CHARLESTON, W.Va. — State lawmakers could end their brief special session Tuesday afternoon at the state capitol. Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin introduced six bills Monday, which lawmakers addressed quickly.

Most of the measures are cleanup from the 60-day regular session and a March 14 special session including funding for the state Courtesy Patrol program.

Tomblin administration Deputy Chief of Staff Jason Pizatella told lawmakers a bill to cap funding at $4.7 million for the Courtesy Patrol is aimed at creating flexibility from Lottery proceeds that go through the Tourism Promotion Fund.

“Now we don’t have any flexibility,” Pizatella said. “It’s 4-point-7 million no matter what it costs.”

The bill would take anything left of the $4.7 million amount to target tourism advertising including promoting of the state’s parks and forests.

Pizatella assured lawmakers there’s no attempt by the governor to get rid of the Courtesy Patrol.

“The governor is a supporter of the program and he wants to maintain it,” Pizatella said.

Another bill would make the state’s new minimum wage law apply to the minimum wage only. The bill lawmakers passed earlier this year had some unintended consequences when it came to federal rules for overtime. Failing to change the language could cost cities a lot of overtime money for workers, like firefighters, who work 24-hours shifts.

State Senate President Jeff Kessler said Monday on MetroNews Talkline he didn’t anticipate many problems with getting the governor’s agenda approved.

“It’s a relatively modest agenda. There’s no real major controversial issues on there. Mostly tweaks of legislation without getting into the merits of it,” Kessler said.

The House has a floor session scheduled for 11:30 Tuesday morning with the Senate set to come in at noon.

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Comments

  • Carmen Rutledge

    To continue to fund this Courtesy Patrol in the 21st Century is nothing short of lunacy. Of all the quality of life things this State could use, this falls very close to the bottom of a very long list.
    It will be funded, the State will remain 49th and 50th and lead the Nation only in misery.
    We're getting a Cracker Plant!

  • Excessive Spending

    I think the program is quite effecive; however, when initiated there were sets to any limits to management costs. In 2011 the executive director made nearly $250k and the COO made over $100k. Seems excessive...

  • Mister G!

    The Courtesy Patrol is a homegrown program, one that assists travelers in a non-partisan, Good Samaritan manner. Glad to see it continue...

    • DWL

      G, you might want to correct your statement. The current "Courtesy Patrol" evolved courtesy of Slick Willie. It was initially funded by the feds as part of the "welfare reform" bill passed under the Clinton tenure. The program required that the participants be willing to forgo their welfare to participate in the program.

  • The bookman

    I just love how we didn't have enough money to balance the budget in March, but somehow in May, after continuing to struggle with revenue streams into the state, we have $4.7M for state funded roadside assistance. We have spent over $70M on this luxury, and will continue to do so into the future. We could have built 5 state of the art high schools with the money. Priorities!

    • liberty4all

      While favoring less spending and smaller government, this is one government expenditure for which I agree. Like most things in politics, my views are formed due to personal experiences (you know, cut spending unless it is spending which I agree with or benefit from). When I lived out of state for a while I heard several people talk about how great the courtesy patrol was and how helpful it was to them and/or their families when they had instances of breakdowns or running out of gas. My own elderly father had a tire blow out on the interstate and thankfully the courtesy patrol was there to help him change his tire. The reality is we have a lot of fairly desolate areas (even with an interstate system). Also, when we usually hear nothing more than insults about us as a state and citizenry, it is nice to know that the courtesy patrols are out there helping the image others have of WV. I agree with cutting spending but this is an example of spending which positively impacts us all. Just my opinion.

    • ViennaGuy

      I think it should be funded out of the dog and horse-track subsidies. :-)