CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The House Finance Committee on Wednesday approved three bills that Chairman Eric Nelson, R-Kanawha, said will help promote business growth and creation in West Virginia.
Committee members reviewed and moved the following bills on to the full House of Delegates with the recommendation they pass:
“These bills will open the Mountain State up to new and innovative forms of business, help entrepreneurs generate capital for job creation and help businesses promote themselves to travelers across our state,” Nelson said. “In the end, these bills will help create jobs in West Virginia.”
House Bill 4228 will allow transportation network companies, such as Uber and Lyft, to do business in West Virginia and provide guidelines for their operations. It is sponsored by House Majority Leader Daryl Cowles, R-Morgan, Nelson and Delegates Brad White (R-Kanawha), John Shott (R-Mercer), Paul Espinosa (R-Jefferson), Gary Howell (R-Mineral), Jill Upson (R-Jefferson), Patsy Trecost (D-Harrison), Doug Reynolds (D-Cabell), Marty Gearheart (R-Mercer) and Danny Hamrick (R-Harrison).
“This is a booming business model that has caught on with residents of other states,” Cowles said. “It’s become so popular that visitors to our state expect this service to be available when they come here. Passing this bill will remove the barrier for entry to our state, create jobs, and give business travelers and tourists access to the same convenient transportation services they experience in other states.”
House Bill 2615, the Small Business Capital Act, would allow entrepreneurs to engage in “crowdfunding” for business startup and expansion projects. The bill is sponsored by Delegates Patrick Lane (R-Kanawha), Larry Faircloth (R-Berkeley), Carol Miller (R-Cabell) and Nelson.
“One of the biggest hurdles for small business growth is the ability to raise capital,” Nelson said. “This bill will help our job creators raise the critical funds they need to bring their innovations to life.”
House Bill 4188 will allow the Division of Highways to secure commercial sponsorships for rest areas and welcome centers located along state highways. Revenue generated by these sponsorships will be placed in the State Road Fund to help fund highway maintenance and construction projects. The bill is sponsored by Delegates Danny Hamrick (R-Harrison), George Ambler (R-Greenbrier), Brent Boggs (D-Braxton), Scott Cadle (R-Mason), Nancy Guthrie (D-Kanawha), Linda Longstreth (D-Harrison), Matthew Rohrbach (R-Cabell) and Marty Gearheart (R-Mercer).
“This bill is really a win-win for West Virginia,” Nelson said. “Not only will it provide sorely needed funds for our highways division, but it will allow businesses to promote themselves and their products at places frequented not only by state residents, but those passing through from other states.”
All three bills will be up for first reading Thursday before the full House of Delegates. They should be up for a final vote in the House on Monday, before moving to the Senate for further consideration.