"It allows 10 members of the House to say, no matter what has happened to the bill to this point, no matter how much discussion and debate on it in committee, we don't want it to come to the House," said Minority Leader Tim Armstead, R-Kanawha.
Said Delegate Daryl Cowles, R-Morgan, "My concern is it may limit meaningful debate on important issues and reforms."
House Democrats disagreed.
"I don't think it quashes anyone's rights. In fact, everything will be on the [active] calendar, unless Rules takes it off," said Finance Chairman Brent Boggs, D-Braxton.
Judiciary Chairman Tim Manchin, D-Marion, said getting bills through committees is part of the legislative process: "One of those committees is Rules."
Afterward, Armstead said he believes the rule change is partially an election-year ploy, allowing delegates to tell constituents they voted for their bills in committee while knowing those bills were never going to come up for passage votes on the floor.
Two members were absent for Thursday's vote, Delegates Josh Nelson, R-Boone, and Ron Walters, R-Kanawha.
Reach Phil Kabler at ph...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1220.