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Today in the Legislature

Thursday, February 28, 2019 - 07:42 PM

Senate Budget Bill Reduces Governor’s Budget By $100 Million

The 2020 fiscal year budget bill received passage from the Senate Finance committee, Thursday.  

In a presentation provided by counsel, members of the committee learned specific details of the legislation, which reduces the Governor’s introduced budget by a total of $100 million.  Most notably of the reduced allocation is the withdrawal of the Governor’s proposed teacher raise totaling $80,000,000. 

Counsel additionally listed and explained the proposed bill’s improvements to the Governor’s budget, totaling $137,048,000. Potential improvements to the budget would go towards numerous bills that have been proposed during the session. Of these bills were: 

  • Senate Bill 238, intended to increase certain penalties for passing stopped school bus, received a proposed improvement of $833,301 to add forward and backward facing cameras on all state school buses. 
  • Senate Bill 522,  which would create a special road repair fund through a $110,000,000 improvement that would be operated by the Division of Highways.  
  • Senate Bill 544which would increase salaries for members of WV State Police over three-year period. An improvement of $834,000 was added to this bill.  

According the bill, $15,890,000 would be collected through a reduction of general revenue following the passage of Senate Bills 30, 36, 106, 117, 333 and 502.  

Numerous changes to the state’s general revenue were also described during counsel’s presentation. To get more information and specific numbers concerning these changes click here.  

In conclusion, Senate Bill 150 lists a total appropriation of $13,729,074,601.  

 

›› House bills introduced on this date


Thursday, February 28, 2019 - 07:37 PM

Senate Health Amends Foster Care Bill

Legislation concerning the state’s foster care system sparked lengthy discussion in Thursday’s Senate Health and Human Resources, resulting in a number of amendments.  

Review of House Bill 2010 follows extensive debate from members in it’s house of origin. If passed, the bill would seek to strengthen the state’s foster care system through a nine step, multipurpose plan established in the language of the bill.  

Committee chair, Sen. Michael Maroney, R-Marshall, addressed the committee prior to discussion and stated that the bill is the “most important piece of legislation to arise out of this session.”  

Multiple representatives from the state’s child care systemssuch as the Division of Health and Human Resources and the West Virginia Foster, Adoption and Kinship Parents Network, came before the committee to address concerns surrounding the proposed legislation.  

Marissa Sanders of the West Virginia Foster, Adoption and Kinship Parents Network, addressed the committee to state that although she supported some areas of the legislation, she believes that in order to truly strengthen the state’s foster care system, more money should be allocated towards services which could strengthen the state’s existing system.  

Bottom line is we need more services,” Sanders said. “This bill simply doesn’t do that.” 

Following discussion of the proposed legislation, debate over amendments lead to the passage of two amended amendments offered by Sen. Eric Tarr, R-Putnam, and Sen. Robert Plymale, D-Wayne.  

Sen. Rollan Roberts, R-Raleigh, also motioned to provide an amendment concerning the bill’s use of Managed Care Organizations, but later decided to withdraw his motion due to fellow members citing potential issues surrounding the amendment.  

Prior to amendments offered by members, the committee voted to adopt a strike and insert amendment to the bill in order to clarify and strengthen it’s language.  

Following adoption of amendments, the committee voted to report the bill to the full Senate with the recommendation of passage following a double reference to the committee on finance.  

House Bill 2878, relating to updating the controlled substances listed on schedule one, was also reported to the Senate.  

 

›› House bills introduced on this date


Thursday, February 28, 2019 - 04:39 PM

Judiciary Committee Reports Tax Collection Bill to Senate

The Senate Committee on the Judiciary met Thursday afternoon to discuss three House bills, including one about the collection of tax and distribution of estates.

House Bill 2579 would clarify conflicts within the code and create uniformity relating to the collection of taxes, the priority of distribution of an estate and to limit the liability of a fiduciary charged with distribution of the estate. Speakers from the West Virginia Bankers Association were in support of the proposed legislation, while the State Tax Department opposes it.

The Committee unanimously approved the bill, and referred it to the Committee on Finance.

House Bill 2509 would make theft of a controlled substance a felony, regardless of the value of the controlled substance. Currently, theft of drugs is a larceny, and a value of less than $1,000 is a misdemeanor. The proposed legislation would penalize a violation by a fine of not more than $30,000 and/or 1-4 years in prison.

House Bill 2872 would authorize any West Virginia 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 in any duties for which the State Fire Marshal has jurisdiction.

Both bills were approved by the Committee, and will be reported to the full Senate.

 

RA



Thursday, February 28, 2019 - 03:30 PM

House Health and Human Resources Committee Advances Fraud Unit Bill

The House Committee on Health and Human Resources convened at 1 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 28 to consider several Senate bills. Most notably, the committee had a consideration of a piece of legislation that would move West Virginia’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit from the Office of the Inspector General to the Attorney General’s Office. 

Senate Bill 318 has stark similarities to House Bill 2867, which aimed to do the same thing. This bill was defeated in the House Judiciary Committee several weeks ago. 

Jolynn Marra, the Director of the Office of Health Facility and Licensure Certification (OHFLAC) and Interim Inspector General, attested to the success that the Medicare Fraud Control Unit has recently had in the state. 

“We return $4.98 for every dollar spent in this program,” Marra said. “This unit does a fantastic job, especially with our new director. The numbers speak for themselves.” 

WV Attorney General Patrick Morrissey was present to testify as to why House Bill 2867 should be passed, and why the Medicare Fraud Control Unit should be transferred to his office. 

“The Attorney General’s Office is experienced,” Morrisey said. “We are a very visible fraud-fighting entity, and we’ve had a lot of success pursuing consumer fraud in the state.” 

Morrisey elaborated that 43 other states have their Medicaid Fraud Control Units underneath the jurisdiction of Attorney General Offices, and that the addition of West Virginia’s program to the WV Attorney General Office would increase transparency, and strengthen national relations. 

Several delegates spoke in favor Senate Bill 318.

Delegate Amy Summers, R-Taylor, spoke in favor of the bill, arguing that it reduces transparency for the Medicaid Control Fraud Unit to be under jurisdiction of the Inspector General’s office, and office that reports to the Department of Health and Human Resources.

“I just feel it’s inappropriate that this office investigates a program administered by the agency they report to,” Summers said. “It feels a bit like a fox is in the hen house.” 

Several other delegates had some concern regarding political motives, and the need for the transfer to occur in the first place.

Delegate Barbara Fleischauer, D-Monongalia, was skeptical of the bill’s passage. 

“I’ll be voting no because as the Director of OHFLAC stated, we are currently getting an excellent return on investment,” Fleischauer said. “The office is very successful right now. If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.” 

Despite the lengthy debate that Senate Bill 318 generated, the bill was advanced to the House Finance Committee in a 13-11 vote. 

Two other Senate bills were advanced to the House floor on this day. 

Senate Bill 520 would require the timely reportage of drug overdoses in the state within 72 hours of the overdose happening. This bill would require first responders and emergency medical service personnel to report drug overdoses after responding to them, so that the DHHR may gather accurate data and help citizens receive help. The current rule mandates quarterly reportage, this would update that to 72 hours. 

Delegate Matthew Rohrbach, R-Cabell, spoke in favor of the bill, citing the alarming rate of overdoses in Cabell County as a reason why. 

“We have to have accurate data to know these overdose rates,” Rohrbach said. “This is a good bill for EMS workers, and those who suffer from addiction.” 

Senate Bill 520 underwent a technical amendment, and was advanced to the floor as amended. 

Senate Bill 668 was also advanced to the House floor on this day. This bill would to provide requirements for physician assistants who are collaborating with physicians in hospitals. The bill requires written notice to the appropriate licensing board, requires rulemaking, and specifies practice requirements.

This bill was also amended in a minor way that added to the effectiveness of the legislation. This amendment was adopted unanimously by the committee, and as amended, Senate Bill 668 was also advanced to the House floor with the recommendation that it pass. 



Thursday, February 28, 2019 - 01:00 PM

Senate Passes Four House Bill, two to be Sent to the Governor

The Senate convened Thursday morning for a quick floor session, and discussed four House bills that were on third reading and up for passage.

House Bill 2746 would provide for a procedure to 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.

House Bill 2827 would remove a residency requirement for county deputy assessors to reside in the county in which they are appointed to.

Both bills were passed by the House and Senate, and will be reported to Governor Justice to either be signed into law or vetoed.

The Senate also passed two other House bills including House Bill 2740 which would bar a parent from inheriting from or through a child in certain instances. Those instances include:

  • The parent’s parental rights were terminated by court order, and the parent-child relationship has not been judicially reestablished
  • The child died before reaching the age of 18 and there is clear and convincing evidence that immediately before the child’s death the parental rights of the parent could have been terminated under the law on the basis of nonsupport, abandonment, abuse, neglect, or other actions or inactions of the parent toward the child.

A strike and insert amendment by Senator Trump (R - Morgan, 15) added clarification of the bill.

House Bill 2690 relates to policyholder notices under the WV Life and Health Insurance Guaranty Association Act. The bill would remove the requirement that the commissioner propose rules for legislative approval establishing the form and content of the disclaimer that advises a policy owner. The Senate Committee substitute removed duplicative language.

Both bills were passed by the Senate, and will be reported back to the House of Delegates.

Senate Resolution 64, designating Feb. 28, 2019 as Rare Disease Day at the Capitol was unanimously adopted by the Senate.

The Senate is adjourned until tomorrow, March 1 at 11 a.m.

The following committees will meet today:

Health at 1 p.m. in 451M

Energy at 1 p.m. in 208W

Gov. Org. at 2 p.m. in 208W

Finance at 3 p.m. in 451M

Judiciary at 3p.m. in 208W

The following committees will meet tomorrow:

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

Judiciary at 9:30 a.m. in 208W 

RA

›› Completed Legislation

Thursday, February 28, 2019 - 12:43 PM

Page Break Extensive Debate Leads to Passage of Video Lottery Bill

A House Bill relating to racetrack video lottery terminals spurred extensive review during Thursday’s Senate finance meeting.  

If passed, House Bill 2901 would allow for the establishment of secondary locationfor racetrack video lottery terminals throughout the state.  

According to an explanation provided by counsel, the proposed legislation intends to promote expansion of the state’s lottery establishments following approval of the Lottery Commission. If made into law, the bill could potentially result in a fiscal increase of $2,340,000 

Director of the West Virginia Lottery, John Myers, came before the committee to address concerns surrounding the house bill. While standing before the committee, the director explained the various workings of the state’s lottery system concerning video lottery machines. According to Myers, the lottery commission has no problems with the proposed bill and believes it could greatly impact the state.  

Following questions from members, Sen. Roman Prezioso, D-Marion, urged adoption of the bill by stating the legislation is a “great investment for the state.”  

After discussion of the bill, members agreed to adopt a technical amendment prior to reporting the legislation to the full Senate.  

Also reported by the committee were House Bills 2311, 2405, 2734 and 3405.  

›› House bills introduced on this date


Thursday, February 28, 2019 - 12:37 PM

House Committee on Banking and Insurance Advances Annuity Tax Elimination Bill

The House Committee on Banking and Insurance met at 10 a.m. in 215-E on Thursday, Feb. 28, to consider three Senate bills. One of the bills that was advanced from this committee was a bill to eliminate a state tax on annuity collected by life insurers.

Senate Bill 30 is a bill that would eliminate the 1% tax on the annuity that is currently collected by life insurers in the state of West Virginia. A committee amendment adopted at the beginning of the meeting would make the passage of this bill effective in the fiscal year of 2020, so the proposed budget would not have to allocate for the fiscal impact in this year’s budget.

The members of the Banking and Insurance Committee unanimously adopted Senate Bill 30 as amended, citing that the elimination of the annuity tax could greatly benefit West Virginians.

“Most annuitants in the state make a salary of $50,000 or less,” said Minority Chairman John Williams, D-Monongalia. “This is no longer a tax on people making a lot of money, and I think this is going to help a lot of people.”

The House Banking and Insurance Committee unanimously approved of Senate Bill 30 and advanced it to the House Finance Committee for a second reference.

The committee also considered Senate Bill 340. This bill would repeal part of the Insurance Code referring to the WV Physicians Mutual Insurance Company that is no longer needed. The bill would repeal Article 20E in the code, which is deemed obsolete. Article 20E, enacted in and unchanged since 2001, created a mechanism to provide medical professional liability insurance to health care providers who are unable to secure such coverage at approved rates through the voluntary market.

Senate Bill 340 was unanimously approved by the committee and advanced to the House Committee on the Judiciary for a second reference.

The House Committee on Banking and Insurance laid over Senate Bill 74 on this day due to confusing implications. The bill would seek to exempt nonpaid volunteers at state ski resorts from receiving worker’s compensation benefits. The unanswered implication of possible simple negligence suits caused the committee to lay the bill over.



Thursday, February 28, 2019 - 12:34 PM

House of Delegates Completes Legislative Action on Four Bills

 The House of Delegates convened at 11 a.m. on Thursday, Feb. 28 for the 51st day of the legislative session. Senate Bills were considered in the House this day, with noteworthy bills such as Senate Bill 440 passing.

Senate Bill 440, a bill to update the state’s anti-hazing laws, passed through the House in a 75-22 vote. This bill would update the definition of hazing to include any organization whose members include students at any state public or private institution of higher learning. The bill also creates a misdemeanor criminal penalty for this updated provision.

Senate Bill 157, a rules bundle, was also passed unanimously on this day and made effective from passage. This bundle includes Senate Bill 157, Senate Bill 158, and Senate Bill 159. The bundle updates legislative rules regarding the WV Department of Administration.

  • Senate Bill 157 would allow vendor contracts to be cancelled if they were awarded in an erroneous way; would allow related parties to a debarred vendor to also be debarred; authorize the Purchasing Division to recalculate a vendor’s extension price; ease requirements for direct award; and allow for standardization of commodities.
  •  Senate Bill 158 mainly pertains to the use of a state vehicle. The proposed rule would allow a volunteer acting in an official capacity to use or occupy a state vehicle The bill would also require drivers to maintain a vehicle log including state spending units to annually calculate indirect costs of operating state-owned vehicles for the agency, and spending units to enroll in the management services offered by the Fleet Management Division unless the spending unit is granted an exemption.
  • Senate Bill 159 would require agencies to report real property inventory in the centralized accounting system maintained by the Enterprise Resource Planning Board. Changes in ownership status or occupancy must be reported in the system within 30 days.

Senate Bill 453 was also passed unanimously by the House of Delegates. This bill gives the Division of Financial Institutions more flexibility to accept alternative forms of valid background checks. The passage of the bill would provide that the Commissioner may use alternate acceptable forms of international information for background checks for potential employees who are not residents of the United States.

Senate Bill 510 passed in a vote of 86-12. This bill would amend the WV Medical Professional Liability Act. It would mandate that a medical malpractice case cannot be pursued in WV courts until a proper claim is issued that formally advises the medical provider being accused of the liability and the evidence upon which the accusation is based.

Bills on second reading that were advanced without amendment on this day include Senate Bill 408 and Senate Bill 593.

Senate Bill 295 went under some minor changes that would improve the functionality of the bill. Delegate John Shott, R- Mercer, proposed an amendment that would strike the authority of people who are not law enforcement officers to arrest civilians. The amendment passed unanimously.

Senate Bill 518 was amended as well by the House Committee on Health and Human Resources. The bill was amended to allow clerks to check identification cards to ensure that people looking to purchase medications with dextromethorphan in them are above the age of 18.

Senate Bill 545 went under a slight technical amendment and another amendment that slightly amended a legislative rule.

All bills on first reading were advanced.

The House of Delegates is in Recess until 5:30 p.m. today, Thursday, Feb. 28. They will reconvene to receive committee reports.

 

Committees Meeting After Floor Session:

-The House Committee on Health and Human Resources will meet at 1 p.m. in 215-E.

-The House Committee on Energy will meet at 2 p.m. in 418-M.

-The House Finance Committee will meet at 3 p.m. in 460-M.

-The House Committee on the Judiciary will meet at 3:30 in 418-M for continued consideration of their posted agenda.

 

The House of Delegates reconvened briefly at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 28 to receive committee reports. 

The House received the House Finance's Committee Report for House Bill 2020, the proposed budget for fiscal year 2020. House Bill 2020 was read a first time on this evening.

The House is adjourned until 11 a.m. tomorrow, Friday, March 1. 

The House Committee on the Judiciary will meet directly after the evening House floor session to continue consideration of their posted agenda. 

 

Committees Meeting Before Floor Session Tomorrow:

-The House Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources will meet at 8 a.m. in 215-E.

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

-The House Committee on Government Organization will meet at 9 a.m. in 215-E.

-The House Education Committee will meet at 10 a.m. in 434-M.

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

Wednesday, February 27, 2019 - 11:42 PM

Judiciary Committee Passes Sexual Assault Bill

The Judiciary Committee met today to discuss Senate Bill 72 creating Sexual Assault Victims’ Bill of Rights.

This bill creates a section of code entitled the Sexual Assault Victims’ Bill of Rights. The Victim Protection Act of 1984 provides rights to certain victims. This bill creates additional rights which include the following:

·     The right to a personal representative of the victims choosing, to attend police interviews, medical treatment, court proceedings, etc.;

·     The right to receive a forensic medical examination;

·     The right to have a sexual assault evidence collection kit tested and preserved;

·     The right to be informed of the results of a forensic medical examination, unless such disclosure would compromise or impede an ongoing investigation;

·     The right to receive notification of the evidence no fewer than 60 days prior to the intended destruction of the evidence; and

·     The right to have said evidence preserved for an additional period not to exceed 10 years after a written request

Senate Bill 491 extends effective date for voter registration in conjunction with driver licensing. This bill amends the effective date for automatic voter registration implementation to July 1, 2021. Additionally the bill requires the DMV to obtain an applicants United States citizenship status, along with other information that must be collected and released to the Secretary of State as part of an automatic voter registration application. The bill will be reported to the House.

The committee was left with questions though as one witness testified that another departments witness had given an alternate fact in Senate Judiciary. The committee unsettled by this issue will be asking the committee on Government and Finance to conduct an investigation as well as discussing it with the President of the Senate, Mitch Carmichael.

Senate Bill 481 relates to Judicial Vacancy Advisory Commission. This bill amends the in-state residency restriction for members of the Judiciary Vacancy Advisory Commission, which currently prevents more than three members of the Commission from being residents of the same congressional district of the state. The bill would instead provide that no more than four members may be residents of the same congressional district; and no more than two member of the JVAC may be residents of the same senatorial district. The bill will be reported to the House.

Senate Bill 393 protects the right to farm. The purpose of this bill is to protect the right to farm and to protect agricultural operations form nuisance litigation if the facility has been in operation for more than a year. The bill will be reported to the House.

