From The Well

Day 9


At the center of the West Virginia state Capitol is an area known as The Well.

It is the informal gathering place for lobbyists, reporters, constituents and lawmakers.

Centrally located between the chambers of the House of Delegates and Senate,

The Well is often where information is shared, alliances are formed, and deals are made.



Governor’s Office



State-of-the-State Address set for Thursday


Governor Jim Justice announced on Thursday that he will deliver the State-of-the-State Address at 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 27.


Justice was not available to speak to the Legislature on Wednesday, Jan. 12. His office reported he was ill with Covid at that time and recovering at his Lewisburg home.


Traditionally, the Governor delivers the State-of-the-State Address on the first day of the legislative session.


Click here for more information.



Covid Report



Governor emphasizes importance of vaccines


With the Omicron variant of Covid-19 spreading across the state and country, Gov. Jim Justice on Friday again urged West Virginians to get vaccinations or booster shots as soon as possible.


“Getting vaccinated or getting boosted stacks the deck to keep you out of the hospital – I’m living proof,” Governor Justice said, referring to his recovery after a recent bout with Covid. “With how fast this thing is running now, if you don’t get your booster because you just don’t feel like it, you’re making a real mistake.”

​​The Governor reported 16,742 active cases of Covid and 952 Covid-related hospitalizations statewide. The West Virginia County Alert Map features 54 of the state’s 55 counties in either the Red or Orange categories – denoting the highest level of spread.


State nears record hospitalizations


West Virginia’s Covid-19 hospitalizations continue to rise toward all-time highs. The state reported 980 hospitalizations today. The high number during pandemic was 1,012 on Sept. 24, as the delta wave peaked. See related news story here.



Health Care



House advances Parkinson’s, diabetes bills


The House Health and Human Resources Committee passed a pair of bills Thursday afternoon at the state Capitol.


HB4276 would allow West Virginia University to create a Parkinson’s Disease Registry.


HB4252 would lower the cost of diabetic-related equipment.


Click here for more information.



Legislation offers tax credit to nurses


Senator Mike Caputo of Marion County introduced legislation to create a $5,000 tax credit for West Virginia nurses.


SB447 comes one month after Governor Jim Justice announced a new $48 million program to recruit, educate, and retain nurses in the state. The availability of nurses has been a persistent problem the past several years.


In the legislation’s introduction article, the Legislature “inds that it is an important public policy to encourage participation in nursing by providing tax credits for those who provide vital service to their community in the field of nursing.”


The bill has been referred to the Senate Health and Human Resource Committee.



Amendment One



Voters asked to understand initiative details


Raleigh County Commissioners are asking voters to pay attention to state lawmakers’ plans before voting in November on Amendment One, which would allow West Virginia voters to open up a section of state code that deals with property taxes.


Click here for more information.


If voters approve Amendment One, current and future lawmakers will be able to reduce the business and inventory tax and eliminate the property tax on vehicles


“As county commissioners, our job is to be good stewards of the county budget,” Commissioner Greg Duckworth said Thursday. “So the amendment that is going to be a public vote in November is going to affect that job … .”



Children and Families



House Committee reviews Embie’s Law


The House Committee on Senior, Children, and Family Issues discussed HB2798, which requires requiring the Health Department to mandate mucopolysaccharidosis type 1 (MPS1) testing for newborn babies. The bill is known as Embie’s Law.


The purpose of the bill is mandate newborn testing for mucopolysaccharidosis type 1 (MP1), a metabolic disorder. While although is not curable, it can be treated if diagnosed in young infants.


The bill is a re-enroll from last year, when it passed the same committee but was not taken up for further action by the House Health Committee.


Delegate Brent Boggs of Braxton County, the lead sponsor, spoke to the Committee about the bill’s importance and the circumstances of a family that would have benefited from the screening.



Bill addresses definition of child abuse


The House Committee on Senior, Children, and Family Issues on Friday examined modifying the definition of child abuse or neglect to exclude accidental injury to codify a possible defense to child abuse, which already is available.


HB2524 says the “accidental physical, mental, or emotional injury to a child, arising from a reasonable failure by a parent, guardian, or custodian to recognize or foresee the threat arising from circumstances leading to an incidental or unplanned event which has resulted in injury to the child is not abuse or neglect.”


That already is the law.


Delegates Lisa Zukoff of Marshall County and Danielle Walker of Monongalia County sought clarity on the purpose of the bill and how the bill would benefit or improve existing law. Both said the bill adds to confusion and provides an available defense to child abuse.


The bill passed with no debate and now goes to House Judiciary Committee.






Reclamation bill has bipartisan support


With the support of Senate President Craig Blair, SB1 is intended to establish an insurance program to cover the costs of mine reclamation and allow the state to avoid financial consequences.


Senator Blair testified Thursday before the Senate Finance Committee that he sees a potential financial tsunami ahead if West Virginia doesn’t establish an insurance program to cover mine reclamation.


Click here for more information.


A recent legislative audit said West Virginia could be on the hook for hundreds of millions of dollars in mine reclamation costs if the companies holding reclamation bonds are defunct.


“We cannot afford to have that happen,” he told the Senate Finance Committee.


Blair noted he is the lead sponsor of SB1, which also has a bipartisan list of cosponsors.


“I think this is a great idea. I’ve signed onto it,” Senate Minority Leader Stephen told Finance Committee members.



Legislative Calendar



Click here for the full session calendar of the

85th West Virginia Legislature.



WV Legislature
Legislature Live


Meeting Notices
Proposed Rules


Legislature Blog
Glossary of Terms


Some information in this update is collected from the WV Legislature’s Daily/Weekly Blogs.


Hartman Harman Cosco, Public Policy Strategists, LLC, (H2C) is a strategically assembled bipartisan lobbying firm comprised of legal, communications and policy professionals. H2C possesses the insight and intuition that only comes from decades of hands on experience leading community and statewide initiatives.