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Senate to take up omnibus education bill — again — on Monday

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Senate President Mitch Carmichael says lawmakers will be back early next week to take up and pass an omnibus education bill.

“I look forward to calling us back in on Monday, perhaps would be the earliest,” Carmichael said today on MetroNews’ “Talkline.”

His office then confirmed that the Senate will reconvene at 5 p.m. Monday.

The omnibus education bill passed the House of Delegates earlier this week.

The bill includes a variety of proposed changes to the education system, including pay raises, charter schools, increased support personnel for schools, open enrollment, incentives to fill in-demand positions and financial support for small or struggling counties.

But the focus has been on a provision of the bill allowing charter schools in West Virginia.

The Senate, early this month, passed its own omnibus bill called the “Student Success Act.” But the House introduced its own version of the bill, so senators will have to fully consider that one.

That will present a choice about whether to vote to suspend rules to consider the bill in just one day, which would require approval of fourth fifths of the senators present — or whether to have a session of three days.

“We’ll be here three days if they don’t’ want to suspend the rules,” Carmichael said.

Senate Minority Leader Roman Prezioso, D-Marion, planned to talk with the rest of the Democratic caucus on Friday afternoon to get a feel on support for voting to suspend rules.

Prezioso had no doubt the bill will pass one way or another.

“It looks like it’s pretty well greased now,” he said on “Talkline.” “It’s going to happen, I don’t think there’s any doubt about it.”

Although the omnibus bill has received the focus, there are other bills to consider too.

The Governor’s Office introduced a variety of appropriations bills. The House passed those during the special session but spent some time discussing them and asking questions of agency leaders during Finance Committee meetings.

The House also passed a few standalone education bills that senators might need additional time to consider.

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