Senate Bill 3 establishes WV Small Wireless Facilities Deployment Act. This bill primarily makes technical and formatting changes to the bill as originally introduced. The remaining changes are a result of agreement among the stakeholders – primarily between Wireless Communication Provider (AT&T) and the WV Municipal League.  It also addresses the FCC guidance on the issue. The bill will be reported to the House.

TH

›› House bills introduced on this date


Wednesday, February 27, 2019 - 10:52 PM

House of Delegates Passes Campus Carry Bill

The House of Delegates reconvened at 7 p.m. to discuss House Bill 2519, the Campus Self Defense Act.

There were many amendments pending for this bill with one passing. This amendment requires that all universities file reports of incidents to the joint committee on Government and Finance by December 15th each year. After much passionate debate on the bill and testimonies relating to how it would affect our state and students, the bill was passed 59 to 41.

TH

›› House bills introduced on this date


Wednesday, February 27, 2019 - 06:54 PM

Judiciary Committee Approves the Ardala Miller Memorial Act, Advance Four Other Bills

The Senate Committee on the Judiciary met Wednesday evening to discuss five House Bills and one Senate Resolution on the Committee agenda.

House Bill 2362 would attempt to place in Code language which allows counties to adopt a policy which allows any qualified voter to vote by emergency absentee ballot who is confined to a specific location within the county on or after the seventh day preceding an election and prevented from travelling to a polling place and voting in person because of:

1) Illness, injury or other medical reason

2) Physical disability or immobility due to extreme advanced age

The Committee adopted an amendment to add a new section for greater clarification for the proposed legislation.

House Bill 2975 directly relates to the Division of Corrections (DOC). 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 would include employees and contract employees of a day report center to those prohibited from engaging in sexual acts with those persons under their supervision.

House Bill 3083 would add temporary work during the legislative session (such as per diem workers) as exclusion to the term employment for purposes of unemployment compensation.

House Bill 2609 would to prevent unnecessary reporting and administrative costs associated with reporting of accounts held by a financial organization for active customers of the financial organization.

House Bill 2907 would require a form of a certified commitment order to the DOC and Rehabilitation.

Originating Senate Concurrent Resolution 1 would request a study of wages of people with disabilities. Currently, West Virginia ranks 50th for paying of people with disabilities. The Resolution would require the Joint Committee on the Judiciary to issue a study on the pay of people with disabilities.

All five House bills and the originating resolution were approved by the Committee, and will be reported to the full Senate to be voted upon.

RA



Wednesday, February 27, 2019 - 05:35 PM

House of Delegates Convenes to Pass Final Bills on Crossover Day

The House of Delegates convened at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 27 on the 50th day of the legislative session. Most notably, this was the final day for bills originating in the House of Delegates to be considered in the House. On this day, a number of bills were passed on third reading, including a bill to increase cannabis industry in the state and a bill to issue a severance tax break for steam and thermal coal.

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. It would increase the increase the maximum number of cannabis dispensers to 165 in the state. Additionally, the bill would allow for vertical integration due to an amendment that was passed yesterday that allows one entity to own ten dispensaries in the state. This bill passed through the House unanimously.

On this day, House Bill 3142 was also passed 88-11 after a lengthy discussion regarding fiscal allocations that the bill would require. This bill would reduce the severance tax on thermal or steam coal to two percent cumulatively over the course of two fiscal years and eliminate some of the restrictions on counties and municipalities expending and reporting the expenditure of the county and municipality portion of the severance tax.

House Bill 2397 also passed. This bill would increase the ratio for licensed psychologists to students in a given WV classroom. The bill would increase the ratio of these licensed professionals by 2021 to be 1 psychologist to every 500 students.

The House of Delegates also voted to reinstate a revised version of the film investment tax credit after a lengthy floor debate. House Bill 2941, an altered version of the film investment tax credit that was repealed by the Legislature last year, passed through the House. This bill would create a refundable tax credit for direct production expenditures and post production expenditures incurred in West Virginia that are directly attributable to the production in West Virginia of a feature length theatrical or direct-to-video motion picture, a made-for-television motion picture, a commercial, music video or television show.

Opponents of House Bill 2941 were concerned about the lack of return on investment that previous versions of the film investment tax credit have brought to the state, but in the end, the prevailing side’s argument for innovation won.

House Bill 3127 was rejected after a lengthy floor debate in a close vote of 52-46. This bill would allow homeschooled and private school students to participate in public school extracurricular activities that are within their district. Delegates who voted to defeat the bill argued that House Bill 3127 was underdeveloped, and that the allowance of homeschooled students to participate in public school extracurricular activities was unfair to students in WV public schools.

As of 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 27, the House of Delegates has passed 15 bills on third reading. All of these bills can be viewed in the Calendar.

The House plans to reconvene to consider the buzzworthy House Bill 2519, the Campus Self-Defense Act. The fate of the bill was in the air temporarily due to the bill being moved off of the House Special Calendar, which is the active calendar, to the Inactive House Calendar by the House Rules Committee this morning. However, after a House Rules Committee meeting occurring at approximately 4:00 p.m., House Bill 2915 was voted to be placed back onto the House Special Calendar.

House Bill 2519 will be up for passage, along with other remaining bills on third reading, when the House of Delegates reconvenes.

Bills that have been moved to the Inactive House Calendar and will not be considered include House Bill 3105, House Bill 3137, House Bill 2729, and House Bill 2931. Additionally, as of the 4:00 p.m. House Rules Committee meeting, House Bill 3136 was moved to the Inactive House Calendar.

The movement of these bills means that the legislation is effectively dead for the 2019 Legislative Session.

The House of Delegates is in recess until 7:00 p.m. tonight, Feb. 27. House Bill 2519 will be up for passage, as will House Bill 3146, House Bill 3148, and House Bill 3149. The House will also consider bills on second reading.

 

Committees Meeting Before the 7 p.m. Floor Session:

-The House Committee on the Judiciary will meet at 4:30 p.m. in 418-M.

-The House Education Committee will meet at 5:00 p.m. in 434-M.

-The House Finance Committee will meet at 5:30 p.m. in 460-M.

 

Committees Meeting Before Floor Session Tomorrow:

-The House Committee on Banking and Insurance will meet at 10 a.m. in 215-E.

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

Wednesday, February 27, 2019 - 05:18 PM

Cross Over Day Sees Passage of 29 Senate Bills

A total of 29 Senate Bills passed the Senate during Wednesday’s floor session.  

The extensive calendar arose from cross over day, which requires the passage of bills from their house of origin. 

After extensive debate from members, Wednesdays floor session saw the passage of: 

  • Senate Bill 348relating to tobacco usage restrictions, would increase the the age to purchase tobacco products from 18 to 21 years of age.  
  • Senate Bil522, if passed, would create a Special Road Repair Fund to address the state’s infrastructure issues. According to language of the legislation, repairs would be funded through a $110 million fund operated by the Division of Highways. 
  • Senate Bill 632, if passed, would implement video cameras in self-contained special education classrooms throughout the state. Funding would be provided from the Safe School Fund, established in the bill and funded by the legislature.  
 Other legislation passed by the body were Senate Bill105, 318, 326, 379396, 412, 414, 467, 487, 530, 543555, 564, 574, 605, 625, 633, 637, 657658, 671, 672, 673, 674, 675 and 676 

Senate Bill 464, which intended to modify the licensing requirements for telemedicine and surgery or podiatry, was rejected by members of the body following lengthy discussion.  

House Bills 2740, which would bar a parent from inheriting from a child in certain instances, and 2746which would remove the residency requirements for hiring deputy assessors, were laid over on third reading.  

Following third reading, two House Bills2690 and 2827, were brought before the body on second reading and received no amendments.  

Prior to the body’s lengthy calendar, members unanimously voted to adopt two resolutions. Senate Resolution 62, which memorialized the life of honorable R. Michael Shaw, Sr., former member of WV Senate. Senate President, Sen. Mitch Carmichael, R-Jackson, asked his fellow Senators to rise during discussion of the former Senator’s life and achievements.  

Senate Resolution 63 recognized the Girl Scouts of Black Diamond Council.  

The Senate is currently adjourned until 11 a.m. Feb. 28.  

The following committees will meet today:  

  • The Senate Judiciary Committee will meet at 4 p.m. in 208W. 

The following committees will meet tomorrow: 

  • The Senate Committee for Health and Human Resources will meet at 1 p.m. in 451M.  
  • The Senate Education Committee will meet at 2 p.m. in 451M.  

›› House bills introduced on this date


Tuesday, February 26, 2019 - 06:53 PM

Health and Human Resources Committee Passes Senate Bills

All bills on the committees agenda today were Senate bills, the committee worked through them in anticipation for Crossover Day.

Senate Bill 60 relates to licensing practice of athletic training. This bill amends and reenacts code relating to licensing the practice of athletic training making it unlawful for anyone to practice athletic training without license or permit.

Senate Bill 310 establishes certain requirements for dental insurance. The purpose of this bill is to prohibit a health insurance contractor that covers dental services or participating provider that has an agreement with a dentist from setting fees unless the services are covered. The bill provides that a health care service contractor or other person providing third party administrator services shall not make available any providers in its dentist network to a plan that sets dental fees for any services except those covered.

The bill provides that a dentist may not charge more for services and materials that are noncovered under a dental benefits policy than his or her usual customary rate. Finally, the bill provides that reimbursement paid by a dental plan for covered services and materials shall be reasonable and may not be nominal in order to claim that services are covered services.

Senate Bill 519 requires county emergency dispatchers complete course for telephonic cardiopulmonary resuscitation. The purpose of this bill is to add the training requirements of persons working as a dispatcher in a county emergency dispatch center. It adds the requirement that they have training in emergency cardiovascular care for telephonic cardiopulmonary resuscitation. The training is required to be conducted by a nationally recognized trainer and must be renewed every two years. 

Senate Bill 641 relates to Primary Care Support Program. The purpose of this bill is to convert the existing revolving loan fund to a grant program for federally qualified health centers and federally qualified look-alike in order to secure federal medical assistance percentage (FMAP) funding. The bill provides that FQHC look-alikes already receiving funding at the time this program is created shall continue to receive funding annually.

Senate Bill 369 relates to generic drug products. This bill adds definitions for the terms “covered entity” and “covered individual”. It that if a pharmacist substitutes a drug pursuant to the provisions of this section, the patient shall receive the savings which shall be equal to the difference in the patient’s acquisition cost of the product prescribed and the acquisition cost of the substituted product. This provision may not apply if the patient is a covered individual.

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›› House bills introduced on this date


Tuesday, February 26, 2019 - 06:02 PM

Senate Finances Reviews Fundraising Legislation

Two House Bills came before the Senate finance committee for consideration, Tuesday.  

House Bill 2854, which would exempt sales from the consumers sales and service tax and use tax by not for profit volunteer school support groups raising funds for schools, was reported to the full Senate following consideration.  

The state’s Deputy Tax Commissioner, Lydia McKee, came before members to explain the intentions of the proposed legislation. According to the commissioner, if passed, this bill would now only exempt certain taxes, but also allow for schools to maximize their fundraising periods from three and a half days to 14 days. McKee stated that the increase is intended to help raise more funding for local school boards.  

Also passed by the committee was House Bill 2829, relating to the termination of severance taxes on limestone and sandstone. According to counsel, the bill would result in a fiscal loss of $1.1 million from general revenue.  

 

›› House bills introduced on this date


Tuesday, February 26, 2019 - 06:01 PM

Judiciary Committee Reports Three House Bills to the Senate

The Senate Committee on the Judiciary met Tuesday afternoon to discuss three House Bill that were on the agenda.

House Bill 2183 would add language that clarifies that DUIs may only be assessed against individuals operating a vehicle upon a public highway or private road.

House Bill 2691 would provide that a license to carry a concealed deadly weapon expires on the holder’s birthday five years after the license was issued. The Committee approved a strike and insert amendment that would make the license valid for five years. The license would then expire the same day it was issued, or on the cardholder’s birthday; whichever is later.

House Bill 2193 would enact a new code section to provide for the escheatment of ownership of U.S. savings bonds to the State of West Virginia after a Court ruling that the bonds are abandoned under the terms of the statute.

The Committee passed all three bills, and will be reported to the full Senate to be voted upon.

RA



Tuesday, February 26, 2019 - 05:18 PM

House of Delegates Advances Campus Carry Bill

The House of Delegates convened at 3 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb 26 to continue considering the agenda from previously this morning. The chamber picked up on second reading, which included noteworthy bills such as the campus carry bill and the bill to increase medical cannabis industries within the state.

House Bill 2519, the Campus Self Defense Act, is a bill that has raised a lot of spirited debate among members and constituents. This bill was advanced to third reading with amendments pending to be considered tomorrow, Wednesday, Feb. 27.

House Bill 2079, a bill to remove certain limitations on how many medical cannabis growers, processors, and dispensers can operate in the state, was amended at length.

Delegate Shawn Fluharty, D-Ohio, led the charge on an amendment that would strike the 6-month waiting requirement for patients seeking to get medical marijuana in the state. A lengthy debate ensued, with Fluharty and others arguing that there was no wait period for opioid drugs that are needed, so there should not be one for those seeking cannabis.

The amendment was adopted in a 63-39 vote.

Delegate Andrew Byrd, D-Kanawha, also moved to amend the bill. The amendment would strike language in the bill that would require a physician or pharmacist to be present in a state dispensary. Byrd argued that the presence of these professionals in a dispensary would mean that they have no protections against medical malpractice claims. Delegate Joe Ellington, R-Mercer, the Chairman of the House Health and Human Resources Committee, argued in favor of the amendment and confirmed Byrd’s statements. Byrd’s amendment was adopted overwhelmingly.

Delegate Ellington also proposed an amendment that was adopted. The amendment would return the number of growers and processors to ten, and would allow for a single entity to own ten dispensaries or less.

With these amendments, House Bill 2079 was advanced.

House Bill 3127 was also amended thoroughly on this day. Delegate Danny Hamrick, R-Harrison, proposed an amendment that would mandate that homeschool students participating in extracurricular activities count as 1/10th of a full-time student, and also made other specific clarifications. Hamrick’s amendment was adopted after lengthy discussion.

Delegate Linda Longstreth, D-Marion and Delegate Mike Caputo, D-Marion, moved to amend the amendment. The amendment would have the students be counted as half of a full-time student, in order to ensure the schools are getting paid for the inclusion of these students. This amendment was also adopted.

House Bill 3142 was also amended on this day. Delegate John Shott R-Mercer and Delegate Eric Nelson, R-Kanawha proposed an amendment that would lessen the fiscal implications of the bill. Instead of establishing a 2 percent severance tax on steam coal at once, the amendment would lower the severance tax 1 percent the first year and then another 1 percent the next year. This amendment was passed unanimously.

House Bill 3144 also went under some technical changes on this day and was advanced.

House Bill 2595 was advanced to third reading with the right to amend and will continue to be under consideration tomorrow.

Bills that were advanced without amendment include House Bill 2729, House Bill 2843, House Bill 2882, House Bill 2932, House Bill 2941, House Bill 2951, House Bill 2966, House Bill 2967, House Bill 3148, and House Bill 3149.

All bills on first reading were advanced.

The House is adjourned until 11 a.m. tomorrow, Wednesday, Feb. 27.

 

Committees Meeting Today After Floor Session:

-The House Committee on Fire and Emergency Medical Services will meet at 4:30 p.m. in 215-E.

-The House Committee on Pensions and Retirement will meet at 4:45 p.m. in 460-M.

-The House Committee on Health and Human Resources will meet at 5:00 p.m. in 215-E.

-The House Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources will meet at 7:30 in 215-E.

 

Committees Meeting Tomorrow Before Floor Session:

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

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

-The House Committee on Rules will meet at 10:45 a.m. behind the Hou se Chamber.



Tuesday, February 26, 2019 - 04:40 PM

Legislation Concerning Recovery Residence Inspections Reported to Senate

A bill which would allow for inspections of the state’s recovery residencies was reported to the full Senate during Tuesday’s Senate Health and Human Resources committee.  

House Bill 2530, which was drafted through collaboration with the city of Huntington, would seek to address the state’s drug epidemic by allowing for the inspection of recovery residencies 

Huntington City Attorney, Scott Damron, came before members to further explain the intentions of the legislation which arose out of a need to address certain residencies inhabited by those actively recovering from substance dependency. According to Damron, the city of Huntington has around 30 recovery residencies which are typically overpopulated and unable to be inspected under current law.  

Damron stated that the city has experienced situations where individuals have bought tax properties to create a recovery residency in order to make large sums of money off of houses that aren’t up to housing standards. If passed, House Bill 2530 would allow for the inspections of these prosperities in order to gain certification.  

Once certification is received through inspection, the properties would be eligible for funding from the state.  

Following consideration of the bill, the committee members motioned to report the House Bill to the full Senate with the recommendation of passage.  

Also reported to the body were: 

  • House Bill 2531 which would permit trained nurses to provide mental health services in a medication-assisted treatment program.
  • House Bill 2405 which would impose a healthcare related provider tax on certain health care organizations.
  • House Bill 2525 the Tobacco Cessation Therapy Access Act.

House Bills 2405 and 2525 were also amended by the committee prior to passage.  

 

›› House bills introduced on this date


Tuesday, February 26, 2019 - 04:13 PM

Senate Concurs with House and Passes SB 489, Sends 19 Bills to the House

The Senate convened Tuesday morning for the 49th day of the legislative session, and quickly concurred with the House Amendments to Senate Bill 489.

Senate Bill 489 would provide for licensure of pharmacy benefit managers with the Insurance Commissioner, sets forth minimum reimbursement rates, and requires PBMs report data to PEIA. The House of Delegates passed a strike and insert amendment to page seven subsection k by stating that if information is not provided, then the Office of the Insurance Commission shall discipline the pharmacy benefit manager as provided.

The Senate passed the amended bill unanimously, and will be reported to Governor Justice to either sign into law or veto.

The Senate also discussed 22 bills that were on third reading and up for passage, including a campaign finance bill.

Senate Bill 622 would make numerous changes to the state’s regulation and oversight of campaign finance. Many changes relate to current federal regulation over federal elections. It raises independent expenditures from $1,000 to $5,000. The proposed legislation also raises the following:

  • The bill permits contributions to a candidate in a primary or general election campaign up to $2,800 per election. Current code permits contributions up to $1,000.
  • The bill permits contributions to a state party executive committee, or a local subsidiary thereof, or to a caucus campaign committee of up to $10,000 per calendar year. Current code permits contributions up to $1,000 in a calendar year.
  • The bill permits contributions to a PAC, of up to $5,000 per election. Current code permits contributions up to $1,000.

