Last updated: March 10. 2014 9:26AM - 795 Views
From the desk of Delegate Jeff Eldridge

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With only one week left in the regular session, the House is hard at working ensuring we pass quality legislation for the people of West Virginia. It has been almost two months since the chemical leak in the Elk River that caused the water crisis for 300,000 West Virginians, yet we are still feeling the affects.

Senate Bill 373, or the Water Resources Protection bill, was passed in the Senate and was introduced in the House at the end of January. The bill was referred to the Health and Human Resources Committee, a committee of which I sit, and was amended over 20 times. The Judiciary Committee is currently deliberating the bill and after they pass it, it will then move to the Finance Committee. This bill is instrumental in ensuring the future safety of our water resources and our people. The bill provides regulation requirements and exceptions for aboveground storage tanks. The legislation is likely to be taken up the last week of the session.

Last week House Bill 4309 was passed in the House and introduced in the Senate. The bill provides that a person with a valid concealed deadly weapons license would be allowed to store their firearm in their car out of plain sight while parked on State Capitol Complex grounds. I sponsored this bill and am proud of its passage of the House and have high hopes for its passage in the Senate.

The House also passed House Bill 4588, protecting unborn children who are capable of experiencing pain after twenty weeks. The bill is a result of legislative findings that found unborn children can experience pain after 20 weeks because that part of the brain is developed. The bill allows for exceptions after 20 weeks for medical emergencies of the mother. I believe this bill will protect unborn children from unnecessary trauma and pain. I have high hopes for the bill as it now goes to the Senate for further consideration. I will keep you updated on the bills progress.

As the session wraps up here at the Legislature, the House is still working hard to complete quality legislation for the people of our great state of West Virginia. Although, the House is only considering bills that passed out of the Senate and vice versa, we continue to monitor House Bills progress in the Senate.

The Water Resources Protection Bill, or Senate Bill 373, was passed unanimously in the House last week. The bill was drafted in response to the chemical leak into the Elk River in the beginning of January, and regulates aboveground storage tanks that hold contents other than water. The Senate passed the bill in late January and House committees have been diligently working to pass the best quality legislation. The quality and protection of water resources in West Virginia is our first priority and we continue to amend the bill to ensure its strength and resilience.

At the beginning of the session I introduced House Concurrent Resolution 91, that expressed concerns over the Environmental Protection Agency’s plans to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, to the President of the United States. Unfortunately the resolution never left committee, but I am the co-sponsor on House Resolution 13, which completed legislation last week. House Resolution 13 essentially is the same as the concurrent resolution I introduced in February. This resolution urges the United States Environmental Protection Agency to allow states to set regulations on carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants. West Virginia should have the authority to regulate carbon dioxide emissions within the state.

The Senate passed Senate Bill 317 last week and is now under consideration in the House Judiciary Committee. Currently municipalities can’t use the Municipal Home Rule Pilot Program if the municipality has its own firearm laws. This bill would qualify all municipalities for the pilot program because it takes away municipal authority to establish firearm laws. Therefore, under this provision, firearm laws would be uniform through-out the state.

Two House Bills are under consideration in the Senate Judiciary Committee after passage from the House last week. House Bill 4309 would allow a person with a valid concealed deadly weapon’s license keep a firearm out of plain sight inside of their car on the State Capitol Complex grounds. House Bill 4501 would allow law-enforcement officers to carry firearms on school grounds while employed as a school security guard.

I will continue to keep you updated on my role in the West Virginia House of Delegates. As always, I would like to encourage you to contact me with questions and concerns as your participation in the legislative process is important. You can contact me by e-mail at jeff.eldridge@wvhouse.gov. Also, you can contact me via phone, at (304) 340-3113.

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