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Today in the Legislature

Tuesday, February 19, 2019 - 08:04 PM

Judiciary Committee Reports Out Campus Carry Bill

The first bill on the agenda for the committee was House Bill 2519, the Campus Self Defense Act.

This bill removes the restrictions of carrying a licensed concealed weapon on the public colleges and universities of West Virginia. It establishes that a person is permitted to carry a concealed pistol or revolver on campus within the parameters of specific school regulations, exemptions and specific restrictions.

Currently in the United States there are 21 states that either expressly allow colleges and universities to regulate firearms, or are silent on the matter, leaving gun regulation decisions up to the governing bodies of colleges and universities in the state. There are 16 states that ban carrying a concealed weapon on a college campus. The bill will be reported to the House and referred to the Finance committee.

House Bill 2968 adds remote service unit to the definition of customer bank communications terminals. This bill will be reported to the House.

House Bill 2837 relates to the licensing of advance deposit wagering. This bill authorizes the licensing of advance deposit wagering in WV. It defines applicable terms. It provides for “source market fees” and sets forth the distribution of those derived from wagers of account holders.

It explicitly provides that advance deposit account wagers are authorized and provides exception form certain provisions of code barring gaming. It confers jurisdiction to the Racing Commission, provides for the assessment and imposition of licensing and annual renewal fees, requires applicants to bear certain costs and explicitly prohibits advance deposit wagering in West Virginia unless conducted through an advance deposit wagering licensee. It provides for criminal penalties for accepting advance deposit wagers without a license and gives the Racing Commission power to seek civil remedies and damages for violations. The bill will be reported to the House.

House Bill 2934 permits interactive wagering authorized as West Virginia Lottery interactive wagering activities. There was also a strike and insert amendment that the committee accepted. The purpose of the bill is to authorize interactive wagering in WV.

The bill authorizes the licensing of interactive wagering in WV. It must be done under the auspices of the currently licensed casinos. It goes on to define the terms used.

It details the specific duties and powers of the West Virginia Lottery Commission in oversight, with explicit provisions for rule-making authority and emergency rule-making authority, while requiring the Commission to levy and collect fees, surcharges, civil penalties, and weekly tax on adjusted gross interactive wagering receipts and deposit them into the West Virginia Lottery Interactive Wagering Fund. The bill will be reported to the House

House Bill 2617 relates to the form for making offer of optional uninsured and underinsured coverage by insurers. The purpose of this bill is to require the Insurance Commissioner to provide for the use of electronic means of delivery and electronic signing of the form for making an offer of optional uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage by insurers. Any signature executed in conformity with the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act is enforceable. The bill will be reported to the House.

House Bill 2770 relates to the Fairness in Cost-Sharing Calculation Act. This bill seeks to create the Fairness in Cost-Sharing Act by establishing cost sharing calculations for health plans and pharmacy benefits. The bill will be reported to the House.

There was also an originating bill in the committee. This bill relates to criminal penalites for reckless driving. The bill increases the penalty for the existiing crime of reckless driving causing serious bodily injury. the new penalties are two to ten years and a fine of $1,000 to $2,000. 

Second, the bill creates a felony for reckless driving causing death. that crime carries a penalty of 3 to 15 years and a fine of $1,000 to $3,000. the bill will be reported to the House.

TH

›› House bills introduced on this date


Tuesday, February 19, 2019 - 07:08 PM

Energy Committee Passes Bill Relating to DEP Rules

The Energy Committee took up Senate Bill 163 today. This bill authorizes DEP promulgate legislative rules.

This contains eight bills relating to the Department of Environmental Protection. Two air quality rules are being repealed because of changed circumstances. These two rules are no longer necessary.

Five air rules are being updated to match federal requirements so DEP will continue as primary enforcement authority. The eighth rule is the Triennial Review of Water Quality Standards under the Clean Water Act. The bill will be reported to the House and referred to the Judiciary Committee.

TH

›› House bills introduced on this date


Tuesday, February 19, 2019 - 06:59 PM

House of Delegates Postpones Senate Bill 451 Indefinitely

Minority Whip, Mike Caputo (D-Marion) District 50 made a motion to postpone any action on Senate Bill 451 indefinitely. Many passionate arguments were made on both sides of the aisle and the votes passed the Caputo’s motion resulting in the bills defeat.

Bills Passed on Third Reading:

·     Senate Bill 377 relates to minimum wage and maximum hour standards.

·     House Bill 2439 relates to fire service equipment and training funds for volunteer and part-volunteer fire companies.

·     House Bill 2542 permits directors of county emergency phone systems to obtain mobile-phone emergency lines

·     House Bill 2947 relates generally to telemedicine prescription practice requirements and exceptions.

·     House Bill 2958 authorizes the state auditor to conduct regular financial examinations or audits of all volunteer fire companies.

House Bill 2486 was amended for clarification and advanced to third reading. All additional bills on second and first reading were advanced as well.

After recess the House reconvened and took up House Bills 2481, 2492, and Senate Bill 61 for consideration and passage.

House Bill 2481 permits retail sale of alcoholic beverages on Sundays after 1 p.m.

House Bill 2492 relates to mandatory reporting procedures of use and neglect of adults and children.