The Senate passed the bill by a vote of 19 – 15, and it will be reported to the House of Delegates.

The Senate also passed Senate Bill 520 which would permit the Office of Drug Control Policy to adopt a specific information technology reporting platform for overdose reporting. The committee substitute clarified that all mandatory reporters would be required to submit their report within 48 hours after the provider responds to the incident and via an appropriate technology platform.

Other bills that passed on third reading include:

  • SB 248: Creating Prosecuting Attorney's Detectives Act
  • SB 249: Relating to administration of estates and trusts
  • SB 329: Relating to agricultural education in high schools
  • SB 472: Exempting retirement income of certain uniformed services members from state income tax
  • SB 537: Creating workgroup to review hospice need standards
  • SB 561: Permitting Alcohol Beverage Control Administration request assistance of local law enforcement
  • SB 566: Relating to compensation for State Athletic Commission members
  • SB 600: Relating to preservation of biological evidence obtained through criminal investigations and trials
  • SB 615: Providing ongoing mechanism for county commissioners to allow compensation increases for elected officials every two years
  • SB 640: Regulating sudden cardiac arrest prevention
  • SB 642: Providing options in living wills and combined medical powers of attorney and living wills
  • SB 651: Relating to DNR ability to enter into certain contracts
  • SB 653: Relating generally to practice of medical corporations
  • SB 655: Relating to conservation districts generally
  • SB 668: Relating to physician assistants collaborating with physicians in hospitals
  • SB 669: Allowing appointment of commissioners to acknowledge signatures
  • SB 670: Relating to WV College Prepaid Tuition and Savings Program

Senate Bill 522 and House Bills 2740 and 2776 were laid over one day.

The Senate also advanced 28 bills on second reading, with six of those passing with amendments.

Senate Bill 348 would prohibit the sale or furnishing of smoking devices (pipes and cigarette papers), tobacco products and electronic smoking devices to persons under the age of 21. It would increase the fines for a person, firm or corporation that violates the proposed provision. The bill also would allow an employer to dismiss for cause, an employee who sold or furnished tobacco to a person under the age of 21. Senators Palumbo (D – Kanawha, 17) and Stollings (D – Boone, 7) proposed to an amendment to strike sections 12 and 13 from the legislation, which allowed exemptions to veterans’ organizations and facilities with a valid racetrack video lottery license from local board of health rules restricting smoking in indoor spaces. The amendment passed by a vote of 19 – 15.

The Senate is adjourned until tomorrow, Feb. 27 at 11 a.m.

The following committees will meet today:

Health at 3:15 p.m. in 451M

Education will meet five minutes following Heath in 451M

Gov. Org. will meet five minutes following Health in 208W

Finance at 5 p.m. in 451M

Judiciary at 5 p.m. in 208W

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›› Completed Legislation

Tuesday, February 26, 2019 - 03:48 PM

Committee on Political Subdivisions Passes Two Bills

Senate Bill 24 provides funds to DHHR for local boards of health employee pay raises. The bill requires the Legislature to include funding in the DHHR appropriation to raise pay for employees of local boards of health when an across the board pay increase is provided for state employees. It also requires continued annual funding for the local BOH’s with annual appropriations in the base budget for local BOH to fund increased compensation-until pay is same as state employees. The bill will be reported to the House.

Senate Bill 241 permits county court clerks to scan certain documents in electronic form. This bill would allow a county commission to authorize the county clerk to record documents by scanning them in electronic format instead of placing them in books, and not prepare separate indices of those documents. the bill further allows the county commission to authorize the clerk to scan and replace existing books, but requires that the existing books be retained, either on or off site. There was an amendment made to the bill that would require county commission, in addition to scanning the documents, make them available online. The bill will now be reported to the House as amended.

TH

›› House bills introduced on this date


Tuesday, February 26, 2019 - 01:45 PM

House of Delegates Convenes to Pass Bills on Third Reading

 The House of Delegates convened at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, February 26 to consider forty-four bills on third reading on the 49th day of the regular legislative session. Forty-four bills were passed on this day, in preparation for Wednesday being crossover day.

House Bill 2011 was passed by the House of Delegates after a lengthy discussion regarding the scope of privatization in the implications of the bill. This bill would create a program in the state known as the Road Maintenance Program that would allow for and encourage a program in every district of the state to contract out with private contractors in order to perform road maintenance within that district. The WV Division of Highways and Legislative Auditor would oversee the efficacy of this bill if it were to pass. The Road Maintenance Program would aim to solve for the abundance of road work projects, however, several members were concerned about the amount of contracting the Division of Highways would do out of the state of West Virginia. Despite this, the bill was passed overwhelmingly.

House Bill 2014 was also passed by the House of Delegates. This bill would create the WV Intellectual Property and Trade Secrets Act, which would strengthen protections for items created of commercial value. The bill would add a formula definition of intellectual property, adds provisions to protect employment nondisclosures, and provides criminal and civil penalties for violations.

House Bill 2049 would provide protections for prime contractors in regards to wages and benefits. If an employee believes that they haven’t been paid the proper amount of wages by the prime contractor, they would have to first notify the prime contractor of the discrepancy and then give them notice and provide them with verifiable proof, such as a check stub. They must also give the contractor time to remedy the lack of payment before taking court action. This bill passed unanimously in a 58-41 vote.

House Bill 2378 passed unanimously. This bill would allow the revocation of state teaching licenses from individuals who have been convicted of a crime requiring them to register as sex offenders, or individuals who have been convicted of a crime regarding the possession or transfer of a controlled substance.

House Bill 2396 was also passed unanimously on this day. This bill would create the WV Fresh Food Act. This bill would require all state funded institutions to purchase a minimum of 5% of fresh food from West Virginia. The intent of this bill is to stimulate economic growth for the state’s agricultural industry.

House Bill 2497 was passed unanimously by the House of Delegates. If passed, this bill would issue more protections for whistleblowers in the state of West Virginia. It codifies the protection of West Virginia whistleblowers, and mandates that they cannot be passed up for a raise or promotion because of their status as a whistleblower, and they cannot be prohibited from taking part in political or union activities.

House Bill 2617 would 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. After little debate concerning the rights of the uninsured and underinsured, this bill ultimately passed.

House Bill 2991 was also passed on this day, a bill to require the WV Office of Drug Control Policy within the DHHR to conduct an assessment of WV’s system of care for treatment and recovery services for substance use disorder. This assessment will be used to find gaps in the treatment and recovery services for substance use disorders. Money found in these assessments will be allocated to the Ryan Brown Fund.

House Bill 3020 would allow an institutional governing board, the Higher Education Policy Commission or the Community and Technical College Council to enter into a contract for materials, goods, equipment, services, printing, facilities, or financial services with an affiliated nonprofit corporation in the state. After lengthy discussion, this bill was also passed.

House Bill 3131 also generated lengthy discussion, but was ultimately passed. This bill would give the Department of Health and Human Resources the authority to use existing funds to make salary adjustments and increase the salary ranges for certain employees, such as CPS workers.

Action on House Bill 2931 and House Bill 2937 was postponed for one day.

All other 34 bills passed by the House of Delegates can be accessed on the Calendar.

The House of Delegates is in recess until 3:00 p.m. today, Tuesday, Feb. 26 to continue consideration of the posted agenda.

 

Committees Meeting Today After Floor Session:

-The House Committee on Political Subdivisions will meet at 1 p.m. in 434-M.

-The House Committee on Pensions and Retirement will meet at 4 p.m. in 460-M.

-The House Committee on Fire Departments and Emergency Medical Services will meet at 5 p.m. in 215-E.

-The House Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources will meet at 7 p.m. in 215-E.

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

Tuesday, February 26, 2019 - 12:12 PM

Transportation Committee Amends House Bill

House Bill 2539 was unanimously voted to be amended by the Senate committee for transportation and infrastructure, Tuesday morning.  

If passed, the legislation, which relates to exemptions to the commercial driver's license requirements, would align the Division of Motor Vehicle’s speciality farming license to federal code.  

Dwayne O-Dell from the West Virginia Farming Bureau, explained that the license would only pertain to to a very small number of farmers in the state which would grant them permission to certain farm vehicles during particular periods of the year.  

General Counsel for the DMV, Adam Holley, came before the committee to ask if members could also apply a $25 annual fee to the legislation. Currently, Holley predicts that due to the license only applying to small pool of citizens, employees of the DMV would be unable to attain familiarity with the extensive process of applying the license 

Holley stated that a fee of any amount of would be able to assist in educating employees if the program were to increase following implementation.  

Sen. Greg Boso, R-Nicholas, motioned to amend the legislation by applying a $10 fee to the bill. Boso explained that the lower amount would be more comparable to the current cost of a commercial license in the state.  

Following consideration, the committee voted to amend the legislation and report the bill to the full Senate with the recommendation of passage.  

 

›› House bills introduced on this date


Monday, February 25, 2019 - 08:20 PM

House of Delegates Rejects Motion to Reject Campus Carry Bill

The House advanced the Campus Self Defense Act Monday evening following rejection of a motion to reject the bill on first reading. 

The bill would amend the provisions of West Virginia Code relating to the authority of state boards to restrict the carrying of a concealed deadly weapon on the property of a state public institutions of higher education. 

The bill amends provisions relating to the authority of the Higher Education Policy Commission, the institutional Boards of Governors and the West Virginia Council for Community and Technical College Education by stating that the none of the statutory authority of the boards shall be construed to provide the authority to restrict or regulate the carrying of a concealed deadly weapon by a person who holds a current license to carry a concealed deadly weapon, except as authorized.

The bill is up for second reading on Tuesday.

The House passed the following bills:

·     Senate Bill 26 - Permitting certain employees of educational service cooperatives participate in state's teacher retirement systems

·     Senate Bill 489 - Relating to Pharmacy Audit Integrity Act

·     House Bill 2229 - Adding violations of law upon which a public servant’s retirement plan may be forfeited

·     House Bill 2452 - Creating the West Virginia Cybersecurity Office

·     House Bill 2550 - Creating a matching program for the Small Business Innovation and Research Program and the Small Business Technology Transfer Program

·     House Bill 2598 - Relating to submitting a certifying statement attesting to status as a charitable or public service organization

·     House Bill 2690 - Relating to guaranty associations

·     House Bill 2694 - Relating to the state’s ability to regulate hemp

·     House Bill 2718 - Requiring purchasers of roundwood to collect and maintain certain information

·     House Bill 2770 - Fairness in Cost-Sharing Calculation Act

·     House Bill 2816 - Removing the terms “hearing impaired,” “hearing impairment,” and “deaf mute” from the West Virginia Code and substituting terms

·     House Bill 2827 - Removing the residency requirements for hiring deputy assessors

·     House Bill 2828 - Relating to Qualified Opportunity Zones

·     House Bill 2830 - Establishing Next Generation 911 services in this state

·     House Bill 2837 - Relating to the licensing of advance deposit wagering

·     House Bill 2926 - Requiring the Secretary of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs to study the housing needs of veterans

·     House Bill 3024 - West Virginia Business Ready Sites Program

·     House Bill 3045 - Exempting certain complimentary hotel rooms from hotel occupancy tax

·     House Bill 3132 - Relating to exempting providers that serve no more than 30 patients with office-based medication-assisted treatment

·     House Bill 3133 - Relating to requiring a parolee or probationer found to have suffered with addiction to participate in a support service

·     House Bill 3134 - Establishing criminal penalties for negligent homicide, and increasing criminal penalties for reckless driving

·     House Bill 3135 - Expiring funds to the balance of the Department of Commerce, Development Office

Bills Amended on Second Reading: 

·     House Bill 2014 - West Virginia Intellectual Property and Trade Secrets Act

·     House Bill 2049 - Relating to a prime contractor’s responsibility for wages and benefits

·     House Bill 2378 - Relating generally to grounds for revocation of a teaching certificate

·     House Bill 2662 - Relating to certificates or employment of school personnel

·     House Bill 2802 - Uniform Partition of Heirs Property Act

·     House Bill 2991 - Relating to the Ryan Brown Addiction Prevention and Recovery Fund

·     House Bill 3044 – requiring the Commissioner of Highways to develop a formula for allocation road funds

·     House Bill 3136 - relating to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

·     House Bill 3137 – relating to the personnel income tax fund

·     House Bill 3139 – relating to the funding of the Public Employees Health Insurance Program

·     House Bill 3140 – relating to the Division of Natural Resources Infrastructure

·     House Bill 3145 – relating to student financial aid resources

All bills on first reading were advanced as well.

The House of Delegates will reconvene at 9 a.m. February 26, 2019.

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›› House bills introduced on this date


Monday, February 25, 2019 - 05:30 PM

House Technology and Infrastructure Advances Six Senate Bills

The House Committee on Technology and Infrastructure convened at 3 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 25 to consider legislation on the 48th Day of the legislative session. On this day, the committee considered and advanced seven Senate Bills concerning state agency laws.

The Technology and Infrastructure committee had a consideration of Senate Bill 3, a piece of legislation similar to House Bill 2005. Upon receiving House Bill 2005, the Senate split the ideas into several individual bills. Senate Bill 3 is very similar to the small facilities deployment provisions included in the House bill.

Senate Bill 3 would establish the West Virginia Small Wireless Facilities Deployment Act and provide for access to public rights-of-way for the collocation of small wireless facilities. Senate Bill 3 would also provide for the collection of fees and also sets the amount of fees. The bill also lays out requirements for how the state can regulate pole attachments. During the committee meeting, the bill went under some technical amendments. 

Senate Bill 3, after a little discussion surrounding the differences between it and House Bill 2005, was unanimously voted upon to be advanced as amended to the House Floor with the recommendation that it pass, but it first goes to the House Judiciary Committee for a second reference.

The committee also had a consideration of Senate Bill 10, a bill that would mandate that court-ordered restitution to victims of a crime is not subject to the administrative cost off-set provision of the Second Chance Driver’s License Act. 

The Second Chance Driver’s License Act is a state program that allows for the temporary reinstatement of an individual’s driver’s license that has been suspended or revoked due to failure to pay court restitution as a result of a motor vehicle violation or has failed to appear in court when charged with a criminal offense.

This bill, which would eliminate the administrative overhead cost associated with the program, was unanimously advanced by the committee and advanced to the House Finance Committee for a second consideration.

Senate Bill 55 was tabled on this day due to what was deemed to be vague language within the bill. This bill would prohibit holders of a Level 3 WV Driver’s License under the age of 18 from using a wireless communication device while driving. Concern was raised among the committee members regarding what constituted as a wireless communication device, especially considering the fact that most Bluetooth enabled devices can be accessed through the steering wheel. For these reasons, Senate Bill 55 was tabled.

The committee also had consideration of Senate Bill 153, a bill to provide greater flexibility for making infrastructure project grants. The bill would increase the maximum amount of grant funding from 20 percent to 25 percent. Additionally, the bill would increase the maximum amount of aggregate state funding from $100,000 to $500,000 annually. This money, which comes from the WV Lottery, would be intended to provide more flexibility and more time efficiency for state infrastructure projects.

Senate Bill 153 was approved by the committee, and advanced to the House Finance Committee with the recommendation that it pass.

Senate Bill 190 was another bill advanced during today’s Technology and Infrastructure meeting. This bill would update the Division of Highways payment plan and amends their employment procedures pursuant to the new payment plan. This bill was advanced to the House Committee on the Judiciary.

Senate Bill 297 would extend expiration of military members’ spouses’ driver’s licenses for six months after active military duty. Currently, military members are able to extend the expiration of their driver’s licenses for six extra months after they are finished with their active duty activities. This bill would extend that provision to their spouses, allowing them to do the same thing.

This bill was passed by the committee, as was an amendment proposed by Delegate Danny Hamrick, R-Harrison. The amendment would also add people working out of the United States on behalf of the state and federal government, allowing them to get similar expiration extensions. As amended, Senate Bill 297 was advanced to the House Finance committee.

Senate Bill 542 was also advanced to the House Finance committee on this day. This bill, which was passed by the committee with little discussion, would permit an applicant who qualifies for both a military-related exempt and non-exempt vehicle plate, to choose one non-exempt plate instead of one exempt plate without having to pay registration fees. This would allow qualifying individuals to choose to have a plate exemptible that is usually not exemptible.



Monday, February 25, 2019 - 04:55 PM

Judiciary Committee Commits Sexual Assault Bill to Study Resolution

The Judiciary Committee met Monday taking up several bills including, Senate Bill 563, which prohibits sexual assault victims from being subjected to certain physical examinations.

This bill adds new sections to code that prohibits a court to require an alleged victim in a prosecution for a sexual offense to endure a gynecological or physical examination of certain body parts. It also provides that a victim’s refusal to undergo a physical examination does not serve as a basis to exclude evidence from prior, relevant physical examinations, unless constitutionally required. Finally, it provides that for purposes of this new subsection, the term “sexual offense” means any offense in which sexual contact or intrusion is an element of the offense.

The committee discussed the bill and asked questions of counsel but decided it would be safer to study the bill more in a study resolution.

The committee also took up Senate Bill 453, which relates to background checks of certain financial institutions. This bill provides an alternate form of background checks for certain situations or instances. It provides that the Commissioner of the Division of Financial Institutions may determine alternate acceptable forms for background check information for direct and indirect principals of a licensee or applicant for a mortgage lender or broker license or a money transmission license who are not residents of the United States.

The committee advanced this bill and reported it to the House.

The committee also advanced Senate Bill 440, which relates to the Antihazing Law. Currently, the anti-hazing law only applies to organizations operation under the sanction of, or recognized as an organization by, an institution of higher education. Unsanctioned organizations are not covered by the anti-hazing law.

The bill will be reported to the House.

The committee advanced Senate Bill 510, which relates to medical professional liability. The purpose of this bill is to amend the prerequisites for filing a medical professional liability claim to clarify and provide additional expert witness qualifications.

The bill will be reported to the House.

The committee also advanced Senate Bill 295, which relates to crimes against public justice. The purpose of this bill is to include court security officers, the state fire marshal assistant, and deputy fire marshals in the definition of persons against whom obstructing an officer is a crime. The bill will be reported to the House.

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›› House bills introduced on this date


Monday, February 25, 2019 - 04:26 PM

Banking and Insurance Sends Bills to Senate

The Senate banking and insurance committee convened to report two House Bills to the Senate, Monday.  

The brief meeting center around discussion of House Bills 2476 and 2609. Following the committee’s discussion and consideration of amendments, both bills were reported to the full Senate with the recommendation of the passage.  

If passed, House Bill 2476 would amend a section of the state’s insurance code relating the evaluation of totaled automobiles. According to counsel, the language of the legislation was intended to clarify the the evaluations of insurance claims.  

Counsel also provided the committee with a technical amendment drafted to strike language to further clarify the intentions of the bill.  

