Day 35: The library obscenity bill is now in the hands of the full House
Good morning and welcome back to 60 Days, your daily guide to the West Virginia Legislature.
It’s Tuesday, February 13, 2024 — Day 35 of the regular session. Glenville State University and the West Virginia Environmental Council will be around the Capitol to educate lawmakers and the public. Also, the West Virginia Beer Wholesalers Association will hold a reception at the Culture Center this evening.
So, if you’re into preserving the planet, buying beer in bulk or Hollywood actor and former Glenville State football player Channing Tatum, today is your lucky day — might as well buy some lottery tickets. That way, when you win, you can fuel the coffee habit of your 60 Days hosts.
Or, you could save your gambling stash and put it directly into our coffee coffers.
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Democrats from the House and Senate will hold a news conference this morning to offer their take on the session so far. Given the Republican supermajorities in both chambers and the legislation that’s moving, I wouldn’t expect Democrats to be over the moon about things.
If you’re wandering the Capitol today, lawmakers from the minority party will be at the AG Rotunda at 10:30 a.m.
The House and Senate will each gavel in for their floor sessions at 11 a.m.
SB 219 is on the amendment stage in the House. The bill would add some definitions to state code to prosecute those who fail to seek medical attention when someone they’re doing drugs with dies from an overdose. It passed the Senate 32-0, which means its chances in the House are probably pretty solid.
Seeing how we mentioned the lottery at the top: HB 4700 is just hitting the House docket for the first time. The measure would grant the Lottery Commission the power to ban certain patrons from sports betting if they have harassed or shown “a pattern of conduct” directed at officials, coaches, players or others involved in a sporting event. So keep it together, if you want to make use of FanDuel, people.
You can find the full House floor schedule here.
Over in the Senate, the following bill is bound to draw some reaction from both ends of the political spectrum:
SB 352 would update the state’s near-total ban on abortion, which was passed in a special session in 2022 following the U.S. Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe. v. Wade. Called, simply, the “Modifying Unborn Child Protection Act,” the measure is on second reading.
The Senate’s complete floor docket can be found here.
If you didn’t realize it by now, the 60 Days editorial Board gets a particular kick out of legislation related to raw milk — and the strange illness that struck the Capitol in 2016 just as lawmakers were celebrating passing the bill that allowed sales of raw milk.
And here’s a look at other committees meeting:
9 p.m. — House Pensions and Retirement
10 a.m. — House Political Subdivisions
10 a.m. — Senate Education
10 a.m. — Senate Government Organization
1 p.m. — Senate Energy, Industry and Mining
1:30 p.m. — House Energy and Manufacturing
2 p.m. — Senate Workforce
3 p.m. — Senate Judiciary
3 p.m. — Senate Finance
60 Days links: Reading that’s good for you and good for West Virginia. Click on the links to help support the reporters who work at the state Capitol day in, day out.
A bill that would open up public libraries to obscenity charges now goes to the full House of Delegates to make the call. Brad McElhinny of WVMetroNews reports HB 4654 was stalled in House Judiciary for weeks but now the panel has advanced the measure into the hands of all 100 members.
The rising death toll in West Virginia’s jails and prisons has made quite a lot of headlines in recent months. Last week, the House Jails and Prisons Committee advanced a bill that would create an ombudsman for the system. The bill now goes to House Judiciary. Mike Tony of The Charleston Gazette-Mail has the story.
While making a quick run for groceries yesterday evening, I caught a conversation WVPB’s Randy Yohe had with Del. Shawn Fluharty (D-Ohio) and Sen. Mike Stuart (R-Kanawha). The two lawmakers debated number of bills, including one that would drug test families looking to provide foster care and another that would reinstate the death penalty for intentionally killing a first responder in the line of duty. It was certainly an impassioned debate — and one worth listening to or watching.
Given that this newsletter is written by a couple of public radio dudes, it makes sense for us to note the passing of Bob Edwards. The longtime host of NPR’s Morning Edition died over the weekend. Here’s NPR’s tribute to a man who was the voice of public radio for decades. The biggest of condolences go out to Bob’s wife, Windsor Johnston, who’s a colleague of ours in the Newscast Unit.
Know of any bills we should be keeping tabs on? Any events, press conferences, etc., we should know about? Tell us about them in the comments.