Senate Bill 61 adds certain crimes for which prosecutors may apply for wiretap.

TH

›› House bills introduced on this date


Tuesday, February 19, 2019 - 06:34 PM

House Finance Defeats Soft Drink Tax Elimination Bill

The House Committee on Finance convened at 3:30 on Tuesday, Feb. 19 in 460-M to continue taking up their posted agenda. House Finance had a consideration of three bills during this committee meeting, one of which being a bill to eliminate the state tax on soft drinks.

House Bill 2574 would eliminate the 1% sales tax on soft drinks in the state of West Virginia. Since 1951, sodas, juices, flavored waters, and other sugary drinks have come with an extra price in the state of West Virginia. The $14,700,000 generated by the soft drink tax goes directly to West Virginia University’s medical and health science facilities.

Rob Alsop, the Vice President of Strategic Initiatives at West Virginia University, stressed the importance of the tax to the university.

“This money helps fund the education, training, and maintenance of our school,” Alsop said. “The removal of this tax would be devastating to the dental and nursing industry in West Virginia.”

Alsop stated that the majority of WVU students studying dentistry, nursing, and pharmacy stay in the state of WV and help their local communities.

“We’d have to make a cut of nearly $14 million to this institution,” Alsop said. “You’d be losing resources for this state’s doctors, nurses, and dentists.”

Many delegates voiced concern over the bill passing because of what it would do to WVU’s medical and health facilities, which see around 11,000 graduates practicing in-state.

“This tax is ultimately a good investment for health outcomes across the state,” Delegate Daryl Cowles, R-Morgan, said while speaking in opposition to the bill.

Other delegates were in support of the bill, arguing that the subsidization of WVU is unfair and unneeded.

Delegate Dianna Graves, R-Kanawha, argued that if other successful state medical school programs can persist without state subsidization, WVU can too.

After a lengthy discussion, House Bill 2574 was defeated unanimously by the committee in favor of funding the state’s higher education system.

“We just cannot take $14 million out of state education,” Delegate Larry Rowe, D-Kanawha said.

The Finance Committee also advanced House Bill 2830. This bill would begin the process of implementing Next Generation 911 Services in the state of West Virginia. This technology would allow West Virginians to communicate with 911 operators through text message, photos, and videos. 46 other states have made moves to implement similar programs.

House Bill 2830 was advanced to the House floor unanimously.

House Bill 2828 was also unanimously passed by the House Finance Committee after little discussion. This bill would allow new West Virginia businesses to receive a tax exemption if they establish a business within a Qualified Opportunity Zone. These entrepreneurs would be eligible under certain standards to have all income derived from the opportunity zone business exempt from state taxable income for a ten-year period.

The House Finance Committee will convene at 9 a.m. tomorrow, Feb. 20, in 460-M.



Tuesday, February 19, 2019 - 06:09 PM

Judiciary Committee Reports Seven Bills to Senate

The Senate Committee on the Judiciary met Tuesday afternoon to discuss seven different bills that were on the agenda.

Senate Bill 529 would clarify provisions of the Nonintoxicating Beer Act by creating a temporary license for nonintoxicating beer floorplan extensions of existing licensee floorplans. Counsel also explained that in the Committee Substitute it would raise the ABV.  

Senate Bill 415 would create the Timber Cotenancy Modernization and Majority Protection Act and the Unknown and Unlocatable Timber Interest Owners Act. The bill permits the severance of timber by fewer than all the interest owners under certain conditions, and provides an exception to waste and trespass. The bill also states that nonconsenting cotenants may elect a severance royalty interest or a working interest share of severance.

Senate Bill 585 would define the term “stalking” and include it in with same penalties as harassment which states “as to cause emotional distress.”

House Bill 2740 would bar a parent from inheriting from a child if the parent’s parental rights were terminated by court order and the parent-child relationship had not been judicially reestablished. The bill would also permit a child to inherit from a barred parent as long as a parent-child relationship does not exist between the child as an adoptee with another person.

House Bill 2747 would allow the County Commission to administratively close dormant estates. If the County Commission administratively closes an estate, the personal representative is still liable in a civil action to heirs, beneficiaries, or interested parties for property or assets of the decedent or the estate.

House Bill 2759 would allow for the ancillary administration of the estate of nonresident decedents. The bill would permit a personal representative to file an affidavit to evidence the probate of a will in another jurisdiction.

The Committee also discussed Originating Bill 1 which would authorize current or senior status federal judges to preform marriages. The judges must reside in the state if they are to perform at weddings.

All of the bills were unanimously approved by the Committee, and will be reported to the full Senate to be voted upon.

RA



Tuesday, February 19, 2019 - 05:45 PM

Higher Ed Testing Bill Passes Out of Education

A bill relating to the administration of ACT and SAT tests to the state’s 11th grade students came before Senate Education Tuesday.  

Following consideration of Senate Bill 624 members motioned to report the proposed legislation to the full Senate with the recommendation that it shall pass. Associate State Superintendent of Schools, Clayton Burch, also came before the committee to answer questions concerning the bill.  

