From The Well

Sine Die!


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 situated between the chambers of the House of Delegates and Senate,

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



House of Delegates



Body completed work on 293 bills


The West Virginia House of Delegates adjourned at midnight Saturday, March 12, at after completing 293 bills, including a budget bill.


SB250, the budget bill, was a compromise among the Senate, House, and Executive branch. The measure passed the full House after a two-hour debate during which House Speaker Roger Hanshaw of Clay County spoke in support of the bill for both fiscal and policy reasons.


House Finance Committee Chairman Eric Householder, R-Berkeley, said the compromise budget surplus totals $1 billion and a General Revenue fund with 44% designated for public education, including another pay raise for teachers; 26% for social services, including a pay raise for Child Protective Services workers; and 10% for higher education.


Click here to read more from the West Virginia House of Delegates.



The Media Report



Analysis: Session was ‘relatively calm’


The 2022 West Virginia legislative session — the second session of the 85th Legislature — came to a close at midnight Saturday.


A total of 293 bills were passed and sent on to Governor Jim Justice, with the state Senate passing 143 bills and the House of Delegates passing 150. Of the 2,216 bills introduced since the session gaveled in on Jan. 12, only 13% actually made it through the sausage-making process.


I believe I predicted that this session would be a relatively calm one unless the Republican majority started getting into the culture war issues. For the most part, I was right.


If you subtract the fights over the anti-critical race theory bill, the early effort to set the abortion ban from 20 to 15 weeks and COVID-19 mask mandate prohibition in schools, it was a fairly quiet session in the scheme of things. You can’t count last-day-of-session drama, as that always happens.


Click here to read more from Steven Allen Adams in the Parkersburg News and Sentinel.



What didn’t pass made headlines, too


A big story of the final day of West Virginia’s 60-day legislative session was what legislation didn’t pass.


One bill was the Anti-Racism Act, SB498, which appeared to have passed at midnight. An hour later, however, Senate staff confirmed it had not.


The bill, which forbids talking about race in certain ways in classroom settings, already had passed both the Senate and the House of Delegates, but in different versions.


The Senate passed its version March 2. The House passed its version on Friday evening after two hours of debate.


The Senate had all day Saturday to concur, reject the changes, or amend the bill again. Senators wound up taking none of those options, waiting until the midnight deadline and then missing it by seconds.


Initiatives of note that did not pass involved the Equal Rights Amendment, abortion, high school sports transfers, and unemployment benefits.


Click here to read more from WVMetroNews.



Late machinations doomed some bills


While the weather outside the Capitol was cold and snowy, it got heated inside Saturday in the last hours of the 2022 legislative session after the West Virginia Senate made amendments to bills that upset the Democratic Senate minority and caused issues in the House of Delegates.


An attempt by the Senate to amend changes the House made to a Senate bill dealing with unemployment fraud died after the Senate amended the House message Saturday night. SB543, creating an unemployment compensation insurance fraud unit within WorkForce West Virginia, passed 20-11 over the protests of Senate Democrats when Senate Republicans offered another amendment to the bill.


The majority amended provisions of SB2, lowering the number of allowable weeks of unemployment benefits from 26 to 12; SB3, requiring specific work search activities to qualify for unemployment benefits; and SB576, allowing workers fired or laid off due to COVID-19 vaccine requirements to claim unemployment. The bills were combined into SB2 by the House, but the bill was stuck on the House’s inactive calendar.


Click here to read more from the Wheeling Intelligencer.






Bill sets up study, possible realignment


A bill that could ultimately change the number of magistrates in West Virginia gained final approval from the state Legislature late Saturday.


HB2910, which originally passed the House of Delegates earlier in the session, would have allocated magistrates by population, but the final version of the bill deleted that language and calls for the state Supreme Court to commission a caseload study and turn the information over to lawmakers before next year’s regular season.


Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Trump of Morgan County said the bill says magistrates can be added after the caseload study. The bill limits the number of magistrates to 17s throughout the state, and the current number of magistrates, 158, cannot be reduced.


Trump said the bill also asks the Supreme Court to develop a rule to allow some magistrates to operate regionally.


Click here to read more from WVMetroNews.



Foster Care



Time runs out on bill to benefit children


Senators passed a stripped-down version of a bill to support vulnerable children, but time ran out before the House of Delegates could concur or reject it. The bill did not pass on the final day of West Virginia’s legislative session.


HB4344 removed 15% pay raises that were meant to recruit and retain social services workers after the Justice administration concluded it could shift money from open positions to the raises for current employees.


The latest version also dropped a dashboard that was envisioned as providing more information to support West Virginia’s 7,000 foster children.


Click here to read more from WVMetroNews.






Outcomes varied for learning-related bills


Members of the West Virginia Legislature considered several bills related to education public schools and higher education during the recently completed session.


Some of those bills passed. Others did not. Some of the initiatives were high profile, while others did not gain much attention.


Click here to read more from the Charleston Gazette-Mail.




Footnote for Readers



Access to some of the stories in From The Well may require a subscription to news outlets. H2C Public Policy Strategists has no control over the terms and conditions news outlets set to access their content.



Legislative Calendar



Interim Meetings Schedule

·    April 24-26

·    May 22-24 (Morgantown/West Virginia University)

·    June 12-14

·    July 24-26

·    September 11-13

·    November 13-15 (Cacapon State Park/Berkeley Springs)

·    December 5-6

·    January 8-10, 2023



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.






Hartman Harman Cosco, LLC | H2C Strategies | 1412 Kanawha Blvd., East , Charleston, WV 25301
Update Profile | Constant Contact Data Notice
Sent by scott@h2cstrategies.compowered by
Try email marketing for free today!