LB 2009 - 2
February 23, 2009
Two weeks into the legislative session and nearly 1100 bills have been introduced. The House has introduced about 770, and the Senate nearly 330. In his State of the State Address, Gov. Joe Manchin discussed changes he wanted to see to the state’s judicial system. Speaking at the WV Chamber of Commerce’s Legislative Briefing, Jim Pitrolo, legislative director for the administration, provided details about the governor’s plan to form a special commission to examine the issue. “There’s a clear realization by the administration that the state’s judicial system doesn’t get good rankings by national groups, and this is a deterrent to attracting business,” he said. “While the governor has talked about non-partisan election of judges and believes everyone should have a right to an appeal, there wasn’t enough time nor consensus to develop any legislation on either of these,” Pitrolo explained. The state chamber reported that the study group will focus on “the entire breadth of the state’s judicial system,” and will include representation from the judicial system, labor, business and outside experts.
Leading the governor’s legal team is Jonathan Deem who was promoted to general counsel. He replaces Carte Goodwin who recently left after four years in the post. Deem has served as deputy general counsel since October 2007. During grad school at West Virginia University, he worked part-time as a law clerk for Jackson Kelly in Morgantown. He continued to work there as an associate for eighteen months after his graduation. “It’s a great feeling coming to work every day knowing you will be challenged intellectually and physically,” Deem noted.
A legislative interim committee has been studying whether green building standards should be required when building new state office buildings. The CAWV has noted that if the state wants to include green building standards, the additional cost to meet those standards needs to be determined and legislators must account for this when budgeting capital improvement projects. The interim committee did not recommend last week to introduce green building legislation. The committee asked for more time to determine if an agreement could be reached on what should be included in any proposed legislation.
WVDOH DESIGN-BUILD PILOT PROGRAM EXTENSION BILL INTRODUCED
H.B. 2753 was introduced today in the House. The bill continues the West Virginia Division of Highway’s design-build pilot program for another three years. The bill would give the WVDOH the ability to do 10 design-build projects with an aggregate total of $150 million over three years. The WVDOH did three projects under the current pilot program, including projects on Route 35, Route 2 and a project which bundled six bridges in District 2. The CAWV/ACEC Design-Build Task Force has been meeting with WVDOH officials to develop a continuation of the pilot program. WVDOH wants the ability to use Design-Build when appropriate. Industry is agreeable to continuing the pilot program to determine the best use for bidding and awarding Design-Build projects. The bill introduced today does not reflect the latest agreement between WVDOH and industry. The bill will be amended in committee to reflect changes made by WVDOH and the task force. The legislation extends the pilot program through June 30, 2011 and details 10 projects totaling $150 million. Specific projects that are earmarked in future federal legislation would be over and above the 10 projects outlined in the bill. The mechanics of bidding and awarding Design-Build projects will be covered in a separate document. The WVDOH and task force have been developing policies and procedures for WVDOH and Design-Build teams to follow. The procedures must be agreed to before the WVDOH can move forward with the next design-build project. It is expected an agreement on the bill and the policies and procedures will be finalized this week.
SECOND MANDATORY HEALTH INSURANCE BILL INTRODUCED
A second bill mandating contractors working on public works construction contracts to provide health insurance to employees has been introduced in the House. H.B. 2478, introduced by Dels. Perdue, Hatfield, Caputo, Boggs, Fleischauer, Poling, Klempa, Martin, Ellem and Staggers, is similar to legislation introduced last year, and is similar to H.B. 2427. H.B. 2478 is referred to Health and Human Resources and then Judiciary. The CAWV has noted that every state that has passed a mandatory health bill has had it overturned because of ERISA regulations. Recent bills have been second referenced to the House Government Organization Committee. This bill has been double referenced to the House Judiciary Committee. Members will be asked to contact their delegates to oppose this bill.
SENATE COMMITTEE PROMOTES BONDING PROPOSAL THROUGH LOTTERY FUNDS
S.B. 251 authorizes the issuance of revenue bonds for public projects. Its purpose is to promote economic development by authorizing county commissions, municipalities, and/or boards of educations that receive lottery revenues to issue bonds secured by such lottery revenues to finance or refinance public construction projects. Under this bill, the governmental agency may pledge all or any part of the lottery revenues for the payment of the principal of an interest on such lottery revenue bonds. This is the premise of the bill passed last year that allows the School Building Authority to transfer the $19 million it received from lottery proceeds for pay-as-you-go projects to be used as debt service on bonds. The bill is referred to the Senate Committee on Government Organization with a second reference to Finance.
BILLS EXPECTED TO CHANGE HOW PUBLIC AGENCIES PROCURE A/E SERVICES
The administration is expected to introduce legislation that will switch from the Qualifications Based Selection (QBS) method for selecting architectural and engineering services to a method that closely resembles the low bid method of procurement. Architects and engineers have been meeting with administration officials to promote the continuation of QBS which is required for federal projects and 48 states, including West Virginia. Gov. Manchin and administration officials have publicly questioned why price should not be a consideration for the selection of A/E services. West Virginia’s architectural and engineering communities have worked to protect the portion of West Virginia state code (5G) which spells out how public agencies procure A/E services. The American Council of Engineering Companies, ACEC-WV, has put information on its website outlining the QBS selection process. This information is available at www.wvengineers.com and then going to ACEC’s QBS page.
