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Today in the Legislature

Wednesday, March 29, 2017 - 08:34 PM

Senate Passes WV Medical Cannabis Act with 28-6 Vote

The Senate has passed 11 bills and two resolutions after reconvening at 6 p.m. this evening.

SB 286 would address factors to be considered in making a determination as to a grant of visitation to a grandparent.

SB 386 would authorize medical cannabis in West Virginia.

Senator Charles Trump, R-Morgan, made a strike-and-insert amendment to the bill on behalf of the Senate Judiciary Committee that would create a new article of the Code to make provisions for allowing marijuana to be prescribed for medicinal purposes.

Senator Ron Stollings, D-Boone, proposed an amendment the Judiciary's amendment to add a section that would prohibit certain drug screening tests from including a report on the level of tetrahydrocannabinol in an individual's system. The amendment was rejected.

Those in opposition said the drug testing measures would be investigated by the Senate Rules Committee next session, and the addition of the amendment could make it more difficult for the bill to pass through the House and be approved by the governor.

Senator Trump, R-Morgan, further amended the Judiciary amendment to make technical corrections.

The bill passed with a vote 28-6.

SB 656 would create the Student Data Accessibility, Transparency and Accountability Act to allow ACT or the College Board to only receive payment or other consideration for certain information if they secure the affirmative written consent of the parent or student, given in response to clear and conspicuous notice, solely for providing the student access to employment, educational scholarships or financial aid and post-secondary educational opportunities.

SB 664 would remove the current $200,000 limitation on the amount collected by the county via the hotel occupancy tax that may be used for medical care and emergency services.

SB 667 would limit the authority of the Attorney General to disclose certain information provided by the Tax Commissioner unless it is subject to a protective order or agreement restricting the use of the disclosed information to the proceeding, arbitration or litigation.

SB 687 would make several modifications to law generally relating to coal mining, coal mine safety and environmental protection.

SB 688 would correct technical errors in current law related to solid waste management.

SB 689 would create a small claim payment system within the Division of Highways to investigate and pay limited types of claims for damage to vehicles caused by road conditions.

SB 690 would authorize the Superintendent of the West Virginia State Police to charge fees for certain use of the facilities under his or her direction.

SB 691 would define "off-highway vehicle" and "off-road vehicle," as well as create a digital road map that may be searched by road and vehicle type.

SB 693 would create the West Virginia Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act to setting forth a procedure for disclosing digital assets and electronic communications after an individual has deceased.

SJR 4 would create the County Economic Development Amendment of 2017 to fund infrastructure capital improvements using property taxes.

Senator Charles Clements, R-Wetzel, said the amendment would "determine the future of northern and north-central West Virginia," by supporting infrastructure projects in those areas to bring economic development and industries into the state that would otherwise opt for surrounding states.

SJR 6 would create the Roads to Prosperity Amendment of 2017 to provide for the improvement and construction of safe roads in the state.

"We're going to build a lot of roads in West Virginia," said Senator Mike Hall, R-Putnam.

Of those bills on third reading, SB 375 was not passed and was referred to the Senate Rules Committee. The bill would have changed the severance tax on limestone, sandstone and other mined stone products from a percentage of the sales price to a flat rate.

Senator Ronald Miller, D-Greenbrier, said the fixed rate of the bill could put small quarries in his district at a fiscal disadvantage in comparison to larger quarries.

The Senate advanced HB 2459 from second reading with amendments made by Senator Tom Takubo, R-Kanawha, on behalf of the Senate Health and Human Resources Committee relating to corrections made and provisions added to the bill.

House Bills 2679, 2721, 2722 and 3106 were requested to lie over one day in second reading.

Committee Meetings Tomorrow

Banking and Insurance: 8:30 a.m. in 451M

Judiciary: 9 a.m. in 208W

Finance: 9:30 a.m. in 451M

Energy, Industry and Mining: 1 p.m. in 208W

Health and Human Resources: 1 p.m. in 451M

Government Organization: 2 p.m. in 208W

Education: 2 p.m. in 451M

Judiciary: 3 p.m. in 208W

The Senate is adjourned until 11 a.m. tomorrow.

›› Senate bills introduced on this date
›› Completed Legislation

Wednesday, March 29, 2017 - 05:33 PM

Senate Passes SB 609 Creating Flexibility for Use of School Aid Funds

The Senate met this afternoon to pass more bills on third reading.

Senate Bill 446 would authorize the Governor to issue executive orders to furlough state employees. It would give the Governor the authority to declare a fiscal emergency. The bill was passed and sent to the House.

Senate Bill 465 relates to medical professional liability. If someone would file a medical malpractice claim against a doctor, it must be signed by a doctor with the same field of study. The bill was passed and sent to the House.

Senate Bill 469 would prohibit waste of game animals, birds or fish. There would be a fine of no more than $1000 or incarceration of up to 100 days. They would also lose their license to hunt for five years. The bill was passed and sent to the House.

Senate Bill 482 relates generally to the WV Parkways Authority. The bill is one of the Governor’s proposed bills. They would now be allowed to issue bonds to pay for projects financed from tolls. The bill was passed and sent to the House.

Senate Bill 484 relates generally to taxation. The bill was passed and sent to the House.

Senate Bill 501 relates to the WV Economic Development Authority. The bill would create a minority economic advisement council to help address economic problems of minority populated areas. The bill was passed and sent to the House.

Senate Bill 507 would allow pharmacists to inform customers about lower cost alternatives to prescribed drugs. It would make it so the policy of prescribers to inform their customers of all the options financially. The bill was passed and sent to the House.

Senate Bill 515 relates to parole requirements of hearings and releases. The bill was passed and sent to the House.

Senate Bill 521 relates generally to Public Defender Services. It would allow them to seek legal counsel in the case of voucher disputes. The bill would no longer borrow from the Rainy Day Fund and instead fund it through the General Revenue. Senator Hall (R-Putnam) explained this was so the funding for the program would not dry up. The bill was passed and sent to the House.

Senate Bill 526 would require mandatory insurance coverage for inherited enzymatic disorders. The bill was passed and sent to the House.

Senate Bill 534 relates to incentives for consolidating local governments. The bill was passed and sent to the House.

Senate Bill 549 would allow individuals at least 21 years or older to operate or ride motorcycles without a helmet if the individual has had a motorcycles license for five years, has health insurance, and has paid his health bills. If someone violates this law, there would be a fine of no less than $100-$500. Upon second offense, there may be incarceration.

“This bill is the organ donor act of 2017. I oppose this bill,” said Senator Woelfel (D-Cabell).

“We talk about rights, and it is fun to roll down the highway with the wind in your hair, but this is the right to die. I hope we defeat this bill,” said Senator Stollings (D-Boone).

“We can’t prevent people from making dumb decisions. This bill is about adults who can make their own decisions. This is also a pro-tourism bill and for those reasons I support the bill,” said Senator Rucker (R-Jefferson).

Senator Blair (R-Berkeley) said, “I ride. I know the risk of what could happen every time I get on the bike. This bill doesn’t require you not to wear a helmet. It is the choice of the rider. If someone hits you, it’s not their fault you didn’t wear a helmet.”

The bill was rejected.

Senate Bill 562 relates to civil actions for damages brought against county commissions and municipalities. It was amended on third reading by the Judiciary Committee. Liability for injuries on municipal property are subject to limitations including if the injury happens in the presence of employees or if there is gross negligence. The bill was passed and sent to the House.

Senate Bill 563 relates to Consumer Credit and Protection Act. The bill was passed and sent to the House.

