A Look at Legislation Affecting Counties
Thursday, 31 March 2016 00:00

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.

 
COUNTY WELLNESS………..
Monday, 29 February 2016 00:00

Want to become a very healthy person? It's all about making gradual changes.

1) Get Lots of Sleep In order to be a very healthy person, you need 8-10 hours of sleep every 24 hours.

2) Eat an appropriate, healthy balanced diet containing all the nutrients your body requires. A proper diet contains the right balance of carbohydrates, protein, fruits and vegetables, and fat.

3) Drink water. It is key in making you run throughout the day. Try drinking 8 eight-ounce glasses of water each day.

4) Have physicals regularly. Get your shots and booster shots. Take medicines the doctor tells you to take.

5) Get some exercise every day, even just a little. This will not only make you feel better, and make you look better, but help you to get through the day.

 
Good Public Policy
Tuesday, 19 July 2011 10:59

I am a big believer in looking at demographics in order to develop good public policy. The baby boom generation (those born between 1946 and 1964) has been a driver of public policy ever since we were born. Unfortunately, there has always been a delayed reaction, as if it’s a surprise to the powers-that-be who are formulating policies that this is one big group! Even though we all liked to think of ourselves as the generation that would never grow old, unfortunately, that didn’t pan out. We are growing old and, again, the policymakers are caught unprepared. There are currently 78 million of us born in the baby boom years, or approximately 28% of the population. The first baby boomer turned 65 in January, 2011 so the time when the baby boomers reach retirement age has arrived! This is the day of reckoning about which there has been much talk but very little action. We have a much longer life expectancy than previous generations and health care costs are rising dramatically. Put those two together and, yet again, this generation will have a significant impact on the economic policy in the next couple of decades.

Beginning January 1, 2011, more than 10,000 baby boomers reach the age of 65 every single day; this will continue for the next 19 years! According to a recent AARP survey, 40% of this generation say they will "work until they drop." Why? One reason is that many have little to no savings and traditional pension plans have been replaced with 401k plans (which may have taken a hit), or not replaced at all, over the past 30 years. Another dramatic policy impact is that as baby boomers stay in jobs longer, the opportunities for the younger generations don’t open up., adding to unemployment and underemployment.

At our recent June board meeting, we had about 50 in attendance. I asked everyone there who was born after 1964 to stand…..five stood up! As someone pointed out, "You all work hard. Look at all of us you have to support." As the federal government continues to be mired in divisiveness, county government is in the enviable position to set aside politics and exhibit leadership in creating policies that respond to the demographic realities facing us.

 


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