This week in the Legislature, health bills rose to the forefront of discussions in both chambers.
The Senate passed a bill that would require the drug screening and testing of applicants for TANF program. Senate Bill 6 was amended in Senate Finance to change the language of the bill to creating a pilot program. The measure goes to the House of Delegates where it was referenced to both the Health and
Judiciary committees. The Health committee passed the bill and it is now in House Judiciary.
Delegate Amy Summers, R-Taylor, serves on both committees and said Senate Bill 6 - requiring drug screening and testing of applicants to TANF program - is a necessary step in identifying those in the population who need help.
“Everybody wants to find a way to help people who have a drug addiction problem, and this is one way we feel we can help,” Summers said. “We are concerned we don’t have enough treatment options but we’re working on that throughout the state right now too.”
Summers said with this step in identification, other areas of the drug treatment process including prevention and treatment can be utilized.
Chairman of the Health Committee Sen. Ryan Ferns, R-Ohio, said the two most important issues Senate Health has seen so far are SB 6 and 10. Ferns said SB 6 is important to tackle the drug issue in the state while SB 10 addresses the issue of dismemberment of an unborn fetus during a woman’s second trimester.
Ferns said another bill addressing certificate of need would streamlines the process and create exemptions from certificate of need that don’t currently exist.
“Streamlining and scaling the process back would make it easier for businesses to grow and expand in West Virginia,” Ferns said. “We’re moving at an excellent pace, I would say we’re ahead of schedule.”
On Feb. 11, the House of Delegates held a public hearing on House Bill 4334 -- clarifying the requirements for a license to practice as an advanced practice registered nurse and to expand the prescriptive authority that may be granted to advanced practice registered nurses.
If passed, the bill would clarify the requirements for a license to practice as an advanced practice registered nurses and to expand the prescriptive authority that may be granted to advanced practice registered nurses. The bill would repeal separate provisions relating to nurse-midwives because these provisions are part of the APRN license requirements.
This bill would remove the requirement for collaborative relationships with physicians as a continuing requirement of practice, but retains the collaborative relationship requirement for a two-year period as a prerequisite to qualify for prescriptive authority.
On Feb. 9, Dr. Rahul Gupta, Commissioner of DHHR’s Bureau for Public Health and State Health Officer, presented a report before the Joint Water Resources Committee. Senate Bill 373, passed in 2014, required a commission be formed to study and recommend changes to the state’s water resources.
Evan Hansen, president of Downstream Strategies said it’s important for the public water system to have a sense of what is being transported on the roads.
“Our recommendation is for the Department of Homeland Security to provide as much information as possible to the water systems so the water systems can do their job,” he said.Other health bills include:
SB 431 - Authorizing pharmacists and pharmacy interns dispense opioid antagonists
SB 320 - Permitting practice of telemedicine
SB 387 - Shared animal ownership agreements to consume raw milk
HB 4221 - Relating to the administration of an opioid antagonist
HB 4480 - Addiction Treatment Act of 2016
HB 4509 - Raising the legal age for purchase of tobacco and tobacco products
As of 4:00 p.m., Friday, February 12, 2016, the 31st day of the second session of the 82nd Legislature, 598 bills have been introduced in the Senate. Of those, 76 of the bills have passed and have been sent to the House for further consideration. Among those:
Senate Bill 6 (Requiring drug screening and testing of applicants for TANF program) would create a three year pilot program. The program would drug test adults applying for assistance from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program. The bill will now be reviewed in the House Judiciary Committee.
Senate Bill 7 (Establishing wrongful conduct rule prohibiting recovery of damages in certain circumstances) would prevent action against a health care provider as long as the health care provider has not illegally dispensed or prescribed a controlled substance. The bill will now be reviewed in the House Judiciary Committee.
Senate Bill 39 (Regulate off-road motorcycles within Hatfield-McCoy Recreation Area) would allow travel from residence or lodging and off-road trails, fields and areas of operation. The bill will now be reviewed in the House Roads and Transportation Committee.