Senate Bill 576 would provide exception to waste for certain oil and gas development. Senator Ferns moved to amend the bill twice for a technical cleanup. The amendment was adopted. Senator Romano moved to amend the bill many times but only one of them were adopted. Senator Clements moved to amend the bill but his amendment was also rejected. The bill was passed and sent to the House.

Senate Bill 588 relates to distribution, reproduction and sale of tax maps. This would create a revenue source for the assessors and give people information. The bill was passed and sent to the House.

Senate Bill 606 relates to minimum wage and maximum hours for employees. It would exempt those working at amusement rides and minor league baseball from the laws current requirements. The bill was passed and sent to the House.

Senate Bill 609 would create additional flexibility for school systems in use of school aid funds.

Senator Plymale (D-Wayne) said, “Our counties are in a deficit and this bill will call for a tax increase that they can’t afford to do.”

Senator Unger (D-Berkeley) said, “Now that we are empowering the boards of education, people can run for the board of education under the platform that they will decrease taxes.”

Senator Mann (R-Monroe) said, “We can’t keep spending money like its running down the Kanawha river. Expenses cannot exceed revenue and this is a tough decision for me. It is better to put some flexibility in their while we are trying to build industry. This bill is trying to keep the boat afloat.”

Senator Trump (R-Morgan) said, “This bill is a good plan and it holds every Board of Education harmless that gives back to them authority that they’ve had in the past.”

Senator Gaunch (R-Kanawha) said, “This bill has a tremendous amount of flexibilities in it, I think the counties will love it and that it will help them save money.”

The bill was passed and sent to the House with a vote of 17 yeas to 16 nays.

Senate Bill 636 would authorize the State Fire Commission to establish a program to address problems facing Volunteer Fire Departments. The bill was passed and sent to the House.

Senate Bill 637 relates to private club operations requirements. The fees for these private clubs allows for additional licenses to be issued as one license. The bill was passed and sent to the House.

 

The Senate is now in recess until 6 p.m.



Wednesday, March 29, 2017 - 05:33 PM

Senate Passes SB 609 Creating Flexibility for Use of School Aid Funds

The Senate met this afternoon to pass more bills on third reading.

Senate Bill 446 would authorize the Governor to issue executive orders to furlough state employees. It would give the Governor the authority to declare a fiscal emergency. The bill was passed and sent to the House.

Senate Bill 465 relates to medical professional liability. If someone would file a medical malpractice claim against a doctor, it must be signed by a doctor with the same field of study. The bill was passed and sent to the House.

Senate Bill 469 would prohibit waste of game animals, birds or fish. There would be a fine of no more than $1000 or incarceration of up to 100 days. They would also lose their license to hunt for five years. The bill was passed and sent to the House.

Senate Bill 482 relates generally to the WV Parkways Authority. The bill is one of the Governor’s proposed bills. They would now be allowed to issue bonds to pay for projects financed from tolls. The bill was passed and sent to the House.

Senate Bill 484 relates generally to taxation. The bill was passed and sent to the House.

Senate Bill 501 relates to the WV Economic Development Authority. The bill would create a minority economic advisement council to help address economic problems of minority populated areas. The bill was passed and sent to the House.

Senate Bill 507 would allow pharmacists to inform customers about lower cost alternatives to prescribed drugs. It would make it so the policy of prescribers to inform their customers of all the options financially. The bill was passed and sent to the House.

Senate Bill 515 relates to parole requirements of hearings and releases. The bill was passed and sent to the House.

Senate Bill 521 relates generally to Public Defender Services. It would allow them to seek legal counsel in the case of voucher disputes. The bill would no longer borrow from the Rainy Day Fund and instead fund it through the General Revenue. Senator Hall (R-Putnam) explained this was so the funding for the program would not dry up. The bill was passed and sent to the House.

Senate Bill 526 would require mandatory insurance coverage for inherited enzymatic disorders. The bill was passed and sent to the House.

Senate Bill 534 relates to incentives for consolidating local governments. The bill was passed and sent to the House.

Senate Bill 549 would allow individuals at least 21 years or older to operate or ride motorcycles without a helmet if the individual has had a motorcycles license for five years, has health insurance, and has paid his health bills. If someone violates this law, there would be a fine of no less than $100-$500. Upon second offense, there may be incarceration.

“This bill is the organ donor act of 2017. I oppose this bill,” said Senator Woelfel (D-Cabell).

“We talk about rights, and it is fun to roll down the highway with the wind in your hair, but this is the right to die. I hope we defeat this bill,” said Senator Stollings (D-Boone).

“We can’t prevent people from making dumb decisions. This bill is about adults who can make their own decisions. This is also a pro-tourism bill and for those reasons I support the bill,” said Senator Rucker (R-Jefferson).

Senator Blair (R-Berkeley) said, “I ride. I know the risk of what could happen every time I get on the bike. This bill doesn’t require you not to wear a helmet. It is the choice of the rider. If someone hits you, it’s not their fault you didn’t wear a helmet.”

The bill was rejected.

Senate Bill 562 relates to civil actions for damages brought against county commissions and municipalities. It was amended on third reading by the Judiciary Committee. Liability for injuries on municipal property are subject to limitations including if the injury happens in the presence of employees or if there is gross negligence. The bill was passed and sent to the House.

Senate Bill 563 relates to Consumer Credit and Protection Act. The bill was passed and sent to the House.

Senate Bill 576 would provide exception to waste for certain oil and gas development. Senator Ferns moved to amend the bill twice for a technical cleanup. The amendment was adopted. Senator Romano moved to amend the bill many times but only one of them were adopted. Senator Clements moved to amend the bill but his amendment was also rejected. The bill was passed and sent to the House.

Senate Bill 588 relates to distribution, reproduction and sale of tax maps. This would create a revenue source for the assessors and give people information. The bill was passed and sent to the House.

Senate Bill 606 relates to minimum wage and maximum hours for employees. It would exempt those working at amusement rides and minor league baseball from the laws current requirements. The bill was passed and sent to the House.

Senate Bill 609 would create additional flexibility for school systems in use of school aid funds.

Senator Plymale (D-Wayne) said, “Our counties are in a deficit and this bill will call for a tax increase that they can’t afford to do.”

Senator Unger (D-Berkeley) said, “Now that we are empowering the boards of education, people can run for the board of education under the platform that they will decrease taxes.”

Senator Mann (R-Monroe) said, “We can’t keep spending money like its running down the Kanawha river. Expenses cannot exceed revenue and this is a tough decision for me. It is better to put some flexibility in their while we are trying to build industry. This bill is trying to keep the boat afloat.”

Senator Trump (R-Morgan) said, “This bill is a good plan and it holds every Board of Education harmless that gives back to them authority that they’ve had in the past.”

Senator Gaunch (R-Kanawha) said, “This bill has a tremendous amount of flexibilities in it, I think the counties will love it and that it will help them save money.”

The bill was passed and sent to the House with a vote of 17 yeas to 16 nays.

Senate Bill 636 would authorize the State Fire Commission to establish a program to address problems facing Volunteer Fire Departments. The bill was passed and sent to the House.

Senate Bill 637 relates to private club operations requirements. The fees for these private clubs allows for additional licenses to be issued as one license. The bill was passed and sent to the House.

 

The Senate is now in recess until 6 p.m.



Wednesday, March 29, 2017 - 02:14 PM

Bill to Sell Hopemont Hospital Passes 51-49 in House

The House of Delegates convened at 9 a.m. this morning.

The Rules Committee moved HB 2933 to the foot of the agenda and tabled HB 2776 and HB 3108.

