CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Members of the House of Delegates and state Senate completed action Saturday night on two bills that generated the most discussion during the 60-day regular session.The bodies passed both the water protection bill and the fetal pain bill.
Senate Bill 373 is in direct response to the Jan. 9 chemical spill and water emergency. The bill calls for the establishment of an above ground storage facility regulatory program including annual inspections. The final hurdle was cleared Saturday when the Senate removed a House amendment that would exempted some tanks from a new fee.
The bill also requires an inventory of potential hazards upstream from water intake facilities.
Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin called it a thorough bill. He said the inventory and annual inspections came after a lot of input from House and Senate members.
“This will be a big help to anyone that’s taking water downstream to know what’s upstream, to be prepared to know in case of a particular chemical or substance does get into the water, what the affects will be,” Tomblin said.
The House of Delegates agreed with the changes the Senate made in the pro-life supported fetal pain bill, HB 4588, and passed the legislation 83-15. It bans abortions at the 20-week pregnancy mark.
Gov. Tomblin told MetroNews he hasn’t made a decision yet about the bill.
“I have not seen the final version, but listening to what the legislative committee counsels have advised the committees that it’s unconstitutional. So we’ll be looking at that,” Tomblin said.
Kanawha County Del. Meshea Poore, who is against the bill, tried to speak when it came back to the House for a final vote but House Speaker Tim Miley didn’t recognize her. He said he wasn’t allowing any delegates to speak on Senate messages because they were running out of time. Miley then called for a 20-minute recess.