Senate Bill 73 (Creating felony crime of knowingly leaving scene of crash resulting in serious bodily injury) would require the individual to stop without obstructing traffic more than necessary. The bill will now be reviewed in the House.
Senate Bill 278 (Clarifying physicians’ mutual insurance company is not state or quasi-state actor) would exclude creating a stable self-sufficient entity which will be a source of liability insurance coverage for physicians in the state. The bill will now be reviewed in the House Banking and Insurance Committee.
Senate Bill 309 (Relating to child-care center licensing and exempting county parks and recreation from licensure) would exclude county parks and recreation commission, boards and municipals from qualifying under residential child-care centers licensure, certification, approval and registration requirements. The bill will now be reviewed in the House Government Committee.
Senate Bill 345 (Relating to parking on state-owned or leased property) would allow the Real Estate Division to regulate the parking of motor vehicles on stat-owned property in Charleston, West Virginia. The bill will now be reviewed in the House Government Committee.
Senate Bill 346 (Updating projects managed by Project Management Office) would exclude equipment-only or software only purchases in which labor is not necessary from major information technology projects. The bill will now be reviewed in the House Finance Committee.
Senate Bill 349 (Updating meaning of federal adjusted gross income) would require for tax years after December 31, 2015 that partnerships shall pay the required fees on the 15th day of the third month following the close of the taxable year of the partnership. The bill will now be reviewed in the House Finance Committee.
Senate Bill 419 (Relating to termination of Workers’ Compensation Debt Reduction Act) would cease transfers of personal income tax proceeds as replacement moneys for anticipated tobacco master settlement agreement proceeds on and after February 1, 2016. The bill will now be reviewed in the House Finance Committee.
Senate Bill 426 (Continuing Office of Coalfield Community Development) would continue within the Department of Commerce. The bill will now be reviewed in the House Small Business, Entrepreneurship and Economic Development Committee.
Senate Bill 429 (Adopting two National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ models to protect enrollees and general public and permit greater oversight) would create risked-based capital for health organizations. The bill will now be reviewed in the House.
Senate Bill 437 (Updating and clarify code relating to rules governing mixed martial arts) would require amateur mixed marital artists and mixed martial arts matches follow the current rules of mixed martial arts s adopted by the Association of Boxing Commissions. The bill will now be reviewed in the House Government Committee.
Senate Bill 449 (Supplemental appropriation from State Fund, General Revenue to Department of Administration, Public Defender Services) would update the fund, fiscal year and organization numbers for 2016. The bill will now be reviewed in the House Finance Committee.
Senate Bill 450 (Supplemental appropriation from State Fund, General Revenue to DHHR, Division of Health) would update the fund, fiscal year and organization numbers for 2016. The bill will now be reviewed in the House Finance Committee.
Senate Bill 451 (Supplemental appropriation from State Fund, General Revenue to Department of Military Affairs) would update the fund, fiscal year and organization numbers for 2016. The bill will now be reviewed in the House.
Senate Bill 465 (Allowing professional employer insure certain risks through pure insurance captive) would allow self-funded plans under certain circumstances for professional employer organizations. The bill will now be reviewed in the House.
Senate Bill 469 (Clarifying what personal funds are exempt from levy following judgement) would have individual’s funds on deposit in a federally insured institution not to exceed $1,000. The bill will now be reviewed in the House.
Senate Bill 501 (Relating to trusts) would allow a trustee of a trust to have insurable interest in the life of an individual insured under a life insurance policy that is owned by the trustee of the trust acting in a fiduciary capacity. The bill will now be reviewed in the House.
Senate Bill 509 (Removing 10-day requirement Division of Labor has to inspect amusement rides and attractions) would require an inspection before the first time the ride or attraction is made available for public use. The bill will now be reviewed in the House Government Committee.
Senate Bill 544 (Requiring executive branch agencies review rules with regard to federal rules) would allow all executive branch agencies to review and evaluate all state rules under their jurisdiction which have federal counterparts, determine whether the state rule is more stringent than the federal rule, provide a notice and comment period for all rules, and submit a report to the Joint Committee on Government and Finance.