WEST VIRGINIA LEGISLATURE BILL INFORMATION
House and Senate bills can be accessed from the CAWV’s Legislative home page at www.cawv.org/legislative.html. Members can view daily status updates on bills of interest to the construction industry and see what legislation is introduced that affects the construction industry. A summary of each day’s activities will be uploaded each afternoon.
Below is a list of bills that have been introduced this week that have an impact on the construction industry or some CAWV members. Anyone needing further information can contact Mike Clowser at (304) 342-1166 or email email@example.com.
HB 2521 Del. Williams, Shaver, Perry, Tabb, Michael, Hartman and Sumner-Reducing the wholesale tax on heating fuel, off roads fuels, kerosene and propane used for home heating purposes or off road use (FN)-To Agriculture and Finance
HB 2527 Del. Ennis-Requiring that all houses, dwellings and businesses located in a district where public water service is made available for the first time after July 1, 2009, be connected to the public water service-To Political Subdivision then Judiciary
HB 2535 Del. Wooten-Creating a tax credit for certain solar energy systems (FN)-To Energy, Industry and Labor, Economic Development and Small Business then Finance
HB 2552 Del. Miley, Guthrie, Brown and Fleischauer-Revising Insurance Commissioner reporting requirements to the Legislature on workers’ compensation insurance rules-To Judiciary
HB 2554 Del. Armstead, Sobonya, Carmichael, Schoen, Ireland, Andes, Sumner and C. Miller-Abolishing the business and franchise tax (FN)-To Finance
HB 2565 Mr. Speaker (Mr. Thompson) and Del. Armstead [By Request of the Executive]-Relating to industrial accidents and emergencies-To Energy, Industry and Labor, Economic Development and Small Business then Judiciary
HB 2571 Del. Guthrie-Relating to privatization contracts-To Government Organization then Judiciary
HB 2619 Del. Moye, Sumner, Stephens and Rodighiero-Exempting existing churches from paying tax on propane and other forms of heating oils (FN)-To Energy, Industry and Labor, Economic Development and Small Business then Finance
HB 2632 Del. Porter and Sumner-Modifying the West Virginia Parkways, Economic Development and Tourism Authority’s power to charge tolls and issue bonds (FN)-To Government Organization then Finance
HB 2634 Del Craig, Michael, Tabb, Armstead and Azinger-Relating to limitations for certain asbestos exposure claims-To Judiciary
HB 2661 Del. Pethtel, Williams, Ennis, Perry, Kominar, Evans, Azinger, Stephens and Varner-Including roads that serve more than one family in the state road system-To Roads and Transportation then Finance
HB 2686 Del. Walker, D. Poling., Caputo, Boggs, Klempa, Ferro, Butcher, Stephens and Hutchins-Requiring twenty consecutive minutes for meal breaks and fifteen minute rest period for employees during four hours of work-To Energy, Industry and Labor, Economic Development and Small Business then Judiciary.
HB 2687 Del. Boggs, Campbell, Craig, Swartzmiller and Walters-Relating to infrastructure projects funded by the West Virginia Infrastructure Fund-To Energy, Industry and Labor, Economic Development and Small Business then Finance-[Interim Bill]
HB 2750 Del. Stephens, Klempa, D. Poling., Swartzmiller and Perry-Establishing an Innovative Highway Projects Pilot Program-To Roads and Transportation then Government Organization
HB 2751 Del. Schadler, Rowan, Evans, Azinger and Overington-Exemption nonprofit corporations from paying prevailing wages in certain circumstances-To Energy, Industry and Labor, Economic Development and Small Business then Judiciary
HB 2753 Del. Stephens, Klempa, Poling, D., Swartzmiller and Perry-Relating to the continuation of the Design-Build Program-To Government Organization then Finance
SB 274 Sen. Sypolt-Allowing county boards of education enter into lease-purchase agreements-To Government Organization then Finance
SB 275 Sen. Sypolt-Relating to certain qualifications for procuring surveying services-To Government Organization
SB 279 Sen. Tomblin (Mr. President) and Caruth [By Request of the Executive]-Relating to industrial accidents and emergency response regulations-To Energy, Industry and Mining then Judiciary
SB 289 Sen. McCabe, Browning and Foster-Creating West Virginia Innovation and Development Act-Economic Development then Finance
SB 299 Sen. Unger, Browning, Fanning, Jenkins and K. Facemyer.-Relating to Infrastructure Fund projects (IB)-Transportation and Infrastructure then Finance
SB 301 Sen. Foster-Creating Green Building Act-Transportation and Infrastructure then Finance
SB 308 Sen. Minard and D. Facemire-Relating to State Fire Code-Judiciary then Finance
SB 324 Sen. Stollings, Green, Snyder, Hall, Bowman and Barnes-Creating Innovative Highway Projects Pilot Program-To Transportation and Infrastructure
SB 325 Sen. McCabe and Tomblin (Mr. President)-Creating WV Energy Efficient Buildings Program Act-To Transportation and Infrastructure then Finance
SB 328 Sen. Unger, Jenkins Fanning, K. Facemyer, Plymale, Stollings, D. Facemire,White and Barnes-Creating WV Transportation Infrastructure Bank-Transportation and Infrastructure then Government Organization
SCR 9 Sen. Minard and Facemire, D.-Requesting Congress provide funding for Corridor H completion