Also Wednesday in the Legislature:
* The Senate Government Organization Committee quickly approved legislation to authorize a sales tax increment financing zone at the University Town Centre in Morgantown (SB125), the final financing element of a $96 million development project that will include an exit off of Interstate 79 between Westover and Star City, and development of a $15 million ballpark for the West Virginia University baseball team and, likely, a minor league professional team.
According to news reports, the Jamestown (N.Y.) Jammers, the New York-Penn League affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates, have requested permission from the league to relocate to Morgantown when the new ballpark opens.
Also, backers of the project say it will open up 1,400 acres for development of additional retail locations, Class A office space, and light industrial facilities on both sides of Interstate 79.
"It's an exciting project not just for Morgantown and Monongalia County, but for all of north-central West Virginia," said Sen. Bob Beach, D-Monongalia. "The project here is just going to add an additional level of economic development in north central West Virginia."
* House Roads and Transportation Committee members advanced legislation to allow people with concealed weapons permits to bring loaded handguns onto the state Capitol grounds (HB2135).
Currently, it is against the law to bring a firearm onto the Capitol grounds, and committee members were told that people with concealed weapon permits frequently, and inadvertently, violate the law by parking at the Capitol with handguns in their vehicles.
Apparently, some of the committee members are among those violating the law: When Staggers asked for a show of hands of committee members with concealed weapon permits, more than half raised their hands.
Committee members rejected an amendment sought by the Protective Services Division (the Capitol Complex police) to require that all guns on the Capitol grounds be unloaded.
Delegate Linda Goode Phillips, D-Wyoming, said she feels safer knowing she has a loaded weapon in her car, particularly when she's leaving the Capitol at night.
"An unloaded gun is useless in that scenario," she said.
Reach Phil Kabler at ph...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1220.