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WV Legislative Update

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As I write this Sunday evening, I’m in the midst of taking my own advice – and that of my physician – in avoiding others and crowds as I recuperate from having the flu.  I was feeling pretty bad early Wednesday, suspected it may be the flu, and sure enough, tested positive for one of the flu strains.  Having a flu shot may have kept me from becoming more ill, but should be able to get back into the daily Capitol schedule this week.  So, this week’s column will be somewhat abbreviated.

I want to thank everyone for the calls, emails and messages.  As I said a couple weeks ago, this year’s flu is nothing to ignore.  Young, old, and all ages in between are at risk and the death toll continues to rise across the country.  Most of all, if you’re sick, stay home and get better.  Only when it stops spreading will we begin to see this outbreak begin to subside.

Earlier last week, it was great to introduce two of our BCHS students, Sarah Lane and Robert Boyce, who were seated in the Gallery with WV Secretary of State Mac Warner.  Sarah and Robert were honored as Honorary Secretaries of State.  These students were among 49 high school students across West Virginia that registered at total of over 13,000 eligible students to vote.  I’m very proud of these outstanding students and their leadership skills.

February 7 was a special day at the Capitol and in the House Chamber, as we honored our veterans during Veterans Visibility Day.  This is always a special day at the Capitol, as leaders from all of the numerous branches of service and veterans organizations are recognized and honored on the House floor.

As of February 9, a total of 1,515 bills have been introduced; in the House, 998 and in 517 in the Senate.  To date, only one bill has been signed by the Governor and four others are awaiting his executive action.  Fifty-six bills have passed the House; seventy-six passed the Senate.  Last Thursday marked the 30-day midway point of the regular session and to date it has not made good use of the time.  As bills come from committee, they may or may not be taken up by the full House.  After the thirtieth day, the Rules Committee, comprised of a small group of House majority leadership and a proportionate number of minority members, generally meet at least daily to manage the House calendar.  Managing the calendar in a responsible and effective manner keeps House floor time to a minimum and preserves enough valuable committee time to consider bills with the needed questions for legal counsel, debate and discussion.

All bills go on the active calendar unless the Rules Committee determines to pull them to the inactive calendar.  Bills move back and forth between the two on a regular basis during the last half of the session.  In the end, it is controlled by the Speaker.  If he wants a bill moved, it moves.  If not, it gets parked.  More on the Rules Committee and the calendar in the next four weeks.

The Governor is attempting to stave off the backlash of his current PEIA Finance Board decisions.  Last week, Governor Justice announced he was freezing the program at 2017 levels for the next seventeen months.  However, he rejected dedicating an increase in gas severance tax revenue to fund the insurance program.  However, it will take in excess of $20 million to maintain the current level of premiums, deductibles and copays.

Meanwhile, teachers, service personnel, state employees and retired workers are continuing to bring their concerns to the Governor and Legislature.  With rallies held across the State, and, based on a statewide meeting held at Flatwoods last Sunday from each of the fifty-five counties, the pressure is building on legislative leaders to put together a reasonable and long-overdue pay increase, as well as fully funding PEIA. 

Please send your inquiries to the Capitol office:  Building 1, Room 258-M, Charleston, WV 25305.  My home number is 304.364.8411; the Capitol office number is 304.340.3142.  If you have an interest in any particular bill or issue, please let me know.  For those with Internet access, my legislative e-mail address is:

You may also obtain additional legislative information, including the copies of bills, conference reports, daily summaries, interim highlights, and leave me a message on the Legislature’s web site at www.legis.state.wv.us/.  When leaving a message, please remember to include your phone number with your inquiry and any details you can provide. Additional information, including agency links and the state government phone directory, may be found at www.wv.gov. Also, you may follow me on Facebook at “Brent Boggs”, Twitter at “@DelBrentBoggs” , as well as the WV Legislature’s Facebook page at “West Virginia Legislature” or on Twitter at twitter.com/wvlegislature.

Continue to remember our troops - at home and abroad - and keep them and their families in your thoughts and prayers.  Until next week – take care.

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