Following discussion, the committee unanimously voted to adopt the amendment 

Members also reviewed House Bill 2609, relating to presumptions of abandonment and indication of ownership in property. Counsel addressed members to explain the purpose of the bill is to strike a section of code which was enacted in 1984 and is no longer needed. 

According to counsel’s explanation, the proposed legislation received no objections from the Division of Financial Institutions.   

 

›› House bills introduced on this date


Monday, February 25, 2019 - 04:24 PM

Judiciary Committee Reports Three Bills to the Senate

The Senate Committee on the Judiciary met Monday afternoon to discuss two Senate bills and one House bill on the Committee agenda.

Senate Bill 574 would permit members of a hospital medical staff to order an involuntary hospitalization of a person who is present at the hospital if the physician believes that the individual is addicted or mentally ill and because of the addiction or mental illness is likely to cause serious harm to themselves or to others if allowed to remain at liberty. Senator Lindsay (D – Kanawha, 8) proposed an amendment that would require physicians to do an evaluation of an individual before they could be involuntary held, which was adopted.

House Bill 2547 would this bill would fix an oversight with regard to the electioneering prohibition zone from last year’s legislation shrinking that zone from 300 to 200 feet to comport with Federal precedent. The original bill brought it down to within 100 feet, but the Committee adopted an amendment by Senator Baldwin (D – Greenbrier, 10) to only lower it to 200 feet.

Senate Bill 414 would create the Protect Our Right to Unite Act. The bill would provide protection of privacy of association, enforcement by state or citizen action, damages, and attorney’s fees.

The Committee passed all three bills, and will be reported to the full Senate to be voted upon.

RA



Monday, February 25, 2019 - 02:50 PM

Multiple Bills Swiftly Pass Out of Senate

25 pieces of legislation received passage on third reading during Monday’s floor session.  

Of the legislation on the agenda, Senate Bills 238, 316, 400, 421, 432, 441, 511, 535, 539, 544, 547, 554, 592, 596, 597, 603, 627, 654, 656, 665, 666, and 667 received passage in addition to House Bills 2036 and 2821 

Senate Bill 603, which would exempt certain activities from licensing requirements for engaging in business of currency exchange, was up for third reading with the ability to amend but received no amendments before being passed unanimously out of the Senate.  

  • Senate Bill 627, relating generally to Rural Rehabilitation Loan Program 
  • Senate Bill 666, would create the WV Motorsports Entertainment Complex Investment Act 
  • Senate Bill 667, would create the WV Motorsport Committee. 

House Bill 2740, which would bar a parent from inheriting from a child in certain instances, and House Bill 2746, relating to administration of estates, were laid over.  

Additionally, discussion of legislation which would create road and repair fund led to the adoption of an multilayer amendment.  

If passed, Senate Bill 522 would create a special fund intended to address the state’s roads. Following lengthy discussion of the bill in the Senate finance committee, the legislation was brought before the body on second reading where Sen. Eric Tarr, R-Putnam, proposed an amendment.  

The Senator rose to describe his collaboration with fellow Senator Chandler Swope, R-Mercer and Sen. Dave Sypolt, R-Preston, to potentially amend three sections of the legislation. According to Tarr, under the introduced version of the bill, each county district would be able to contract road repairs to local contractors when not meeting their 70 percent productivity threshold. The Senator explained that if adopted, his amendment would allow funding allocated to smaller counties to be used toward boosting the productivity of a larger counties’ repairs.  

The amendment would also reduce the amount of baseline funding allocated to counties from $1.5 million to $1 million, and give more control to local boards when establishing a priority list of road repair.  

Following further discussion of the amendment, members voted to adopt the changes and engross the bill to third reading. Of the other 21 bills on second reading, five bills also received and amendment.  

The body also passed Senate Resolution 59, which designated Feb 25, 2019 as Civil Air Patrol Day at the Legislature, and Senate Resolution 60, which recognized Leadership Jefferson.  

The following committees will be meeting today: 

  • The Senate Committee for Banking and Insurance will meet at 2 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 10 a.m. in 208W.  
  • The Senate Health and Human Resources Committee will meet at 1 p.m. in 451M.  
  • The Senate Education Committee will meet at 2 p.m. in 451M.  

The Senate is in recess until 4:30 p.m. 

UPDATE: The Senate reconvened at 4:30 p.m. to review reports from standing committees and put two bills under immediate consideration and read for a first time. 

  • Senate Bill 414 would create the Protect Our Right to Unite Act. 
  • Senate Bill 547 which woulid limit landowner liablity for recreational use of lands. 
     

     
 

›› House bills introduced on this date


Saturday, February 23, 2019 - 04:28 PM

Senate Meets on Day 46, Completes Action on One Bill

Today, the Senate convened in an afternoon session following morning comittee meetings to pass 16 Senate Bills and two House bills, one of which completed legislative action.

Among the bills passed by the Senate today was Senate Bill 529, which seeks to clarify certain provisions of the Nonintoxicating Beer Act.

One bill which was previously passed by the House was passed by the Senate unchanged and now heads to the Governor for a signature. That bill, House Bill 2612, propsed rules related to the completion or updating of source water plans.

House Bill 2036, House Bill 2740, House Bill 2746 and House Bill 2821 were also on third reading but were all laid over and retain their place on the calendar.

Senate Bill 596, adjusting voluntary contribution amounts on certain DMV forms, was also laid over one day on Third Reading and will retain its place on the Senate Calendar.

The Senate also advanced 22 bills from 2nd Reading to Third Reading which will be up for passage Monday. One bill, Senate Bill 544, would increase salaries for members of WV State Police over three-year period. One bill, Senate Bill 603, was advanced to third reading with the right to amend.

All bills on first reading were read a first time and advanced to 2nd REading. The Calendar is always available on the Bulletin Board.

 

The Senate is adjourned until 11:00 a.m. Monday, February 25th.

 

Government Organization will meet Monday at 8:30 a.m. in 208W.

Finance will meet Monday at 9:30 a.m. in 451M.

Natural Resources will meet Monday at 10:45 a.m. in 208W.

 

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

Friday, February 22, 2019 - 08:28 PM

Senate Bill 632 Raises Questions Among Finance Committee

Legislation which seeks to implement video cameras in special education classrooms sparked extensive debate and concern among Senate finance member’s, Friday.  

Senate Bill 632, which received lengthy consideration from the education committee on Thursday, was brought before members of the finance committee for further consideration.  

Following an explanation of the proposed legislation from Sarah Stewart of the state’s Department of Education, members cited concern over two areas in the bill relating to funding and an amendment proposed by Sen. Charlie Trump, R-Morgan.  

During Thursday’s education committee, the Morgan County Senator requested to amend legislation to protect students involved in additional circumstances from disciplinary action when footage relating to circumstances in question are under review.  

Sen. Bill HamiltonR-Upshur, questioned the amendmentwhich would essentially protect students from disciplinary actions if they weren’t included in the original request to review footage. Hamilton addressed the committee to state that even though he was tore on an opinion relating to the bill, he believes the legislation is discriminatory to the state’s special education students 

Currently, the bill would only allow for footage to be reviewed by school administrators, teachers, parents or legal guardians and law enforcement officers, upon request.  

After discussion of the bill, Sen. Eric TarrR-Putnam, motioned to remove the amendment offered by Trump.  

Members of the committee also raised concern over the potential fiscal impact of the bill which would request $7 million from the state and allocate $2,600 for each of the state’s 2,715 special education classrooms.  

Following further discussion of the bill, members motioned to amend the committee substitute for the committee substitute and report it to the full Senate with the recommendation of passage.  

 

›› House bills introduced on this date


Friday, February 22, 2019 - 07:48 PM

Judiciary Committee Reports Six Bills to the Senate Floor

The Senate Committee on the Judiciary met Friday evening to discuss serval different bills there were on the Committee’s agenda.

Senate Bill 348 would raise the legal age for the purchase of tobacco, tobacco products, tobacco derived products, alternative nicotine products and vapor products from 18 to 21. The bill would also add the language of Senate Bill 136 because of how the two bills were closely related. SB 136 would change the definition of “electronic cigarette” to E-Cigarette.” The Committee adopted several different amendments to the proposed legislation. One amendment by Senator Takubo (R – Kanawha, 17) would make it illegal to smoke in car with someone in the car that is the age of 17 or under. The Committee passed the bill, and will be reported to the Senate.  

Senate Bill 353 would enact the 2018 recommendations of the Judicial Compensation Commission providing salary increases for magistrates, family court judges, circuit court judges, and Supreme Court justices. Increases would be incremental starting July 1, 2019 with the last pay increase being July 1, 2022. Pay increases for these judges by 2022 would include:

  • Supreme Court Justices - $156,215
  • Circuit Court Judges - $ 149,070
  • Family Court Judges - $113,930

Senate Bill 273 would clarify that evidence and reports of fraud, waste, mismanagement, or other misconduct relating to government money at any level of government must be provided to the Commission on Special Investigations within a prompt period.

The Committee unanimously approved the bill, and will be reported to the Committee on Finance.

Senate Bill 412 would to establish the Katherine Johnson Fair Pay Act of 2019. The proposed legislation would make it an unlawful discriminatory practice for an employer to prohibit an employee from disclosing information about his or her wages, benefits, or other compensation.

Senate Bill 600 would establish procedures for the preservation and disposal of biological evidence.

Senate Bill 657 would provide consumer protection for consumers of self-propelled agricultural equipment.

The Committee approved the other bills, and will be reported to the full Senate to be voted upon.

RA



Friday, February 22, 2019 - 06:42 PM

Judiciary Committee Rejects Barking Dog Bill

The Judiciary Committee unanimously rejected a bill that would have created a misdemeanor offense of disturbing the peace for barking or howling dogs.

House Bill 2894 would have created new code to provide that it is an unlawful disturbing of the peace, quiet and comfort of any neighborhood to keep, harbor or have custody of any dog that barks, howls, or makes noises by day or night which disturbs the peace and quiet of any person or family within the neighborhood.

The bill set forth penalties for each violation. For the first offense, a person could have been found guilty of a misdemeanor and faced a $1,000 fine and/or a jail sentence up to six months.

For a second offense, a person could have faced up to a $2,000 fine and a jail sentence up to a year. A person convicted of a second violation would also have risked seizure of animals that caused the disturbance.

The bill was unanimously rejected by the committee.

The committee advanced House Bill 2014, which relates to the West Virginia Intellectual Property and Trade Secrets Act. The purpose of this bill is to create the West Virginia Intellectual Property and Trade Secrets Act. The bill provides criminal, injunctive and civil protections against the misappropriation of intellectual property and trade secrets.

The bill will be reported to the House.

The committee also passed an originating bill which relates to requirements for making consumer loans in West Virginia. The purpose of this bill is to adjust limits on consumer loans in West Virginia where certain finance charges may be imposed and clarify that a person must first obtain a license from the Division of Financial Institutions before engaging in the business of consumer loans.

Current code provides that a person must first obtain a license from the Commissioner of Banking authorizing him or her to make regulated consumer loans before engaging in the business of making regulated consumer loans.

The bill will be reported to the House.

The committee committed to a study resolution House Bill 2321, which allows workers compensation benefits for first responders diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. The purpose of this bill is to allow workers compensation benefits for first responders diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder resulting from an event that occurred during their employment.

The committee organized a work group to further investigate the bill.

The committee advanced House Bill 2931, which clarifies that the State Lottery Commission has no authority over non-lottery games. This bill exempts casino night fundraising events from licensure, and providing that casino night themed fundraisers are not subject to criminal penalty.

The bill will be reported to the House.

The committee also advanced House Bill 2895, which allows victims of certain crimes to get a restraining order. This bill allows victims of certain crimes from get a restraining order prohibiting convicted persons from contacting or living in proximity to the victim, upon a finding that this has caused or will cause the victim emotional distress.

The bill will be reported to the House.

The committee additionally advanced House Bill 2597, which creates a hunting permit to safely accommodate visually impaired hunters. This bill adds a new code section to create a new Class Six hunting permit to allow permittees to hunt with assistance from a person who does not have a visual impairment.

After lengthy debate, the committee advanced the bill to the House floor.

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›› House bills introduced on this date


Friday, February 22, 2019 - 05:11 PM

House Education Committee Advances Community College Bill

The House Education Committee met at 9 a.m. and then again at 3 p.m. on the 45th day of the legislative session on Friday, Feb. 22 to consider legislation. Four bills were advanced to the House floor on this day, and the buzzworthy Senate Bill 1 was advanced to the House Finance Committee for a second reference.

Senate Bill 1 would create the Advanced Career Education (ACE) Program with the intention of fostering a connection between state high schools and community colleges, and it would also create the WV Invests Fund. The WV Invests Fund would fund the community college tuition of select WV students who qualify.

The House Education proposed a strike and insert amendment to the version of Senate Bill 1 on Wednesday that made several key changes to Senate Bill 1. These changes would include the requirement of the WV Chamber of Commerce to research and prepare a list of underserved industries in the state to ensure the proper programs are facilitated, and the addition of public baccalaureate institutions that offer associate programs.

Delegate Matthew Rohrbach, R-Cabell, spoke in favor of Senate Bill 1’s passage. He spoke on the fact that the legislation was modeled after a similar program in Tennessee, saying that the creation of the ACE Program and the WV Invests Fund would most likely provide similar levels of economic development.

“This is our first step toward having a more detailed workforce in West Virginia,” Rohrbach said.

Other delegates had concerns about the lack of a means test for the proposed grants and the nature of the funding mechanism. Delegate Jim Butler, R-Mason, was one of such delegates.

“This is not something we need to put on the backs of West Virginia’s taxpayers,” Butler said.

After a lengthy discussion occurring over three committee meetings, the House Education committee voted to advance the committee’s strike-and-insert amendment to Senate Bill 1 to the House Finance Committee with the recommendation that it pass.

The House Education Committee also had a consideration of and advanced four bills to the House floor.

House Bill 2397 would increase the ratio for licensed psychologists to students in a given WV classroom. The bill would increase the ratio of these licensed professionals by 2021 to be 1 psychologist to every 500 students. There are currently 126 certified psychologists serving the state of WV’s schools, and the bill would require the hiring of 266 more to fulfill the desired ratio.

Several delegates were concerned about the lack of professionals in the state that could fill these roles, but the bill was ultimately advanced by the committee.

House Bill 2853 was also passed unanimously. This bill would require the Library Commission to establish the West Virginia Program for Open Education Resources to encourage and facilitate the use of open education resource materials in both higher education and public schools. This bill would permit the creation of a database where educators could make their educational materials more easily accessible for students across the state.

House Bill 2568 was made into a Study Resolution to be researched thoroughly during Interims and taken up again by the committee next year. This bill would have required certain WV community and technical college or career and technical education centers to offer training for students to become firefighters or emergency medical technicians.

An originating bill was also considered by the committee and advanced to the House floor on this day. This bill would amend the Underwood-Smith Teaching Scholarship. The new version of the award would focus on students studying to teach math and science in the state. The scholarship would be given to the students providing that they agree to work in an underserved area of the state for five years.

House Bill 3020 was also considered and advanced to the House floor with the recommendation that it pass. This bill would provide access for educational materials around the state. House Bill 3020 would allow an institutional governing board, the Higher Education Policy Commission or the Community and Technical College Council to enter into a contract for materials, goods, equipment, services, printing, facilities, or financial services with an affiliated nonprofit corporation in the state.



Friday, February 22, 2019 - 03:02 PM

House of Delegates Passes Governor’s Pay Raise Bill

The House of Delegates convened at 11 a.m. on Feb. 22 for the 45th Day of the 84th West Virginia Regular Legislative Session to consider legislation. On this day, 15 bills were passed out of the House of Delegates, including the bill to approve a five percent pay raise for state police personnel and public school employees.

House Bill 2730 would issue a pay raise to the state police, WV K-12 school teachers, and WV K-12 school personnel starting this fiscal year. The raise would be five percent more than the aggregate salary of these state employees. This piece of legislation was suggested by Governor Jim Justice, and has raised a lot of discussion in the state regarding teacher pay.

Several delegates were hesitant to approve of the pay raise on the issue of teacher merit, and others had fiscal concerns.

“People who walk off the job don’t deserve a pay raise,” Delegate Tom Bibby, R-Berkley said in reference to last week’s strike.  

Delegate Pat McGeehan, R-Hancock, raised concern over the $105 million fiscal note that would come with issuing state employees the pay raise.

Delegate Christopher Thompson, D- Randolph, addressed these fiscal concerns, saying that there was a need to address recruitment and retention of WV teachers.

After a lengthy discussion, House Bill 2730 passed through the House of Delegates in a vote of 89-8 and was also approved to be made effective starting July 1, 2019. House Bill 2730 now moves on to the Senate for consideration.

There was a number of Senate Bills that were passed by the House of Delegates on this day.

Senate Bill 13 was passed on this day, a bill that generated a large amount of controversy while it was on second reading. This bill would fulfill a past promise of reimbursement that the state made to the state’s racehorse industry. 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.

Senate Bill 442, Senate Bill 443, and Senate Bill 444 were also passed on this day. These bills all address supplemental appropriations for state agencies. Senate Bill 442 would allow the Insurance Commissioner to utilize federal block grant money. Senate Bill 443 and Senate Bill 444 would add supplemental appropriations to the Department of Health and Human Resources for mental health services, laboratory funds, and other miscellaneous items.

House Bill 2532 was also passed on this day. This bill would grant West Virginians renewing their drivers’ licenses or vehicle registrations the ability to make a contribution in the amount of $3, $5 or $10 to the West Virginia Farm Bureau, the West Virginia 4 H Program, or the West Virginia Future Farmers of America Education Foundation.

House Bill 2540 would make it unlawful for any person 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 for penalties and gives the Division of Natural Resources the authority to enforce this law. This bill was passed after a lengthy floor discussion regarding freedom.

House Bill 2541 was also passed this day. This bill updates safety measures for public K-12 schools in West Virginia. House Bill 2541 would to require county boards to implement a safety plan for public schools, containing the following requirements: visible room numbers on the outside of the building, provide updated school floor plans to local first responders and law enforcement, and provide active shooter and first aid training to teachers and students.

House Bill 2807 was passed unanimously. House Bill 2807 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.

House Bill 2829 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.

Delegate Vernon Criss, R-Wood, addressed concerns regarding the costly implication of this tax cut. He stated that 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 passed through the House of Delegates.

House Bill 2872 would allow state law enforcement officers to assist the state fire marshals in cases that lend itself to their involvement. This bill would address a gap in code and was passed without little discussion.

House Bill 2901 also passed on this day. This bill 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.

House Bill 2934 would authorize licensing in the state for interactive wagering. Casinos in the state would be allowed to create applications to allow individuals to wager digitally on a mobile device or desktop. There would be a 15% privilege tax on these games.

