Senate Passes Advertising Bill

The West Virginia Senate unanimously passed an “electioneering communication” bill expanding financial disclosure requirements to political advertising through billboards, mass mailings and phone banks.

Introduced by Senate President Jeff Kessler, D-Marshall, Senate Bill 604 is among measures introduced by Northern Panhandle lawmakers that were approved by today’s “drop-dead” date in the Legislature. Lawmakers have until the end of today – the 50th day of the 60-day session – to pass measures out of their chambers of origin. The regular session ends April 13.

It was one of four bills passed in the Senate by Kessler this week. SB 185, relating to alternative-fuel vehicles and qualified refueling infrastructure tax credits, passed Monday 33-1 with Sen. Craig Blair, R-Berkeley, voting against. SB 191, which would increase the maximum aggregate funding to the Revenue Shortfall Reserve Fund from 13-15 percent, also passed Monday 33-1 with Sen. Mitch Carmichael, R-Jackson, voting no.

Meanwhile, SB 202, which would create the West Virginia Spay Neuter Assistance Program and Fund, passed unanimously Tuesday. And SB 557, introduced by Sen. Jack Yost, D-Brooke, was unanimously approved by Senate members Monday. It would continue the Preventive Care Pilot Program in the state.

All these bills now move on to the House of Delegates for consideration.

Scheduled for third reading today in the Senate are:

– SB 355 – (Kessler) Relating to final wage payment to discharged employees.

– SB 363 – (Kessler) Implementing purchasing reforms.

– SB 365 – (Kessler) Relating to certain criminal conviction expungement.

– SB 594 – (Kessler) Establishing Court of Claims procedure for unjust arrest, conviction or imprisonment claims.

– SB 610 – (Kessler) Renaming Industrial Home for Youth as Salem Correctional Center; placing Salem and Parkersburg correctional centers under Division of Corrections.

– SB 615 – (Kessler) Amending table game license renewal fee for pari-mutuel racetracks.

– SB 599 – (Sen. Larry Edgell, D-Wetzel) Expanding number of hours temporary state personnel may work.

House Bill 2716, introduced by Delegate Phil Diserio, D-Brooke, passed Tuesday. A roll call vote was not available. The measure would lower the threshold amount from $500,000 to $100,000 for triggering a low bidder’s duty to submit list of subcontractors on government contracts. It moves on to the Senate for consideration.

Two bills introduced by Delegate David Pethtel, D-Wetzel, are scheduled for third reading in the House today: HB 2818, changing the definition of “employment term” within the Teachers’ Defined Contribution Retirement System; and HB 2822, holding liable any participating public employer owing delinquent retirement contributions.

Two other measures introduced by Pethtel – and already passed by the House – were amended and unanimously passed by the Senate Tuesday. They were remanded the House.

HB 2800 relates to the Teachers’ Retirement System. The bill specifies the time period for allocating and reporting gross salary to the retirement board and clarifies definitions.

HB 2802, meanwhile, modifies the definition of “annual compensation” and makes definition changes within the Emergency Medical Services Retirement System.