The West Virginia Legislature's new Labor and Worker Safety Issues Committee convened its first meeting Thursday in Wheeling to coincide with West Virginia's 150th birthday.
The committee was formed earlier this year at the suggestion of state Sen. Jack Yost, D-Brooke, who believed state lawmakers didn't get enough time to consider labor-related legislation and that a summer interim committee was needed to discuss these measures.
Members met Thursday at Wheeling Island Hotel-Casino-Racetrack.
Photo by Joselyn King
State Sen. Jack Yost, D-Brooke, wields a locally made “gavel” as chairman of the West Virginia Legislature’s new Labor and Worker Safety Issues Committee.
"During our regular legislative session, the Labor Committee historically has five hours to study bills, and it makes it difficult to get quality legislation through," said Yost, chairman of the Senate Labor Committee. "We would like to see something move forward to protect the citizens of West Virginia, which is one of our duties and responsibilities as legislators. But at this time, it doesn't work well."
He said he spoke with Senate President Jeff Kessler, D-Marshall, and former House Speaker Rick Thompson, D-Wayne, about forming an interim committee to study labor issues on a monthly basis.
While legislative leaders approved formation of the committee earlier this year, members weren't immediately chosen. Members from the House weren't selected until after the election of Speaker Tim Miley, D-Harrison, on Tuesday.
Yost said he suspected some members weren't present Thursday because they had yet to be informed of their roles on the committee.
Some of the agenda topics to be addressed by the committee were announced during the meeting are: