The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Local News

March 27, 2013

Seatbelt showdown coming Thursday

CHARLESTON — Five years in the making, with many script changes along for the ride, the primary seatbelt law proposal has gotten a new lease on life in the House of Delegates.

In a change of heart, the House leadership has put the measure on its special, or active, calendar, and it is at the amendment stage today, with a showdown coming Thursday.

The intent is to make failure to buckle up a primary offense, meaning a police officer could issue a citation for that and that alone.

Existing law makes it a secondary offense, requiring a traffic cop to find some other moving violation before writing a ticket for not using a seatbelt.

“We’re getting down real close for the House bills,” Majority Leader Brent Boggs, D-Braxton, said Tuesday.

“We wanted to let people know that we wanted to get it out and get some feel. Once it’s on the special calendar, I think you have a better opportunity to really gauge and get people’s reaction, whether they’re going to be for it or against it.”

Until the scoreboard lights up Thursday, the House floor leader said he has no idea how the bill, sponsored solely by Delegate Barbara Fleischauer, D-Monongalia, will fare.

“I think there’s enough swing votes to take it either way,” he said.

Nor was Boggs able to say if any amendments would be offered, but as of Tuesday, none had been mentioned.

“I’m just looking forward to trying to have a final vote on it,” he said.

“I’m sure there will be a lot of parties talking to others about what they feel like should be the final outcome.”

Over the past four sessions, the primary law has easily cleared the Senate, only to die in the House, so this time around, the chief sponsor, Senate Judiciary Chairman Corey Palumbo, D-Kanawha, said he decided to let the House tackle it first.

Palumbo was disappointed only a week ago when the bill was placed on the regular House calendar, considered the graveyard for bills.

“I’m certainly encouraged that it got moved to the special calendar,” he said.

“Hopefully, it will stay there and hopefully it will pass.”

Palumbo says the use of seatbelts not only saves lives but lessens the costs of medical attention and insurance by reducing injuries and deaths in motor vehicle accidents.

“I understand there is sufficient support for it to pass, but I don’t think it’s overwhelming support,” the judiciary chairman said.

“I’m encouraged it has made it as far as it has.”

Text Only
Local News
  • Jury trial set in Bob Graham case

    Robert E. “Bob” Graham, the former executive director of the Wyoming County Council on Aging and All-Care Home and Community Services Inc., will be back in U.S. District Court in Bluefield this October for a trial to recover consequential damages for aggravation and inconvenience from National Union Fire Insurance Co. of Pittsburgh, Pa., the insurance company that provided him coverage when he served as director of the two agencies.

    July 25, 2014

  • Calendar — Friday, July 25, 2014

    July 25, 2014

  • Kids drama camp dips into the acting bug

    Some kids growled and grumbled. Others complained about the stories they heard. A few wore pig noses. Grandpa nearly fell asleep.

    July 25, 2014

  • Sewage treatment plant project clears another hurdle

    Ronceverte’s planned construction of a new sewage treatment plant cleared another regulatory hurdle with the expiration Wednesday of a 20-day waiting period at the state Public Service Commission.

    July 25, 2014

  • Saints arrive 1 Saints march into ‘Almost Heaven, W.Va.’

    At 3:54 p.m. Wednesday afternoon the New Orleans Saints’ chartered flight touched the ground at the Greenbrier Valley Airport, and Greenbrier County officially became “Who Dat?” Country. INCLUDES TOUT VIDEO.

    July 24, 2014 3 Photos

  • Broadband panel eyes access to rural areas

    The West Virginia Broadband Deployment Council met far outside its typical Charleston venue Wednesday to hear issues about Internet speeds in some of the state’s most rural regions.

    July 24, 2014

  • Lewisburg official says fuel spill contained, drinking water safe

    Lewisburg’s public works director is confident that a Tuesday afternoon fuel spill 60 miles upriver from the city water system’s intake has been contained and the water is safe to drink.

    July 24, 2014

  • Lewisburg keeping eye on gas spill

    Mayor John Manchester said Tuesday night it was in the city’s best interest that officials proceed with caution to reports of a diesel spill farther up the Greenbrier River because “we wouldn’t want to run into an Elk River challenge here."

    July 24, 2014

  • NCCC team brings its skills to work in Hinton

    William Custus, 20, of Washington, and Sabree Koonce, 21, of Leavenworth, Kan., have spent the summer making West Virginia beautiful.

    July 24, 2014

  • Cyclist injured in accident

    A cyclist was injured on a trail near the Gauley River when she fell from her bike to avoid a tree branch.

    July 24, 2014