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WV Senate advances 3 constitutional resolutions to WV House

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The West Virginia Senate passed three constitutional resolutions Feb. 26 that now will be up for consideration in the West Virginia House of Delegates.

Amendments to the state constitution, according to Sen. Craig Blair, R-Berkeley, which could have a "great" impact on voter turnout to the polls during the next general election.

The constitutional resolutions advanced Wednesday including Senate Joint Resolutions 10, 12 and 14.

SJR 10 would designate the right to hunt and fish in West Virginia. Amendments to the resolution were attempted to take into consideration the rights of landowners, however, the Senate advanced the resolution without amendments.

SJR 12 would be titled "Claiming West Virginia Water Resources for Use and Benefit of its Citizens Amendment."

Senate Majority Leader John Unger, D-Berkeley, presented the resolution for the benefit of the state's citizens claiming, protecting, utilizing and developing water resources.

"This could be used as a leverage to attract industry, manufacturing and other development — to come to West Virginia," Unger said. "We have a natural resource that we've been very blessed with."

SJR 14 would propose an amendment to the state's constitution which would protect the principal of the West Virginia Future Fund, introduced by Senate President Jeff Kessler, and specify how the interest from the fund may be spent.

Senate Bill 391, increasing teacher and school personnel salaries, was advanced from the Senate on Feb. 26. The bill was amended on third reading before being passed by a vote of 30-2. 

Sen. Brooks McCabe, D-Kanawha, and Sen. Mitch Carmichael, R-Jackson, voted against the bill.

The amendment passed on Wednesday was to increase teacher salaries by $837 a year. Originally, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin announced it was his intention to present a 2 percent increase to the state's teachers. However, through committee the bill was changed by senators to a $1,000 across-the-board increase in teacher and school service personnel. That was amended on the Senate Floor Feb. 26 to be an $837 per year increase in the salaries, making the average first-year teacher salary in the state $32,512. The senators who amended the bill said it was their intention to attract more first-year teachers to the state with the compromise in the salary increase.