84th Legislature gets underway: 329 bills introduced first day

Members of the West Virginia Senate and House of Delegates began their 84th Legislature, Wednesday, January 9, at Noon. Delegate Robert Hanshaw, R-Clay, was elected Speaker of the House of Delegates and Senator Mitch Carmichael, R-Jackson, was elected Speaker of the Senate.

Apparently prepared to go to work, the upper chamber had 150 bills prepared for introduction the first day, while the House introduced 179 bills.

Lawmakers heard Revenue Secretary Dave Hardy present updated revenue projections. He said the state set a record with $184.9 million budget surplus in 2018, which can now be used throughout the state. Revenue officials also reported the 2019 general revenue is $185.9 million above estimates.

Mark Muchow, Deputy Revenue Secretary, told House members general revenues are projected to grow 13.5 percent the first half of 2019. “2018 was one of the best years we’ve seen in a decade, and we’re going to see a lot of growth in the construction and leisure and hospitality,” he said.

Muchow added the biggest expenditure to the state would not be the $50 million it would cost under the Governor’s plan to cut taxes for Social Security recipients, but the $150 million it would cost to dedicate enough money to PEIA.

West Virginia Pharmacists Association Executive Director Richard Stevens attended the first day’s session, met with Senators and Delegates and attended Governor Jim Justice’s State of the State Address.