Week six of the 2018 legislative session kicked off with a public hearing on a bill to restrict access to food assistance (SNAP) and other vital safety net programs, and wrapped up with thousands of teachers filling the halls of the Capitol to demand better pay and a fix for PEIA. Read more about the status of these and other proposals including campus carry, co-tenancy, and bills to reshape our judicial system; and actions you can take to support redistricting reform and energy efficiency, and oppose logging in our state parks.
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SNAP Work Requirements Headed for a Vote in the HouseHB 4001, which would further restrict access to food assistance (SNAP) and other vital safety net programs by imposing work requirements on recipients of public assistance, and require the West Virginia DHHR to implement a costly new comprehensive verification system is headed for a vote in the House of Delegates. After a public hearing on Monday, the House Judiciary Committee took up and passed a version of the bill that made significant changes to the proposal, however the proposed changes to SNAP will still hurt our people and our economy. Contact your delegate(s) and tell them to vote NO on HB 4001.Tagged: Discrimination, Inequality, Poverty, SNAP Redistricting Bill Sent to House Floor Without Independent CommissionEstablishing a specific list of factors that can (and cannot) consider in the redistricting process, including factors designed to promote partisan fairness and prevent favoritism toward incumbents, is an improvement, these goals would be more easily accomplished if we appointed someone other than legislators to draw legislative district maps. We need to let our delegates know that we want a process that is impartial, transparent, and accountable. This means having an independent redistricting commission lead redistricting efforts, providing ample opportunities for public participation throughout the process, and clear standards to guide the process that ensure equality and fairness. Contact your delegate(s) today and tell them to support fair districts and fair elections.Tagged: Clean elections Grow Energy Efficiency Jobs: Tell House Energy Committee to Pass the LEEP Act!HB 2534, the Local Energy Efficiency Partnership (LEEP) Act is in the House Energy Committee and must be passed by both the House Energy and Finance Committees before it can be voted on by the full House. Time is short to get the bill passed and over to the Senate. Energy efficiency is good for our economy by creating jobs, improving our buildings, and making it easier for our businesses and families to stay in West Virginia. Energy efficiency jobs pay for themselves through utility savings. Please contact members of the House Energy Committee and Chair Bill Anderson (R-Wood) now and urge them to support HB 2534. Tagged: Energy, Energy efficiency “Co-Tenancy” Bill Passes House of DelegatesOn Thursday, the House of Delegates passes a the “co-tenancy” bill (HB 4268), with 60 votes for, and 40 votes against. As the bill came to the floor from the House Judiciary Committee it contained important protections for surface owners, requiring their consent for any surface disturbance whenever the co-tenancy law is used to develop the mineral tract beneath a surface owners’ land or into any neighboring mineral tract, regardless of whether the surface owner owns an interest in the mineral tract being developed. This is significant. The bill also contained protections for the non-consenting, and missing and unknown mineral owners that were not included in the introduced bill. On the floor, two other amendments were adopted that provide additional protections for these mineral owners. HB 4268 is now in the Senate where it has been assigned to the Energy, Industry, and Mining Committee, and the Judiciary Committee. Tagged: Energy, Fracking
Senate Passes Intermediate Court Bill, Judicial Budget AmendmentOn Thursday, the Senate passed two measures that could dramatically reshape the judicial system in West Virginia.
The first is a proposal (SB 341) that would establish an intermediate court of appeals between the level of circuit court and the state Supreme Court to hear civil appeals, appeals of workers’ compensation claims, abuse and neglect cases and some other administrative appeals. The other measure passed by the Senate (SJR 3) is a proposed Judicial Budget Amendment, which would amend the state constitution to give the Legislature oversight of the judiciary's budget. This is in response to a recent spending scandal involving extravagant renovations to the private chambers of the Supreme Court justices. More details here.Tagged: Civil Justice, Clean elections