–Supporters of the proposed development near Morgantown that will include a new WVU baseball stadium as well as office and retail space are getting nervous. The bill that creates the tax increment financing program for the development has been hung up in the House Judiciary Committee. But Senate President Jeff Kessler, a big supporter of the project, continues to insist that he’s confident the bill will pass before the midnight deadline. Judiciary Chairman Tim Miley says he’ll put the TIF bill on the agenda today.
–House Minority Leader Tim Armstead was displeased with a compromise on the Governor’s prison reform bill, which has passed the Senate and is now moving in the House of Delegates. Armstead objects to a provision that allows nonviolent offenders to enter a supervised release program six months before their sentence is up. Look for Armstead to propose amendments to the bill on the House floor. Despite Armstead’s objections, the bill could still get as many as 30 Republican votes, I’m told.
–Many legislative observers are wondering just how a bill authorizing a Pendleton County vote on whether to allow a gambling casino has made it as far as it has. The bill passed the Senate and has even gotten some traction in the House, which is more resistant to gambling bills. House Finance Committee Chairman Harry Keith White holds the key. If he does not put the bill on his agenda today, it’s dead.
–At the start of the session, supporters of a tougher seat belt law did not give their bill much chance for passage. However, the bill making it a primary offense for not buckling up cleared the House and is on track for passage in the Senate today. The legislation allows the police to stop you for not wearing your seat belt.
–Republican U.S. Senate candidate, Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito has at least one Primary Election challenger for 2014. Former West Virginia House of Delegates member Pat McGeehan has announced his candidacy. The Hancock County Air Force veteran says he’s running because he believes “West Virginians deserve a constitutional conservative choice for U.S. Senate,” but his candidacy is an extreme long shot.
–Two-time Republican Gubernatorial candidate Bill Maloney was making the rounds at the State Capitol Tuesday. Maloney was in Charleston to judge a student business ethics competition and stopped by for an appearance on Talkline. Maloney, who lost two gubernatorial races to Governor Earl Ray Tomblin, says he has not ruled out another run for office, but right now he’s enjoying private life and, in particular, a new grandchild.
–An estimated 300 people rallied at the State Capitol Tuesday in support of more funding for the Medicaid Waiver program. That program uses state and federal money to pay for in-home health care for West Virginians who would otherwise have to go to nursing homes. The advocates say the program saves taxpayers money because it keeps people out of more expensive institutional care. Nearly 2,000 people are currently on the waiting list.