Agency Approved Rules Filed for Consideration

State agencies have filed more than 140 agency approved rules with the Legislative Rule Making Review Committee (LRMRC) as part of the ongoing legislative rule-making process.

West Virginia is unique from almost all other states, and the federal government, in that it requires legislative approval of most rules and regulations proposed by state agencies, boards and commissions.  The so-called rule making review process is essentially a year-round endeavor, with rules being subjected to drafting, public comment, final agency approval and consideration and modification by the ...

State Supreme Court Issues Important Natural Gas Decisions

The last several months have been busy ones for the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals on the oil and natural gas front, as the Court has issued three significant opinions impacting the industry.   The three cases recently decided by the state Supreme Court uniquely affect unconventional drilling operations in West Virginia’s developing oil and gas industry.

First, in EQT Production Company v. Crowder, et al., the Court held that a mineral owners’ implied surface use rights are limited to those uses that are reasonably necessary to develop minerals underlying the surface ...

As the summer heats up, so too does the activity under and around the Capitol dome in Charleston.  While the July 4th holiday usually offers a nice break from state and national politics, there’s been no shortage of activity over the last two weeks.  This week’s State of Affairs looks at some of the headlines and recent developments:

  • While lawmakers finally completed action on a comprehensive education reform package (HB 206), the debate rages on over charter schools in West Virginia. One of the state’s two major teachers unions – the West Virginia Education Association – has ...

Members of the House of Delegates returned to town this week to begin consideration of potential education reform proposals as part of the continuing special session on education “betterment.” 

Lawmakers reconvened nearly two weeks after the State Senate advanced two separate proposals:

  • SB 1039 – Dubbed the “Student Success Act,” SB 1039 is an omnibus education reform package that includes, but is not limed to, the following:
    • Education expense tax credits for teachers and other school personnel;
    • Expansion of the Mountaineer Challenge Academy;
    • Establishing a Mountain ...
Changes to State Campaign Finance Law Go Into Effect

June 7th marked 90 days from the conclusion of the 2019 Legislative Session, and with that all of the bills previously enacted by the West Virginia Legislature are now officially law.  One of those bills now in effect is SB 622, relating generally to the regulation and control of financing elections. 

SB 622 brings substantial changes to the state’s campaign finance laws for candidates and political organizations alike.  Those involved in elections in West Virginia will have to navigate these changes in the lead up to the 2020 elections.  As such, this blog post looks at some of the key ...

Posted in Legislation

In conjunction with previously scheduled interim committee meetings, the West Virginia Legislature met briefly this week to reconsider bills that had been vetoed by Governor Jim Justice during the regular legislative session. In all, state lawmakers passed 18 pieces of legislation, including several supplemental appropriations shifting spending for the existing budget year.  Highlights of the one-day special session include the following:

  • HB 119, SB 1016 & SB 1019 – Supplemental Appropriations to the Department of Transportation and Division of Highways: With the passage ...
Industrial Hemp – Poised for Growth in West Virginia?

While there’s been much discussion of medical cannabis in West Virginia over the last several years, far less attention has been given to the industry that is slowly and steadily building around marijuana’s non-intoxicating cousin – hemp.

Derived from the cannabis family of plants, hemp is distinguishable in large part because of its very low levels of THC – the chemical that produces the psychological effects of marijuana.  The lack of intoxicating properties associated with hemp has made development of the product more palatable to policymakers, and the regulatory ...

As Legislative Interims Approach, Focus Shifts to Special Session on "Educational Betterment"

The 2019 Interim Committee dates have been formally announced, and legislators will return to Charleston in April (29-30), May (20-21), June (17-18), July (22-23), September (23-24), November (18-19) and December (16-17). 

This year, legislative leadership has chosen to move away from the somewhat traditional format of Sunday through Tuesday meetings in favor of a more focused schedule, similar to interim meetings implemented during Senate President Bill Cole’s tenure. 

As usual, the April Interim Meetings will be more condensed than the other monthly meetings, as the Joint ...

Governor's Veto Puts Medical Cannabis Program in Flux (Again)

Just when it looked like the state was prepared to move forward with the previously stalled West Virginia Medical Cannabis Act (the “Act”), another roadblock has again seemingly delayed implementation of the state’s previously enacted medical cannabis program.   

With the passage of SB 386 during the 2017 Legislative Session, state lawmakers established an initial two-year framework for implementing West Virginia’s medical cannabis program.  Now, a little less than three months from the July 1, 2019 launch date, the program hardly seems any closer to operation.   

While ...

2019 Legislative Session Postscript – What Did and Didn’t Go into Law

This past Wednesday, March 27, marked the constitutional deadline for West Virginia Governor Jim Justice to sign or veto any remaining legislation that had not been acted on since the Legislature adjourned Sine Die on March 9, 2019. 

Pursuant to Article 7, Section 14 of the West Virginia Constitution:

Any bill which shall not be returned by the governor within five days, Sundays excepted, after it shall have been presented to him shall be a law, in the same manner as if he had signed it, unless the Legislature shall, by adjournment sine die, prevent its return, in which case it shall be filed ...