WV Press Staff Report
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — As the days remaining in the 2019 W.Va. legislative session dwindle down, several major bills remain unsettled, assigned to committee and waiting for action.
Two bills that drew attention at the start of the session — one to eliminate the Social Security tax and another to providing funding for access to career education and workforce training — remain in committee
W.Va. Senate President Mitch Carmichael’s SB 1 to increase access to career education and workforce training has been in the House Education Bill since Jan. 24. The bill passed out of the Senate early but has not been addressed as the Legislature focused on public education and the Senate’s omnibus education bill.
HB 2001 — sponsored by Delegate Jason Harshbarger, R-Ritchie, — would exempt social security benefits from personal income tax. It was passed the House on Feb. 1 and has been in Senate Finance Committee since Feb. 4. Senate Finance Committee is also the home of four Senate bills addressing the tax on Social Security issue: SB 280, SB 303, SB 342 and SB 401.
Wednesday, Feb. 27, is Crossover Day, which is the last day to move out bills of their chamber of origin. While many expect the major bills to be addressed once that deadline passes, supporters of these bills are watching with interest and some concern.
West Virginia Press InSight — the newspaper industry’s legislative video program — is following the newspaper coverage on and progress of several pieces of legislation and talking with supporters. Co-hosts Betsy DeBord and Tom Hunter offer updates. Don Smith talks with supporters about important bills.
In this segment, DeBord and Hunter look at key legislation including legislation on education, school requirements, Sunday liquor sales and cannabis.
In this segment, AARP West Virginia State Director Gaylene Miller provides an update on HB 2001, the bill to eliminate the W.Va. tax on social security benefits and other bills of interest to AARP. Miller talks about the legislative process and how that impacts the bills.
In this segment, Rebecca McPhail, president of the West Virginia Manufacturers Association, providing an extremely detailed update on bills of concern to business and industry. Topics include taxes, education and the environment.
Another bill drawing attention is HB 2519 – the Campus Self Defense Act. The bill would allow the concealed carry of firearms on campuses. The response at a House of Delegates public hearing shows carrying a concealed weapon is an issue of concern for many.
The WVU Today segment offers a better understanding of “Roadside Geology of West Virginia” with a segment on a new book about the subject.
Finally, #WVPressInsight remembers Sandy Wells and Charlie Walton, two talented newspaper veterans in February. From different parts of the state, both built impressive careers covering their local communities. Sandy Wells, a reporter and columnist for the Charleston Gazette and Gazette-Mail for more than 50 years, died at 77, after a battle with cancer. Charlie Walton, veteran of the Moundsville Echo, died at 78 in Huntington, WV. The Moundsville native was owner and publisher of The Moundsville Daily Echo from 1995 to 2014.
For more video highlights of newspaper coverage are available at wvpress.org or on Facebook @wvpress.