“This is to address a problem with a huge black market,” Delegate Dianna Graves, R-Kanawha said in defense of the bill. “The passage of this bill allows us to capture that dangerous black market, bring it under regulation, and establish state control.”

House Bill 2934 passed through the House.

House Bill 2968 would authorize the addition of remote service units, or RSU’s, to customer bank communications terminals. This bill also passed unanimously.

House Bill 3134 was postponed for one day.

Bills on second reading that were advanced without amendment on this day were Senate Bill 26, House Bill 2452, House Bill 2550, House Bill 2598, House Bill 2617, House Bill 2690, House Bill 2694, House Bill 2718, House Bill 2770, House Bill 2802, House Bill 2816, House Bill 2827, House Bill 2828, House Bill 2830, House Bill 2926, House Bill 3024, House Bill 3045, House Bill 3133, and House Bill 3135.

Action on House Bill 2617, House Bill 2802, and House Bill 2991, three additional bills on second reading, was postponed for one day.

Senate Bill 489, a bill on second reading was amended on this day. The language change that was amended made the legislation more permissive.

House Bill 2229 and House Bill 3132 were amended with technical changes.

House Bill 2837 was amended to change the date effective from fiscal year 2020 to fiscal year 2022.

All bills on first reading were advanced on this day. Additionally, bills reported from committees were read for a first time on this day and advanced to second reading.

The House of Delegates is in recess until 7 p.m. this evening.

 

Committees Meeting Today:
- The House Committee on the Judiciary will meet at 2:15 p.m. in 418-M.

-The House Committee on Finance will meet at 3:00 p.m. in 460-M.

-The House Committee on Education will meet at 3:00 in 434-M.

-The House Committee on Government Organization will meet at 3:00 p.m. in 215-E.

 

Committees Meeting Monday Morning Before Floor Session:

-The House Committee on Finance will meet at 8 a.m. in 460-M.

-The House Committee on Government Organization will meet at 9 a.m. in 215-E.

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

-The House Committee on Rules will meet at 10:45 behind the House chamber. 

 

The House of Delegates reconvened briefly at 7 p.m. tonight, February 22 to hear committee reports.

All of the committee reports received on this night were read for a first time except for House Bill 3144, House Bill 3142, and Senate Bill 1

Senate Bill 1 was referenced to the House Committee on the Judiciary for a second reference.

The House of Delegates is adjourned until 11 a.m. on Monday, Feb. 25. 

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

Friday, February 22, 2019 - 01:46 PM

Senate Passes One Bill, Celebrates WV State University Day

The Senate convened Friday morning to discuss one bill that was one third reading and up for passage.

Senate Bill 613 would require the Commissioner of the Division of Natural Resources (DNR) to include an option for organ donation on hunting and fishing licenses, and would also require publication of the ability to have the option to add organ donation on these licenses. The bill passed the Senate unanimously, and will be reported to the House of Delegates.

23 bills were read on second reading and advanced to third; one of them being Senate Bill 86. The proposed legislation would require county boards of education to provide free feminine hygiene products to female students who need it.

The Senate also adopted Senate Resolution 57 which designated Feb. 22, 2019 as West Virginia State University Day at the Legislature. The school was originally founded in 1891 as an African American college. The University offers 72 academic programs, and brings in a total of $254 million in state revenue annually.

The Senate is adjourned until tomorrow at 2 p.m.

The following committees will meet today:

Natural Resources at 1 p.m. in 208W

Finance at 3 p.m. in 451M

Judiciary at 3 p.m. in 208W

The following committees will meet tomorrow:

Education at 9 a.m. in 451M

Gov. Org. at 9 a.m. in 208W

Finance at 11 a.m. in 451M

Judiciary at 11 a.m. in 208W

RA



Friday, February 22, 2019 - 01:36 PM

Judiciary Committee Passes Originating Bill

The Judiciary Committee met yesterday to discuss multiple bills, one of which is an originating bill. This bill increases salaries of the attorney general, the auditor, the secretary of state, the commissioner of agriculture and the state treasurer. The bill gives $125,000 to all of these officers. The bill will be reported to the House.

House Bill 2378 relates generally to grounds for revocation of a teaching certificate. The purpose of the bill is to provide for the automatic revocation of the teaching certificate or license of a teacher who convicted of any offense that requires the teacher to register as a sex offender or any criminal offense which has as an element the distribution of a controlled substance. The bill had four amendments adopted and was reported to the House.

House Bill 2662 relates to certificates or employment of school personnel. The purpose of this bill is to provide for the automatic termination of a service personnel employment contract and the automatic revocation of the bus operators certificate if the employee or bus operator is convicted of any offense that requires him or her to register as a sex offender, or of any criminal offense which as an element the distribution of a controlled substance. All the amendments made to House Bill 2378 applied to this bill as well and it was reported to the House.

House Bill 2719 allows nonmembers of a political party to request that party’s partisan ballot at a primary election. The purpose of this bill is require notification to voters at polling places in primary elections that they may request and use a ballot for one of the major political parties if the voter is not affiliated with any party or if the voter is registered with a party that does not have candidates on a ballot for that polling place. There was an amendment made to the bill to replace all instances of “ballot commissioner” with “election commissioner” which after adopted was reported to the House.

House Bill 2670 relates to damages for medical monitoring. This provides that in any civil action in which a court orders a defendant to pay for a plaintiffs future medical surveillance, screening tests, or monitoring procedures, no plaintiff shall be awarded or paid any moneys to cover such costs until the surveillance, tests, or procures have been completed. The shall also determine the date after which the future medical surveillance, screening tests, or monitoring procedures are no longer required, and any funds remaining after that date shall be repaid to the defendant.

The bill was reported to the House.

House Bill 2943 relates to deliveries by wine specialty shops. The bill provides for a wine specialty shop delivery license. The license allows the delivery of wine baskets within county boundaries, or within a 50 mile radius of the shop. Several conditions are placed on shops seeking to deliver wine gift baskets: no deliveries to dry counties or dry local option areas, no deliveries out of state, no deliveries to private businesses, a maximum of two cases of wine per month per customer, no resale, the wine must be in a sealed container labeled with a warning, the purchases must be made in shop, face-to-face, the purchaser and deliverer must be 21.

The bill was reported to the House.

House Bill 2866 relates to the termination, expiration, or cancellation of oil or natural gas leases. The purpose of the bill is to require lessees to provide lessors with a recordable release for oil or natural gas leases, when the leases are expired, terminated or cancelled under their terms. The bill defines a procedure by which lessors may attempt to document the invalidly of a lease in the public record, while also providing the operators an opportunity to dispute the invalidity before recordation. The bill was reported to the House.

House Bill 2049 relates to a prime contractors responsibility for wages and benefits. Wage payment act claims have a five year statute of limitations. Under the wage payment act, an employee of a subcontractor may seek repayment of wages and benefits from the prime contractor. This bill seeks to address belated claims where the prime contractor, with no prior notice, is subject to suit long after a construction project ceases, due to the failure of a subcontractor to pay its employees. The bill was reported to the House.

House Bill 3073 authorizes a court administrator to make determinations of financial eligibility. This bill amends and reenacts code relating to a court administrator to make determinations of financial eligibility for public defender services. The bill was reported to the House.

TH

›› House bills introduced on this date


Friday, February 22, 2019 - 12:16 PM

Senate Finance Amends Road Repair Bill

Lengthy debate resulted in numerous amendments to Senate Bill 522 during Friday’s morning finance meeting.  

In total, four amendments were adopted to the proposed legislationwhich intends to create a special road repair fund for the state. Changes to the bill arose out of extensive debate in Thursday’s committee meetingultimately resulting in the bill being laid over until Friday morning’s meeting. 

Continuing review of the legislation, multiple senators expressed confusion surrounding the bill which establishes a total of $110 million to be used in addressing the state’s current road conditions. If passed, the bill would establish a two year program that uses funding to help counties 

As stated in the bill, in order to have a road be repaired, counties must submit requests for certain road repairs and if accepted, money would then be allocated from the Department of Highways to one of ten districts within the state. After review by the districts, a creation of a priority list would then decide how funding is to be directed to a contractor within the county in question.   

Concern over the use of contractors sparked much debate among Senators, specifically surrounding the potential liability that would result following a job being contracted. Despite the Department of Highways stating that they wouldn’t like to increase employment to address the potential repairs, Sen. John Unger, D-Berkeley, said that the increase in employment would potentially allow for the DOH to “stay on top of the state’s roads” following the end of the program.  

Other members of the committee also raised caution regarding to the implementation of funding for the county’s repairs. Under the original language of the bill, the amount of funding would be determined by the total amount of mileage within the committee, in addition to 10 percent which would be allocated for each county to establish a baseline. Sen. Ron Stollings, D-Boone, motioned to amend the legislation to allow for each county to received $1.5 million for repairs. Following discussion, members voted to adopt the senator’s amendment.  

Members also adopted two other amendments from Stollingsin addition to an amendment from Sen. Chandler Swope, R-Mercer.  

Following consideration of the bill, the committee voted to report the amended committee substitute of Senate Bill 522 to the full Senate.  

Senate Bill 472which would exempt retirement incomes of certain uniformed services members from state income tax, was also reported to the body.  

 

›› House bills introduced on this date


Friday, February 22, 2019 - 11:30 AM

House of Delegates Passes Bill for Department of Motor Vehicles Kiosks

The House of Delegates convened today to pass House Bill 2886 which establishes requirements for a divisions of motor vehicles office or division of the motor vehicles now kiosk to the present in a county. 

The purpose of this bill is to require counties with a population of 25,000 or greater have a Division of Motor Vehicles office location within the county unless there is a Division of Motor Vehicles office location within 25 miles from the county seat, require counties with a population of less than 25,000 install a Division of Motor Vehicles Now kiosk unless the county seat is within 25 miles of a Division of Motor Vehicles office location, establish a maximum amount of Division of Motor Vehicles office locations in this state, and prescribe a maximum amount of Division of Motor Vehicles Now kiosks. 

Other Bills on Third Reading:

Senate Bill 270, Streamlining process for utilities access to DOH rights-of-way

Senate Bill 356, requiring MAPS provide state and federal prosecutors information

Senate Bill 358, exempting purchasing division purchases for equipment to maintain security at state facilities

Senate Bill 387, relating generally to extradition

Senate Bill 452, supplemental appropriation to second chance drivers license

House Bill 2515, exempting the sale and installation of mobility enhancing equipment form the sales an use tax

House Bill 2667, supplemental appropriation to the department of military affairs and public safety division of corrections 

House Bill 2854, exempting sales form the consumers sales and service tax and use tax by not for profit volunteer school support groups raising funds for schools

House Bill 2855, allowing rebate moneys to be used for the operation and maintenance of accounting and transparency systems of the sate auditor

House Bill 2856, relating to the administration of the operating fund of the securities division of the auditors office

House Bill 2907, requiring a form of a certified commitment order to the division of corrections and rehabilitation

House Bill 2924, permitting the west Virginia tourism office to decide to contract with the division of highways to sell advertising space on the wv511 website

House Bill 2929, authorizing the west virginia tourism office to enter into an agreement with the division of highways to provide staff at the welcome centers

House Bill 2933, modifying the criminal penalties imposed on the parent guardian or custodian for child abuse resulting in injury

House Bill 2954, defining certain terms used in insurance

House Bill 2982, amending and updating gate laws relating to auctioneers

House Bill 3007, authorizing the commissioner of agriculture to require background checks

House Bill 3039, relating to a courts consideration of the expression of a preference by a child in certain child custody matters

House Bill 3083, adding temporary work during the legislative session as exclusion to the term employment for purposes of unemployment compensation 

House Bill 2093, relating to standards for factory-built homes

Three bills on second reading were amended and advanced to third reading.

Senate Bill 444, Supplemental appropriation to DHHR divisions (Finance Committee Amendment Pending) 

House Bill 2901, Allowing for the establishment of a secondary location for racetrack video lottery terminals 

House Bill 2934, Permitting interactive wagering authorized as West Virginia Lottery interactive wagering activities

All bills on first reading were advanced as well.

Bills were also received from the Senate with amendments pending and the House concurred with these amendments and proceeded to pass them once again.

Senate Bill 272, updating code relating to commission on special investigations

House Bill 2324, authorizing the acupuncture board to issue certificates to perform auricular acudetox therapy

House Bill 2666, supplemental appropriation to t the department of veterans assistance

House Bill 2668, supplemental appropriation to the department of administration public defender services

TH

›› House bills introduced on this date


Friday, February 22, 2019 - 10:16 AM

Judiciary Committee Passes Out Two Bills During Morning Meeting

The Senate Committee on the Judiciary met for a brief meeting Friday morning to discuss two different bills before the morning floor session.

Senate Bill 248 would create the Prosecuting Attorney’s Detectives Act. These detectives would investigate any criminal wrong doing with in the prosecuting attorney’s office to promote integrity within the West Virginia Criminal Justice System. The bill was unanimously approved by the Committee, and will be referred to the Committee on Finance.

Senate Bill 249 would create a limited letter of administration that may be issued for estates that do not exceed the value of $2,000. The Committee approved the proposed legislation, and will be reported to the full Senate to be voted upon.  

The Committee will meet later today following floor session.

RA



Thursday, February 21, 2019 - 08:26 PM

Finance Concludes Review of Fuel Tax Bill

A bill intended to authorize railroad and commercial watercraft claims for refundable exemption on motor fuel excise taxes was postponed indefinitely during Thursday’s finance committee.  

Senate Bill 456, which had come before the committee twice prior to the decision, spurred caution among members. During the bill’s latest review on Feb. 19, committee chair, Sen. Craig Blair, R-Berkeley, expressed concern over the legislation and requested for more testimonies to come before the committee before a decision would be given.  

Thursday’s committee welcome Jason Wazelle, a representative from the Norfolk Southern Corp, to help briefly answer questions concerning the legislation. Following a brief recess of members, members unanimously voted on the decision.  

The committee opened the meeting by reviewing and reporting an originating bill which would allow TeleStroke in Telemedicine. If passed, the legislation would ultimately require for a full time neurologist to be implemented in the Charleston Area Medical Center to help assist in the treatment of stroke patients.  

Following reading of the bill, Sen. Ron Stollings, D-Boone, addressed members to explain that although the bill was needed, a longstanding concern associated with the bill was a fiscal impact of $1 million which would require a well qualified neurologist to fill the position.  

Committee chair, Blair addressed the Senator to state that although the bill contained a large fiscal impact, he was more than happy to include the legislation in the fiscal year’s budget.  

“With this bill we’ll be able to save lives and improve the quality lives in the state. That will far recede the cost of $1 million,” Blair said.  

Members also reviewed Senate Bills 592, 316, 535 and 421 and reported each to the Senate with the recommendation of passage.  

Senate Bill 522, which would create Special Road Repair Fund for the statealso sparked debate among members prior to being laid over until tomorrow’s 9:30 a.m. meeting.  

If passed, the bill would establish a program which would allow counties to submit requests for certain road repairs. If accepted by the program, money would then be allocated from the Department of Highways to one of ten districts within the state. After review by the districts, funding would then be directed to a contractor within the county which has requested the repair.  

 

›› House bills introduced on this date


Thursday, February 21, 2019 - 08:23 PM

Legislation Sparks Debate in Senate Education

A Senate Bill which would require video cameras in certain public education classrooms was the source of confusion during Thursday’s Education committee.  

If passed, Senate Bill 632 would require contained, special education classrooms to be recorded throughout the school day and have video and audio footage preserved for three months following the initial filming.  

A number of Senators expressed concern over language in the proposed legislation concerning a child’s privacy which resulted in representatives from the Department of Education coming before the committee to address concerns.  

Questions dealing with a child’s consent to recording, the privacy of the recordings and who would be able to access the footage were all addressed by Sarah Stewart of the state’s Department of Education  

According to Stewartthe bill currently has little language concerning the consent of students who would be filmed, while also establishing that attained footage would only be eligible for review upon request by school administrators school employees, parent or legal guardians and law enforcement officers.  

Currently the bill has a fiscal note set at $7 million which would allocate $2,600 for recording equipment in each classroom.  

Following recess, the committee reconvened to further explain the legislation and ultimately moved to include a number of amendments from members. Sen. Mike Romano, D-Harrisonmotioned to add a provision which would delete footage following it’s initial three month preservation, while co-chair, Sen. Craig Blair, R-Berkeley, created a conceptional amendment which would change language within the legislation and require that all self contained classrooms implement video and audio recording.  

Sen. Stephen Baldwin, D-Greenbrier, and Sen. Charles Trump, R-Morgan, also motioned to add amendments After further discussion, committee members adopted language for a committee substitute and reported the bill to the full Senate following a second reference to finance.  

Members also reviewed an originating bill which would expand the applicability of educational facilities for the West Virginia College Prepaid Tuition and Savings Program. Following review of the legislation, Sen. John Unger, D-Berkeley, cited similarities between the originating legislation and House Bill 2793 which passed the House earlier this month.  

The Senator questioned the committee chair to ask why the committee would want to originate a bill instead of focusing on reviewing and potentially amending existing legislationChairwoman Sen. Patricia Rucker, R-Jefferson, stated that although similar legislation exists, the creation of the bill wasn’t intended to change anything the House had already completed.  

“It was brought to my attention that this legislation needed to be completed so I went forward in creating it,” Rucker explained.  

Following discussion of the bill, the bill was voted to be reported to the full Senate.  

 

›› House bills introduced on this date


Thursday, February 21, 2019 - 06:39 PM

Judiciary Committee Reforms Campaign Financing

The Senate Committee on the Judiciary met Thursday afternoon to discuss two separate bills that were on the agenda.

Senate Bill 622 relates to regulating campaign financing. The proposed legislation would raise the state’s public contributions to the federal limits. The 50-page piece of legislation would update campaign financing limitations which include:

  • Public contributions could be no more than $2,800
    • Can contribute for the primary general election
    • Totaling $5,600
  • Contributions to Political Action Committees (PAC) would rise from $2,000 to $10,00
  • Expenditures would be considered as a contribution

Originating Bill 2 would require the Notary Public Commission to acknowledge notaries beyond the borders of West Virginia.

Both bills were passed by the Committee, and will be reported to the full Senate to be voted upon.

RA



Thursday, February 21, 2019 - 03:59 PM

House Health and Human Resources Advances Three Senate Bills to the House Floor

The House Health and Human Resources Committee convened at 2 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 21, in the House Health Committee Room to consider four pieces of legislation. Three of these bills were Senate bills.

Senate Bill 518 would restrict the sale of dextromethorphan to people in the state of West Virginia over the age of 18. Dextromethorphan is commonly found in cough syrups and cold medicines. This bill would address concerns that come with teenagers using dextromethorphan to get high through the means of ingesting a large amount of cough syrup.

