This week in the House of Delegates

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The House of Delegates this past week advanced legislation to help rejuvenate the state’s coal industry, repair pockmarked secondary roads, and improve salaries for members of the State Police, teachers and school service personnel.

The House Finance Committee on Friday originated two bills designed to help provide relief for and inspire investment in the state’s coal industry.

“Southern West Virginia is still hurting from the lingering effects of the Obama ‘War on Coal,’” said Delegate Zack Maynard, R-Lincoln, a member of the Finance Committee. “While President Trump has been a godsend, particularly for the metallurgical coal industry, steam coal producers are still struggling to get back on their feet.

“These bills will be a shot in the arm for Southern West Virginia and help us accomplish our President’s goal of putting our miners back to work,” Maynard said.

House Bill 3142 would reduce the severance tax on steam coal – the form that is used in power generation – from 5 to 3 percent. House Bill 3144 would provide a tax rebate on new machinery and equipment purchases and capital investment in coal production operations.

In addition to making steam coal mined in West Virginia competitive with coal mined from other states, the severance tax cut will have an added benefit for power customers, as the tax cut savings will be passed on to power generators, and from them to electricity consumers.

The second bill will provide a rebate of 35 percent of the cost of any new machinery and equipment purchased for mining activity.

Both tax changes are structured so they won’t affect the portion of severance taxes distributed to counties and municipalities, only the portion that goes directly to state coffers.

“These bills will help our coal companies hire more workers, expand their operations and compete with producers from other states,” said Finance Committee Vice-Chairman Vernon Criss, R-Wood. “This will lead to more jobs, higher incomes and provide a needed boost to our state’s economy.”

Both bills now head to the full House of Delegates for consideration.

***

Meanwhile, the House Committee on Government Organization on Friday approved House Bill 2011, which creates the “Enhanced Road Maintenance Program” to improve road conditions across the state.

This bill requires the state’s Division of Highways districts to come up with detailed maintenance plans for the roads in their districts by Dec. 1. If the districts are unable to complete 90 percent of those plans in a given year on their own, the bill requires them to hire private contractors to perform this work.

“While voters approved the road bond last year to fund major road and bridge projects, the number one complaint we continue to hear from our constituents is the poor maintenance of our existing roads – particularly the secondary and tertiary roads,” said Majority Leader Amy Summers, R-Taylor, the bill’s lead sponsor.

“This bill will increase accountability at the DOH, while also allowing it to contract outside help to complete the work that they’re unable to get to,” Summers said. “This will allow DOH workers to focus on major tasks, while also ensuring the regular needed maintenance is accomplished.”

The bill now heads to the House floor for further consideration.


***

Also on Friday, the House of Delegates approved House Bill 2730, which provides an average 5-percent pay raise to State Police, teachers and school service workers.

Under the bill, State Police officers will receive a $2,370 salary increase, teachers will receive $2,120, and service workers will receive $1,150.

The bill affects those workers whose salaries are set by state code. All other state workers are slated to receive a 5-percent pay raise as well, but those raises do not require specific legislation. Funding for those raises will be included in the budget bill that will be passed later this session.


***

Finally, lawmakers are facing a key legislative deadline in the coming week. 

Wednesday, Feb. 27, marks the 50th day of the legislative session – a day commonly referred to as “crossover day.” Under the Legislature’s Joint Rules, this is the last day for a regular bill to be passed out of the house in which it was introduced.

Because of this, committees worked late hours this past week to review and approve as many House bills as possible so they can be placed on the calendar and read three consecutive days next week, as required by the state Constitution.

The crossover day rule does not apply to the budget, salary or supplemental appropriations bills, which can still be advanced beyond day 50.

Featured

SHOPS & SERVICES

City seeking proposals for theatre-style seating in Colonial Arts Center

BUCKHANNON – The City of Buckhannon plans to seek bids from seating manufacturers for theatre-style seating in the new Colonial Arts Center. At Buckhannon City Council’s Nov. 17 meeting, Colonial Arts Center Manager Anne Wilson presented a slideshow outlining the […]

Become a premium member to unlock immediate access to this story for our LOWEST PRICE EVER. Signing up is easy — just tap the button below!

Local instrumentalists say invitation to play at The Greenbrier is ‘one of their dreams’ come true

BUCKHANNON – Two local musicians have been invited to perform at The Greenbrier resort for seven days in December. Key to Adam, the musical duo that includes finger-style guitarist Adam Moyer and violinist-fiddler Kiara Williams, was invited to play several […]

Become a premium member to unlock immediate access to this story for our LOWEST PRICE EVER. Signing up is easy — just tap the button below!

SHOPS & SERVICES

Off the Cuff with Eddie Vincent

Here’s the latest episode of the new My Buckhannon member exclusive feature: Off the Cuff with sports editor Duane Carpenter. In this edition, Duane chats with Buckhannon-Upshur Middle School assistant football coach Eddie Vincent, who will also serve as an […]

Become a premium member to unlock immediate access to this story for our LOWEST PRICE EVER. Signing up is easy — just tap the button below!

Soccer Bucs’ Gregory and Auvil named to Second Team All-State

TENNERTON – Buckhannon-Upshur’s Josh Gregory and Dalton Auvil both received honors on the 2022 WVHSSCA Boys Class AAA All-State soccer team. Gregory, a senior defender, and Auvil, a senior keeper, both were named to the Second Team. Gregory led the […]

Become a premium member to unlock immediate access to this story for our LOWEST PRICE EVER. Signing up is easy — just tap the button below!

B-U’s Cale receives All-State Class AAA soccer honors

TENNERTON – Buckhannon-Upshur’s Chloe Cale was the lone Lady Buc to be recognized on the 2022 WVHSSCA Girls Class AAA All-State soccer team. The senior forward was named to the Honorable Mention squad. Cale recently was named to the Big […]

Become a premium member to unlock immediate access to this story for our LOWEST PRICE EVER. Signing up is easy — just tap the button below!

Slone scores 19 but ‘Cats fall at home to FSU, 92-72

BUCKHANNON, WV. – The West Virginia Wesleyan (0-4, 0-2) men’s basketball team fell in a conference versus Fairmont State (4-0, 2-0) on Tuesday (Nov. 22) afternoon at the Rockefeller Center in Buckhannon, WV. WVWC Leaders

SHOPS & SERVICES

11th Annual 5K Turkey Trot held at Belington Wellness Center

BELINGTON — Community sponsors and volunteers came together on Saturday, Nov. 5 to support the Barbour Community Health Association’s eleventh annual Turkey Trot. This event is held each year to raise funds for the Heart

Cars for Kids effort drives $86K to WVU Medicine Children’s

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – A month-long fundraising effort by West Virginia auto dealers steered $86,350 in support to WVU Medicine Children’s to aid kids dealing with health challenges.  The second annual Cars for Kids initiative invited participating auto