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Here’s a quick recap of the big things that happened during the first week of the 2023 legislative session with links for more details.
In short: Legislature wastes no time going off rails (Charleston Gazette-Mail editorial, 1/12/22)
On the first day, the Senate suspended rules to pass 25 bills on the first day. More about that here, here, and here. The bills passed included the Anti-Racism Act of 2023, as well as bills restructuring the Dept. of Health and Human Services, and improving the reimbursement rate for PEIA.
Justice’s mention of West Virginia’s recently-passed abortion ban during his State of the State address drew a standing ovation and cheers from gathered lawmakers on Wednesday. The next day the House Health Committee revamped and advanced a family planning bill that died during the debate over abortion last summer. Mountain State Spotlight has more details here.
On Thursday, the NAACP and other advocacy organizations held a “State of WV Children and Families” press briefing to counter the Governor’s flat budget and proposed 50% reduction in the state’s personal income tax that will disproportionately benefit the wealthiest in our state. Concern was also expressed about the governor’s and legislators’ proposals to funnel money into crisis pregnancy centers. (See press coverage here and here.)
Later that day, the House Finance Committee took up and passed the Governor’s personal income tax proposal. The proposed cuts amount to $1.5 billion or 25% of state budget and will affect the state’s ability to fill worker vacancies, improve pay for state workers, and address challenges facing PEIA, among many other pressing issues. Because the bill is no longer in committee and already advanced to first reading, it’s too late to call for a public hearing. Click here to take action and tell your delegate to oppose these devastating tax cuts.