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WV lawmaker to continue the reading of bills in their entirety if concerns are not addressed

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WVVA) A day after work in the West Virginia House of Delegates came to a near standstill by one lawmaker, there could be new issues on Friday.

Republican Del. Eric Porterfield called Wednesday for every bill and amendment to be read on the House floor, bringing legislative work to a near halt.

The motions were brought by Del. Porterfield over a disagreement with Del. Brandon Steele, (R) Raleigh County, and other lawmakers, after a committee meeting on Tuesday.

"It was a verbal argument with the potential to escalate and that is what we just can't have," explained Del. Porterfield.

Del. Steele had a different account. "Words were exchanged. There were a lot of people around. One of the unfortunate things was that after everyone made up, Del. Porterfield couldn't accept an apology. The Speaker, the Majority Leader were all around me that day. He approached me. I did not approach him. No one had been drinking and everything he said is a complete fabrication."

Del. Porterfield said he took his concerns to the Speaker, which were not addressed. The following day, he employed a rare procedural move to draw attention to the issue -- the reading of every bill and amendment.

However, if his concerns are not addressed, Del. Porterfield told WVVA News he will continue with reading of the bills on Friday.

"I want minimal disciplining and a public apology from Del. Steele. Because my safety was threatened as a handicapped citizen...I felt I needed to do what was in my power to do."

While it is his right to call for the bills to be read in their entirety, Del. Steele and others raised concerns Thursday that the maneuver essentially brings legislative work to a halt.

"You're cutting into committee times. You're robbing us of the ability to meet with constituents. It's disrupting everything."

Annie Moore

Multimedia Journalist

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