CHARLESTON, W.Va. — House Speaker Roger Hanshaw says delegates will consider an omnibus education bill passed by the state Senate as well as individual bills when a special session resumes next week.
He made no guarantee the omnibus bill would pass and suggested it will be subject to amendment by delegates.
“We don’t have enough votes to pass it. I think the House has been very clear we don’t have enough votes to pass it as the Senate sent it over,” Hanshaw said.
But, he later added, “We are giving consideration to the work of the Senate. We’re not going to be irresponsible here. We owe it to our colleagues to do that. But we also have our own work product to consider.”
The House is set to return to special session at 8:30 a.m. Monday. Delegates are to break into four select committees to consider education bills.
Hanshaw, appearing today on MetroNews’ “Talkline,” indicated the omnibus bill passed by the Senate last week will be considered first.
He suggested the end product could be something like a bill the House passed during the regular session. That one included a limited number of pilot charter schools. The House passed that version before the entire bill wound up collapsing later in the regular session.
“Do we save ourselves some time? Do we save the taxpayers some time by getting the Student Success Act a little closer to what we did?” Hanshaw asked.
Hanshaw indicated enough support for charter schools likely remains in the House to pass.
“I expect by the time we finish up next week you’ll see some movement on charter school authorization by both houses. It’s already been done once.”
Another controversial aspect of the Senate bill is a provision to clarify in state code that strikes by educators are illegal. That provision was amended into the bill by the Senate with supporters saying it reflects rulings in the state court system.
“As we understand it, that is the law. That is the law today,” Hanshaw said.
But, Hanshaw said, “I’m not a big fan of what lawyers call ‘Yes we really meant it’ provisions. I would not be surprised if the House took action to remove that portion of the bill.”
Hanshaw said delegates are sensitive to the duration and cost of the special session. He said the House will wrap it up within a week.
“We’ll be there until we’ve finished,” he said. But he added, “We’ll either get it done this week or not.”
— MetroNews (@WVMetroNews) June 13, 2019
House Democrats this week called for the special session to come to an end. They have said the session has gotten off track and is unlikely to be salvaged.
House Minority Leader Tim Miley, D-Harrison, said conversations about education should continue through the fall with consideration of legislation resuming during the regular session.
“It’s clear to me that if you had a plan that people would rally around and would have overwhelming bipartisan support we could get in and get out in a fairly quick fashion to limit what expense if any it would cost the taxpayer,” Miley said on “Talkline.”
“But it appears to me, based upon what has transpired since the end of the regular session — up to and including the recent comments by Senate Republican leadership that we are going to reach an impasse because the governor has come out and clearly stated where he stands on the issues contained in the omnibus bill.”
.@TimMileyWV speaks with @HoppyKercheval about the ongoing special session, his call to end it, accusation of wasteful spending by Republicans. WATCH: https://t.co/wkudfIAoe1 pic.twitter.com/c2i8f7gKJo
— MetroNews (@WVMetroNews) June 12, 2019
Speaking on “Radio Roundtable” on WJLS, Delegate Mick Bates suggested it’s likely the special session could collapse after a couple of days next week.
“I think the Senate bill that passed, omnibus bill 2, is not taken up or dies an ugly death,” said Bates, D-Raleigh. “I think we spend two days talking about these things going nowhere and we punt; we recess again. I hope we do better than that.”
Governor Justice has suggested for the past couple of weeks that he’s concerned about the path that the special session has taken, specifying some reservations about the omnibus bill.
On Wednesday the governor told the Charleston Gazette-Mail that he would take a wait-and-see approach to next week.
“If we get to where we’re just batting stuff back and forth, that’s not beneficial,” Justice told the newspaper.