Senate Bill 545 (Relating to asbestos abatement on pipes) would keep asbestos abatement project from including removal of wrapped pipe.
Senate Bill 546 (Relating generally to Public Defender Services) would allow the agency to reduce or reject vouchers or requests for payment submitted.
Senate Bill 547 (Adjusting limits on consumer loans for which finance charges can be imposed) would update the amount given out for a consumer loan.
Senate Bill 548 (Relating to number of magistrates in certain counties) would increase by one the number of magistrates in Jefferson, Berkeley, Monongalia, Kanawha and Raleigh counties.
Senate Bill 549 (Requiring school counselors spend 100 percent of time on comprehensive school counseling programs) would require school counselors spend their time planning, designing, managing, facilitating and evaluating a comprehensive school counseling program.
Senate Bill 550 (Lessening regulatory burdens on small businesses) would create the Small Business Regulatory Review Board.
Senate Bill 551 (Allowing residents to purchase senior hunting, fishing and trapping licenses at the beginning of the year that turn 65) would allow individuals 65 years of age or older to purchase a Class XS license.
Senate Bill 552 (Eliminating requirement sheriff pay jury costs to State Treasury) would prevent the sheriff from paying the State Treasury all jury costs received from the court clerks.
Senate Bill 553 (Merging purposes and provisions of Volunteer Fire Department Workers’ Compensation Subsidy Program and Fund) would manage workers’ compensation coverage for persons directly employed by the State of West Virginia and the Volunteer Fire Departments Workers’ Compensation Subsidy Program and the Volunteer Fire Department Workers’ Compensation Premium Subsidy Fund.
Senate Bill 554 (Issuing tax credits for land conservation) would refer to the article by the “Land Conservation Tax Credit of 2016.” It acknowledges the significance of West Virginia’s natural resources, wildlife habitats, scenic areas, open spaces, agricultural and forested resources, outdoor recreational opportunities, land quality, air quality, water quality, historic resources, archaeological resources and cultural resources.
Senate Bill 555 (Providing for 5-cent tax increase on sale of fuel when cost is less than $2 per gallon) would increase the tax on the average wholesale price of motor fuel when the cost is less than $2 per Senate Bill 556 (Providing owner of conservation easement be given right of first refusal to purchase land) would allow the right of first refusal to purchase land upon which a conservation easement exists.
Senate Bill 557 (Eliminating sunset provisions on DOH public-private partnership agreements) would reject that the division may not enter into any comprehensive agreements with a developer after June 30, 2017.
Senate Bill 558 (Maintaining solvency of Unemployment Compensation Fund) would allow money to be requisitioned from the Unemployment Trust Fund for the payment of benefits and repayment of any loans outstanding from the Revenue Shortfall Reserve Fund.
As of 4:00 p.m., Friday, February 12, 2016, the 31st day of the second session of the 82nd Legislature, 982 bills have been introduced in the House. Of those, 38 of the bills have passed and have been sent to the Senate for further consideration. Among those:
House Bill 2511 (Health Care Sharing Ministries Freedom to Share Act) would work to exempt health care sharing ministries from state statutory requirements of individual and group accident and health insurance policies. This bill will now be sent to the Senate for discussion.
House Bill 4145 (Relating to carry or use of a handgun or deadly weapon) would work to authorize residents of West Virginia to carry a firearm in a concealed manner, without permit, so long as certain conditions are met. The bill also permits eligible persons to carry a handgun for self-defense purposes, without permit. It states that carrying a concealed deadly weapon without a state license or other lawful authorization apply only to persons under 21 years old. This bill would permit persons 18 years and older to obtain a concealed carry permit. This bill will now be sent to the Senate for discussion.
House Bill 4163 (Providing the authority and procedure for municipalities to give notice to, and publish, the names of, entities delinquent in paying business and occupation taxes) would work to provide municipalities with the authority and procedure by which they may publish the names of entities delinquent in filing and paying business occupation taxes. This bill will now be sent to the Senate to be discussed.
House Bill 4186 (Relating to additional duties of the Public Service Commission) would work to establish additional duties for the Public Service Commission related to developing a process to review towing operator charges for fairness. This bill will now be sent to the Senate for further discussion.