Sen. Richard Plymale, D-Wayne, opened discussion by asking how the proposed legislation would impact the state’s implementation of the Students Succeed Act. Burch explained that in addition to providing another way to tests students, the bill would also give local county boards the ability to request for another test to be implemented in the district.  

According to Burch, the ACT is currently the most common test among students in West Virginia but if the SAT were to be implemented in a district, the state could still extract vital data from either test scores. Looking to the future, Burch stated that the ultimate goal of the legislation is to create a way to better understand the types of classes that grade 11 students should take during their senior year.  

Burch also mentioned that both the ACT and SAT had worked very closely with the state and has “jumped through many hoops” to help the counties.  

Following discussion of the legislation, Sen. Rollan Roberts, R-Raleigh, closed debate by urging that the bill only allow for one test to be administered.  

“I think this is a valuable tool but we should be comparing apples to apples,” Roberts said. “This may hinder out ability to compare results but I like the ability of this bill to raise the bar. I think that’s very important for us.”  

Ultimately, the committee substitute which allows for either test was reported to the Senate. 

›› House bills introduced on this date


Tuesday, February 19, 2019 - 05:36 PM

Finance Lays Over Senate Bill

Senate Bill 456 was moved to be laid over following a lengthy discussion in the Senate Finance Committee Tuesday.  

The motion arose following committee chair, Sen. Craig Blair, R-Berkeley, expressing confusion over the legislationwhich would authorize railroads and commercial watercrafts to claim refundable exemptionfrom the motor fuel excise tax 

Right now I’m not satisfied with the testimonies of this committee and don’t want this bill to die,” the committee chair stated. “I would rather have more information before this bill moves any further.” 

Before closing, Blair, who is lead sponsor of the bill, addressed representatives from the Tax Division and requested for more individuals to come before the committee and answer questions before the end of the week. 

If passed, the bill would remove the exemption refund tax on fuel for railroads and commercial watercrafts, ultimately resulting in a $2.4 million loss for the State Road Fund, a $1.9 million additional exemption for railroads and a $1.5 million increase of commercial watercrafts exemptions.  

Prior to the review of SB456, three other pieces of legislation were also reported to the full Senate.  

Following the approval of minutes, members reviewed a bill relating to retirement and pension benefits of certain PERS and Teachers Retirement System members who serve in Legislature. If passed, Senate Bill 11 would make two changes on the state’s education retirement system and reduce reduce the amount of service credit a new member of the systems would get 

Currently the bill, which only effects new members, shows a fiscal savings of $1,000 for new members who join the two systems.  

Senate Bill 86, which would require county boards to provide free feminine hygiene products in grades six to 12, and Senate Bill 383, which would create the WV Healthy Food Crop Block Grant Program, were quickly reviewed by committee members as well. 

 

›› House bills introduced on this date


Tuesday, February 19, 2019 - 03:13 PM

House Health Passes DHHR Rule Bundle

 The House Health and Human Resources Committee considered three pieces of legislation Tuesday, one of which was a rules bundle.

Notated as Senate Bill 175 on the agenda, Bundle 5 includes nine bills pertinent to legislative rule-making within the Department of Health and Human Services.

The bundle includes:

·         Senate Bill 168, relating to the regulation of behavioral health facilities

·         Senate Bill 169, relating to the regulation of living facilities residencies

·         Senate Bill 170, relating to statutory updates to food establishments

·         Senate Bill 171, relating to regulation of food manufacturing facilities

·         Senate Bill 172, adding requirements for newborn screenings

·         Senate Bill 173, relating to medication assisted treatment

·         Senate Bill 174, relating to pain management clinic licensure

·         Senate Bill 175, relating to the drug control policy

·         Senate Bill 176, relating to Health Care Authority and cooperative agreement approval

The Health and Human Resources Committee passed the bills within the bundle one by one unanimously.

Delegate Margaret Staggers, D-Fayette, proposed an amendment to Senate Bill 172 that would allow contraceptives to be distributed to those patients in need. The amendment passed unanimously.

Senate Bill 168, Senate Bill 169, Senate Bill 170, Senate Bill 171, Senate Bill 172, Senate Bill 173, Senate Bill 174, Senate Bill 175, and Senate Bill 176 were advanced to the House Judiciary Committee for second reference as a bundle.

House Bill 3132 was also considered on this day. This bill would provide that medical providers serving no more than 30 patients would not need to comply with certain legislative rules and only attest to services being provided. House Bill 3132 would also mandate that licensed behavioral health centers providing office-based medication-assisted treatment are exempt from the separate registration process for other office-based medication-assisted treatment programs, and instead only have to attest to their services.

Delegate Matthew Rohrbach, R-Cabell, spoke of the importance of House Bill 3132’s passage for rural West Virginia communities.

“We keep hearing from rural doctors that they simply cannot comply with all of the rules for drug treatment centers,” Rohrbach said. “This bill is an attempt to make it easier on these doctors so they can treat their people. They just want to take care of their people.”

House Bill 3132 was unanimously passed by the House Health and Human Resources Committee and advanced to the House floor with the recommendation that it should pass.

House Bill 2079 was also passed by the committee on this day.

