"This bill is not right for our court system. It is not right for our citizens. It is not the right solution," said House Minority Leader Tim Armstead, R-Kanawha.
Armstead proposed four amendments to the bill Thursday, and delegates soundly rejected all four.
Delegates voting against the bill were: Andes, Armstead, Arvon, Border, Butler, Cooper, Cowles, Ellington, Frich, Householder, Ireland, Kump, O'Neal, Raines, R. Smith, Sobonya and Summers. Delegates Howell and J. Nelson were absent.
Senate Judiciary Chairman Corey Palumbo, D-Kanawha, said the only issue with the House bill is an amendment to extend drug courts -- community-based day reporting and substance-abuse treatment programs now offered in 30 counties -- statewide. He also said it is not worth risking the bill to change that provision.
"It's about as good as we're going to get from the House," Palumbo said of the bill.
Also Friday, a bill to extend and expand a popular home-rule pilot project for municipalities (SB435) was placed in a House-Senate conference committee after the Senate refused to accept House amendments added to the bill.
The key sticking point is over an amendment by Delegate Patrick Lane, R-Kanawha, which would force the city of Charleston to repeal a two-decade old ordinance restricting purchases of handguns in order to remain in the home-rule program.
Senate conferees are Sens. Herb Snyder, D-Jefferson; Ronald Miller, D-Greenbrier; and Donna Boley, R-Pleasants. House conferees are Delegates Jim Morgan, D-Cabell; Randy Swartzmiller, D-Hancock; and Tom Azinger, R-Wood.
Conferees will have until 6 p.m. Saturday to reach a compromise on the bill, and submit a conference committee report.
Reach Phil Kabler at ph...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1220.