WV Legislative Session Recap

3/17/2015

Legislative Session Ends

Lawmakers Are Moving WV Forward

March 17, 2015


Dear BIC Members,

Happy St. Patrick's Day! I hope all of you are recovering from the last two months. 

We have just witnessed the most productive and efficient 60-day legislative session the state has experienced in years. Lawmakers addressed major legal fairness issues, regulatory reforms across every business sector and offered an open and fair debate on public education. Rest assured, all West Virginians will benefit from the 2015 legislative session.

From the BIC perspective, we easily can point to many bills that squarely address our policy goals. To that end, we will have a BIC membership meeting at 2 p.m. March 26, location TBD -- we will email everyone when we have a locationA list of bills is below with the bill numbers hyperlinked to the final bill text (if available).

Senate President Bill Cole and House Speaker Tim Armstead and their leadership teams had lawmakers and staff working harder, putting in more hours than any legislative session in recent history.

Did we get everything we wanted? No, and it was particularly disappointed to see the Lease Integration, aka Fair Pooling, legislation fail on a tie vote in the House after it already had passed both houses of the Legislature. For a bill of this importance to fall prey to last-minute political antics is a painful loss for our oil/gas industry and overall business development prospects. We should discuss this at our next membership meeting.

But when we balance some losses with the incredible gains in 2015, the legislative leadership is be commended for their focus on moving West Virginia forward. And kudos to Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin for putting his stamp of approval on many progressive pieces of legislation.

Now it’s time to start laying the groundwork for 2016, both on a legislative and electoral front. The work on preserving and expanding election gains we made in 2014 that produced incredibly legislative results starts now.

As we anticipated, the Charleston media spared no effort in making the new leadership look bad. Thank you to everyone who made special contributions to BIC to help with our communications effort, but a lot of work remains in this regard. BIC must rise to the occasion and spread a message of positivity following this session to protect those members who stood up for business and industry.

Please take time to thank Gov. Tomblin, the legislative leadership and your local senators and delegates for taking critical steps toward creating the kind of business environment that will attract investment and jobs. Send letters to your local newspapers. Call into your local radio stations. Post to your social media accounts. Make sure West Virginia hears the real story about the 2015 session from the job creators instead of out-of-touch liberal media interests.

Thank you all for an incredible legislative advocacy effort over 60 days. I look forward to working with you on the next phase of BIC’s evolution.

Best,

Chris Hamilton
Chairman, WVBIC

Completed legislation in 2015


Below are many bills of interest to the West Virginia Business & Industry Council. (Note: Final legislation is hyperlinked by bill number where the enrolled version has been posted. Not all final versions were available as of this writing, so bill numbers are hyperlinked to the bill activity page. Check those pages periodically to find the final enrolled versions of those bills.)

 

Legal Fairness

  • Asbestos Trust FundSB411 
  • Comparative Fault & Joint/Several LiabilityHB2002 
  • Deliberate Intent ReformHB2011 
  • Medical Professional LiabilitySB6 
  • Non-Partisan Election of JudgesHB2010 
  • Open & Obvious DoctrineSB13 
  • Punitive Damage CapSB421 
  • Trespasser LiabilitySB3 

Business/Industrial Development

  • Aboveground Storage Tank RegulationSB423 
  • Alternative Teacher CertificationHB2005 
  • Auto Dealer Franchise ProtectionsSB453 
  • Clean Power Plan OversightHB2004 
  • Coal Jobs & Safety Act of 2015: SB357 
  • Environmental Regulatory UpdatesHB2283 
  • Industrial Property ProtectionHB2627 
  • Infrastructure Fund ProgramHB2778 
  • Prevailing Wage ReformSB361 
  • Repeal of Alternative Energy Portfolio StandardsHB2001 
  • Unmitigated Front PaySB344 
  • Wage Payment for Separated EmployeesSB12  
  • Wage Payment Pay PeriodsSB318 
  • Well Work Permit TransfersSB280