The bill passed the House Judiciary Committee March 12 by a 13-11 margin. The vote was not partisan - both Republicans and Democrats found fault and favor with the measure.
Delegate Barbara Fleischauer, D-Monongalia, is the only sponsor of the bill. She said Monday she was aware the bill would come before the full House today and was optimistic about its chances.
"I think there are enough votes to pass it, but I'm not sure," she said.
Delegate Patrick Lane, R-Kanawha, has been an outspoken critics of the measure. He doesn't think the law packs the punch necessary to convince someone to wear a seat belt.
He acknowledged Republicans are split on the issue. Although he said he was unaware of any official polling of his party, he expected any vote to be very tight.
"I don't know if they've done the polling or not on their side. When it passed out of here, it was a mixed bag," Lane said of the Judiciary Committee. "I expect it to be a mixed bag on the floor, and if it passes, I expect it to be a close vote on the floor."
Palumbo is confident a House-passed bill would clear the Senate fairly easily, judging by the bill's past success in his chamber.
The measure is up for first reading today. If it remains on the House Special Calendar, it will be at amendment stage Wednesday and up for final approval Thursday. The bill could be pulled from the calendar at any time, following another vote of the House Rules Committee.