There were 14 bills on 3rd reading, among those:

HB 2129 would state the legal right and authority of state or local law enforcement to enter public areas on or adjacent to any private club, or take other appropriate police action to enforce the underage drinking laws of this state. Currently, police cannot enter private clubs without proper search warrant; this bill changes it to enforce underage drinking laws.

The bill passed in the House 77-23 and now will be sent to the Senate for more consideration.

HB 2363 would require that a state employee with a commercial driver’s license have a current medical evaluation certification and applicable medical wavier. If the CDLs aren’t being used for public employment, then the bill wouldn’t apply to the driver, according to Judiciary Chairman John Shott (R-Mercer).

Delegate Mike Folk (R-Berkeley) said he understands the intent of the bill, but the plain language of the bill doesn’t make clear the intent. The intent is to ensure safety on the roads from commercial drivers. The bill passed the House 88-11 and will now be sent to the Senate for more consideration.

HB 3080 would institute a “Celebrate Freedom Week” and would require the study of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and other founding American historical documents during this week.

This bill sparked a lot of discussion among the delegates.

Delegate Robert Thompson (D-Wayne) said there are already standards and requirements for each grade to meet regarding civics, government, 9/11. Pearl Harbor and other events. He said we don’t need more regulations.

Delegate Pat McGeehan (R-Hancock) said “I love the intent, but it’s vaguely written. He preceded to discuss the different interpretations of the constitution and said he doesn’t trust the State Board of Education to choose which interpretation be presented to the students.

Delegate Frank Deem (R-Wood) said, “I believe in Nationalism and West Virginia. I believe in making us better at home,” as he stood in support of the bill.

Delegate Stephen Baldwin (D-Greenbrier) said, “This bill is to hand out participation trophies to students. I come from the participation trophy generation and guess what we don’t what them anymore. You can keep them,” as he stood against the bill.

The bill passed 97-3 and was sent to the Senate for more consideration.

HB 3102 would permit the Secretary of DHHR to sell Hopemont Hospital and its assets. It would require the transfer of residents and minimize its effects on the employees.

Delegate Terri Sypolt (R-Preston) stood in opposition to this bill, which would directly affect her district. Yesterday, she had offered an amendment to keep Hopemont on the property it is currently on for the purpose of rebuilding on the land.

Delegate Linda Longstreth (D-Marion) there was no plan in place for this selling. No one knows where the residents are going, where another facility will be build, etc. These plans should have been in place before the selling.

Delegate Bill Hamilton (R-Upshur) said he opposed the bill because he knows what’s coming. Although this isn’t his county, the hospital in his county could be the next one up for selling.

The bill passed 51-49.

Committee Meetings Today

Judiciary: 1:15 p.m. in 410M

Rules: 3:25 p.m. behind the House Chamber

Committee Meetings Tomorrow

Judiciary: 8:30 a.m. in 410M

Ag. and Nat. Resources: 8:30 a.m. in 215E

Gov. Org.: 9 a.m. in 215E

Small Business: 9 a.m. in 434M

Banking and Insurance: 10 a.m. in 215E

Rules: 10:45 a.m.

Health and Human Resources: 2 p.m. in 215E

Committee Meetings Friday

Judiciary: 8:30 a.m. in 410M

The House is in Recess until 3:30 p.m. today. 

Update:

Action on HB 2933 was postponed one day. 

There will be a Public Hearing tomorrow at 8:30 a.m. in the House Chamber on SB 239. 

There will be a Public Hearing on March 31 at 8:30 a.m. on SB 212 in the House Chamber.

The House is adjourned until 11 a.m. tomorrow. 

›› House bills introduced on this date
›› Completed Legislation

Wednesday, March 29, 2017 - 12:29 PM

Senate Passed 13 Bills on Third Reading

The Senate met this morning to pass 13 bills on third reading.

Senate Bill 38 would create a five-year tax credit for new businesses locating on post mine sites.

Senator Stollings (D-Boone) said, "This will be a big tool in the tool box. The bill will grow and diversify our economy and it is only for five years."

The bill was passed and sent to the House.

Senate Bill 40 would require inclusion of protocols for response to after-school emergencies in school crisis response plans. This would particularly relate to sports based injuries for events and practices. The bill was passed and sent to the House.

Senate Bill 57 would continue personal income tax adjustment for certain retirees. The bill was passed and sent to the House.

Senate Bill 238 would increase tax credits allowed for rehabilitation of certified historic structures. The bill was passed and sent to the House.

Senate Bill 282 would direct the Office of Administrative Hearings to amend current legislative rules relating to appeal procedures. The bill was passed and sent to the House.

Senate Bill 294 would relate to a Community Sustainability Investment Pilot Program. The program would give grants to help creative communities in West Virginia. The bill was passed and sent to the House.

Senate Bill 333 would require all DHHR-licensed facilities access West Virginia's Controlled Substances Monitoring Program Database. The bill was passed and sent to the House.

Senate Bill 343 relates to transportation network companies. The bill was passed and sent to the House.

Senate Bill 369 would permit surface owners to purchase mineral interests when interest becomes tax lien. The bill was passed and sent to the House.

Senate Bill 399 would prohibit political subdivisions from enacting local ordinances regulating benefits employers provide to employees.

Senator Unger (D-Berkeley) said, "This bill is an example of hypocrisy in this body because the bill takes away local control."

Senator Trump (R-Morgan) said, "Uniformity is the objective here. This would prohibit counties from enacting their own minimum wage laws different from state laws."

The bill was passed and sent to the House.

Senate Bill 402 relates to covenants not to compete between physicians and hospitals. The bill was passed and sent to the House.

Senate Bill 406 relates to generic drug products. The bill would take the cash savings when a prescription is filled with a generic brand, and give it to the customer. The bill was passed and sent to the House.

Senate Bill 409 relates generally to the 2017 Tax Reform Act. The bill reduces the coal severance tax, has a sales tax increase, begin taxing certain services, make three tax brackets instead of five and would phase out the income tax depending upon the success of the bill.

Senator Prezioso (D-Marion) said, "I am opposed the bill. We can't be dealing with this in a time of fiscal uncertainty. The bill is a hybrid of SB 335. This would only further complicate the budget formulation."

Senator Hall (R-Putnam) said, "I'm going to have support something I'm not completely okay with because this is the last day to send it out. There are things I'd like to rethink but we have to keep the process moving."

Senator Palumbo (D-Kanawha) said, "My concern every step of the way has been that we are shifting the tax burden on lower income people. That is not the tax reform this state needs."

Senator Ferns (R-Ohio) said, "There has been more consideration on this legislation than any other this session. We have spoken with tax economists across the country and state. It has changed multiple times as it should have. The reduction of the personal income tax will result in a huge economic growth. And it won't hurt those on a fixed income as there is a fixed income tax credit. Taking bold steps is never easy, but taking them with an evidence based approach will be great for West Virginia."

The bill was passed and sent to the House.

Senate Resolution 59 was adopted designating March 29, 2017 as Tucker County Day.

Senate Resolution 60 was adopted recognizing Cabell Midland High School band for their exceptional accomplishments.

Senate Resolution 61 was adopted declaring WV Marching Band Invitational to be state's official marching band championship event.

Senate Concurrent Resolution 50 was adopted urging Congress to reschedule marijuana.

 

 

The Senate is in recess until 12:30 p.m.



Wednesday, March 29, 2017 - 08:59 AM

House Judiciary Reports Two Bills to Full House

The House Judiciary Committee met briefly before this morning's floor session to pass two bills out of the committee.

Senate Bill 456 relates to standards for termination of parental rights in child abuse and neglect cases. The bill adds some technical cleanup to a bill that was passed last year. 

