Heading into Week 8, An update on our Bills

We made it through Crossover Day and with just eight days left to go, we’re down to just a few bills left to monitor! Here is a rundown of our remaining bills and where they are currently located.

 

House Bills

 

HB2779: Providing that proceeds from certain oil and gas wells to persons whose name or address are unknown are to be kept in a special fund – Senate Judiciary. This bill provides a means for royalties due to unknown or unlocatable mineral owners after seven years. The money is held in county court for seven years and then it goes into the reclamation fund for plugging wells. 

 

HB2673: Creating the Oil and Gas Abandoned Well Plugging Fund – Senate Energy, Industry, and Mining. This bill provides an exemption to the 5% severance tax for gas wells producing less than 10 barrels a day, while instead charging a 2.5% fee on the product that goes directly into a fund use to plug orphaned wells. 

 

HB3142: Relating to reducing the severance tax on thermal or steam coal.- Senate Finance. This bill drops the 5% severance tax on coal to 3% over the next two years, resulting in a loss of $60m annually for West Virginia. 

 

HB3144: North Central Appalachian Coal Severance Tax Rebate Act. – Senate Finance. This bill provides a rebate for coal companies who purchase new equipment for use. 

 

Senate Bills

 

SB163: Authorizing DEP promulgate legislative rules – House Floor. This is the Rules bundle with 7 air rules and the 1 contentious water quality standards rule. We are still holding out hope to have the DEP’s 60 recommendations for Human Health Criteria to be amended into the bill

 

SB491: Extending effective date for voter registration in conjunction with driver licensing. – House Floor. This bill is in conjunction with the Motor Voter law passed a few years ago regarding Automatic Voter Registration at the DMV, though the DMV is not currently ready to implement the system. 

 

SB236: Providing notice of eligibility to persons to vote after completion of punishment or pardon – House Judiciary. This bill notifies felons of their re-eligibility to vote, as many are unaware they are eligible after their punishment is complete, including parole. 

 

SB266: Creating Intermediate Court of Appeals and WV Appellate Review Organization Act of 2019. This bill broadens bureaucracy and allows lawyers to add years to the appeals process through a new layer of courts beneath the Supreme Court to the tune of ~$10m each year. 

 

SB404: Relating generally to sediment control during commercial timber harvesting operations – House Judiciary. This bill increases the threshold limit that loggers would need a license to operate. 

 

SB415: Creating Timber Cotenancy Modernization and Majority Protection Act and Unknown and Unlocated Timber Interest Owners Act. – House Judiciary. This bill is oil & gas cotenancy but for timber. It requiring 75% of landowners to be consenting and pay the non-consenting parties the highest royalty (for 7 or more owners). 

 

SB147: Shifting funding from Landfill Closure Assistance Fund to local solid waste authorities. – House Finance This bill seeks to continue the funding of landfills through the landfill closure assistance fund, as well as provide money to solid waste authority for other programs. 

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