The House Committee on Health and Human Resources amended the bill to require the distributor of dextromethorphan to verify the age of people who wish to purchase drugs containing the ingredient through ID verification. Employees are expected to check ID’s of consumers, unless their appearance reasonably leads them to believe they are over the age of 25.

The committee amendment was adopted unanimously, and Senate Bill 518 was advanced to the House floor with the recommendation that it pass as amended.

Senate Bill 489 was also amended on this day. This bill relates directly to Pharmacy Benefit Managers in the state and the regulations that they must undergo through the Insurance Commission. This bill would provide for licensure of pharmacy benefit managers with the Insurance Commissioner, sets forth minimum reimbursement rates, and requires PBMs report data to PEIA. The licenses would last for two years, and the Insurance Commissioner would be responsible for promulgating licensure fees.

The amendment makes a change to the language of Senate Bill 489 to make the bill more permissive. The amendment would permit PEIA to terminate contracts, but does not require them to do so. The Insurance Commission would still be required to discipline Pharmacy Benefit Managers who do not properly report data. The amendment was unanimously adopted. Senate Bill 489 was advanced to the House floor as amended with the recommendation that it pass.

Senate Bill 545 was also amended technically by the House Health and Human Resources committee to ensure that the bill aligned with legislative rules. This bill would update language in code in regards to required HIV testing, and adjust the testing protocol so it includes more modernized testing methods.

Senate Bill 545 was also advanced as amended to the House floor with the recommendation that it pass.

House Bill 2953 was also considered on this day. This bill would permit critical access designated hospitals in the state to become community outpatient medical centers if they meet certain requirements and choose to do so. The legislation is permissive and would allow critical access hospitals to change their business models to best serve those in rural areas of the state by including outpatient beds and services.

House Bill 2953 was advanced to the House floor without amendment and with the recommendation that it do pass



Thursday, February 21, 2019 - 02:44 PM

Energy Committee Passes Well Plugging Bill

The Senate Committee on Energy, Industry and Mining met Thursday afternoon to discuss just one bill on the agenda that related to abandoned oil and gas wells.

Senate Bill 541 would require money that results from the forfeiture of an oil and gas operator’s bond as a result of the operator’s failure to plug a well or comply with state statutes to first be applied to correct or mitigate an immediate threat to the environment.

After a long discussion over the implementation and impact of the proposed legislation, it was unanimously passed by the Committee and reported to the full Senate to be voted upon.

RA



Thursday, February 21, 2019 - 12:36 PM

Senate Advances 24 Bills on First Reading

Numerous Senate and House Bills were featured on first reading during Thursday’s Senate floor session. 

The hefty agenda comes before the Senate as the legislature approaches cross over day on Feb. 27.   

Prior to first reading, six bills were passed by members of the body during third reading. Senate Bills 340, 344, 402, 510 and 635, in addition to House Bill 2324, will now be reported to the House for consideration.  

When reviewing Senate Bill 635, Sen. William Ihlenfeld, D-Ohio, moved to amended the legislation on third reading. Following the Senator’s explanation of the amendment, which would ultimately move to charge individuals who trespass on the state’s coal mines with a felony, the body adopted the amendment and the bill unanimously passed.  

If passed, the bill, which relates to coal mining activities, would be effective upon passage.  

Senate Bill 613, which would require the DNR to include the election of organ donation on hunting licenses, was the only bill to be featured on second reading and received no amendments. 

The body also recognized two resolutions prior to readings. Senate Resolution 55 recognized Mike Webb for more then 50 years of dedicated public service, while Senate Resolution 56 reaffirmed the sister-state relationship between West Virginia and Taiwan.  

The following committees will be meeting today: 

  • The Senate Energy Committee will meet at 1 p.m. in 208W.  
  • The Senate Committee for Health and Human Resources will meet at 2 p.m. in 451M.  
  • 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 Finance Committee will meet at 9 a.m. in 451M.  
  • The Senate Judiciary Committee will meet at 9 a.m. in 208W.  
  • The Senate Committee for Natural Resources will meet half hour following floor session tomorrow in 208W. 

Following recess, the Senate reconvened to read two bills for a first time.  

  • Senate Bill 541 which would establish priorities for expenditures for plugging abandoned gas or oil wells 
  • Senate Bill 543 relating generally to automobile warranties and inspections 

 

›› House bills introduced on this date


Thursday, February 21, 2019 - 11:14 AM

House Education Advances Bill to Change School Start Dates

The House Education committee convened at 9 a.m. on Thursday, Feb. 21 in 434-M to consider two pieces of legislation. One of these bills would change the effective start and end days for West Virginia K-12 public schools.

House Bill 2433 would mandate that schools in the state of West Virginia would start no earlier than Labor Day and end no later than Memorial Day. This bill would ensure uniformity with West Virginia start and end days, and guarantee the summer months off for students.

In order to make up snow days, the bill allows schools to either extend school day hours or offer a 5-day extension to the school year to compensate.

The Education committee overwhelmingly approved of the bill, but offered a number of amendments to House Bill 2433 to increase continuity and uniformity.

The Education Committee amended the bill to change the language regarding the bill’s effective date from 2020 to 2021.

Delegate Sean Hornbuckle, D-Cabell, moved to amend the bill as well. He suggested that the committee strike the words “Labor Day” and “Memorial Day” and replace the language with “September 1st” and “May 30th” respectively.

“Labor Day can be anywhere from September 1st to September 7th, given the year,” Hornbuckle said. “Same with Memorial Day. This change ensures that we give the schools a uniform date.”

The amendment passed unanimously. Delegate John Kelly, R-Wood, the lead sponsor of the bill, commended the change.

Hornbuckle also offered a second amendment up, one that was born from his conversations with parents and educators across Cabell County. The proposed amendment would change the school day requirement from 180 to 170 days.

“I did a little bit of research, and found that the top ten performing schools are in session for 165-180 days,” Hornbuckle said. “Meanwhile, the states that perform below us are in session for 180 days across the board. This shows that there’s no correlation between how many days our public schools are in session, and how well they do.”

While many delegates agreed with the amendment, many were concerned with the amendment’s ability to invite a veto to an otherwise foolproof bill.

Caleb Hanna, R-Webster, spoke in favor of the amendment.

“I think the people of West Virginia are going to love this,” Hanna said. “If the Governor vetoes this, he’ll have to answer to the people. This is a great amendment, quality shows much more than quantity.”

The amendment by Delegate Hornbuckle was adopted by the committee.

After a little debate centered around the paternalistic nature of the bill, the House Education committee advanced the bill to the House floor as amended with recommendation that it should pass.

The House Education committee also had a consideration of an originating bill to add a provision to current code. This provision would allow county Boards of Education to go into executive session. This originating bill was tabled by the committee.

The House Education committee will meet later again today to have a consideration of Senate Bill 1.



Thursday, February 21, 2019 - 09:54 AM

Transportation Committee Passes Inspection Sticker Bill

The Senate Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure met Thursday morning for continued discussion over Senate Bill 543.

The proposed legislation would no longer make it mandatory for an annual motor vehicle inspection, but rather every two years. The bill would also allow used motor vehicles to be sold “as is” under certain circumstances. The used motor vehicle must follow these guidelines which include:

  • Custom modified vehicle
  • Used motor vehicle is:
    • Seven years or older from the model date
    • Has over 100,000 miles
    • Must be sold at $2,500 or less

The bill also states that that an “as is” sale of a used motor vehicle waives implied warranties but does not waive any express warranties. The Committee unanimously approved the bill, and will be referred to the Committee on Finance.

The Committee also discussed Senate Bill 538 which would authorize the design-build program to be used for projects financed with bonds under authority of the Roads to Prosperity Amendment of 2017 with an obligation limitation of $350 million per project. The bill passed the Committee unanimously, and will be reported to the full Senate to be voted upon.

RA



Wednesday, February 20, 2019 - 07:55 PM

House Finance Advances Pay Raise Bill

The House Finance Committee advanced a bill that would provide an average 5 percent pay raise to State Police, teachers, and school service personnel.

The committee advanced House Bill 2730 in its Wednesday meeting. Later that day, the House took up the pay raise bill for immediate consideration and advanced the bill to second reading.

A public hearing is scheduled for Friday at 8 a.m. in the House Chamber regarding this bill.

The Finance Committee additionally took up and advanced two originating bills. One bill would create a Personal Income Tax Reduction Fund. The bill proposed an incremental reduction of personal income tax rates by 0.5 percent if certain conditions are met.

Another originating bill advanced out of committee would allow the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources to submit a waiver application to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to require certain able-bodied adults who receive Medicaid benefits to be employed or participate in a volunteer program for at least 20 hours a week.

Some delegates including Larry Rowe, D-Kanawha, voiced their concerns with the bill. Rowe’s biggest concern was that the bill would roll back Medicaid expansion. Rowe also was concerned about the effect the bill could have on local hospitals.

 “This would make ineligible the majority of 150,000 people that Medicaid was expanded to cover,” Rowe said.

Delegate Joe Ellington, R-Mercer, supported the bill. Ellington told the committee it could take up to 18 months for the waiver to come through.

“This program will try to get people back into doing something productive so we can take them out of Medicaid,” Ellington said. “Expansion is not guaranteed forever. It can fail. If it fails, we have people who are not able to take care of themselves. If people work already, they will not be penalized. They can continue their education or volunteer.”

The bill was advanced to the House floor in a 14-9 vote.

The committee rejected a bill that would have extended the maximum period of confinement a judge could impose for certain first-time probationary violations.

The committee substitute would have increased the maximum period of confinement a judge could impose for certain first-time probationary violations from 60 days to six months and would have provided judges greater sentencing discretion for certain subsequent probation violations.

House Bill 2109 was reported to the Finance Committee on third reading. However, committee members rejected a motion to report the bill to the floor.



Wednesday, February 20, 2019 - 07:18 PM

Judiciary Committee Rejects Bill Relating to Possession of Firearms

The Judiciary Committee took up House Bill 3069 which relates to the right of certain persons to limit possession of firearms on premises.

This bill attempts to place in Code language borrowed from Texas, relating to securing firearms in cars at chemical plants and refineries. This effectively bars firearms in automobiles which are parked within the secured perimeter of such facilities. The committee spent time asking questions to speakers and to counsel to understand the bill fully, but ultimately it was rejected.

House Bill 3133 relates to requiring a parolee or probationer found to have suffered with addiction to participate in a support service. The bill seeks to require persons on probation or parole to participate in a support service for a minimum of 60 days.  The bill will be reported to the House.

House Bill 2229 adds violations of law upon which a public servants retirement plan may be forfeited. The purpose of the bill is to redefine a public servants “less than honorable service” by identifying certain misdemeanor offenses related to a public servants office or committed while the public servant is employed that could cause the forfeiture of a participants retirement plan. The bill will reported to the House.

House Bill 2690 relates to guaranty associations. The bill seeks to update an article to maintain consistency with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners Life and Health Insurance Guaranty Association Model Act. The bill amends two provisions and will be reported to the House.

House Bill 2802 relates to Uniform Partition of Heirs Property Act. This bill seeks to prevent family wealth passed down through generations from being acquired by outside investors without first providing the family an opportunity to keep the land within their ownership and control. The committee asked multiple questions and after much discussion they finally passed the bill to be reported to the House.

House Bill 2718 requires purchasers of round wood to collect and maintain certain information. It provides that it is unlawful for any person or entity to purchase round wood without obtaining and recording certain information. This includes a photocopy of a valid license or timber license exemption issued by the Division of Forestry to the seller delivering the round wood, name and address of seller, and a complete description of the round wood purchased.

The bill was amended to take out “any person or entity” and replaced with “commercial purchaser.” The bill will be reported to the House.

House Bill 2864 increases salaries of magistrates, supreme court justices, circuit court judges and family court judges. The last pay raise for this group was in 2011. The committee substitute capped the salary of the Supreme Court Justices at $150,000.000 per year. The bill will be reported to the House.

House Bill 2497 relates to the whistle-blower law. The purpose of this bill is to extend or clarify protections under the states whistle-law. The bill places in Code language which provides additional protections to whistle-blowers and new protective language. The bill was reported to the House.

House Bill 2441 removes certain requirements related to wages for construction of public improvements. This bill removes the requirement that a public authority or employer file with the Division of Labor a certified payroll with respect to public improvements. The bill does require, though, that public authorities or employers file the physical address of employees. The bill was reported to the House.

TH

›› House bills introduced on this date


Wednesday, February 20, 2019 - 05:02 PM

House Education Committee Discusses Community College Bill

The House Education Committee met at 9 a.m. and then again at 2:30 p.m. today, Feb. 20, in 434-M. Two substantial education bills were on the agenda, both of which were discussed heavily. One of the bills was Senate Bill 1, a bill to increase access to the state’s community and technical schools.

Senate Bill 1 would create the Advanced Career Education (ACE) Program with the intention of fostering a connection between state high schools and community colleges, and it would also create the WV Invests Fund. The WV Invests Fund would fund the community college tuition of select WV students who qualify.

The House Education proposed a strike and insert amendment to the version of Senate Bill 1 at the beginning of the committee meeting that made several key changes to Senate Bill 1. These changes would include the requirement of the WV Chamber of Commerce to research and prepare a list of underserved industries in the state to ensure the proper programs are facilitated, and the addition of public baccalaureate institutions that offer associate programs.

The Chancellor of the Council for Community and Technical College Education, Sarah Tucker, was present to testify to the committee on behalf of Senate Bill 1.

“Students aren’t going to college because they’re scared of cost,” Tucker said. “These programs we put students through guarantee jobs. We start and stop programs based on workforce need.”

The delegates agreed that getting jobs for West Virginians in underserved industries was a necessity, but several were concerned with the implications the bill would have on four year schools.

After lengthy discussion, Senate Bill 1 was ultimately postponed. The House Education Committee will continue to consider the bill at their meeting tomorrow.

House Bill 3127 was also discussed at length on this day, and ultimately tabled for tomorrow as well.

House Bill 3127 would prohibit the denial of enrollment for home-schooled students to participate in secondary school extracurricular activities. Current statute allows home-schooled students to participate in curricular activities such as AP courses in high schools, but this bill would add the option for these students to participate in extracurricular activities as well.

The House Education Committee will continue their discussions of Senate Bill 1 and House Bill 3127 at 9 a.m. tomorrow, Feb. 21, in 434-M.



Wednesday, February 20, 2019 - 05:01 PM

Judiciary Committee Approves Haven’s Law

The Senate Committee on the Judiciary met Wednesday afternoon to discuss school bus safety bill.

Senate Bill 238 would increase the penalties for passing stopped school buses and provide for the installation of forward-facing cameras on new school buses to aid in enforcement of this section. The proposed legislation comes from an increase in drivers passing stopped school busses.

Fine increases for passing a stopped school bus would include:

  • First conviction would increase the minimum to $500 and the maximum to $1,000. 
  • Second conviction would increase the minimum to $1,000 and the maximum to $1,500
  • Third conviction would increase to a $2,000 fine

The Committee adopted an amendment by Senator Rucker to add a preamble to honor Haven McCarthy who was killed while getting off a stopped school bus in Lincoln County in 2007.

Senate Bill 511 is closely related to the Nonintoxicating Beer Act that was passed by the Committee on Tuesday; except this bill relates to wine. It would revise certain wine code sections to permit wine alternating wine proprietorships as permitted under federal law, and clarify wine sampling procedures for wineries and farm wineries up to two fluid ounces at certain fairs and festivals along with wine bottle sales for off-premises consumption only.

Senate Bill 547 would encourage landowners to make land available for recreational purposes by limiting land owner liability. The bill would protect landowners who offer their land for recreational activities from being liable for injuries of people on their property.

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

RA



Wednesday, February 20, 2019 - 04:04 PM

Legislation Rapidly Passes Senate Finance

Three Senate bills quickly passed through the Senate Finance Committee, 3 p.m. Tuesday 

Committee Chair, Sen. Craig Blair, R-Berkeley, addressed the committee to state that the previous agenda had been shortened but assured members the committee would proficiently address legislation throughout the remainder of this week.  

Following brief explanations from council, Senate Bills 539, 544 and 656 were unanimously voted to be reported to the full Senate with the recommendation that they each pass.  

  • Senate Bill 539 relates to accrued benefit of retirees in WV State Police Retirement System Plan B 

  • Senate Bill 544 intends to increase salaries for members of WV State Police over three-year period 

  • Senate Bill 656 relates to the electronic filing of tax returns 

None of the bills contained a second reference. 

›› House bills introduced on this date


Wednesday, February 20, 2019 - 04:02 PM

Originating Bills Sent to Senate

Four originating bills came before the Senate Economic Development Committee, Wednesday.  

Of the proposed legislation, two bills have been referred to the Senate following a double reference. The other two bills have been amended to into a study resolution.  

Brief review of Originating Bills 1 through 4 followed a lengthy floor session. The proposed legislation intends to: 

  • Originating Bill 1 would create the WV Motorsports Entertainment Complex Investment Act 

  • Originating Bill 2 would create the WV Motorsports Committee 

  • Originating Bill 3 would create the Local Unincorporated Municipality Board 

  • Originating Bill 4 relates to Retail Sales and Use Tax; Absorption of Tax by Retailer 

Senate Bill 602 would create a matching program for the Small Business Innovation and Research Program and the Small Business Technology Transfer Program 

Following consideration of the bill, members motioned to report the bill to the full Senate following a double reference to the committee on finance. 

›› House bills introduced on this date


Wednesday, February 20, 2019 - 02:43 PM

Governor Vetoes Senate Bill 272, Senate Moves to Amend Bill and Pass

The Senate convened Wednesday morning, and quickly addressed Governor Justice’s veto over Senate Bill 272.

The proposed legislation would update code relating to Commission on Special Investigations. In response to the veto, the Senate moved to amend the bill by striking everything before the enacting clause as to address the Governor’s concerns with the legislation. The Senate then passed the bill again, and will be reported to the House for further deliberation. 

The Senate also passed 11 bill that were on third reading. 

Senate Bill 360 would regulate third-party litigation financing. A litigation financing transaction is a non-recourse transaction in which financing by a third-party, who is unrelated to the case, is provided to a consumer in return for a consumer assigning to the litigation financier a contingent right to receive an amount of the potential proceeds of the consumer’s judgment, award, settlement, or verdict obtained with respect to the consumer’s legal claim.

