Legislative Record



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February 5, 2016 - Volume 36 Issue 4

Legislative Record

The less people know about how sausage and laws are made, the better they'll sleep at night” – Attributed to Otto von Bismarck (1815-1898), Prussian prime minister.


✓ First Day - January 13, 2016: First day of session. (WV Const. Art. VI, §18)

✓ Twentieth Day - February 1, 2016: Submission of Legislative Rule-Making Review bills due. (WV Code §29A-3-12)

Forty-first Day - February 22, 2016: Last day to introduce bills in the Senate. (Senate Rule 14), does not apply to originating or supplementary appropriation bills, and does not apply to Senate or House resolutions or concurrent resolutions.

Forty-second Day - February 23, 2016: Last day to introduce bills in the House. (House Rule 91a), does not apply to originating or supplementary appropriation bills, and does not apply to Senate or House resolutions or concurrent resolutions.

Forty-seventh Day - February 28, 2016: Bills due out of committees in house of origin to ensure three full days for readings.

Fiftieth Day - March 2, 2016: Last day to consider bill on third reading in house of origin. Does not include budget or supplementary appropriation bills. (Joint Rule 5b)

Sixtieth Day - March 12, 2016: Adjournment at Midnight. (WV Const. Art. VI, §22)

Source: West Virginia Legislure / http://www.legis.state.wv.us/Bulletin_Board/calendar_2015.cfm


By Howard O’Cull

Based on the Legislature's Calendar, February 28 - the 47th day of the 2016 West Virginia legislative session -  bills are due out of committee in the house of origin in order to ensure three full days for readings (50th Day of the Session which is March 2).

This is based on the Legislature's  Joint Rule 5 (b) which states, “(b) No bill or joint resolution shall be considered on third reading in its house of origin after the fiftieth day, unless authorization shall be granted by a concurrent resolution adopted by a two-thirds vote of the members present of both houses: Provided, That the Budget Bill, or any salary or supplementary appropriation bills, may be considered at any time.” 

Origin of the Rule dates to 1987 when the original Joint Rule 5 was adopted by the Legislature through an effort largely led by then Monongalia Senator Mike Oliverio, D-Monongalia.

The modified Rule required the filing of governor's bills with the House and Senate clerks by the 10th day of the regular session. It also established the cutoff date for consideration of bills in their house of origin by the 53rd day, which is March 2 this year.

To date, 2 bills  have been reported from the Senate Education and 8 bills have been reported from House Education – that does not include bills adopted late this week which have yet to be reported.

In the 2015 regular session, Senate Education reported 31 bills/resolutions.  House Education adopted 48 bills/resolutions. (The governor vetoed 6 of those bills – 2 Senate bills and 4 House bills.)

This means the bulk of committee work will occur between now and February 28. While that is no surprise, the Rule effectively means legislation having double committee references needs to clear the committee of first reference within the next several days.

Application of the Rule also means, for all practical purposes, the Legislature has developed a mechanism emphasizing the importance of early introduction of bills – hence introduction of the governor’s bills by the 10th legislative day.

I mention all this because the Legislature’s “heavy-lifting” will occur within the next 24 days in terms of committee work. Indeed, the Rule works to discipline the two Houses so that legislation from the house of origin is not intermingled with that from the other body as was the case several years ago.

Thus, the 47th day of the session becomes the critical date for considering legislation.

Howard M. O’Cull, Ed.D., is executive director of the West Virginia School Board Association


Bill Status

Editor’s Note: The “Bill Status” will be updated and published in the February 12, 2016, issue of The Legislature.