Senate Bill 261 relates to increasing salary or wages of judgment debtors. This would help to give a person that works more protection from judgement creditors.

The bills were reported to the House with recommendation of passage.



Tuesday, March 28, 2017 - 06:59 PM

Oil and Gas Development, Medical Marijuana and Tax Reform Bills Addressed in Senate

The Senate has addressed three significant bills that will be considered for passage in third reading tomorrow.

SB 576 was requested to lay over in third reading. This bill would provide exceptions to waste for certain oil and gas development.

SB 409 was amended by Senator Robert Karnes, R-Upshur, in second reading to make technical corrections, provide for a $200 tax credit for low income seniors and correct the enaction clause. This bill would modify exemptions to the consumer sales and service tax, as well as repeal the personal income tax.

SB 386 was advanced to third reading from first reading with the right to amend. This bill would authorize medical cannabis in West Virginia.

All bills on first reading were unanimously advanced to second reading.

Committee Meetings Tomorrow

Transportation and Infrastructure: 8:30 a.m. in 451M

The Senate is adjourned until 9 a.m. tomorrow. 

Tomorrow is the last day for Senate bills on third reading to be considered for passage out of the Senate.

›› Senate bills introduced on this date
›› Completed Legislation

Tuesday, March 28, 2017 - 06:14 PM

WV Medical Cannabis Act Approved in Senate Judiciary

The Senate Judiciary Committee has approved two bills and an originating resolution to be reported to the full Senate with the recommendation that they pass.

SB 386 would authorize medical cannabis in West Virginia.

The West Virginia Medical Cannabis Act passed the committee with a 13-3 vote in favor of the bill.

Senator Ryan Weld, R-Brooke, expressed doubts about certain liabilities that could arise from the bill's enaction and inequalities between federal and state law.

Former West Virginia senator Lisa Smith spoke before the committee in support of the bill. 

Smith said her parents' ailments would have been able to be alleviated if medical marijuana were available in West Virginia. Her father died of Parkinson's disease and her mother currently suffers from multiple painful symptoms from nursing home injuries.

The committee approved a strike-and-insert amendment developed by committee counsel.

The bill was previously reported out of Senate Health and Human Resources with the recommendation that it do pass.

SJR 8 would enact a Fair and Simple Tax Reform (or FASTR) amendment to the state Constitution.

Among other specific provisions, the bill would repeal the personal property tax, authorize new classes of real property for the purpose of taxation, create a State infrastructure and equalization fund, provide for block grants to local schools and governments for education and infrastructure and establish exemptions to the real property tax.

Mike Carl, special advisor to The Senate Select Committee on Tax Reform, said the resolution would "replace a convoluted, internally complicated property tax structure" that the state has been trying to move away from for several years.

Senators were concerned with the resolution's possibly negative effects on tax increment financing (TIF) measures, among other aspects of the resolution's intent.

The resolution originated from The Senate Select Committee on Tax Reform.

Originating Concurrent Resolution 1 would urge Congress to reschedule marijuana to an alternative drug schedule.

Committee counsel said the resolution was created, since marijuana is currently categorized with much more dangerous and harmful drugs.

HB 2329 would make it unlawful to produce, manufacture or possess fentanyl.

The committee approved a strike-and-insert amendment developed by committee counsel.



Tuesday, March 28, 2017 - 05:37 PM

House Passes 17 Bills and Rejects Bill Increasing Teacher to Pupil Ratio

The House of Delegates met this afternoon to pass 17 bills on third reading and amend bills on second reading.

House Bill 2897 would raise the amount required for competitive bidding of construction contracts by the state and its subdivisions. The bill was passed and sent to the Senate.

House Bill 2930 would allow powerball hot lotto, and mega millions winners to remain anonymous. They would have to have one $1 million and up. Try to protect one from media, family or friend’s harassment. It would also make in an exemption from the Freedom of Information Act. The bill was passed and sent to the Senate.

House Bill 2941 would require the Commissioner of the Division of Highways to utilize the Attorney General for all legal assistance and services. The purpose of the bill is to make the Division of Highways like all other agencies and have to ask for council from the Attorney General before seeking outside council. The bill was passed and sent to the Senate.

House Bill 2961 relates generally to charitable bingo games and charitable raffles. The bill was passed and sent to the Senate

House Bill 2962 would enlarge the authority of the Tax Commissioner to perform background investigations of employees and contractors. The bill was passed and sent to the Senate.

House Bill 2963 would eliminate the tax lien waiver requirement for estates of nonresidents. The bill was passed and sent to the Senate.

House Bill 2967 relates generally to administration of estates and trusts. The bill is meant to improve the service of the

House Bill 3006 would exempt certain contracts between the Department of Health and Human Resources and West Virginia University, Marshall University or the School for Osteopathic Medicine from state purchasing requirements. The bill was passed and sent to the Senate.

House Bill 3022 relates to the reporting of fraud, misappropriation of moneys, and other violations of law to the commission of special investigations. The bill was passed and sent to the Senate.

House Bill 3037 would remove the Division of Energy as an independent agency. It would direct it under a division of the Department of Commerce. The bill was passed and sent to the Senate.

House Bill 3048 would relate to collection of Tier II fees for chemical inventories. The increase of fees would help to pay for training of first responders. The bill was passed and sent to the Senate.

House Bill 3088 relates generally to teacher-pupil ratios.

Delegate Moye (D-Raleigh) said, “I have been in the Committee for Education for many years and we usually equate smaller class sizes. This bill does the opposite of that. It is going backwards.”

Delegate Rowan (R-Hampshire) said, “Sixth grade is a transitional year. They also have trouble with organizational skills due to more freedom. Bullying begins with feeder school’s children meeting each other. Instead of lowering the ratio we are making it higher. We are looking for more opportunities for bullying. Who are we really helping with this bill? I urge rejection of this bill.”

Delegate Hornbuckle (D-Cabell), Delegate E. Evans (D-McDowell), Delegate Marcum (D-Mingo), Delegate Iaguinta (D-Harrison), and Delegate Thompson (D-Wayne) rose also to oppose the bill.

Delegate Dean (R-Mingo) said, “The bill gives more flexibility to class sizes for these schools so I support the bill.”

Delegate Espinosa (R-Jefferson) said we are actually allowing more flexibility for the local schools. This can also help them with funding as well.

The bill was rejected with a vote of 45 yeas and 55 nays.

House Bill 3091 relates generally to employer withholding taxes. The bill was passed and sent to the Senate.

House Bill 3095 would allow retired teachers to be employed by a higher education institution. The bill was passed and sent to the Senate.

House Bill 2109 relates to the West Virginia Land Reuse Agency Authorization Act. The bill was passed and sent to the Senate.

House Bill 2188 would extend the length of time for the special Community-Based Pilot Demonstration Project to Improve Outcomes for At-Risk Youth. The timeline would be extended from four to seven year. The bill was passed and sent to the Senate.

House Bill 2520 would prohibit the use of a tanning device by a person under the age of 18. Minors would have to receive written consent from a parent or guardian in order to use a salon.

Delegate Summers (R-Taylor) said, “The risk of cancers from these beds are drastically increased in those under 25. Melanoma is an aggressive cancer that takes young people’s lives.”

The bill was passed and sent to the Senate.

House Bill 2552 would increase the pet food registration fee and direct that the additional money be deposited into the West Virginia Spay Neuter Assistance Fund. The bill was passed and sent to the Senate.

All bills on second reading were moved to third reading with no amendments except for HB 3062, which was amended by Delegate Shott (R-Mercer).

