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West Virginia Chamber News Update

Read the latest news from the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce.

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Input Requested

How has the Federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Affected Your Business?  

Several members of the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce have been discussing how the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that became law in December is affecting their business.  The Chamber is encouraging you to share what changes you have seen in your business now that this Act has become law.  If you would like to provide an update, please e-mail Brian Dayton at bdayton@wvchamber.com.  Thank you for your input! 

Top Stories of the Week

Dr. Michael Brumage to speak at final 2018 Legislative Briefing Breakfast 

The West Virginia Chamber of Commerce will host its third and final Legislative Briefing Breakfast on Tuesday, February 20, at the Charleston Marriott-Town Center.  Breakfast will begin at 7:45am and will conclude in time for you to return to your office for morning meetings. 

The topic of the final Legislative Briefing Breakfast will be Opioids and the State's Drug Epidemic. A recent survey of West Virginia Chamber members indicated that nearly two in every three Chamber members personally know someone who is struggling with addiction, indicating how widespread this problem is.  Dr. Michael Brumage, the newly appointed Director of the Office of Drug Control Policy for West Virginia, will discuss West Virginia's latest efforts to curb the state's drug epidemic.  Be sure to register now and join in on the conversation of what can be done to fix this issueRegister Now! 

Hiring to ramp up in anticipation of road work 

WV MetroNews - Some of the first benefits of last year's vote in favor of a huge road bond for West Virginia will start to be realized in the days to come. The West Virginia Contractors Association has teamed with Workforce West Virginia and other organizations to stage a job fair Friday at Bridge Valley Community and Technical College in South Charleston. Continue...  

West Virginia News

State Senate Approves Intermediate Appellate Court, Adopts Resolution to Oversee Judicial Budget 

WV Public Broadcasting - The West Virginia Senate passed two measures Thursday dealing with the state's judicial branch. The chamber passed a bill that would create an intermediate appellate court system and also adopted a resolution that would put the judicial branch's budget in the hands of the Legislature. Continue...  

House passes drilling bill dealing with owners' rights 

WV MetroNews - After a long debate about property rights, the House of Delegates passed a bill dealing with the rights of land and mineral rights owners on natural gas drilling projects.  The co-tenancy bill, as it's called, would require at least 75 percent of owners on a single tract of property to sign off on drilling. Holdouts or those who can't be located would still have some rights under the bill. Continue...  

School service personnel group votes to take action; first time in organization's 52-year history   

WV MetroNews - The organization that represents school service personnel in the Mountain State has joined teachers to authorize action in the ongoing dispute over pay and benefits.  The vote came Wednesday from the West Virginia School Service Personnel Association. Continue...  

House committee plan would pay for PEIA freeze through Rainy Day Fund

WV MetroNews - House of Finance Committee Chairman Eric Nelson says he didn't want to wait later in the legislature session to let teachers and other state workers know the House is going to come through with the money to keep their health insurance plan the same for the next 17 months. Continue... 

Co-tenancy bill amendment would give funds to PEIA

Charleston Gazette-Mail - A controversial oil and gas bill now includes an amendment to put money toward the Public Employees Insurance Agency.  House Bill 4268, known as the co-tenancy bill, would allow natural gas and oil companies to drill with the majority, or 75 percent, of the land owners' consent. Fifty percent of unknown owners' interest on the minerals would now go toward a PEIA Stability Fund, instead of entirely to the Oil and Gas Reclamation Fund, says an amendment introduced by Delegate Phil Isner, D-Randolph. The money will be kept in the Unknown and Unlocatable Interest Owners Fund before it's transferred. Continue...  

National News

Jenkins ahead of Morrisey in Senate race, according to new poll

West Virginia Record - A new poll shows U.S. Representative Evan Jenkins leading the Republican field in the race for Joe Manchin's U.S. Senate seat.  The survey was conducted by Jenkins' campaign and released Feb. 9. It shows Jenkins ahead by 8 percentage points. The campaign also says the poll shows West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey's "cratering support, taking just 25 percent of the vote despite his status as a twice-elected statewide officeholder." Continue...  

Kleeh nominated as judge for West Virginia's Northern District 

Clarksburg - The Exponent Telegram - An attorney for Steptoe & Johnson PLLC based in Charleston has been nominated by President Trump to serve as U.S. district judge for West Virginia's Northern District.  Thomas H. Kleeh would replace Senior U.S. District Judge Irene M. Keeley, who went to senior status last August, after 25 years as a full-time district judge. Keeley has been seated in Clarksburg. Continue...  

Baylous confirmed for U.S. Marshal post 

WV MetroNews - Former West Virginia State Police spokesman Lt. Michael Baylous was confirmed Thursday by the U.S. Senate to serve as U.S. Marshal for the Southern District of West Virginia.  Baylous was recommended to President Donald Trump by U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito last year. Continue...  

Editorial/Op-Eds

Rebecca McPhail - Property tax on business inventory, machinery, equipment is a significant impediment to economic growth 

The State Journal - West Virginia must determine its future today. We recognize the obstacles we need to overcome to achieve greater economic prosperity. We talk about it, mull it over, debate it, but not often enough do we decide and act. Creating an environment that fosters responsible industry growth and investment can change the landscape of our state.   Continue...