"I knew that they were pretty much trying to convince everyone to leave amendments out of the bill. So, I don't know if that is how everyone felt, or if they just felt like they didn't want to put anything in this bill," Armstead said after the floor session.
"I knew that it was a long shot to get it passed. I know that. But you never know until you try what kind of support you have on some of these amendments," he said.
His second amendment called for monthly reports from the state on offenders released under supervision who committed another crime. House Judiciary Chairman Tim Miley, D-Harrison, called the idea burdensome and expensive, adding the information should be readily available through a Freedom of Information Act request.
The amendment was defeated on a 62-35 vote.
The third amendment, addressing parole violations, received 36 votes of support.
The final amendment aimed to create the West Virginia Sentence Commission, tasked with examining whether sentences were appropriate for the corresponding crimes. Miley spoke against the change, saying the state already had participated in a study of sentences. The idea was rejected 65-33.
Some Republicans voted against each of Armstead's amendments, as they did when he tried to amendment the governor's education bill. While he acknowledged similarities in the two situations, he said he always tells his caucus members to vote their conscience.
GOP members who were going to vote against the amendments told Armstead their intentions before the floor session, he said.
Armstead was satisfied with the open debate.
"We enjoy the debate and the discussion. And we like to have that debate. We'd like to have it on a lot of other issues that the leadership might bring up," he said.
"So, when we have a debate on an amendment, we hope it will be successful. If we're not, we hope at least we have raised the issues and brought them to the forefront and people will consider that when they get ready to vote tomorrow."
The House is expected to approve the bill today. It then would go back to the Senate, which could approve the House changes or seek a joint House-Senate committee to forge a compromise. This must happen before midnight Saturday, the final day of the regular session.