Senate sends 21 bills to House, amends others - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

WV Senate sends 21 bills to House, amends others

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The West Virginia Senate sent 21 bills to the House of Delegates Friday, Feb. 21, including the Future Fund and a bill that would create a private flood insurance option for West Virginians.

Sen. Rocky Fitzsimmons, D-Ohio, introduced a bill Feb. 17 that would allow private flood insurers to offer insurance in the state. The bill passed unanimously in the Senate Feb. 21.

Fitzsimmons said his bill was in response to the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012. He said he introduced the bill in light of his constituents who were not able to sell their homes and move in or out of the state. He said the act had caused significant increases in premiums for West Virginians. 

The bill, if passed by the West Virginia House of Delegates, would allow for a greater option of flood insurance plans and a competitive insurance market. In addition to purchasing a plan to replace a home, homeowners could choose to only insure the outstanding amount of their current loans.

The Senate Finance committee on Feb. 21 decided to change an amendment to the bill Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin proposed at the beginning of the session. The Senate Education committee on Feb. 13 changed the Senate Bill 391 to offer teachers in the state an across-the-board pay raise. 

However, senators on Friday changed the bill to Tomblin's original 2 percent pay increase. Members of the education committee argued the increase of $1,000 across-the-board would provide more incentive for young teachers to come to the state of West Virginia. However, the finance committee said changing it back to 2 percent would essentially save the state millions of dollars.