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Numerous Opportunities in 2008 Legislative Interim Committee Studies
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by Jim Kotcon | 2008

Just because the legislature is NOT in session does not mean there is some good work, and not-so-good work, being done by our local elected representatives!

The WV Legislature meets every winter for a 60-day session, but also holds interim meetings the other months. Most years, these are laid-back affairs, with opportunities for a committee to study an issue in depth, but little real progress happens.

Toward the end of the 2008 session, the WVEC lobby team helped get sponsors for several study resolutions. Much to our surprise, we got almost everything we asked for — and more! In fact, this is the most ambitious list of study assignments we have ever seen. There are several topics relating to energy, from studying impacts of climate change, to green building codes, to carbon sequestration, and coal-to-liquids. There is an expanded bottle bill study (reducing all volume of litter, etc.), a judicial elections study, several oil and gas topics including the surface owners’ rights bill, a couple of studies of the rule-making review process, several minor water resources studies, and several interesting tax topics. They will again be looking at funding the Special Reclamation Fund, and there is a study of Chesapeake Bay restoration. They even authorized Senator Hunter’s proposal for a study of the “Economic and Environmental Impact of the Coal Industry.”

So there it is. This is a huge opportunity for us, but will require much more effort than simply sending one person to three days of Interim meetings each month to take notes. In most cases, the Committees will prepare a “consensus bill” that is likely to pass during the next session.

Waiting until 2009 is not an option. We need volunteers now who will attend these sessions, become familiar with the issues, and work with legislators to assure a balanced outcome on each of these topics. Don Garvin, WVEC’s Lobby Coordinator, is offering training sessions each month, and the schedule is posted on the Legislature’s web page. Detailed agendas usually come out the week before the meetings, so be prepared.

For more details, or to get involved in any of these issues, contact Jim Kotcon, 594-3322 or e-mail jkotcon@wvu.edu

Joint Commission on Economic Development:
HCR 28 Study the development of clean coal technologies such as coal liquefaction

HB 3188 Creating a means by which effectiveness of economic development incentives can be measured
Study of the Economic and Environmental Impact of the Coal Industry

Legislative Oversight Commission on Health and Human Resources Accountability:
Study the Public Health Impact of DEP Rules Joint Standing Committee on Government Organization
HCR 87 Study of the adoption of green building standards

HCR 95 Study of the law governing the Board of Registration for Foresters

HCR 113 Study of the impact of climate change

HB 4525 Weatherization Program under the Department of Energy


Joint Legislative Oversight Commission on StateWater Resources
HCR 84 Study to improve the state’s efforts to better promote the availability of safe drinking water projects funding

HCR 110 Study mitigation practices and resources in wetland areas

HCR 115 Study easibilityofrequiring residential, business and industrial water connections along newly established waterlines


Joint Standing Committee on Judiciary
SCR 11 Study sequestration of greenhouse gases

SCR 57 Study the administration and enforcement of oil and gas wells relating to the rights of surface owners

SCR 69 Study judicial elections

SCR 78 Study impact of Chesapeake Bay restoration

SCR 90 Study severance tax effects on natural gas and oil industry

HCR 14 Study feasibility of requiring legislative rules to be filed electronically

HCR 77 Study the existing law and regulation of oil and gas drilling by the State of West Virginia regarding the balance of existing rights between surface owners and operators and what mechanisms now exist or can be enacted in law so that the rights of both parties and the public are recognized

HCR 114 Study of litter and landfill avoidance, beverage container recycling and litter control systems

Study of Alternate Process for Rule-Making Review

Joint Standing Committee on Finance
Study of Short and Long Term State Water and Sewer Infrastructure Needs MonitorWater Trust Fund and new reclamation fund tax

 

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