The 2nd session of the 82nd Legislature adjourned sine die on Saturday, March 12th at midnight. The extended session for the budget ended after just two days due to an impasse between the House and Senate as well as new information on an increased projection of revenue shortfall. The Governor will call the Legislature back into session for completion of the budget. The House of Delegates passed 139 bills while the Senate passed 137 for a total of 276 bills that have completed legislative action. As of this writing, not all have been acted upon by the Governor.
Here is a sampling of legislation that will affect counties that has been approved by the Governor:
SB 27 – Permits county commissions to assist the sheriff in collection of delinquent taxes by allowing the costs incurred for the hiring of outside counsel for collections to be paid out of funds received before distributing taxes to the levying bodies.
SB 267 – Significant revisions to removal procedures for county, school district, and municipal officials are accomplished in this bill that was a collective effort by the WV Association of Counties, the County Commissioners Association, and the WV Municipal League. The benchmark for petition signatures is increased and criteria for the petition document are set forth. The judicial procedure is revised to require a hearing before a circuit judge to determine the merits of the resolution or petition for removal and, if so determined, the matter goes before a three-judge panel. This is a serious process that overturns elections so while the requirements and procedures are strengthened, it provides a reasonable means of removing officials for clearly defined offenses.
SB 591 – This Secretary of State’s bill authorizes joining an interstate data base system for the purpose of updating voter registrations.
HB 2800 – Law enforcement officers’ contact information and names of family members are exempted from FOIA requests
HB 2904 – County Clerks are required to maintain a county ordinance book
HB 3019 – Official business and records of the state and its political subdivisions are required to be conducted in English (although we aren’t sure that anyone was conducting or recording business in any other language!)
HB 4005 – Repeal of prevailing wage
HB 4145 – This is the permitless concealed carry bill which was vetoed by the Governor and then the veto was overridden. The bill will allow any U.S. Citizen or legal resident age 21 and over to carry a concealed deadly weapon without a permit in WV. It also provides for a provisional concealed carry permit process for ages 18 to 21. WV citizens will still be required to have a permit in all states with which WV has reciprocity in order to carry concealed in those states.
HB 4377 – This bill eliminates the 30 day exemption for hotel occupancy tax This was a joint effort of the WV Association of Counties, the County Commissioners Association, the Municipal League, and the Hospitality & Travel Association.
All county officials will receive summaries of all legislation affecting counties.