2010 Legislative Session Wraps Up; Bills Head To Governor's Desk For Signature
Charleston, W.Va. – The 2010 Regular Legislative Session ended Saturday night and more than 10 bills that affect voting, business owners, and charities will be sent to the Governor to await his signature.
The Secretary of State’s Office requested a bill that will bring West Virginia code up to the federal standard laid out in the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment (MOVE) Act.
The bill makes it easier for military and overseas voters to cast their ballots by giving them more time to vote and more options.
Secretary of State Natalie Tennant’s Office backed two amendments to this bill. The first dealt with the envelope that the voter mailed back to the county courthouse and the second related to removing postmark requirements.
The Secretary of State’s Office also supported another final-day piece of legislation that lets county clerks decide if they wish to have a printed poll book and an electronic poll book in precincts during an election.
This measure could save counties money by not requiring the county clerk to have both a printed poll book and an e-poll book in the precincts.
An e-poll book is a program that runs on a laptop computer. The information on an e-poll book is identical to the information on a printed poll book. A poll worker using an e-poll book can match the signature of a voter, verify other voter information, and give directions to a voter who is at the wrong precinct and who would otherwise have to vote a provisional ballot.
The advantage to this bill is that instead of requiring county clerks to have a printed poll book along with an e-poll book, the clerks would now have a choice whether to approve this additional cost.
Another bill supported by the Secretary of State’s Office changes the filing deadlines for business owners. Senate Bill 624 makes the filing deadlines consistent for all business owners, cutting down on confusion and late penalties.
The filing period will be from January 1 to July 1.
The bill also requires business owners submit an email address that can be used to send correspondence quickly and less expensively. The bill also allows business owners to report how many employees their business has. This will help measure economic development by tracking how many businesses added staff and how many eliminated jobs.
The Governor will also be sent a bill that raises the exemption threshold for charities conducting yearly audits. Under House Bill 4248, a charity that raises more than $200,000 would have to conduct yearly audits. A charity that does not reach that threshold could perform a financial review conducted by a certified public accountant.
Previously, the audit threshold was $100,000.
There was a concern among charitable organizations that a large percentage of donations was being spent on audits rather than programs. This bill eases those concerns by allowing charities to save money on audits, remain financially accountable, and to dedicate a larger percentage of donations to programs.