By Jessica Borders
Times West Virginian
The process of how a bill becomes a law is anything but simple.
Delegate Mike Caputo, D-Marion, House majority whip, said concerned constituents often bring suggestions for legislation to the attention of their representatives. The West Virginia Legislature counts on these citizens who have seen things that basically need fixed.
“A bill is just an idea,” he said. “I’ve gotten ideas from many people about various pieces of legislation throughout my career. That’s kind of how the process all starts, just from an idea.”
Caputo has spoken to a lot of school children during his time in office, and said he enjoys listening to their unique and sometimes funny suggestions for what they would like to see become a law.
“It gets the conversation started, and I look forward to that type of dialogue with adults and children as well,” he said. “We hear from our constituents, and if there are ideas that we feel are worthy of bill introduction, then we try to move forward on that.”
Citizens can’t introduce bills. They must convince their legislators that their ideas deserve to be pursued, Caputo said.
For instance, the Legislature passed a bill several years ago that included a stipulation that car dealers who didn’t sell at least 18 vehicles a year would have to give up their license to sell cars. When a longtime owner of a local used car dealership was worried about losing his license for this reason, he talked to Caputo.
Caputo addressed those concerns with industry and legislative experts, and he and his Marion County colleagues drafted a piece of legislation to do away with that provision in the law. The bill — House Bill 2770 — was recently introduced in the House.