March 2 Legislative Update


Today is the 23rd day of the 60-day regular session of the West Virginia Legislature. Throughout the session, we keep you updated on “popular” or “hot topics.” More importantly, we ask for your assistance in advocating for legislation that the Chamber believes will help the Mountain State be more competitive when it comes to recruiting new investments and jobs, as well as policies that enable our small businesses and communities to flourish.

Recent state budget discussions have included the elimination of the West Virginia Film Office and the film investment credit. The office has a modest staff of three that helps to recruit productions to the state. When that is successful, crews spend money locally, generating more income and tax revenue. More work builds a local industry of technicians. The multiplier effect fills hotel rooms and restaurants and supports catering operations. The Chamber is advocating for the protection of this credit and state initiative to support an industry that creates and sustains jobs in our local community and those across the state.

The Chamber is also following a number of bills of interest. With this legislative update, we aim to highlight bills that are on the move. Please contact us if there is legislative action you suggest we should investigate and track.

SB 173 – Would create an exemption for the operation of autocycles. It would allow individuals to operate autocycles with a valid driver’s license, but not require them to obtain a motorcycle license or wear a helmet. The bill is currently in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

SB 238 – Would increase the tax credits allowed for rehabilitation of certified historic structures from 10 percent to 25 percent of rehabilitation expenditures. The bill is currently in the Senate Finance Committee. The Charleston Regional Chamber of Commerce supports increasing the West Virginia Historic Tax Credit in order to spur private investment, create jobs, repurpose vacant and underutilized historic buildings and provide West Virginia with a positive return on investment. Neighboring states, including Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Virginia, all have 25 percent historic rehabilitation tax credits. For more information about this proposed legislation, read the Chamber’s white paper supporting the state historic tax credit.

SB 341 – Would establish the WV business growth in low-income communities tax credit (aka “New Markets Jobs Act”). The goal of this bill is to stimulate investment into low income rural and urban areas by offering a tax credit up to 15 percent for qualified investments. The bill is currently in the Senate Finance Committee.

SB 222 – Would disqualify an individual from earning unemployment compensation if they are unable to work due to a strike or other bona fide labor dispute. The bill provides that a lockout by an employer is not a disqualifying event. The bill passed the Senate and has been single referenced to the House Judiciary Committee.

SB 330 – Provides technical corrections to the “WV Workplace Freedom Act” (Right to Work) definitions and repeals a provision regarding the Act’s statutory construction. The bill also provides for retroactive application of the changed provisions. The bill passed the Senate this week and will be taken up by the House thereafter.

SB 236 – Limits the award of damages for Medical Monitoring legal actions to only those tests or monitoring related to a presently existing and diagnosable disease caused by a defendant. The bill is currently on third reading in the Senate with a right to amend.