House Bill 2444 (Providing for the assignment of economic development office representatives to serve as Small Business Allies as facilitators to assist small business entities and individuals) would work to provide assistance to small businesses West Virginia Development office. The bill requires that the executive director of the West Virginia Development Office submit biennial reports that describe how the West Virginia Development Office is assisting small businesses and suggestions it has to make statutory or regulatory requirements imposed on small businesses more efficient. This bill will now be sent to the Senate for discussion.
House Bill 4012 (WV Religious Freedom Restoration Act) would provide a test courts can use as a guideline to provide a defense for those whose religious freedoms have been substantially burdened by state action. The test questions whether the religious belief is sincerely held, whether the state has a compelling interest in the situation and whether the state use the least restrictive means to handle the concern. The bill is not intended to create a claim,m but merely to provide guidance for tests when state action allegedly has substantially burdened the exercise of religion.
House Bill 4462 (Placing penalty points on driver’s licenses for using electronic communications devices while operating a motor vehicle) would work to place penalty points on driver’s licenses for using electronic communications devices while operating a motor vehicle. This bill does not include penalties if a person moves the vehicle to the side of, or off, a highway and halted in a location where the vehicle can safely remain stationary. This bill is currently being discussed in the House Roads and Transportation Committee.
House Bill 4436 (Permitting probation officers to carry deadly weapons on school buses and property) would work to permit probation officers from carrying deadly weapons on school buses and property. The purpose of this bill is to provide assurances of safety. This bill is currently being discussed in House Education Committee.
House Bill 4419 (Exempting any veteran’s primary residence from real property tax) would work to exempt the primary residence of any veteran from real property tax. This bill states that it does not harm local and regionally located businesses by use of the tax exempt facility in a manner that cause unfair competition and unreasonable loss of revenue to those businesses. This bill is currently being discussed in the House Veterans’ Affairs and Homeland Security Committee.
House Bill 4413 (Relating to the use of drone surveillance of private citizens) would work to create restrictions on the use of drones or unmanned aircraft systems on another person’s property in order to view or capture pictures, videos, or surveillance for the use of the person operating the drone and establish penalties for violating those restrictions. This bill is now being discussed in the House Judiciary Committee.
House Bill 4403 (Relating to school calendar) would work to change the mandatory school instructional days from one hundred eighty days to minutes over a period of one hundred eighty days based upon the minimum amount of hours of instruction offered to students by state board rules. This bills is currently being discussed in the House Education Committee.
House Bill 2192 (Exempting heating oil for residential use from the Motor Fuel Excise Tax) would provide a tax exemption for fuels used to heat residential homes.
House Bill 4532 (Establishing a new class of property on utility right-of-ways and easements for taxation purposes) would establish a new class of properties on utility rights-of-ways for taxation purposes. It would name the new class, Class V, and give county commissions the option of adopting the class to their respective tax tolls.
House Bill 4531 (Requiring hospitals, or other similar institutions, to publish a cost list for the most commonly performed procedures that are billed) would require hospitals and similar institutions to publish cost lists for commonly performed procedures that are billed.
House Bill 4530 (Exempting taxicab companies whose drivers are independent contractors, from providing workers' compensation coverage for the drivers) would exempt taxicab companies from providing workers’ compensation for drivers that are independent contractors.
House Bill 4529 (Providing that the Division of Motor Vehicles may not stay a revocation for D.U.I. if the driver had a stay in place for a pending contested revocation) would provide that the DMV may not stay a revocation for DUI if the driver has a stay of a previous revocation for DUI or if DMV receives notice of a conviction from a court for an additional offense. It would also require that a person wishing to contest a DUI must assert “sufficient grounds” in his or her hearing request. It would provide that the exclusionary rule applicable in criminal cases doesn’t apply in administrative revocation proceedings due to such proceedings being civil. It would also delete the requirement that the Office of Administrative Hearings must find whether a person was lawfully placed under arrest when the person is alleged to have refused to submit to the secondary chemical test.