West Virginia legislature approves Justice’s bill amendments, including on education

(The Center Square) – The West Virginia House and Senate approved Gov. Jim Justice’s amendments on bills that addressed economic development, expanding education options, combating unemployment insurance fraud and other issues during a special session this week.

Senate Bill 2001 ends the revolving loan from the Board of Treasury Investments to the Economic Development Authority and directs the Board of Treasury Investments to make a revolving loan available to the Department of Transportation. This bill creates a special revenue fund to receive loan money.

The legislature also approved Senate Bill 2009, which establishes alternative educational opportunities for elective course credits. It directs the Board of Education to develop a program in which students can get these course credits outside of traditional classroom settings.

House Bill 217 allocates $250 million worth of Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Fund money to various boards and commissions.

Another bill, Senate Bill 2005, reauthorizes Workforce West Virginia to create an Unemployment Compensation Insurance Fraud Unit and provide training and experience requirements for those investigating unemployment fraud.

Senate Bill 2013 establishes criminal penalties for operating an aircraft while under the influence of alcohol, controlled substances or drugs.

In addition to approving these bills, the legislature confirmed all 21 of the governor’s nominations.

Some legislative Democrats were critical of the governor’s legislative agenda because it did not include a consideration of their proposal to provide relief from the gasoline tax. They also criticized him for not including legislation that would establish a stricter cap on insulin prices and a foster care reform bill. Only the governor can add legislation to the agenda.