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Sen. Chris Walters asks for amendment to Senate rule during floor session

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Sen. Chris Walters, R-Putnam, asked members of the West Virginia Senate Monday to consider amending Senate Rule 28, which relates to committee proceedings.

The rule, as it stands, does not include a time frame as to when bills can be placed on a respective committee agenda.

Walters was asking senators for a 24-hour period when agendas can be posted online before bills are added to the agendas for discussion. He said the notice would allow him to notify his constituents in a more timely manner when a particular bill of interest would be heard in committee.

Initially, Senate President Jeff Kessler, D-Marshall, did not see Walters standing in support of the resolution and it was quickly voted on with the majority of the members verbally voting against the measure. However, Walters was able to speak about the resolution and Kessler asked the body to reconsider by vote.

The vote, to reconsider the previous action of the members voting against the resolution, was rejected 11-23.

Walters said he thinks having such a rule on the books would allow him, and his fellow legislators, to do a better job as a governing body.

"I want to be able to represent my constituents to the best of my ability," Walters said. "(The resolution) would've given us the ability to put proper notice online to our constituents to be more involved in this public process."

Sen. Mike Green, D-Raleigh, introduced a piece of legislation that would designate funds for a skilled nursing facility for veterans to be constructed in Beckley.

The bill Green introduced would call for funding to design, construct, equip and furnish an additional 120 beds for a veterans skilled nursing facility on more than 17 acres adjacent from the Jackie Withrow Hospital.

Green said the facility is needed because the one located in Clarksburg operates at full capacity and frequently has a waiting list.

"Per capita, West Virginia has sent more of its sons and daughters into battle over the past 13 years," Green said. "Providing an additional nursing facility for those who have returned home is something we can do to say thank you.

"We need to be there not just for the ceremonial return home, but to support them when the cheering fades and the everyday trials of life begin."

Green said through the bill, the state would be able to step up to the plate to care for the sons and daughters when they need it most, and the legislation is "a tangible demonstration of our appreciation for their sacrifices."

The Senate also passed two bills including Senate Bill 426 relating to appointments to certain higher educations commissions, councils and boards. Senate Bill 470 also passed providing completed grand jury questionnaires be confidential.