Senate Bill 437 was attempted to be amended by Delegate Fluharty (D-Ohio) to have an economic impact study done on the bill.

Delegate Storch (R-Ohio) said, “I think an economic impact study would make logical sense so that we can see what the impact would be statewide.”

Delegate Nelson (R-Kanawha) said, “The pensions have been preserved by the actions taken up by the Senate. That is why we are taking up this bill now.”

Delegate Canestraro (D-Marshall) said, “I’m appalled that we are being told to rely on a study done in January of 2014. Things change. This cut will devastate all of those involved in this industry.”

Delegate Fluharty (D-Ohio) said, “We have a duty to do the right thing here.”

The amendment was not adopted.

Delegate Eldridge (D-Lincoln) moved to amend the Senate Bill 437 to take the funds designated to the Greyhound Breeding Development Fund and put them in the State Road Fund.

Delegate Nelson (R-Kanawha) said there are other bills that will help the road fund. This is the wrong facility to do that with and will hurt the budget as the funds as of now would be going to the General Revenue Fund.

The amendment was not adopted.

Senate Bill 437 was moved to lie over one day.

The House then received committee reports.

 

 

The House is adjourned until 9 a.m. tomorrow.



Tuesday, March 28, 2017 - 04:40 PM

Senate Advances 44 Bills from Second Reading

The Senate has advanced 44 bills and one joint resolution from second reading.

Senate Bills 38, 40, 57, 238, 282, 286, 293, 294, 333, 343, 369, 375, 399, 402, 406, 409, 446, 465, 469, 482, 484, 501, 507, 515, 521, 526, 534, 549, 563, 588, 606, 609, 613, 636, 637, 656, 664, 667, 687, 688, 689, 690, 691 and 693 and Senate Joint Resolution 6 were advanced from second reading.

Amendments were offered for 11 of those bills on second reading.

Senator Ron Stollings, D-Boone, amended SB 38 to make technical corrections.

Senator Mike Hall, R-Putnam, amended SB 293 to make technical corrections.

Senator Charles Trump, R-Morgan, made a strike and insert amendment to SB 369 on behalf of the Senate Judiciary Committee to clarify the process of permitting surface owners to purchase mineral interests when the interest becomes tax lien.

Senator Ryan Weld, R-Mercer, amended SB 399 to clarify the intent of a provision in the bill related to political subdivisions.

Senate Majority Leader Ryan Ferns, R-Ohio, proposed a strike and insert amendment to SB 484 that would incorporate a budget proposal from Governor Justice in with the bill. The amendment was unanimously rejected after it was determined that the proposal was outdated and had since been revised by the governor in meetings with the House majority and minority and Senate minority.

Senator Mike Romano, D-Harrison, amended SB 521 to make technical corrections.

Senator Trump made an amendment to SB 549 on behalf of the Senate Judiciary Committee to add more requirements to the bill's provisions including an age limit, mandatory health insurance.

Senator Mike Hall, R-Putnam, amended SB 609 on behalf of the Senate Finance Committee to correct certain property levy rates in the bill.

Senator Ronald Miller, D-Greenbrier, made an amendment to SB 687 relating to the support of fish populations in environmental protection.

Senator Mark Maynard, R-Wayne, amended SB 691 to make a technical correction.

Senator Hall amended SJR 6 to make a technical correction to an incorrect date in the resolution.

Committee Meetings Today

Education: 4:30 p.m. in 451M

Judiciary: 4:45 p.m. in 208W

Committee Meetings Tomorrow

Transportation and Infrastructure: 8:30 a.m. in 451M

The Senate is in recess until 6 p.m. this evening.

›› Senate bills introduced on this date
›› Completed Legislation

Tuesday, March 28, 2017 - 02:37 PM

Senate Completes Legislation on Water Pollution Control Act

The Senate has completed legislation on two bills that will now be sent to the governor for enaction.

HB 2506 allows permit limits to be calculated using design flows recommended by the United States Environmental Protection Act for human health; specifically, the use of the harmonic mean flow. It would also allow for mixing zone overlapping while retaining the application of water quality criteria that are developed for protection of drinking water.

HB 2774 allows aircraft and aircraft parts to be taxed at the same rate as aircraft property.

The Senate also passed 14 bills to be sent to the House for further consideration.

SB 60 would provide for eligibility and fraud requirements for public assistance by requiring the Department of Health and Human Resources to implement work requirements for applicants for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

Senator Robert Beach, D-Monongalia, made a motion to table the bill due to the possibly negative effects increased regulations in the bill could have on the 20% of the state population who rely on those SNAP benefits. The motion was rejected.

SB 74 would allow fire departments to charge fees for service calls.

Senator Greg Boso, R-Nicholas, amended the bill to change a certain fee amount limit provided.

SB 217 would increase the number of limited video lottery machines allowed at retail locations. The bill was reported to the floor with the recommendation that it pass.

SB 376 would add persons who have been adjudicated as a juvenile delinquent for conduct related to qualifying offenses to comply with the registration requirements of the Sex Offender Registration Act.

SB 401 would permit a county board of education to base its employment decisions, transfers, reassignments, reductions in the number of professional personnel, reductions in classroom teaching positions and reductions in the workforce on an individual’s qualifications.

SB 578 would establish a new fee structure for the furnishment of health care records by allowing records to be furnished to a patient’s personal representative and establishing a limit on the total fee allowable for the furnishment of a patient’s health care record.

SB 601 would adjust limits on consumer loans in West Virginia for which certain finance charges may be imposed.

SB 621 would provide that at any point after a county board of education provides written notice to the state board that it is considering or in the process of closing or consolidating a school or schools, any revision or supplementation to certain rules is not applicable to the school closing or consolidation project described in the county board's notification to the state board.

SB 630 would establish the Accessibility and Equity in Public Education Enhancement Act to allow a county board or a multicounty consortium to create a virtual instruction program for one or more schools serving any composition of grades K-12 by adopting a policy creating the program and contracting with virtual school providers.

SB 634 would create an exemption for the Department of Health and Human Resources from having to go through the requirements of the Division of Purchasing when entering into agreements with West Virginia University or Marshall University for the provision of services, which will encourage collaboration and cost-saving between the Universities and Department of Health and Human Resources.

SB 647 would repeal a section of the Code which imposes an additional county excise tax on the privilege of transferring real property for the purposes of funding farmland preservation, and replace the same by amending the Code to add a subsection which provides for an additional county excise tax on the privilege of transferring real property for the purposes of funding the county farmland preservation program and the operations, programs and activities of the local economic development corporation or authority.

Senator Ronald Miller, D-Greenbrier, made an amendment to make minor changes for clarification throughout the bill.

SB 686 would exempt facilities providing direct patient care that are managed, directed, controlled and governed by the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Resources from the otherwise required oversight and review by the Purchasing Division of the Department of Administration, as well as require the Legislative Auditor to audit purchasing made by such facilities and report the findings to the Joint Committee on Government and Finance.

HB 2001 modifies the ethics and purchasing laws to provide more transparency in government.

Senator Charles Trump, R-Morgan, made an amendment on behalf of the Senate Judiciary Committee to correct language in the bill related to public contracts and other provisions. 

Senator Ryan Weld, R-Mercer, further amended sections of the Judiciary amendment related to the Ethics Commission and higher education compliance.

HB 2868 would clarify that presumed abandoned property in the form of amounts owed by an insurer on a life or endowment insurance policy or an annuity that has matured or terminated, and obligations related thereto, are guided by the policies, requirements and interpretations of the Insurance Commissioner.

