H. B. 4546

(By Delegates Douglas, Collins,

Claypole, Stalnaker, Tucker,

Prunty and Capito)

[Originating in the Committee

on Government Organization]

[February 24, 1998]

A BILL to amend and reenact section one, article one, chapter twenty-three of the code of West Virginia, as amended, continuing the authority of the commissioner of the bureau of employment programs to administer the workers' compensation program.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That section one, article one, chapter twenty-three of the code of West Virginia, one thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, be amended and reenacted to read as follows:

§23-1-1. Commissioner of the bureau of employment programs; compensation programs performance council; official seal; continuation of authority of commissioner; legal services; rules.

(a) The commissioner of the bureau of employment programs appointed under the provisions of section one, article two, chapter twenty-one-a of this code, has the sole responsibility for the administration of this chapter except for such matters as are entrusted to the compensation programs performance council created pursuant to section one, article three, chapter twenty-one-a of this code. In the administration of this chapter, the commissioner shall exercise all the powers and duties described in this chapter and in article two, chapter twenty-one-a of this code.
(b) The commissioner is authorized to promulgate rules and regulations to implement the provisions of this chapter.
(c) The commissioner shall have an official seal for the authentication of orders and proceedings, upon which seal shall be engraved the words "West Virginia Commissioner of Employment Programs" and such other design as the commissioner may prescribe. The courts in this state shall take judicial notice of the seal of the commissioner and in all cases copies of orders, proceedings or records in the office of the West Virginia commissioner of employment programs shall be equal to the original in evidence.
(d) Pursuant to the provisions of article ten, chapter four of this code, the commissioner of the bureau of employment programs shall continue to administer this chapter until the first day of July, one thousand nine hundred ninety-eight ninety-nine.
(e) The attorney general shall perform all legal services required by the commissioner under the provisions of this chapter: Provided, That in any case in which an application for review is prosecuted from any final decision of the workers' compensation appeal board to the supreme court of appeals, as provided by section four, article five of this chapter, or in any court proceeding before the workers' compensation appeal board, or in any proceedings before the office of judges, or in any case in which a petition for an extraordinary writ is filed in the supreme court of appeals or in any circuit court, in which such representation shall appear to the commissioner to be desirable, the commissioner may designate a regular employee of this office, qualified to practice before such court to represent the commissioner upon such appeal or proceeding, and in no case shall the person so appearing for the commissioner before the court receive remuneration therefor other than such person's regular salary.

NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to continue the commissioner of the Bureau of Employment Programs authority to administer the Workers' Compensation Program until July 1, 1999, pursuant to the provisions of the West Virginia Sunset Law.

Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from the present law, and underscoring indicates new language that would be added.

This bill is recommended by the Joint Committee on Government Operations for passage during the 1998 Regular Session of the Legislature.