House Bill 2079 would increase the maximum number of cannabis grower, processor and dispensary permits. The bill would also remove the requirements that licenses be limited in regions of the state.

The bill would increase the maximum number of state cannabis growers and processors from 10 to 50. It would increase the increase the maximum number of cannabis dispensers to 165 in the state.

After lengthy discussion concerning the merits of medicinal marijuana, the House Health and Human Resources Committee ultimately advanced House Bill 2079 to the House Judiciary Committee for a second reference.



Tuesday, February 19, 2019 - 02:55 PM

Senate EIM Committee Sends Originating Bill to the Senate Floor

The Senate Committee on Energy, Industry & Mining met Tuesday afternoon to continue discussion over Originating Bill 2 from last the meeting.

The proposed legislation would amend current West Virginia code to provide permitting fees for horizontal oil and gas well drilling in the state. Permit fees would go through the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). Proceeds from the fees would be cut in half; one half would go to additional staffing for permits at the DEP with a hard cap of $ one million, and the other half would go to funding for plugging orphan wells.

One of the presenters provided information about how the proposed bill would impact the state’s efforts in plugging orphan wells.

Currently, there are 4,000 plus orphan wells in West Virginia, and that number is expected to exceed 10,000 the next 30 years. It costs between $40,000 - $100,000 to plug just one well.

Funding from this bill could range from $2.7 to $4.7 million per year, which would provide enough funding to plug 40 – 70 wells per year. If this legislation becomes law, it would take anywhere between 67 -107 years to fill all of the orphan wells in West Virginia.

After questioning counsel and other speakers, the Committee voted to approve the originating bill. It will be reported to the full Senate to be voted on.

RA



Tuesday, February 19, 2019 - 01:47 PM

House Finance Advances Cybersecurity Bill

 The House Finance Committee convened at 9 a.m. this Tuesday, February 19 in 460-M to consider legislation. The committee advanced four bills to the House floor by the end of this committee meeting, one of which being a bill to establish a Cybersecurity Office in the state of West Virginia.

House Bill 2452 would establish a cyber security framework within certain state agencies. This bill would allow the West Virginia Office of Technology to establish a Cybersecurity Office within their department to facilitate a software program to strengthen the cyber security checks within state agency devices. This bill would be applied to all state agencies except for institutions of higher education, the county board of education, the WV Legislature, and the WV Judiciary. Agencies would be subject to cyber security risk assessment, adherence to enterprise standards, and plans of action in the event of a cyber-attack.

Joshua Spence, the Chief Technology Officer for the West Virginia Office of Technology, was present to answer questions the committee had pertaining to the legislation.

Spence stated that House Bill 2452 would require an upfront cost of $4.2 million in order to hire consultants and purchase the necessary software, but the cost of the agencies addressing the threats to their devices must be absorbed by the agencies. The Cybersecurity Office would be required to report activity to the WV Legislature.

 “The threat is here now,” Spence said. “We have the department; this just gives us more functionality.”

House Bill 2452 was unanimously passed by the House Finance Committee, and was advanced to the House floor with the recommendation that it should pass.

Another bill that was passed by the committee was a bill that would allow the WV Lottery Commission to create satellite locations for wagering. House Bill 2901 would allow a licensed racetrack to establish a secondary location for racetrack video lottery terminals and racetrack table games at a location within the county as approved by the lottery commission.

A concern that was raised within the committee was the lack of language in the bill that put restrictions on the Lottery Commission. There are no provisions included in House Bill 2901 that would limit the commission in terms of placing a satellite location near a school or a church.

Doug Buffington, Assistant Lottery Director of the WV Lottery Commission, addressed the concerns of several of these delegates.

“I believe that if this bill were to pass, the Commission would put these terminals in locations that would be best for everybody,” Buffington said. “We’d be sure to listen to the input of all stakeholders.”

After lengthy discussion, the House Finance Committee voted in affirmation for House Bill 2901. They voted to advance it to the House floor with the recommendation that it pass.

House Bill 2829 was also passed on this day, a bill that would terminate the state severance tax on the extraction of limestone and sandstone starting in 2021. The bill comes with a fiscal note of $1.2 million, but because of the Division of Highways being the largest purchaser of limestone and sandstone in the state, a lot of that cost would be directly funneled back into the state.

The bill was passed unanimously by the committee, and advanced to the House floor with the recommendation that it do pass.

House Bill 2807 was also advanced to the House floor this day. This bill would provide a reducing modification to the West Virginia adjusted gross income of a shareholder of a Subchapter S corporation engaged in banking business in WV.

The House Finance Committee is in recess until 3:30 p.m. today. They will meet in 460-M again to continue consideration of the posted agenda.



Tuesday, February 19, 2019 - 01:15 PM

Senate Rejects Levy Rate Bill

Legislationwhich relates to the effects on levy rate when appraisal results in tax increasewas rejected by the Senate, 11 a.m. Feb. 19.  

Following discussion of Senate Bill 618, the legislation was rejected as a result of a tie in voting. Of the six pieces of legislation that were brought before the body, 618 was the only bill to be rejected.  