Of those bills on third reading, Senate Bills 281416417421 and 504 were requested to lie over for one day.

Members of the Senate also adopted four resolutions.

SR 55 designates today as WVU and WVU Extension Service Day at the Capitol.

SR 56 congratulates the WVU rifle team for winning the 2017 NCAA Rifle Championship.

SR 57 recognizes the 200th anniversary of the Sistersville Ferry.

SR 58 recognizes the 100th year of the main structure at Parkersburg High School.

The Senate is in recess until 2:45 p.m. this afternoon.

›› Senate bills introduced on this date
›› Completed Legislation

Tuesday, March 28, 2017 - 01:28 PM

House of Delegates Rejects Bill Eliminating Film Tax Credits and Increasing Beer Tax

The House of Delegates met this morning to discuss the bills on third reading.

House Bill 2002 relates to parental notification of abortions performed on emancipated minors. the bill would require that the doctor performing the abortion notify the parents in the case of a minor. the minor could get permission from a psychiatrist or psychologist or have the physician petition the court in order to bypass these steps.

Delegate Fleischauer (D-Monongalia) said, "I am in support of working in a bipartisan fashion. There are deep issues here but we listened, talked and heard each other. Thank you."

The bill passed and was sent to the Senate.

House Bill 2196 relates to the secondary school’s athletic commission. The bill would let homeschool students play in extracurricular public school sports. They must not be 19, comply with all of the rules set by the public school, not be compensated, play for schools in their own district and be in good academic standing for the previous two years.

Delegate Fast (R-Fayette) said, "These homeschool parents pay the full array of taxes to fund these schools. Let’s let them participate in the programs provided."

The bill passed and was sent to the Senate.

House Bill 2376 relates to the organizational structure of state government. The bill would make the bureau of Medical Services its own department that would answer to the governor and the legislature. The bill passed and was sent to the Senate.

House Bill 2453 expands the list of persons the Commissioner of Agriculture may license to grow or cultivate industrial hemp. The bill would put in place an application process to grow hemp and would be permitted at the discretion of the Department of Agriculture.

Delegate Marcum (D-Mingo) said, "This will help to diversify the economy in southern West Virginia. It will grow well on post-mine sites."

The bill passed and was sent to the Senate.

House Bill 2561 relates to public school support. 

Delegate Moye (D-Raleigh) said, "The bill does a lot of good things but I believe in my heart of hearts, what it does to school busses in the wrong thing to do."

Delegate Espinosa (R-Jefferson) explained that the bill doesn't change the repair standards for school busses but changes the way they are funded.

The bill was passed and sent to the Senate.

House Bill 2589 would permit students who are homeschooled or attend private schools to enroll and take classes at the county's vocational school. The students would only be admitted if there is space in the classrooms and if they have had all of the appropriate shots. The bill was passed and sent to the Senate.

House Bill 2653 would extend the Multi State Real-Time Tracking System. The bill was passed and sent to the Senate.

House Bill 2704 would prohibit persons convicted of sexual offenses against children with whom they hold positions of trust from holding certification or license valid in public schools. The bill was passed and sent to the Senate.

House Bill 2711 would abolish regional educational service agencies and provide for the transfer of property and records.

Delegate Zatezalo (R-Zatezalo) said, "I was concerned about eliminating RESAs because of all the services they provide, but I am encouraged by all the work the Committee on Education put in to making the transition smooth.

In response to some questions about firefighter education in particular, Delegate Espinosa said the bill gives counties the freedom to pick what services they deem necessary in the transition year. The bill would also give flexibility in the school calendar, testing standards on the local level and keeps everything in line with federal regulations. The bill was passed and sent to the Senate.

House Bill 2720 would allow the School Building Authority to transfer funds allocated into the School Construction Fund. The bill was passed and sent to the Senate.

House Bill 2771 relates to temporary teaching certificates for Armed Forces spouses. The bill was passed and sent to the Senate.

House Bill 2781 would require a person desiring to vote to present documentation identifying the voter to one of the poll clerks. The bill was passed and sent to the Senate.

House Bill 2794 relates to the means of giving notice to a debt collector of a consumer's representation by legal counsel. The bill was passed and sent to the Senate.

House Bill 2804 would remove chiropractors from the list of medical professions required to obtain continuing education on mental health conditions common to veterans and family members.

Delegate Wilson (R-Berkeley) said his army friends don't like going to the doctor because of the annoying questions brought up about their time overseas and that he is in favor of the bill.

The bill was passed and sent to the Senate.

House Bill 2815 relates to higher education governance. The bill was amended and was approved. The bill was passed and sent to the Senate.

House Bill 2816 would eliminate new film tax credits. it would also raise the taxes on beer and soda.

Delegate Barrett (D-Berkeley) said the films and show being filmed in the eastern panhandle generate a lot of economic activity and they will leave if the credits were taken away.

Delegate McGeehan (R-Hancock) said, "I oppose the bill. How much are we going to extract from the private economy? I thought the republicans controlled this legislation. We sound like a bunch of prohibitionists. Many in the chamber said we will live within our means, but I guess this is just alcohol."

The bill was rejected with a vote of 39 yeas and 60 nays.

House Bill 2878 would increase the amount of authorized Federal Grant Anticipation Notes for which the Division of Highways may apply. The bill was passed and sent to the Senate.

House Bill 2887 relates to retirement and separation incentives. The bill was passed and sent to the Senate.

Committee meetings announced:

Judiciary after floor session this evening and 8:45 a.m. tomorrow in 410M.

Public Hearing on SB 239 at 8:30 a.m. Thursday, March 30th.

Rules at 1:20 p.m. behind the chamber.

 

 

The House is in recess until 1:30 p.m.



Tuesday, March 28, 2017 - 11:10 AM

County Economic Development Amendment Approved in Senate Judiciary

The Senate Judiciary Committee has approved two bills and two resolutions to be reported to the floor with the recommendation that they pass.

SB 562 would reform the liability of municipalities and county commissions for civil actions brought by reason of a slip and fall injury due to defect or disrepair of municipal or county owned property.

Senator Mike Romano, D-Harrison, proposed an amendment to include an "open and obvious" policy to protect businesses and cities from civil actions where an open or obvious obstacle was involved in the injury. Those who opposed the amendment said it did not serve the bill's original intent.

Senator Charles Trump, R-Morgan, made a strike-and-insert amendment on behalf of the committee to make technical corrections to the bill.

The committee first reported the bill without a recommendation and has again viewed the bill on its second reading to speed up the bill's processing for passage.

SJR 4 would authorize the Legislature to, by general law, allocate a portion of ad valorem property taxes paid by owners of certain new manufacturing facilities and large capital additions to existing manufacturing facilities located in counties in which county commissions elect to fund infrastructure capital improvements using property taxes.

Marshall County Commissioner Bob Miller Jr. voiced his support for the bill and detailed how the additional funding would support the county's infrastructure projects for I-68.

Senator Charles Clements, R-Wetzel, said the resolution would be a "game changer" for growing the economy in struggling counties.

This is a companion piece of legislation to SB 210, which passed the Senate yesterday.

An identical resolution passed the Senate during the last session, but was not taken up for consideration in House Judiciary in time for passage.

The resolution was previously reported out of Senate Finance with the recommendation that it do pass.

The committee also laid over SJR 8, which would enact a Fair and Simple Tax Reform (or FASTR) amendment to the state Constitution.

Among other specific provisions, the bill would repeal the personal property tax, authorize new classes of real property for the purpose of taxation, create a State infrastructure and equalization fund, provide for block grants to local schools and governments for education and infrastructure and establish exemptions to the real property tax.