Senate Bill 360 would add regulations to this type of business in West Virginia. The proposed regulations with this legislation would include:

  • All litigation financiers to register with the secretary of state.
  • Litigation financiers must:
    • Provide the consumer with a completed, written agreement.
    • Contract must contain a right of rescission within five days of receiving funds.
  • Prohibits litigation financiers from:
    • Paying, offering to pay, or accepting any commissions or referral fees to or from any attorney, law firm, medical provider, chiropractor, or physical therapist.
    • May not use false or misleading advertisements.
    • May not charge a consumer an annual fee of more than 18 percent of the original amount of money provided to the consumer

Senate Bill 512 would add regulation to pawnbrokers. Effective Jan. 1, 2021, the bill would require a pawnbroker to equip each of its locations with electronic monitoring and recording equipment. Video must be kept for 30 days. It also lists people from whom the pawnbroker may not purchase, accept in pawn, receive in trade or exchange for goods, such as minors or persons under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

The Senate also passed the following bills:

  • Senate Bill 310: Establishing certain requirements for dental insurance
  • Senate Bill 519: Requiring county emergency dispatchers complete course for telephonic cardiopulmonary resuscitation
  • Senate Bill 553: Relating to federal funds for land-grant institutions
  • Senate Bill 587: Relating to PEIA reimbursement of air ambulance providers
  • Senate Bill 601: Relating to mandatory supervision of adult inmates
  • Senate Bill 636: Authorizing legislative rules for Higher Education Policy Commission
  • House Bill 2607: Relating to the licensure of nursing homes
  • House Bill 2666: Supplemental appropriation to the Department of Veterans’ Assistance
  • House Bill 2668: Supplemental appropriation to the Department of Administration, Public Defender Services

The Senate is adjourned until tomorrow, Feb. 21 at 11 a.m. 

The following committees will meet today:

Economic Development at 1:30 p.m. in 208W

Pensions at 2 p.m. in 451M

Finance at 3 p.m. in 451M

Judiciary at 3 p.m. in 208W

Gov. Org. at 4 p.m. in 208W

Banking at 5 p.m. in 451M

The following committees will meet tomorrow:

Transportation at 9 a.m. in 451M

Health at 1 p.m. in 451M

Education at 2 p.m. in 451M

Agriculture at 2 p.m. in 208W

RA

 



Wednesday, February 20, 2019 - 01:10 PM

House of Delegates Passes Two Bills, Advances Bills on Second Reading

The House of Delegates passed two bills and advanced 20 bills on second reading during Wednesday’s floor session.

The bills passed were both passed unanimously and with little discussion.

House Bill 2486 would remove barriers to employment for people with criminal records who seek licensure or certification in an occupation.

In explaining the bill, Delegate John Shott, R-Mercer, said the bill could be used to help West Virginians seek employment, providing that their criminal conviction is not directly relevant to the job that they are seeking licensure for, and that the criminal conviction is not sexual or violent in nature.

The House also passed House Bill 2975. This bill would update current statute to include employees and contract employees of a day report center to those prohibited from engaging in sexual acts with prisoners, those persons under their supervision.

Currently, correctional officers and guards are prohibited from engaging in sexual acts with prisoners or subordinates. This bill would just add day report center employees to that list.

Bills that were advanced without amendment include Senate Bill 270, Senate Bill 356, Senate Bill 358, Senate Bill 357, Senate Bill 452, House Bill 2515, House Bill 2667, House Bill 2855, House Bill 2856, House Bill 2886, House Bill 2907, House Bill 2924, House Bill 2929, House Bill 2954, House Bill 2982, House Bill 3007, House Bill 3039, House Bill 3083, and House Bill 3093.

House Bill 2933 was amended. The bill went under some technical changes that cleaned up the language as it referred to sentencing for repeat offenders.

All bills on first reading were advanced.

The House of Delegates is in recess until 6 p.m. today. The House will reconvene to hear reports from standing committees and remarks from members.

 

Committees Meeting Today:

-The House Committee on the Judiciary will meet at 1:30 today in 418-M to continue consideration of their posted agenda.

-The House Committee on Government Organization will meet at 2:00 today in 215-E to continue consideration of their posted agenda.

-The House Finance Committee will meet at 2:00 today in 460-M to continue consideration of their posted agenda.

-The House Education Committee will meet at 2:30 today in 434-M to continue consideration of their posted agenda.

 

Committees Meeting Before Floor Session Tomorrow:

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

-The House Government Organization Committee will meet at 9 a.m. in 215-E.

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

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

-The House Committee on Health and Human Resources will meet at 2 p.m. in 215-E.

 

The House of Delegates reconvened at 6 p.m. for a brief floor session on Feb. 20 in the House chamber.

A vote was taken to dispense of the second reference to Judiciary for House Bill 2519, the campus carry bill. This vote passed.

The House of Delegates also read House Bill 2730, a bill to issue a 5% pay raise to certain state service personnel, such as police officers and teachers.

The House of Delegates is adjourned until 11 a.m. tomorrow, February 21st, in the House chamber.

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

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



Friday, February 15, 2019 - 01:40 PM

Senate to Receive SB451 Message Monday

The Senate is set receive a message concerning Senate Bill 451 during Monday’s floor session.  

President of the Senate, Sen. Mitch Carmichael, R-Jackson, announced the anticipated arrival of the message following Thursday’s passage from the House of Delegates. If passed, the legislation would result in comprehensive education reform to the state.  

Following announcement of the message, eight pieces of legislation were brought before the bodyOf the proposed bills, Senate Bill 60 sparked debate between members of the body. Sen. Eric TarrR-Putnam, opened discussion of the bill which would license the practice of athletic trainers 

Sen. Mike Romano, D-Harrison, expressed concerns over the legislation allowing for athletic trainers to assists in occupational injuries. The Senator said he feared athletic trainers may be ill equipped in addressing occupational injuries and asked why occupational therapists weren’t included in the bill 

Tarr addressed Romano and explained that the bill states that athletic trainers would be allowed to assist in all injuries as long as they consult with another health professional concerning the injuryHe also explained the difference between occupational therapists and athletic trainers to better illustrate how trainers would be better equipped in addressing work injuries.  

Lead sponsor of the bill, Sen. Richard Plymale, D-Wayne, rose in support of the legislation by stating that the bill was a “long time coming.” He also explained that many businesses currently hire athletic trainers to assists with injuries 

Following debate, the bill was unanimously passed by the body.  

Senate Bills 66, 393, 516, 518, 563, 590 and House Bill 2521 were also passed.  

Of the eight bills on second readingonly one received an amendment. Sen. Charles Trump, R-Morgan, rose to explain the amendment which strikes a section of House Bill 2481a bill which would permit the retail sale of alcoholic beverages on Sundays after 1 p.m. 

Additionally, Senate Bills 619 through 634 were introduced. 

  • Senate Bill 620 would require prescriptions to be made by electronic means and providing exceptions
  • Senate Bill 630 relating to the allocation of premiums for employers and employees in PEIA.
  • Senate Bill 632 would require video cameras in certain public education classrooms 

Also passed by the Senate were Senate Resolution 46, which designated Feb. 15, 2019 as Corrections Day, and Senate Resolution 47, which congratulated Spring Valley High School’s volleyball for winning the 2018 Class AAA State Volleyball Championship. A number of guests joined the body in celebrating passage of the two resolutions.  

The following committees will meet today:

  • The Senate Judiciary Committee will meet at 1:30 p.m. in 208W.  

 

 

›› House bills introduced on this date


Friday, February 15, 2019 - 12:54 PM

House Government Organization Considers Multiple Bills During Meeting

The House Committee on Government Organization convened for the first part of their meeting at 9 a.m. on Friday, February 15, in 215-E. The committee had a consideration of multiple bills during this meeting, and advanced four bills to the House floor for consideration.

The Government Organization Committee will continue to meet at 2 p.m. for consideration of House Bill 2886, House Bill 3093, and House Bill 2654.

Bills that were advanced during this committee include House Bill 2924, House Bill 2929, House Bill 2982, House Bill 3007, and House Bill 3016.

House Bill 2924 is a bill that would to permit the West Virginia Tourism Office to contract with the Division of Highways to sell advertising space on the WV511 website to promote in state tourism and raise capital for technological improvements to the website. 50 percent of the advertising dollars generated under this bill would be deposited in the Tourism Promotion Fund and 50 percent would be remitted to the Division of Highways.

This bill was passed unanimously by the committee and advanced to the House floor with the recommendation that it should pass.

House Bill 2929 was also advanced to the House floor. This bill would also pertain to a collaboration between the WV Tourism Office and the Division of Highways. House Bill 2929 would authorize an agreement between the two organizations in which staff would be provided at the WV Welcome Centers and rest areas, and displays promoting tourism would be created at these welcome centers and rest areas.

House Bill 2982 is a bill concerning auctioneers in the state of West Virginia. It provides updates for the licensure requirements, provides for exemptions to licensure, requires auctioneers to submit to background checks, and provides penalties for unlicensed auctioneers. This bill was also passed and advanced to the House floor.

House Bill 3007 was also advanced, a bill to authorize the Commissioner of Agriculture to require background checks within their hiring process.

House Bill 3016 would outline the code that pertains to the State Aeronautics Commission. This bill was advanced to the House Finance Committee for second reference.

The House Committee on Government Organization will reconvened at 2 p.m. to continue to have a consideration of House Bill 2886 and House Bill 3093, and House Bill 2654.

House Bill 3093 is a bill that would require the same building code standards to be applied to manufactured housing as are applied to other housing. This bill was unanimously advanced to the House floor with the recommendation that it pass.

House Bill 2654 was taken off the agenda on this day.

House Bill 2886, a bill to require counties with a population of 25,000 or more to have a DMV Office and counties with a population of less that 25,000 to have DMV kiosks. The bill was amended by Delegate John Hott, R-Grant, Delegate Tony Paynter, R-Wyoming, and Delegate Terri Sypolt, R-Preston, to remove language in the bill that would close three DMV offices throughout the state.

With amendment, House Bill 2886 was advanced to the House floor with the recommendation that it pass.

 



Friday, February 15, 2019 - 09:44 AM

Judiciary Committee Approves Regulations on Third-Party Litigation Financing

The Senate Committee on the Judiciary met yesterday afternoon to discuss and debate in great detail over litigation financing.

A litigation financing transaction is a non-recourse transaction in which financing by a third-party, who is unrelated to the case, is provided to a consumer in return for a consumer assigning to the litigation financier a contingent right to receive an amount of the potential proceeds of the consumer’s judgment, award, settlement, or verdict obtained with respect to the consumer’s legal claim.

Senate Bill 360 would add regulations to this type of business in West Virginia. The proposed regulations with this legislation would include:

  • All litigation financiers to register with the secretary of state.
  • Litigation financiers must:
    • Provide the consumer with a completed, written agreement.
    • Contract must contain a right of rescission within five days of receiving funds.
  •  Prohibits litigation financiers from:
    • Paying, offering to pay, or accepting any commissions or referral fees to or from any attorney, law firm, medical provider, chiropractor, or physical therapist.
    • May not use false or misleading advertisements.
    • May not charge a consumer an annual fee of more than 18 percent of the original amount of money provided to the consumer.

Committee members heard testimonies from insurance agencies, the West Virginia Association for Justice, and local attorneys who were all in favor of passage of the bill. Senators expressed most concerns over the 18 percent rate, and if that requirement was too low or too high. After hearing the testimonies, the members agreed that the original 19 percent was a fair rate for both the litigation financiers and the consumers.

The Committee also discussed Senate Bill 601 which would authorize the Division of Corrections to release inmates 180 days prior to his or her discharge date if they have not been released on parole.  Inmates may be placed on electronic monitoring during the period of supervision. This bill was proposed in result over overcrowded prisons throughout the state.

The Committee approved both bills unanimously, and will be reported to the full Senate to be voted upon.

RA



Thursday, February 14, 2019 - 05:25 PM

Senate Finance Receives Land-Grant Bill from Education

Legislation relating to federal funds for land-grant institutions came before the Senate Finance Committee following Tuesday’s review from the Education Committee.  

Senate Bill 553, which intends to donate funding to two of the state’s universities, was brought before finance committee members to be considered. The proposed legislation would donate $1.4 million to West Virginia State University to match funding supplied by federal land-grants. 

President of the university, Anthony Jenkins, came before the education committee on Tuesday to urge passage of the bill to ultimately spread the universities positivities impacts on the state.  

Following consideration, the bill was reported to the full Senate with the recommendation to pass.   

Members also reviewed supplemental appropriation to the Department of Veteran's AssistanceAccording to the Cabinet Secretary of the department, Dennis Davis, House Bill 2666 would address $5 million of unpaid bills accumulated by the VA.  

Davis explained that the department has implemented a corrective action plan intended to address the debt and prevent further loss of funding.  

Committee members motioned to report the bill, in addition to House Bill 2668 and Senate Bills 310519 and 587, to the full Senate as well. 

›› House bills introduced on this date


Thursday, February 14, 2019 - 05:22 PM

Legislation Passes Health Committee

Three pieces of legislation were reported to the full Senate by the Health and Human Resources Committee, 1 p.m. Thursday.  

Of the proposed bills, two were from the Senate and two were from the House of Delegates. 

Review of Senate Bill 86, a bill which would require county boards to provide free feminine hygiene products to female students, opened discussion between committee members. Council led members in reviewing a committee substitute of the proposed legislation which calls for county boards to supply feminine hygiene products to girls in grades 6 through 12. The introduced bill called for counties to provide free products to all girls in the selected grades range but was altered to only supply products to students with financial need 

According to council, the legislation was created following representatives in Monongalia county noticing that an inability to purchase feminine hygiene products directly effected the attendance of female students in grades 6 through 12.  

Sen. Patricia Rucker, R-Jefferson, expressed concern over the bill’s potential impact on county school boards following implementation. Currently, the bill has no fiscal note because it would require county school boards to cover the total cost of the program.  

Rucker stated that although she supported the bill, she didn’t like that it’s an unfunded mandate for a program which some schools may already have in place.  

Committee chair, Sen. Michael Maroney, R-Marshall, addressed Rucker and explained that although the bill has a unfunded mandate, the Senate Finance chair and multiple country boards were contacted during the drafting of the legislation and said they were okay with county school boards covering the costs.  

Members voted to agree to the committee substitute and report the bill to the full Senate with the recommendation that it shall pass.  

Senate Bill 300, relating to adoption records, also came before the committee and sparked debate. According to council, the proposed legislation would require multiple health records to be completed and uploaded online prior to the adoption of a child.  

Gary Thompson, director of the Health Statistics Center at the Department of Heath and Human Resources, came before members to discuss the objectives of the legislation, and stated that although the service would be voluntary, he expected that 2,000 cases would be reported online within the first year.  

Thompson also explained that two jobs would be added to the DHHR in order to keep up with the projected high volume of cases within the first few years.  

Following discussion, Sen. Eric Tarr, R-Putnam, moved to add a conceptional amendment which would require the DHHR to report the total volume of cases to the state every three years. The Senator attributed the amendment to a fear that too many positions would be present in the DHHR following passage of the bill.  

Overall, members moved to incorporate the amendment into a committee substitute which has been reported to the full Senate.  

House Bill 2607 was also reported while House Bill 2490 was laid over. 

›› House bills introduced on this date


Thursday, February 14, 2019 - 05:03 PM

Small Business, Entrepreneurship, and Economic Development Passes Bill for Low Income

The committee on small business, entrepreneurship, and economic development passed House Bill 2887 which establishes a West Virginia growth in low income communities tax credit.

This bill provides a $36 million insurance premium tax credit for investment into impoverished zones. Qualified areas include areas with a poverty rate over 20 percent or median family income below 80 percent of e metropolitan median family income. The bill will be reported to the House, but will be referred the Finance committee.

House Bill 2943 relates to deliveries by wine specialty shops. This bill allows wine specialty shops to deliver within their county (or within 50 miles of the shop’s location, if the delivery is out of county without a shippers license.) The bill requires conspicuous packaging and proof that the purchase was made by an individual 21 years of age or older. Finally, the purchase must be made at the shop and delivered by an employee of the shop.

The bill will be reported to the House, but will be referred to the Judiciary committee.

Senate Bill 106 alleviates double taxation on foreign income at state level. Under current law, a West Virginia resident is permitted a tax credit on their personal income in the amount of any income tax imposed by another state. However, taxes paid to a foreign country are not provided a similar tax credit. This bill provides one. The bill will be reported to the House, but will be referred to the Finance committee.

House Bill 2724 relates to Small Business Tax Credit. This bill provides a tax credit to small businesses headquartered in West Virginia with fewer than 25 employees. The amount of the tax credit is 50 percent the costs of branding, marketing and advertising of agricultural or manufactured products produced or manufactured in West Virginia. The credit is capped at $10,000.00 per year and is available for 5 years. The bill will be reported to the House, but will be referred to the Finance committee.

TH

›› House bills introduced on this date


Thursday, February 14, 2019 - 03:50 PM

House of Delegates Passes Renewed Version of Senate Bill 451

The House of Delegates convened at 11a.m on the 37th day of the regular session of the 84th West Virginia Legislature to consider a number of bills on third reading, including the highly debated Senate Bill 451, a bill to reform public education in West Virginia.

The House of Delegates passed the strike-and-insert amendment to Senate Bill 451, which includes several comprehensive provisions to amend public education policy within the state. The amendment would set uniform levy rates for county boards in the state, offer an open enrollment policy for student transfer eligibility, and cap the amount of charter schools allowed in the state at 2. The strike-and-insert amendment would also replenish funding for WV innovation zones by $5 million, include social workers and psychologists within public K-12 schools, eliminate educational savings accounts completely, and provide for one law enforcement officer per WV school. There would also be financial incentive for math and science teachers in the state, and a 5 percent pay raise for teachers.

Delegate Eric Householder, R-Berkley, provided the House of Delegates with a fiscal note of $202,570,438 for the gross cost of all of the provisions included within the accepted version of Senate Bill 451.

Discussion ensued over whether or not the updated version of Senate Bill 451 was worth passing.

Delegate Shawn Fluharty, D-Ohio, argued that the input of teachers wasn’t valued enough in the creation of Senate Bill 451, and that the Senate would make significant changes to whatever the House passed.

“I’m not taking the bait here,” Fluharty said. “Senate is going to reject this if it goes through, we are going to go into conference committee, and we’re going to get stuck with a pile of garbage. I’ve seen it before.”

Other delegates were concerned about the constitutionality of the bill as it pertains to the Single Object Rule in the state constitution. This rule provides that there should be one idea per piece of legislation to prevent political log-rolling.

Delegate Pat McGeehan, R-Hancock, was one of these delegates.

“The means don’t always justify the ends,” McGeehan said. “If you take your oath of office seriously and measure the morality of the situation, this isn’t right.”

While major concerns regarding the passage of Senate Bill 451 were vocalized, a lot of support for the bill was as well.

