CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A bill that would increase prison time in West Virginia for those convicted of drug conspiracy crimes will get a review from the Senate Finance Committee following a floor debate Friday.
The bill (SB 219) was originally only referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee, which passed the bill and reported it to the full Senate. During Friday’s floor session, Finance Committee Chairman Mike Hall (R-Putnam) asked the bill be sent to his committee to review the financial implications of the measure. The motion was originally turned down on a 15-18 vote which sparked a debate.
“This is a simple common courtesy,” Senate Minority Leader Roman Prezioso (D-Marion), a member of the Finance Committee said. “There’s no way we’re going to kill the bill.”
Senator Bob Plymale (D-Wayne) echoed Prezioso’s comments.
“Never in the time that I’ve been here has a finance chair (been rejected) when he’s asked (to review a bill),” Plymale said.
After a brief recess the Senate reversed its vote and sent the bill to the Finance Committee. Judiciary Committee Chairman Charlie Trump (R-Morgan) made the motion to reconsider.
Hall said he’s not trying to be contrary. He said he believes the bill could technically could have a fiscal impact on counties and municipalities because more inmates would be in the regional jails. He said a second look at the bill won’t hurt.
“If it goes through both major committees, all members have seen it and they’ve engaged it and that’s not a bad thing in my opinion,” Hall said.