Senate Bills 19, 117, 147 and 617 were unanimously voted out of the body while Senate Bill 333which would exempt automobiles 25 years or older from a citizen’s personal property taxes, narrowly passed following debate 

Of the 14 bills on second reading, Senate Bill 512which would regulate pawnbrokers, and House Bill 2666which would provide a supplemental appropriation to the Department of Veterans’ Assistancereceived amendments while Senate Bill 635 and House Bill 2324 were laid over.  

Members also designated Feb. 19, 2019 as Nurses Policy Day through the passage of Senate Resolution 51.  

When reviewing unfinished business, Sen. Robert Plymale, D-Wayne, moved to report Senate Concurrent Resolution 38, which would urge support from CSX for the New River Train, to the Committee on Rules. According to the Senator, his intention to move the bill was to allow for the bill to be reviewed prior to a visit from CSX representatives later in the week.  

The following committees will meet today: 

  • The Senate Committee for Health and Human Resources will meet at 1p.m in 451M.  
  • The Senate Committee for Energy, industry and Mining will meet at 1 p.m. in 208W.  
  • The Senate Committee for Government Organization will meet at 2 p.m. in 208W.  
  • The Senate Education Committee will meet at 2 p.m. in 451M.  
  • The Senate Finance Committee will meet at 3 p.m. in 451M.  
  • The Senate Judiciary Committee will meet at 3 p.m. in 208W.  

The following committees will meet tomorrow: 

  • The Senate Committee for Transportation and Infrastructure will meet at 9 a.m. in 451M.  
  • The Senate Committee for Government Organization will meet at 9:30 a.m. in 208W. 

›› House bills introduced on this date


Tuesday, February 19, 2019 - 08:57 AM

Judiciary Committee Passes Adult Drug Court Bill

The Judiciary Committee met today to discuss a bill relating to the Adult Drug Court Participation Fund.

House Bill 3057 updates the language of the Adult Drug Court Participation Fund and establishes how the money in the fund is to be used. Currently, expenditures from the Drug Court Participation Fund are not authorized from collections but are to be made in accordance with appropriation.

This was a strike and insert which the committee voted on to become the bill. The committee adopted the strike-and-insert and reported the bill to the floor.

The committee also took up House Bill 3018, which relates to the West Virginia Public Employees Insurance Agency’s reimbursement of air-ambulance providers. The bill sets forth the amount that PEIA will reimburse air ambulance providers for the transportation of individuals covered by its plans. Currently, West Virginia code sets the reimbursement rates for air ambulance services at the Medicare rate. The committee advanced the bill to the House floor. 

The committee also took up House Bill 2699, which relates to municipal annexation by minor boundary adjustment. Some delegates expressed confusion on the bill and asked many questions. The committee tabled the bill for these reasons.

The committee advanced House Bill 2540, which prohibits the waste of game animals, game birds or game fish. New code in the bill makes it unlawful for any person to cause through carelessness, neglect or otherwise to let any edible portion of any big game or game fish to go to waste needlessly. The bill also provides that it is unlawful for any person to take any big game and detach or remove from the carcass the head, hide, antlers, tusks, paws, claws, gallbladder, teeth, beards, or spurs only and leave the carcass to waste. The bill will be reported to the House.

The committee rejected House Bill 2646, which would provide a safe harbor for employers to correct underpayment or nonpayment of wages and benefits due to separated employees, this bill was rejected by the committee. After multiple amendments were made and delegates had expressed their concerns and stances the committee rejected the bill.

TH

›› House bills introduced on this date


Monday, February 18, 2019 - 05:19 PM

Senate Passes Strike and Insert Amendment for Senate Bill 451

The Senate reconvened at 3 p.m. to receive the House Amendments to Senate Bill 451, which introduces comprehensive education reform for West Virginia.

The Senate then moved to strike the entire House amendment and insert a new amendment to the omnibus education reform bill. The proposed amendment brings back much of the original language that was in the Senate version of the bill with a few changes. Some of the proposed changes include:

  • Removes non-severability clause
  • Creates a hard cap of no more than seven charter schools throughout the state
    • No more than two per year can be created
    • Requires at least one of the seven schools primarily serve an at-risk population
    • Charter schools will not sunset
  • Limits education savings accounts (ESA) to no more than 1,000
    • Only students with special needs or victims of bullying are eligible for ESAs
    • Funds for ESA accounts to include $3,200 per account
  • Modifies language allowing counties to base RIF decisions on more than seniority except:
  • Lists the qualifications and lists seniority first
  • Adds House’s language requiring a reduction in force of personnel whose last performance evaluation was less than satisfactory before considering other criteria
  • Adds classroom aides and other service personnel as being eligible for the $250 tax credit
  • Removes language explicitly requiring pay to be withheld for a work stoppage or strike
  • Strikes the House amendment of requiring every school to have one resource officer
  • Increases annual leave for school employees from three to fou4
  • Drops the House amendment of $1,000 bonus for teachers back to $500

For more information about the differences between the Senate introduced, House amended, and Senate proposed amendment, click here.

UPDATE:

The Senate reconvened at 6 p.m. to finish discussion over the proposed strike and insert amendment. After a long debate across both sides of the aisle, the strike and insert amendment passed by a vote of 18 to 16. Senate Bill 451 will be reported back to the House of Delegates tomorrow.  

