85th Legislature Scorecard

The West Virginia Chamber is pleased to present its Scorecard for the 1st General Session of the 85th West Virginia Legislature. Over 20 bills that have an impact on economic development, job creation and education outcomes were used to create this annual scorecard. Members of the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce participated in a thorough vetting of these issues, and helped provide guidance on the "weight" each vote should have on a legislator's final score.

To read a description of each bill that is "scored," please click the dropdown for that item. To view the scorecard, please click the button below.

 

 

Education Bills

 

SB 14 provides additional options for college-educated individuals to be alternatively certified to teach in public schools. Currently there are approximately 800 classroom vacancies in West Virginia for certified teachers. SB 14 seeks to provide local school districts additional options to ensure students are receiving needed instruction. The West Virginia Chamber supported SB 14.


SB 375 makes it easier for students to attend a school district outside of the district in which they live. The bill also clarifies that state aid funding for that student follows the student, helping to ensure that school systems gaining the student receive the funds necessary for their education. The West Virginia Chamber supported SB 375.


HB 2012 expands the number of allowed public charter schools in West Virginia from three to ten. The bill also adds an additional public charter school authorizing body, meaning that county boards of education or the West Virginia Professional Charter School Board can authorize a public charter. The West Virginia Chamber of Commerce strongly supported HB 2012, and this bill was "double weighted" in the scorecard.


HJR 1 was the Education Accountability Amendment of 2021. This constitutional amendment would have given the voters of West Virginia the option of requiring that all rules promulgated by the West Virginia Department of Education and the West Virginia Board of Education be submitted to the Legislature for rulemaking review and approval. The amendment passed the House of Delegates with strong bi-partisan support, but was not brought to a vote in the Senate due to lacking the necessary 2/3 support. The West Virginia Chamber strongly supported HJR 1, and this resolution was "triple weighted" in the scorecard.


 

Economic Development & Tourism Bills

 

SB 272 provides clarity for employees and employers in establishing employee or contractor relationships. This is an important law in facilitating the rise of the "gig economy" in West Virginia. The West Virginia Chamber supported SB 272.


SB 295 gives the Broadband Enhancement Council the ability to provide loan insurance to broadband providers in West Virginia who obtain private loans for the purposes of expanding broadband connectivity. The West Virginia Chamber supported SB 295.


SB 344 continues the historic preservation tax credit for projects seeking to renovate and restore historic buildings throughout West Virginia. Incentivizing the preservation of these structures is vital to thriving communities in our state. The West Virginia Chamber supported SB 344.


HB 2001 is titled the "Jumpstart Savings Plan" and provides a tax-free savings program for individuals who have received vocational or trades training. This savings program can be utilized to save for tools, supplies, or the costs of starting one's own business. This bill was an initiative led by State Treasurer Riley Moore. The West Virginia Chamber supported HB 2001.


HB 2002 was the main broadband legislation of the 2021 Session. This bill seeks to clear hurdles for private companies working to expand broadband into all corners of West Virginia. The bill also facilitates involvement of public utilities in order to run high-speed internet fiber across the state. The West Virginia Chamber supported HB 2002.


HB 2019 elevates the Departments of Economic Development and Tourism to cabinet level positions. This bill also elevates the directors of these two departments to cabinet secretaries. The West Virginia Chamber supported HB 2019.


HB 2025 was an omnibus bill that modernizes "blue laws" in West Virginia. HB 2025 codifies many of the executive orders implemented by the Governor during the COVID-19 pandemic that sought to assist restaurants and entertainment venues. The bill also brings West Virginia into line with many other states in how alcohol is treated in the law . The West Virginia Chamber supported HB 2025.


 

Good Government Bills

 

SB 11 clarifies that public employees do not have a right to engage in a work stoppage. This has been the case for decades in West Virginia and SB 11 provides some clarity on the subject. The West Virginia Chamber supported SB 11.


PEIA is the health insurance plan for many public employees in West Virginia. SB 398 will prevent any public employers who do not currently utilize PEIA from accessing PEIA coverage in the future. Since PEIA's reimbursement rates are low, this is designed to help prevent a further cost-shift to private insurance and to keep PEIA stable for current enrollees. The West Virginia Chamber supported SB 398.


 

Legal Reform Bills

 

SB 275 creates an intermediate appellate court in West Virginia. Before the passage of this bill, West Virginia was the largest state by nearly 500,000 people to not have this layer of judiciary. The West Virginia Chamber has been an advocate for this court for well over a decade. The West Virginia Chamber strongly supported SB 275, and this bill was "triple weighted" in the scorecard.


SB 277 is the COVID-19 liability reform legislation and was identified by Chamber members as the most needed bill of the session. SB 277 gives employers a liability shield if they are operating safely and responsible. Providing this protection is crucial to the economic recovery as we emerge from the pandemic. SB 277 was the top priority of the West Virginia Chamber for the 2021 Session, and this bill was "quintuple weighted" in the scorecard.


SB 439 makes evidence of seatbelt use admissible in court to mitigate damages awards in civil actions and in product liability cases. The bill also contains some circumstances where the evidence remains inadmissible. The West Virginia Chamber supported SB 439.


 

Tax

 

HB 2026 is a bill designed to encourage more remote work in West Virginia. The first provision of the bill incorporates uniform language to provide a 30-day window before an out-of state worker would owe Personal Income Taxes to West Virginia. This would only apply to out of state workers if their state of residence provides the same courtesy. HB 2026 also adopts a single-sales factor form of taxation. The West Virginia Chamber strongly supported this legislation and worked to improve the language related to the mobile workforce section. This bill was "triple weighted" in the scorecard.


HB 2581 allows natural resource producers the ability to calculate the actual costs of getting the product to market. The bill also implements a West Virginia Supreme Court decision to fairly tax natural gas, oil, and natural gas liquids. The West Virginia Chamber supported HB 2581.


HB 3300 originated in the House of Delegates as an estimated 12-year phaseout of West Virginia's Personal Income Tax. The West Virginia Chamber supported that version of the legislation. The West Virginia Senate amended and passed HB 3300, but with a faster phaseout in exchange for several tax increases opposed by the Chamber's membership. The West Virginia House of Delegates voted 0-100 to reject concurrence on the Senate amendments. The West Virginia Chamber opposed HB 3300 as amended by The Senate.


HJR 3 is a constitutional amendment that, if approved by the voters, will give the Legislature the power to control various tangible personal property taxes in West Virginia. These taxes are currently enshrined in the West Virginia Constitution, placing our state at a competitive disadvantage with other states. The resolution received strong bi-partisan support in the Legislature and will be on the ballot in November 2022. The West Virginia Chamber strongly supported HJR 3, and this bill was "triple weighted" in the scorecard..


For information or questions about the scorecard, please email Brian Dayton at bdayton@wvchamber.com