CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The state Senate is scheduled to take a final vote Monday on a bill that would repeal a current section of state law that requires employers in some cases to post a bond for wages and benefits with the state Department of Labor.
Supporters of the bill (SB 224) say the current bond requirements are a hindrance to economic development but some senators argued Friday, during the bill’s amendment stage, removing the bond requirement would hurt workers who have been protected by it.
“It is our job as legislators to protect the people,” Sen. Doug Facemire (D-Braxton) said.
But Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Charles Trump said lawmakers have an equally important responsibility.
“We also have an obligation to pass legislation that allows people to start businesses in West Virginia without unreasonably expensive barriers. We need jobs in this state,” Trump said.
Trump said there is too much capital tied up with the state labor commissioner in the wage bonds. Current law relieves the employer of the bond after they’ve been in business in West Virginia for five years.
Sen. Glenn Jeffries (D-Putnam), himself a contractor, said the bill is a problem looking for a solution.
“I haven’t heard (anyone) in my 21 years of business say this is a problem. Maybe you have but I haven’t,” Jeffries.
He tried unsuccessfully to amend the bill to drop the bond requirement from five years to three years.
“The failure rate is in the first three years. It’s not an impediment on companies to opening up,” he said.
The bill is lined up for passage in the Republican-controlled Senate Monday.
“We need to promote economic development and this bill will do that,” Trump said.