Tuesday, March 26, 2019
Another session of the WV Legislature has been completed, and WVACo found success this year in passing bills, defending against other bills, and establishing an overall stronger presence before legislators and issues vital to West Virginia.
First up: HB 2827, passed and was signed by Governor Justice. It allows WV Assessors the ability to hire staff outside the county, the only county office that did not have this ability. Both the House of Delegates and Senate passed the bill unanimously, and was signed by the Governor on March 19. It will be effective on May 29.
Another bill, SB 491, delays implementation of Automatic Voter Registration for two years, until July 1 of 2021. The bill had some conflict during debate, especially in the House Judiciary Committee by members who were frustrated that the bill was originally delayed two years ago for implementation THIS year, but the computer system and software at the Division of Motor Vehicles is not yet equipped to handle voter information and registration and transmit it successfully to the Secretary of State's Office nor West Virginia County Clerks. So, it is hoped the two-year delay will work this time in 2021.
Our biggest issue this year was working to pass a comprehensive payraise authority bill, where county commissions will assume authority for county official payraises from the legislature. SB 615 passed the Senate but stalled in the House. After being debated and grossly amended by the House GovOrg Committee, the Finance Committee failed to take it up in the final days. But it was a hopeful start on this issue, and ALL county officials need to be commended for their hard work and dedication to this bill. We enjoyed unified support from our WVACo Board, and President Jan Pest did an OUTSTANDING job in promoting the bill's movement at the Legislature. THSNY YOU, Madam President!
This is a brief review of the legislative session, but be on the lookout for our comprehensive bills report in the coming weeks!