House of Delegates Votes To Postpone Action Indefinitely on Omnibus Education Bill

Feb 19, 2019

Editor's Note: A previous headline on this story said the House killed the education omnibus education bill. While the vote today makes it difficult for the bill to survive, there are still some technical maneuvers that could bring the bill back to the floor. This story will be updated when the situation becomes clearer.

The West Virginia House of Delegates has effectively killed a controversial education reform measure that has forced the second teacher strike in as many years.

With hundreds of teachers and school service personnel screaming and chanting outside the House chamber and even more educators lining the each of the chamber’s three galleries, a roar went up in the chamber and outside as the vote was made.

A motion to postpone action on the latest version of Senate Bill 451 was adopted on a 53-45 vote, with 12 Republicans joining all House Democrats to kill the bill.

It is unclear whether the House vote will end the strike. 

Three unions representing teachers and school service workers say they'll meet with union members before deciding on further action, which could include ending a strike that began Tuesday. The unions have scheduled a late afternoon news conference.

Senate President, R-Jackson, expressed disappointment in the bill's failing. He said he expected the House to concur with the upper chamber's amendment and send the bill to Gov. Jim Justice.

“I'll say in this political world, all you really have is your word. And, so, when one gives you your word, you take them at their word and we take actions accordingly,” Carmichael said. “We had an agreement and then, you know, it wasn't honored.”

How House Lawmakers Got To Their Vote

The House gaveled in at 11 a.m. and received the Senate message about the upper chamber’s passage of an amended version of Senate Bill 451.

Delegates were set to consider action on the latest version of the bill and had been left with two options, concur in the Senate’s amendments to the measure or reject it -- and likely force yet another version to be hashed out by a select few lawmakers in a conference committee.

The latest version of Senate Bill 451 -- as amended by the upper chamber Monday -- called for pay raises for teachers and school service personnel raises.

An earlier version approved by the House of Delegates had capped charter schools at two pilots and had removed education savings accounts from the bill entirely.

Immediately following the bill being received by the House, Del. Mike Caputo, D-Marion, moved to postpone action on Senate Bill 451 indefinitely.

But, before that motion went straight to a vote, Majority Leader Amy Summers moved to postpone action on the bill until 4 p.m.

After debate over whether delegates had enough time to review the bill, the House rejected Summers’ motion on a 45-53 vote.

With Summers’ motion downed, delegates turned their attention back to Caputo’s motion to postpone Senate Bill 451 indefinitely, killing the bill on the 53-45 vote.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.