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

RA



Monday, February 18, 2019 - 05:13 PM

House Finance Considers Four Senate Bills

The House Finance Committee met Monday to consider four bills including three Senate supplemental appropriation bills, which were advanced to the House floor.

Senate Bill 444 would increase supplemental appropriations to the Department of Health and Human (DHHR) Resources Laboratory Services Fund by $885,554. It would also increase the supplemental appropriations to the DHHR’s West Virginia Birth-to-Three Fund by $885,554.

A slight technical amendment was passed through the House Finance committee, and the bill was advanced to the House floor.

Senate Bill 443 was another supplemental appropriations bill that was advanced by the committee. This bill would apply to federal block grants in terms of how the state of West Virginia uses them for DHHR’s provided mental health services, childcare, and other miscellaneous items.

Senate Bill 442 was another supplemental appropriations bill that involves the West Virginia Department of Revenue. This bill would allow the Insurance Commissioner to utilize federal block grant money. Senate Bill 442 was also advanced to the House floor.

Senate Bill 13 would restore $11 million to the purse funds for racetrack horses in the racing industry. This bill would restore money that was taken from the purse funds by the state in 2005 to help fund needed worker’s compensation cases.

Phil Reale of the Charles Town Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association spoke in favor of the bill.

“This bill would put money back that would unwind this injustice to these folks who have provided $11 million to the state longer than any other industry,” Reale said.

Senate Bill 13 ultimately passed through the committee with a slight technical amendment.

The House Finance Committee will convene again at 9 a.m. tomorrow in 460-M.

 



Monday, February 18, 2019 - 03:05 PM

Organ Donation Bill Reported to the Full Senate

Members of the Natural Resources Committee reviewed Senate Bill 613, Monday.  

Following discussion of the legislation, which would require the Department of Natural Resources to include the election of organ donation on hunting licensesmembers voted to report the bill to the full Senate.  

President of the Center for Organ Recovery and Education, Susan Stuart, came before the committee to answer questions concerning the bill and to explain the application process to committee members.  

Currently there are 115,000 people in the United States who are waiting for an organ transplant. Of those, 20 people die every day.  

According to Stuart, is passed, this legislation would allow for the state to adequately assist those who need an organ transplant. When compared to the national average, West Virginia is 20 percent lower than the nationadesignation rate for lifesaving organs. 

Senate Bill 517, which allows an owner or lessee to sell crop damage was also reported to the full Senate while Senate Bill 572which prohibits a county assessor from reclassifying managed timberland property, was laid over due to a lack of time. 

 

›› House bills introduced on this date


Monday, February 18, 2019 - 01:54 PM

Senate Passes Court of Appeals Bill

The Senate met Monday morning to vote on eight different bills that were on third reading, which included Senate Bill 266.

The proposed legislation would create the West Virginia Intermediate Court of Appeals. It would just be one court of appeals instead of the proposed two in past years. The panel would consist of three judges, and the court would have appellate jurisdiction over the following decisions:

  • Final orders or decisions of a circuit court in a civil case
  • Final orders or decisions of a family court
  • Final orders or decisions of an administrative agency, currently appealable to the circuit court of Kanawha County
  • Final orders or decisions of the Workers’ Compensation Board of Review
  • Final orders and decisions in guardianship and conservatorship cases.

The court would have no original jurisdiction and is expressly without appellate jurisdiction over:

  • Any criminal matter
  • Any juvenile proceeding
  • Decisions or orders in child abuse and neglect decisions
  • Mental hygiene orders or decisions
  • Interlocutory appeals
  • Decisions or orders in cases involving challenges to election practices
  • Decisions or orders of the Public Service Commission
  • Certified questions from circuit or federal courts
  • Extraordinary remedies

The bill narrowly passes the Senate by a vote of 17 -16, and will be reported to the House.

The Senate also passed House Bill 2481, which would permit the retail selling on Sundays from 1 p.m. to midnight.

The following bills were also passed by the Senate:

Senate bills 637 to 663 were also introduced.

The Senate is in recess until 2:30 p.m.

The following committees will meet today:

Natural Resources at 1:30 p.m. in 208W

Banking at 2 p.m. in 451M

Finance at 3 p.m. in 451M

The following committees will meet tomorrow:

Transportation at 10 a.m. in 451M

Military at 10 a.m. in 208W

Health at 1 p.m. in 451M

RA

›› Senate bills introduced on this date


Monday, February 18, 2019 - 01:45 PM

House of Delegates Convenes to Pass Three Bills, Memorialize a Former Delegate

The House of Delegates convened at 11 a.m. on Monday, Feb. 18 for the 41st day of the regular legislative session. On this day, the House passed three bills on third reading and adopted a resolution to memorialize Mary Pearl Compton, a former Delegate.

The late Mary Pearl Compton was honored by the reading of House Resolution 15. This resolution was adopted and presented to Compton’s family. Compton was a former member of the House of Delegates, a teacher in Monroe and Greenbrier counties, and an active community member. She was honored for being an advocate for her community, as well as a dedicated public servant.

