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House amendments bury W.Va. jobs-impact proposal

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin's bid to measure the economic effects of pending legislation collapsed Tuesday beneath the weight of House Judiciary Committee amendments that broadened its focus to include such areas as child poverty, the environment, veterans and seniors.

The committee voted the bill down on a voice vote after adding nearly a dozen interest groups or topics to the jobs-impact statements it sought to require.

Part of his session agenda, Tomblin proposed enlisting the Development Office to assess how a given bill would create, maintain or cost jobs both immediately and in the long term. The governor or a top legislative leader could request an impact statement under the original proposal.

A unanimous Senate passed Tomblin's measure last month. With the session ending Saturday, House Judiciary initially added child poverty and low-income families to its impact focus. Further amendment added: the state's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community; minorities; veterans; local infrastructure; the environment; women; union and nonunion workers; and seniors.

"We've taken what the governor floated out as a good idea and we've hung any number of anchors on it to the point where I think we've sunk the ship," said Delegate Woody Ireland, R-Ritchie, before the committee voted against advancing the bill.

A spokeswoman for Tomblin did not immediately respond to a request for comment late Tuesday.


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