What difference does one vote make?

Good news and bad news from the legislature yesterday. The good news is that the proposal to reclassify the Kanawha River as a drinking water source was passed by the Senate Judiciary Committee without any harmful amendments.

The bad news is that the House Judiciary Committee narrowly passed Senate Bill 423, the bill to gut the Aboveground Storage Tank Act. The bill was passed without amendment, although one amendment – which would have increased the frequency of tank inspections and tightened the standards by which tanks could be exempted from the Act – was offered and narrowly defeated. The Gazette has more details about the bill here.

Here is the final vote count, 13 to 12, which breaks down neatly along lines of party and geography:
Against Senate Bill 423:
Byrd (D-Kanawha)
Fleishauer (D-Monongalia)
Fluharty (D-Ohio)
Hicks (D-Wayne)
Lane (R-Kanawha)
Lynch (D-Webster)
Manchin (D-Marion)
McCuskey (R-Kanawha)
Moore (D-McDowell)
Rowe (D-Kanawha)
Skinner (D-Jefferson)
White (R-Kanawha)

For Senate Bill 423:
Azinger (R-Wood)
Deem (R-Wood)
Fast (R-Fayette)
Folk (R-Berkeley)
Foster (R-Putnam)
Hanshaw (R-Clay)
Ireland (R-Ritchie)
Overington (R-Berkeley)
Shott (R-Mercer)
Sobonya (R-Cabell)
Summers (R-Taylor)
Waxman (R-Harrison)
Weld (R-Brooke)

Senate Bill 423 will now advance to the House floor.

One thing is clear — it wouldn’t have taken much for this vote to go the other way. Conspicuously absent was the voice of Mike Manypenny (former Democratic delegate and House Judiciary Committee member from the 49th district), voted out last November in favor of Republican Amy Summers, who voted to rollback the tank bill.

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