WHEELING, W.Va. — A bill that would eliminate West Virginia’s eight regional education service agencies was pulled off the agenda during a Senate Education Committee meeting Wednesday, leaving in doubt its viability in the closing days of the Legislature’s regular 2017 session.

Members discussed House Bill 2711, and possibly adding a strike-and-insert amendment that would require legislative approval of financial decisions made by the West Virginia Board of Education. Questions regarding the constitutionality of the amendment then were raised.

Following a recess, a motion was made to pull the bill off the agenda and the meeting was adjourned.

Nick Zervos, executive director of RESA 6, though, was reluctant to say the measure is dead for the year in the Legislature.

“From my experience over the last 30 years, ‘it ain’t over till its over,’” he said, quoting baseball great Yogi Berra. “They still have a few days left, and it still has to go to the floor….”

“It is dead in the House unless they place it back on the agenda to discuss. And I’m sure they have other issues of relevance to address.”

Zervos said it is likely Senate Education Committee members will meet today, though the agenda was not available Wednesday night.

The regular session of the Legislature is set to end Saturday night, though Gov. Jim Justice has extended the session one day for purposes pertaining to the state budget.

With the exception of budget bills, all pending measures before the Legislature already have passed the chambers of origin and are being considered by the second chamber.

Two bills of note received their second reading before the Senate on Wednesday, and are expected to have their third readings and votes for passage today.

HB 2930, if approved, would allow winners of Powerball, Hot Lotto, and Mega Millions drawings to keep their identities anonymous if they so wish.

HB 3080, meanwhile, would require West Virginia schools — public, private and parochial — to provide education in the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. This education would take place during “Celebrate Freedom Week,” coinciding with the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks on America and Constitution Day on Sept. 17.

In the House, a measure introduced by Sen. Ryan Weld, R-Brooke, had its first reading. Senate Bill 202 would prohibit pawn shops from purchasing, accepting in pawn or receiving in trade prepaid cards, gift certificates or store gift cards. Weld, who also serves as assistant Brooke County prosecutor, said the such cards and certificates often are pawned by those seeking money to sustain a drug habit.

Two other measures also had their first readings in the House on Wednesday.

House Bill 238, introduced by Senate Majority Leader Ryan Ferns, R-Ohio, would increase tax credits allowed for rehabilitation of certified historic structures.

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