MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – State lawmakers are reviewing progress from the 2022 legislative session and making plans for a special session later this year.
On WAJR’s Talk of the Town Delegate Barbara Fleischauer, D-Monongalia, said Democrats marked progress by stopping what she referred to as bad legislation.
“What we accomplished in my mind, was done mostly accomplished in the last night of the session- we killed some terrible bills,” Fleischauer said.
Fleischauer said the effort to reduce the length of time unemployment benefits would be available would have hurt seasonal workers especially hard. Senate Bill 2 would have tied the allowed number of weekly unemployment payments to be tied to the unemployment rate. The proposal would also reduce the maximum benefit period from 26 weeks to 20 weeks.
Another, House Bill 4840 would have changed the mission of the Office of Miner’s Health and Safety and Training from enforcement to an assisting mine operators and transition to other compliance methods.
“It would have taken the word “enforcement” out of the bill and the word “investigate” and call it a visit,” Fleischauer said. “So, I thought it should have been called the Mine Visit Bill.”
On suspending the 35.7 cent per gallon gas tax for 30 days Fleischauer insists the governor not not only has the legal authority to do it, but he can also fund it.
“He’s sitting on something he’s been bragging about- a $1 billion surplus,” Fleischauer said. “This would be a small part of what he’s been hoarding because we got the money from the federal government.”
Fleischauer co-sponsored House Bill 4252, a effort to cap insulin and equipment costs for diabetic patients. According to Fleischauer, several amendments were added on the last day of the session and passed out of the Senate. There wasn’t enough time to review and vet the amendments, but she said there is still a chance to get the legislation through this year.
“I’m anticipating some special sessions. We know we’re going to have one probably in June,” Fleischauer said. “It was a bipartisan bill and I think it makes sense to make request to put a clean diabetes bill on the agenda.”
Delegate Fleischauer also said Republicans appear to favor corporate tax breaks over helping less fortunate families. Cutting the personal income tax could harm several vital state programs.
“I think it’s more complicated to make a personal income tax cut because it is so tied to funding so many programs like Child Protective Services,” Fleischauer said. “We have 7,000 children in the foster care system.”