Mark Muchow, deputy secretary of the WV Department of Revenue, was available to answer questions from the committee about the bill's provisions.

Committee counsel said similar resolutions had been proposed in prior years.

The resolution originated from The Senate Select Committee on Tax Reform.

The committee is expected to meet 3 p.m. this evening in 208W.



Monday, March 27, 2017 - 10:43 PM

Senate Advances House Bill to Protect Drinking Water Quality to Third Reading

The Senate has advanced 18 bills from second reading this evening to be put to a vote in tomorrow's session.

SB 60 would provide for eligibility and fraud requirements for public assistance by requiring the Department of Health and Human Resources to implement work requirements for applicants for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

Senator Ed Gaunch, R-Kanawha, amended the bill to strike out certain stores that were originally prohibited from accepting electronic benefit transfer card transactions.

Senator Corey Palumbo, D-Kanawha, also amended the bill to clarify and correct some of the bill's language.

Senator Douglas Facemire, D-Braxton, proposed an amendment that was rejected to strike out a certain subsection of the bill related to all assets of the members of a SNAP applicant’s household.

SB 217 would increase the number of limited video lottery machines allowed at retail locations. The bill was reported to the floor with the recommendation that it pass.

SB 281 would increase the number of limited video lottery machines that a retailer may have from five to seven, increase the number of limited video lottery terminals certain tax exempt organizations may have and require the Lottery Commission to conduct a bid for permits held by current permit holders expiring June 30, 2021 prior to September 1, 2017.

SB 376 would add persons who have been adjudicated as a juvenile delinquent for conduct related to qualifying offenses to comply with the registration requirements of the Sex Offender Registration Act.

SB 401 would permit a county board of education to base its employment decisions, transfers, reassignments, reductions in the number of professional personnel, reductions in classroom teaching positions and reductions in the workforce on an individual’s qualifications.

Senator Ed Gaunch, R-Kanawha, amended the bill to make mostly technical corrections to the bill that he had not addressed earlier with the bill's drafting. 

SB 416 would eliminate the cap on the size of projects constructed by the Division of Highways and to remove the sunset date.

SB 417 would remove the financial limitations on how many design build projects may be undertaken by the Division of Highways.

Senator Mike Hall, R-Putnam, amended the bill to make a minor technical correction.

SB 421 would increase from $200 million to $500 million the amount the Division of Highways is allowed to use to apply for Federal Grant Anticipation Notes to be reimbursed from the funds made available to West Virginia from the federal government’s Highway Fund for West Virginia.  

SB 578 would establish a new fee structure for the furnishment of health care records by allowing records to be furnished to a patient’s personal representative and establishing a limit on the total fee allowable for the furnishment of a patient’s health care record.

SB 601 would adjust limits on consumer loans in West Virginia for which certain finance charges may be imposed.

SB 621 would provide that at any point after a county board of education provides written notice to the state board that it is considering or in the process of closing or consolidating a school or schools, any revision or supplementation to certain rules is not applicable to the school closing or consolidation project described in the county board's notification to the state board.

SB 630 would establish the Accessibility and Equity in Public Education Enhancement Act to allow a county board or a multicounty consortium to create a virtual instruction program for one or more schools serving any composition of grades K-12 by adopting a policy creating the program and contracting with virtual school providers.

SB 634 would create an exemption for the Department of Health and Human Resources from having to go through the requirements of the Division of Purchasing when entering into agreements with West Virginia University or Marshall University for the provision of services, which will encourage collaboration and cost-saving between the Universities and Department of Health and Human Resources.

Senator Tom Takubo, R-Kanawha, made an amendment to the bill to include the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine in the provisions of the bill.

SB 647 would repeal a section of the Code which imposes an additional county excise tax on the privilege of transferring real property for the purposes of funding farmland preservation, and replace the same by amending the Code to add a subsection which provides for an additional county excise tax on the privilege of transferring real property for the purposes of funding the county farmland preservation program and the operations, programs and activities of the local economic development corporation or authority.

SB 686 would exempt facilities providing direct patient care that are managed, directed, controlled and governed by the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Resources from the otherwise required oversight and review by the Purchasing Division of the Department of Administration, as well as require the Legislative Auditor to audit purchasing made by such facilities and report the findings to the Joint Committee on Government and Finance.

HB 2506 would allow permit limits to be calculated using design flows recommended by the United States Environmental Protection Act for human health; specifically, the use of the harmonic mean flow. It would also allow for mixing zone overlapping while retaining the application of water quality criteria that are developed for protection of drinking water.

Senators Ronald Miller and Mike Romano moved to amend the bill to bring the bill in line with surrounding states and address the needs of civilians who presented before the Senate Judiciary Committee in regards to overlapping mixing zones. Both were rejected on the grounds that the amendments were unnecessary and simply limited the provisions of the bill that had already been agreed upon by several parties involved.

HB 2774 would allow aircraft and aircraft parts to be taxed at the same rate as aircraft property.

HB 2868 would clarify that presumed abandoned property in the form of amounts owed by an insurer on a life or endowment insurance policy or an annuity that has matured or terminated, and obligations related thereto, are guided by the policies, requirements and interpretations of the Insurance Commissioner.

Senator Charles Trump, R-Morgan, amended the bill on behalf of the Senate Judiciary Committee to clarify the chronological orders of when and how certain groups or organizations mentioned in the bill are supposed to take action toward their provided responsibilities.

Of those bills on second reading, SB 484 was requested to lie over for one day. The bill would eliminate the exemption from sales tax for certain sales of materials acquired for use in state highway projects.

All bills on first reading were advanced to second reading.

Committee Meetings Tomorrow

Judiciary: 9 a.m. in 208W

Finance: 9:30 a.m. in 451M

Education: 2 p.m. in 451M

*Transportation and Infrastructure will not be meeting.

The Senate is adjourned until 11 a.m. tomorrow.

›› Senate bills introduced on this date
›› Completed Legislation

Monday, March 27, 2017 - 07:22 PM

Bill to Allow Optional Motorcycle Helmet for 21+ Approved in Senate Judiciary

The Senate Judiciary Committee has approved a bill, SB 549, that would allow individuals 21 and older to operate a motorcycle without a helmet under specified conditions.

Senator Robert Beach, D-Monongalia, made an amendment that would change the motorcycle endorsement qualification to 5 years instead of 2 years. The amendment was rejected.

Senator Mike Romano, D-Harrison, proposed an amendment to require health insurance coverage in the case that there is a motorcycle accident involving someone who was not wearing a helmet. The amendment was rejected.

The committee previously reported the bill to the floor, but it was requested that the bill be referred back to Judiciary again on its second reading.

The bill was previously reported out of Senate Transportation and Infrastructure with the recommendation that it do pass.

The committee also moved that SB 560 be revised into a resolution to be studied during the interim. The bill would establish a medical malpractice peer review panel by the Board of Medicine to review medical malpractice and medical malpractice-related claim.



Monday, March 27, 2017 - 04:59 PM

Senate Finance Reports SB 609 to Full Senate

The Senate Finance Committee met this afternoon to discuss two bills.

Senate Bill 609 would create additional flexibility for school systems in use of school aid funds. Senator Hall said explained an amendment to the bill. The amendment would raise the levy rate and everyone would get their money. If the county so chooses then they won't have to raise the levy rate if they don't want to. This would cause everyone to be funded without action. The amendment was adopted.