Three bills on third reading were passed on this day in the House. House Bill 2768 was passed unanimously. This bill would make technical changes to the 2018 Opioid Reduction Act passed by the WV Legislature last year, as well as address inconsistencies with how therapy services in the state administer Schedule II opioid drugs. The bill would also ensure compliance with federal code.

House Bill 2834 was also passed in the House on this day. This bill would modernize the minimum spacing provisions for the drilling of state horizontal deep wells. The bill would impose limitations for what the Oil and Gas Conservation Commission can do as far as regulation of these horizontal oil and gas wells.

“We really want to maximize the recovery of natural oil and gas in the state,” Delegate Bill Anderson, R-Wood said.

House Bill 2849 would define the scope in which a nuclear pharmacy technician can operate. It defines the nuclear pharmacy technician’s certificate and specifies the duties each category of pharmacy technician is permitted to perform under supervision of a licensed pharmacist. This bill was also passed and advanced.

Senate Bill 377 was on second reading on this day, a bill that was postponed for two previous floor sessions.

A highly discussed amendment proposed by Delegate Chad Lovejoy, D-Cabell, ultimately failed on this day after heavy debate. The amendment would have required non-profit shelter shops serving severely disabled West Virginians to be paid minimum wage.

The Judiciary Committee amendment that served to clean up the language of Senate Bill 377 was passed, and the bill was advanced as amended.

All other bills on second reading, House Bill 2449, House Bill 2542, and House Bill 2947 were advanced without amendment.

The House of Delegates is in recess until 4 p.m. today, Monday, February 18.

 

House Committees Meeting After Floor Session Today:

  • The House Committee on Finance will meet at 2 p.m. in 460-M.

  • The House Committee on the Judiciary will meet at 2:30 p.m. in 418-M to continue their posted agenda.

  • The House Committee on Education will meet at 2:30 p.m. in 434-M to continue their posted agenda.

House Committees Meeting Before Floor Session Tomorrow:

  • The House Committee on Finance will meet at 9 a.m. tomorrow in 460-M.

  • The House Committee on Education will meet at 9 a.m. tomorrow in 434-M.

  • The House Committee on the Judiciary will meet at 9:30 a.m. tomorrow in 418-M.

 

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

Friday, February 15, 2019 - 06:11 PM

Judiciary Committee Passes Bill Relating to Child Custody Matters

Judiciary Committee reviews House Bill 3039 which relates to a courts consideration of the expression of a preference by a child in certain child custody matters.

The bill expands the courts consideration of the expression of a preference by children in certain child custody mattes by removing language giving priority to preferences of 14 year old children. Currently, when making a decision about the allocation of custodial responsibility, a factor to be considered is to accommodate the firm and reasonable preferences of a child who is 14 years of age or older and with regard to a child younger than 14, the child must be sufficiently matured that he or she can intelligently express a voluntary preference for one parent.  The bill was reported to the house.

Senate Bill 361 relates generally to Public Defender Services. This bill is actually a hybrid bill that also encompasses Senate Bill 103. The bill seeks to authorize Public Defender Services to establish and operate a habeas division. The bill was reported to the house, but will be referred to the Finance committee.

House Bill 2975 relates to the imposition of sexual acts on persons incarcerated. The bill includes employees and contract employees of a day report center to those prohibited from engaging in sexual acts with those persons under their supervision. Currently, it is a felony for a parole officer employed by the Division of Corrections and an adult or juvenile probation officer employed by the WV Supreme Court to engage in sexual intercourse, sexual intrusion or sexual contact with a person the officer is charged with supervising. The bill will be reported to the House.

House Bill 2901 allows for the establishment of a secondary location for racetrack video lottery terminals. The purpose of this bill is to allow a licensed racetrack to establish a secondary location for racetrack video lottery terminals and racetrack table games at a location within the county as approved by the lottery commission. The bill will be reported to the House, but will be referred to the Finance committee.

House Bill 2980 is the Mine Trespass Act. The purpose of this bill is to create the Mine Trespass Act and establish misdemeanor and felony offenses for the trespass. The bill sets out findings and creates a new offense of mine trespass. The first offense is a misdemeanor, and subsequent offenses are felonies with increasing penalties. Certified coal miners who commit the act lose their license upon conviction.

Additional graduated penalties are provided for persons who commit the offense and cause the injury or death of others. The bill provides a hold harmless clause providing no person or entity may be held liable for the death of a trespasser, and provides there is no responsibility to effect a rescue in hazardous conditions. Finally, the bill relieves mine owners and rescuers of liability for environmental regulation violations occurring from rescue efforts. The bill will be reported to the House.

House Bill 2933 modifies the criminal penalties imposed on a parent, guardian or custodian for child abuse resulting in injury. This bill increases the penalty for abuse resulting in bodily or serious bodily injury; removes the crime of “abuse or neglect causing substantial risk of bodily injury”; and provides for enhanced penalties for subsequent offenses of “abuse causing substantial risk of serious bodily injury”; milder penalties for repeat offenses of “neglect causing substantial risk of serious bodily injury.” The bill will be reported to the House.

House Bill 2907 requires a form of a certified commitment order to the Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation. The bill seeks to amend the commitment order for felons to reflect the accurate distribution of costs and to create a form order for the commitment of convicted misdemeanants to the custody of the Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation. The bill will be reported to the House.

