The 60-day regular session of the 2014 West Virginia Legislature has finished but many of the bills introduced in either the House of Delegates or the State Senate starting back on opening day Jan. 8 never saw the light of day once they were introduced and referred to a committee.
One example is SB2, introduced the first day by six members of the Senate. Sen. Ron Stollings, D-Boone, was the lead sponsor of this legislation that would “provide a tax incentive to dental practitioners providing service to indigents.” It was assigned to the Senate Health and Human Resources that first day and never mentioned again even though five other senators signed on as co-sponsors including Senate Majority Leader John Unger. D-Berkeley.
Altogether there were 631 bills introduced at the 2014 Legislature by the 34 members of the Senate. But only 72 of those bills ever made it to the Senate floor and had either been approved by both the House and Senate or were still actively under consideration during this past week’s final hectic days.
In the 100-member House of Delegates more than 2,000 bills were introduced which works out to an average of more than 20 per member. The percentage of bills that survived in committees and came to a vote on the floor was only about one in 10.
One of the more interesting bills surfacing in the final days that had gotten little attention during the session was SB523 that calls for an additional state veterans skilled nursing facility in Beckley.
The bill, sponsored by Sen. Mike Green, D-Raleigh, and a dozen other senators, passed the Senate by a 33-0 vote on Feb. 25, was on second reading in the House on Thursday after being laid over for 24 hours during the House floor session on March 5.
Since this is an election year, all 100 of the seats in the House of Delegates will be on the ballot this spring for the primary and in the fall for the general election.And half of the 34 seats in the State Senate for new four-year terms will be decided in November as well.
Many of the legislators who are planning to run for another term in either the House of Delegates or the Senate have been less likely to get involved in the more controversial issues at this year’s session.