Senator Stollings (D-Boone) said, "I rise in opposition of this bill. We are basically taking money from education and placing the bill with the counties so they have to find the funds and raise their taxes. If the counties opt out of this, then education will be cut by this amount. When we are in the state we are in right now, we ought to be doubling down on education funding, not the opposite."

The bill was reported to the floor with the recommendation that it pass as amended with a vote of 15 yeas and 6 nays.

The next bill discussed was a committee originating bill that would create a special revenue fund in the State Treasury for volunteer fire fighters. $1.50 for each acre of timberland would be collected by the tax commissioner and put into that fund. Most will go to volunteer fire departments retirement. The tax commissioner would be able to promulgate rules to carry out the bill. 

The bill was reported to the floor with no recommendation for first reading so it could be brought up back to the committee tomorrow.

The committee is in recess until 6 p.m. by request of the president of the Senate.



Monday, March 27, 2017 - 04:03 PM

Senate Health and Human Resources Committee Reports HB 2459

The Senate Health and Human Resources Committee met briefly to discuss HB 2459.

House Bill 2459 relates to regulation of health care and the certificate of need process. The amendment proposed by council was adopted and the bill was then swiftly sent to the floor of the Senate with the recommendation that it pass.

Before adjournment, Senator Trump (R-Morgan) said, "I think we would be remiss if we didn't recognize that our decisions didn't affect real people." He then went on to recognize the secretary of DHHR, someone who has attended every meeting of the committee.



Monday, March 27, 2017 - 03:41 PM

Senate Passes Election Financing Reforms

The Senate has passed 18 bills to be sent to the House for further consideration.

SB 69 would create the sexual assault survivors’ bill of rights regarding medical forensic examinations, sexual assault evidence collection kits and other similar topics.

SB 167 would allow law enforcement to obtain DNA samples, taken by buccal swab rather than drawing blood, from arrestees for certain criminal offenses. The bill also expands DNA sample collection to all those convicted of a felony offense.

SB 210 would provide for the fair distribution of costs for county development by authorizing the assessment and collection of fees to offset the cost of development, including industrial development, within affected counties.

SB 316 would require individuals receiving unemployment compensation to seek out seasonal employment. 

SB 380 would create a two-year pilot program permitting recreational vehicles on designated roads and trails in Cabwaylingo State Forest after purchase of special permits. The bill also provides for designation of campgrounds and tent sites to be used by the ATV and ORV users.

SB 388 would identify additional persons who may possess firearms on school property in parking areas.

SB 412 would provide that reporting certified payroll information for persons employed under the West Virginia Jobs Act is not required, but that other information as to persons employed may be submitted.

SB 437 would discontinue the West Virginia Racing Commission special account known as the West Virginia Greyhound Breeding Development Fund and transfer all moneys in the Fund to the state Excess Lottery Revenue Fund for appropriation by the Legislature.

Senator Mike Hall, R-Putnam, made an amendment to clarify some of the language in the bill.

SB 453 would add the classification and base salaries of certain civilian employees of the WV State Police Forensic Laboratory.

SB 493 would provide an increase in compensation for conservation officers.

SB 539 would make significant revisions to the law regulating election financing by modifying provisions relating to receipts and expenditures in elections, electioneering communications, reporting requirements and financial statements, among other modifications.

Senator Ronald Miller, D-Greenbrier, amended the bill to add certain language to the bill, and Senator Corey Palumbo, D-Kanawha, made a strike and insert amendment related to a provision protecting free speech.

Senators Mike Romano, Ronald Miller and Glenn Jeffries proposed different amendments to generally increase disclosure measures, and all were rejected.

SB 566 would provide payment to certain claimants who provided commodities and/or services to the state, but who were not paid because the agency reached its budget limit.

SB 586 would change the annual fees for custom slaughters, custom processors or distributors to triennial fees.

SB 614 would provide loan insurance for commercial loans used for the expansion of broadband service to unserved or underserved areas. 

SB 628 would provide funding for the Statewide Interoperable Radio Network through additional court costs to be imposed in criminal cases.

SB 631 would clarify the process by which municipal governments may abate unsafe, unsanitary or dangerous dilapidated structures that are detrimental to the public safety or welfare.

SB 671 would reestablish the West Virginia Anatomical Board.

SB 685 would create a one-day special license for charitable events to sell non-intoxicating beer.

Of those bills on third reading, Senate Bills 74504 and 576 and House Bill 2001 were requested to lie over for one day, and SJR 10 was tabled.

Members of the Senate also adopted SR 53 to designate today as West Virginia Industrial Hemp Day and SR 54 to designate today as Women's and Girl's Day at the Capitol.

Committee Meetings Today

Health and Human Resources: 3:45 p.m. in 451M

Judiciary: 4:15 p.m. in 208W

Finance: 4:15 p.m. in 451M

Committee Meetings Tomorrow

Transportation and Infrastructure: 10 a.m. in 451M

Education: 2 p.m. in 451M

The Senate is in recess until 7:30 p.m. this evening.

›› Senate bills introduced on this date
›› Completed Legislation

Monday, March 27, 2017 - 02:50 PM

Resolutions Discussed in House Roads and Transportation

The House Roads and Transportation Committee met today and discussed several resolutions.  

HCR 78 would name the bridge locally known as Crab Orchard Creek Pipe over WV 16 in Raleigh County as the “Almond Brothers and Family Veterans Bridge.”

HCR 41 would name the bridge on WV Route 9 over the Shenandoah River in Jefferson County as the “Major Martin Robison Delany Memorial Bridge.”

HCR 50 would name a portion of Route 14, starting at the Lowe Family Cemetery to the intersection of Route 10 and Route 15 in Logan County as the “Lowe Mountain Memorial Highway.”

HCR 9 would name the bridge locally known as Baptism Bridge over the Little Cacapon River in Hampshire County as the “Frenchburg Bridge.”

SCR 28 would name a portion of road staring at the intersection of US Route 219 and WV State Route 15 to the Pocahontas County line in Randolph County as the “US Army SPC 4 Randall W. Arbogast Memorial Road.”

SCR 15 would name the bridge locally known as Kopperston Mine Bridge over the Tug River in Wyoming County as the “US Army CPL Herbert “Herb” Linkous Memorial Bridge.”

HCR 75 would increase the speed limit on highways to 75 miles per hour where appropriate



Monday, March 27, 2017 - 02:38 PM

House Judiciary to Reconsider House Joint Resolution 24

The House Judiciary Committee met in the afternoon briefly today to discuss HJR24 and SB 239.

HJR 24 would propose an amendment to the Constitution of the State of West Virginia relating to education, and providing for the election of members of the State Board of Education. The bill was moved to be reconsidered by the committee and the movement was adopted.

Senate Bill 239 would limit the use of wages by employers and labor organizations for political activities. The burden of responsibility would be on the employers to be sure the law is carried out. Many already do this through the use of a form, signed by both the employer and the employee. There would have to be an annual renewal of the contract as well. The bill was laid over until the next meeting.

The committee is in recess until 5 minutes after the House floor session at 4 p.m.




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Recent Entries
Wednesday, 03/29/17 - 08:34 PM
›› Senate Passes WV Medical Cannabis Act with 28-6 Vote
Wednesday, 03/29/17 - 05:33 PM
›› Senate Passes SB 609 Creating Flexibility for Use of School Aid Funds
Wednesday, 03/29/17 - 05:33 PM
›› Senate Passes SB 609 Creating Flexibility for Use of School Aid Funds
Wednesday, 03/29/17 - 02:14 PM
›› Bill to Sell Hopemont Hospital Passes 51-49 in House
Wednesday, 03/29/17 - 12:29 PM
›› Senate Passed 13 Bills on Third Reading



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