House Bill 2872 authorizes law-enforcement officers to assist the State Fire Marshal. This bill authorizes any state police officer, natural resources police officer, or any county or municipal law-enforcement officer to assist the State Fire Marshal or any of his or her employees authorized to enforce the provisions of this section in any duties for which the State Fire Marshal has jurisdiction. Additionally, it provides for the authorization of the state fire marshal, any full time deputy fire marshal, or any full-time assistant fire marshal employed by the state fire marshal to carry a firearm in the course of official duties. The bill will be reported to the House.

Senate Bill 387 relates generally to extradition. This bill authorizes the Governor seek return of fugitives found in other states or District of Columbia. The bill will be reported to the House.

Senate Bill 373 relates to financial responsibility of inmates. The purpose of this bill is to allow the Division of Corrections to withhold monies received by inmates form court judgments and civil settlements even if an awarding court fails to deduct such obligates monies form the initial award. The bill also includes settlements as well as judgments. The bill will be reported to the House.

Senate Bill 358 relates to exempting purchasing division purchases for equipment to maintain security at state facilities. The purpose of this bill is provide the DPS (a division of the Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety (DMAPS)) a limited exemption from the requirement to purchase goods through the Purchasing Division of the Department of Administration. The exemption would apply only to “equipment necessary to maintain security at the Capitol Complex and other state facilities” as may be determined by the Secretary of DMAPS. The bill will be reported to the House.

Senate Bill 356 authorizes Division of Corrections and rehabilitation to release certain information to county prosecutors and US attorneys. The purpose of this bill is to require the Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety to release certain information to county prosecutors of this state and United States Attorneys which are required for the prosecution of a criminal action. The bill will be reported to the House.

House Bill 3083 adds temporary work during the legislative session as exclusion to the term employment for purposes of unemployment compensation. This bill will be reported to the House.

House Bill 2931, clarifying that the State Lottery Commission has no authority over non lottery games was appointed to a subcommittee due to much confusion over the bill.

House Bill 2966 is the County Budget Flexibility Act. This bill authorizes county commissions to create a Future Needs Fund for the purpose of depositing unused moneys at the end of a fiscal year. The bill provides that funds deposited into a Future Needs Fund may only be used for purposes otherwise permitted in code during the next fiscal year or future fiscal years. The bill will be reported to the House.

Senate Bill 270, streamlining process for utilities access to DOH rights-of-way. This is a follow up to the broadband bills passed last year, Senate Bill 445 and House Bill 4447. After their passage last year there have been many interested stakeholders in broadband and the rights of way. There was then a determination by the governor to not charge companies so that our main focus can just be on the expansion of broadband. The bill will be reported to the House.

TH

 

›› House bills introduced on this date


Friday, February 15, 2019 - 04:06 PM

House of Delegates Passes Banking for Medical Cannabis Bill

The House of Delegates convened today and passed House Bill 2538. This bill provides banking services for medical cannabis.

 Other bills passed on third reading; 

·     House Bill 2472 provides a special license plate for pollinators.

·     House Bill 2579 relates to the collection of tax and the priority of distribution of an estate of property in receivership.

·     House Bill 2618 includes undue influence as a factor in the definition of financial exploitation of an elderly or protected person.

·     House Bill 2716 relates to motorboat lighting and equipment requirements

·     House Bill 2846 designates a “back to blue” plate in support of law enforcement personnel

·     House Bill 2992 relates to governmental websites

All bills on second and first reading were advanced with the exception of Senate Bill 377, which was postponed for one day.

The House of Delegates will reconvene Monday, February 18 at 11 a.m.

TH

›› House bills introduced on this date


Friday, February 15, 2019 - 03:13 PM

Judiciary Committee Sends Four Bills to the Senate Floor

The Senate Committee on the Judiciary met Friday afternoon for a brief meeting to discuss three Senate bills and one House bill on the agenda.

House Bill 2030 would authorize the Division of Corrections (DOC) and the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to create a valid West Virginia identification card for inmates in DOC facilities. The DOC would be required to ensure that each inmate has a proper identification card upon release, and the cards would expire 90 days after being released.

Senate Bill 340 would repeal article 20E of the insurance code, which created the West Virginia Medical Professional Liability Insurance Joint Underwriting Association Act. It would also repeal article 20F of the insurance code, which created the Physicians' Mutual Insurance Company Act.

Senate Bill 402 would designate the Division of Forestry as the primary agency for the collection, preparation and central registry of information relating to timber theft. Anyone who would willingly cut and steal timber worth less than $1,000 would be convicted of a misdemeanor and subject to more than 30 days incarcerated and/or a $1,000 dollar fine. If the timber is worth more than $1,000, the person would be convicted of a felony and subject to one to three years incarcerated and/or fined three times the value of the timber.

Senate Bill 510 would amend the prerequisites for filing a medical professional liability claim. The bill would require that the 30-day notice for filing a claim include specified information about any agents, servants, employees or officers of the health care provider who would be named in the potential suit.

The Committee approved all fours bills, and will be reported to the full Senate on Monday to be voted upon.

RA




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