Delegate Matt Rohrbach, R- Cabell, was impressed with the House of Delegates’ ability to compromise and create a bipartisan bill after the 11 hour House floor session yesterday.

“We listened to our constituents, we listened to the stakeholders, and most importantly, we compromised.” Rohrbach said.

Delegate Isaac Sponaugle, D-Pendleton, spoke on the confidence that he had in voting “yes” on Senate Bill 451, even if the bill does to conference committee.

“I trust the Speaker to hold the House’s position in confidence,” Sponaugle said.

In the end, the House strike-and-insert amendment proposed to Senate Bill 451 prevailed in a 71-29 vote.

All other bills on third reading, with the exception of House Bill 2173 and House Bill 2992 which were tabled for one day, passed the House as well on this day.

House Bill 2338, a bill that would exempt antique military vehicles from using certain registration insignia that covers the original markings of the vehicle, was passed unanimously by the House.

Another House Bill that was passed unanimously was House Bill 2359, a bill that would exempt commercial motor vehicle operators employed with a farm related service industry from the commercial driver’s license requirements. West Virginia citizens employed in the fields of agrichemical business, harvesting, livestock feeding, and other applicable careers would be exempt from getting a commercial driver’s license for a limited time.

House Bill 2673 was passed after little debate. This bill would create the Oil and Gas Abandoned Well Plugging Fund, which would create a tax exemption from certain gas wells in the state and provide funds for the WV Environmental Protection Agency to plug more orphaned wells.

To bills regarding hunting in the state of West Virginia were passed on this day: House Bill 2709 is a bill that mandates that information given to the Department of Natural Resources for hunting licenses are not subject to discovery with a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. House Bill 2715 would create a specialized Class Q hunting permit for disabled persons.

House Bill 2739 was passed on this day. This bill was passed by both chambers in the previous year, but did not complete legislative action in time. This bill would make it a criminal offense for any participating public employer of any retirement system administered by the Consolidated Public Retirement Board to fail to make required contributions.

House Bill 2743 made technical updates to code regarding pension funds. This bill would delete a reference to municipal policemen’s pension or municipal firefighter’s pension as restrictions on pensions funds are contained in another section. This bill was passed unanimously by the House.

House Bill 2761 would modernize the self-storage lien law. The bill clarifies what rights owners have, what dates would be made effective after July 1, 2019, among other technical code changes. This bill unanimously passed through the House.

House Bill 2793 would expand the applicability of educational facilities that are eligible for consideration under the West Virginia Prepaid Tuition and Savings Program. Currently in code, only institutions of higher education are included. This bill would also include certain private K-12 state institutions to be included in the program.  

House Bill 2821 would make a financial adjustment within the institution of the national guard. This bill would clarify the recipient of command and clerical pay and to allow for an appropriate annual adjustment.

House Bill 2848 relates to the WV ABLE Act. This bill would raise the age requirement for eligibility from 21 to 26, thus matching the federal ABLE act. It also clarifies that family members and attorneys are permitted to manage a beneficiary’s ABLE account.

Bills on second reading that were advanced without amendment included House Bill 2538, House Bill 2579, House Bill 2618, and House Bill 2846.

Consideration of amendments for Senate Bill 377 was postponed for one day.

House Bill 2472 and House Bill 2716 both underwent technical amendments.

All bills on first reading were advanced.

The House is adjourned until 11 a.m. tomorrow, Friday, February 15.

 

Committees Meeting After Floor Session Today:

  • The House Committee on Seniors, Children, and Family Issues will convene 15 minutes after the House floor session in 215-E.

  • The House Committee on Health and Human Resources will meet at 3:15 p.m. in 215-E.

  • The House Committee on Energy will meet at 3:15 p.m. in 418-M.

  • The House Committee on Prevention and Treatment of Substance Abuse will meet at 4 p.m. in 215-E.

  • The House Committee on Political Subdivisions will meet at 4 p.m. in 432-M.

  • The House Committee on Veterans Affairs and Homeland Security will meet at 5:30 p.m. in 432-M. 

 

Committees Meeting Before Floor Session Tomorrow:

  • The House Committee on Education will meet at 9 a.m. tomorrow in 432-M.

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

  • The House Committee on Government Organization will meet at 9 a.m. tomorrow in 215-E.

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

 

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

Thursday, February 14, 2019 - 03:44 PM

Gov. Org. Committee Passes Reorganization of State Agencies Bill

The Senate Committee on Government Organization met Thursday afternoon to discuss thre bills on the agenda.

Most of the discussion revolved around Senate Bill 326 which would reorganize state agencies involved with emergency and disaster planning. The legislation includes many moving parts,one piece of which would create a state wide effort to demolish old and dilapidated buildings deemed unusable. There is an estimated 50,000 + buildings (commercial and private) that would be demolished if this bill becomes a statute. The Committee approved the bill unanimously, and made a motion to have the double committee reference to Finance waved.

Senate Bill 580 is closely related to the Municipal Home Rule Program and would allow counties to implement a one percent consumer sales tax in certain circumstances. Blair Couch, Commissioner of Wood County, provided testimony about the positive impacts of the 1 percent tax within his three municipalities. In Parkersburg, the annual revue jumped from $26 million to $34 million from the one percent tax. The Committee passed the bill, and referred it to the Committee on Finance.

House Bill 2324 would authorize the West Virginia Acupuncture Board to issue certification for performing auricular acudetox therapy, which would treat substance abuse, alcoholism, chemical dependency, detoxification, behavioral therapy or trauma recovery. The proposed legislation was approved by the Committee and will be reported to the full Senate.

RA



Thursday, February 14, 2019 - 01:17 PM

Senate Passes Pepper Spray Bill, Sends One Other Bill to House

The Senate convened Thursday morning to discuss two bills that were on third reading.

Senate Bill 339 would allow people 16 years of age or older to possess pepper spray on the Capitol Complex for self-defense purposes. The bill would also allow the Director of Protective Services to temporarily prohibit the possession of pepper spray during designated special events on campus.

Senate Bill 74 would exempt people who volunteer their time or services, without wages, for a ski area operator or for a ski area sponsored program from workers’ compensation coverage, notwithstanding that the people may receive noncash remunerations.

Senate bills 605 to 616 were also introduced.

The Senate also adopted three Resolutions.

Senate Resolution 43 designated Feb. 14, 2019 as Tiny Hearts Day. Senate Resolution 44 also designated Feb. 14, 2019 as West Virginia Arts Day at the Legislature.

The Senate also adopted Senate Resolution 45 which recognized the Cabell Midland High School Marching Knight Band for being reigning state marching band champions for the past seven years.

The Senate is adjourned until tomorrow, Feb. 14 at 11 a.m.

The following committees will meet today:

Health at 1 p.m. in 451M

Energy at 1 p.m. in 208W

Education at 2 p.m. in 451M

Gov. Org. at 2 p.m. in 208W

Finance at 3 p.m. in 451M

Judiciary at 3 p.m. in 208W

The following committee will meet tomorrow:

Transportation at 10 a.m. in 451M

RA

›› Senate bills introduced on this date


Wednesday, February 13, 2019 - 11:08 PM

House of Delegates Adopts Strike and Insert Amendment

 The House of Delegates adopted a strike and insert amendment that became the new education reform act bill. After nearly 12 hours of debate the House moved to adopt the strike and insert amendment as amended which became the official bill, Senate Bill 451. The bill has been moved to third reading and will be voted on the floor February 14.

House Committees Meeting:

 Small Business, Entrepenuership, and Economic Developement 9 a.m.

Banking and Insurance 10 a.m.

Rules 10:45 a.m.

Other committee meetings scheduled for the evening may be subject to change.

TH

›› House bills introduced on this date


Wednesday, February 13, 2019 - 10:02 PM

House Continues Consideration of Senate Bill 451 Amendments

As of 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, February 13, the House of Delegates continues their work on the second reading of Senate Bill 451.

The House of Delegates has considered and passed a number of secondary amendments to the strike-and-insert amendment to Senate Bill 451, which was passed out of the House Education Committee last week.

One of these amendments was an amendment proposed by Delegate Paul Espinosa, R-Jefferson; Tom Bibby, R-Berkley; Delegate Daryl Cowles, R- Morgan; and Delegate S. Marshall Wilson, R-Berkley, notated as HFA Espinosa et al 2-13 #2.

This amendment, which was overwhelmingly passed by the House, would allow school personnel to be suspended or dismissed if they are found by the Department of Health and Human Services to be abusive to students within public schools.

Delegate Mick Bates, D-Raleigh and a large number of Democratic delegates also drafted an amendment for consideration that would strike all of Senate Bill 451’s references to charter schools. HFA Bates et al 2-13 was tabled indefinitely until all other amendments addressing charter schools were considered.

Five amendments proposed by Delegate S. Marshall Wilson, R-Berkley, called for increasing the number of charter schools permitted in the state by significant amounts.

The strike-and-insert primary amendment passed out of the House Education Committee currently allows for 2 charter schools.

Wilson proposed multiple highly-contested amendments to increase the number of charter schools allowed to unlimited, one per county, 25 maximum charter schools allowed in the state, and 20 maximum charter schools allowed in the state.

Delegate Terry Waxman, R-Harrison, addressed the Delegates in voting for the Wilson secondary amendments.

“The allowance of charter schools in the state is permissive,” Waxman said. “It gives our parents the right to choose. This is for freedom. Think long and hard before pressing that red button, because you’re voting against freedom.”

All five of the proposed amendments to increase the number of charter schools permitted failed overwhelmingly.

Delegate Doug Skaff, D- Kanawha, defended the body’s opposition to charter schools.

“This body continues to speak loudly against charter schools,” Skaff said. “We have to put faith in our current system and fund it.”

Upon HFA Bates et al 2-13 being reconsidered after the consideration of other charter school amendments, the vote came incredibly close.

As a result of the roll call vote, charter school references remain in the bill indefinitely, in a close 49-45 vote.

The House of Delegates continues to have consideration of the proposed amendments to Senate Bill 451 as of 9:54 p.m., Wednesday, February 13. More updates to this bill are pending as the floor session continues.



Wednesday, February 13, 2019 - 06:07 PM

House of Delegates Has Consideration of Amendments to Senate Bill 451

The House of Delegates convened for an extended floor session at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 13. The House passed seven bills on third reading, and is continuing to meet in the House Chamber in order to consider amendments to Senate Bill 451, a bill for comprehensive education reform.

The second reading of the omnibus education bill was moved to the foot of the House agenda for the day. The House’s amendment to the bill, a strike-and-insert amendment that currently features drastic changes from the Senate Bill 451 passed out of the Senate, was passed out of the House Education Committee last week and is subject to 35 possible secondary amendments from the Delegates.

Bills on third reading that passed out of the House of Delegates on this day include

  • Senate Bill 18, a bill to allow individuals legally possessing a firearm to have those firearms stored in a motor vehicle on State Capitol Complex property and/or to be carried outdoors on State Capitol Complex.

  • Senate Bill 61 is a bill that would add the crimes of first and second degree murder, first degree robbery, treason and participation in an organized criminal enterprise to the list of crimes that a state court may wiretap for.

  • Senate Bill 323 is a bill that would provide a mechanism to establish a special revenue fund for capital improvements to Department of Agriculture's facilities.

  • House Bill 2609 is a bill that would prevent unnecessary reporting and administrative costs when an individual makes a report of accounts and other property held by a financial organization. This would apply to active members of a state financial organization.

  • House Bill 2647 is a bill that would establish a limited lines insurance license to allow owners of self-service storage facilities to obtain a license to sell or offer self-service storage insurance coverage to occupants.

  • House Bill 2720 is a bill that would authorize first responders on duty to carry a firearm.

  • House Bill 2878 would add several specific narcotics to the list of state Schedule I drugs in order to match with the federal schedule.

House Bill 2468 was tabled during this floor session.

Bills on second reading on this day except for Senate Bill 451 were adopted without amendment- House Bill 2715 and House Bill 2761.

The second reading of Senate Bill 451 was taken up immediately upon finishing the day’s scheduled business. Several amendments were proposed and were rejected by the House.

An amendment by Delegate Paul Espinosa, R-Jefferson, was the first amendment to the strike-and-insert version of Senate Bill 451 to be accepted. The amendment would include public Advanced Placement, Dual Credit, and Baccalaureate programs under the umbrella of listed programs that would receive a foundation allowance to improve upon themselves under Senate Bill 451.

An additional amendment proposed by Delegate Doug Skaff, D- Kanawha, Delegate Eric Nelson R-Kanawha, and Delegate Ed Evans, D-McDowell (notated as HFA- Skaff, Evans, et al 2-13) was also adopted to the strike-and-insert amendment. This amendment would increase the amount of bonus a West Virginia K-12 teacher would receive if they complete the school year without missing four days. Instead of receiving a $500 bonus, they would receive a $1,000 bonus.

After lengthy consideration of an amendment proposed by Delegate Daniel Linville, R-Cabell, that ultimately failed after being reconsidered, the House recessed for twenty minutes. They reconvened at 2:39 p.m. to continue considering amendments.

An amendment proposed by Delegate Isaac Sponaugle, D-Pendleton, to introduce law enforcement officers to public K-12 schools was highly debated within the House on this day. This amendment, inspired by Sponaugle’s conversation with middle and high schoolers, would proportionally introduce a number of police officers into a school for security purposes according to the size of the district.

“A lot of these kids are worried sick about being shot in our schools,” Sponaugle said. “We need to prioritize security in this state, that’s what this amendment does.”

A lot of contested and passionate debate continued in the House regarding the importance of prioritizing the safety of West Virginia students, and how economically feasible the amendment’s mechanism was.

Delegate Eric Householder, R-Berkley, rose in opposition. While Householder appreciated the merit that the amendment advocated for, he noted an astronomical fiscal note.

“When we use the formula in your amendment, getting these officers in the school could cost upwards of 125 million dollars. It stands to cost even more when we factor in how many officers each district would have to hire,” Householder said.

After extended discussion, Delegate S. Marshall Wilson, R- Berkley, made a motion to move to previous question. The motion carried.

Delegate Sponaugle asked the Speaker for permission to upload a revised version of his amendment, that would provide funding for one law enforcement officer per West Virginia school. He cited a fiscal note of 40.5 million dollars.

The amendment passed through the House overwhelmingly with the changes to the formula made.

Another secondary amendment made to the strike-and-insert was an amendment made be Delegate Erikka Storch, R-Ohio. This amendment would allow students studying to be a music teacher in the state of West Virginia to be eligible for the Underwood Smith Teacher Scholars Program. This amendment was also passed.

The House continues to convene indefinitely to consider amendments to Senate Bill 451.  

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

Wednesday, February 13, 2019 - 05:57 PM

Landfill Closure Bill Passes Finance Committee

A piece of legislation which would shift funding from the Landfill Closure Assistance Fund to local solid waste authorities passed out of the Senate Finance Committee, Wednesday.  

A committee substitute for Senate Bill 147 came before members after being laid over from a previous meeting. The revised version offered minor changes to the language of the bill and corrected code mistakes. Following review of the substitute, lengthy discussions over landfill closures sparked debate between Senators.  

Director of the Division of Land Restoration at the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection, Rob Rice, addressed committee members to explain how the fund aids in closing the state’s landfills. Rice stated that the fund can only be used in situations where a funding need is present, yet currently, the state has five sites which unable to be filled due to a lack of overall funding.  

Closures of these areas must follow multiple requirements, the main being a hypersensitive synthetic cap being placed on top of the landfill and monitored for the next 30 years. The director said that a portion of the landfill funding goes toward repairs of the caps and raised concerns over how the department would be able to complete various tasks if faced with a reduction of fees.  

The Landfill Closure Assistance Fund currently stands at $19.5 million and an additional $33 million would be required to close the remaining landfills. If passed, the proposed legislation would reduce the amount attributed to the fund to a total of $5 million annually 

Following discussion between the DEP and the committee, Sen. Robert Plymale, D-Wayne, cited the 30 year monitorship of the areas as a negative impact on funding and asked if a potential reduction of monitorship could possibly go towards strengthening funding.  

Rice explained under current DEP law, once a site is deemed stable it is returned to its original entity.  

“Our goal is to get all these landfills stable and then returned to their owners,” Rice said. “Our goal isn’t to sit on these things forever.” 

Following adoption of a conceptual amendment by Sen. Chandler Swope, R-Mercer, the committee motioned to agree to the committee substitute for Senate Bill 147 and report the bill to the full Senate.  

Members also reviewed an originating bill relating to property tax adjustments resulting from regular levies. Committee chair, Sen. Craig Blair, R-Berkeley, explained that the bill is being originated by the committee due to time management issues which prevented the legislation to be introduced at the beginning of the session. The bill was reported to the full Senate with the recommendation to pass.  

Senate Bill 29which would create a five-year tax credit for businesses on post-coal mine sites, and Senate Bill 333which would exempt automobiles 25 years or older from personal property taxes, were also reported to the full body. 

›› House bills introduced on this date


Wednesday, February 13, 2019 - 05:46 PM

Pensions Passed Originating Bill

An originating bill was passed out of the Senate Pensions Committee, 2 p.m. Wednesday.  

Senate Pending Originating Bill 1 relates to to prepayment of municipalities monthly required contributions. The proposed legislation would create a minor change by allowing municipalities to prepay monthly required contributions.  

Following the reading of the bill committee chair, Sen. Mike Azinger, R-Wood, motioned to add Sen. Bill Hamilton, R-Upshur, Sen. Robert Plymale, D-Wayne, and Sen. William Ihlenfeld, D-Ohio as co-sponsors of the legislation.  

The bill was unanimously reported to the the full Senate with the recommendation that it shall pass.  

Also reported to the full Senate was Senate Bill 539, relating to accrued benefits of retirees in WV State Police Retirement System, Plan B, and Senate Bill 11, relating to retirement and pension benefits of certain PERS and Teachers Retirement System members who serve in Legislature 

Despite being on the agenda, Senate Bill 418 wasn’t brought before the committee.  

›› House bills introduced on this date


Wednesday, February 13, 2019 - 04:51 PM

Judiciary Committee Increases Regulations on Pawnshops

The Senate Committee on the Judiciary held debates over Senate Bill 512, which would increase regulations on pawnshops, Wednesday afternoon.

The proposed legislation would require pawnshops to have video surveillance archived for minimum of 30 days. Many senators expressed concerns of this subsection of the bill. The original language had a minimum of 60 days, but Senator Boso proposed an amendment to drop the requirement to 30 days instead; which did pass.

After continued debate, the bill was passed by the Committee and will be reported to the full Senate to be voted upon.

RA



Wednesday, February 13, 2019 - 03:26 PM

Agriculture Committee Approves New Grant Program, First of its Kind

The Senate Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development discussed Senate Bill 383 Wednesday afternoon, which would create a new and innovative concept program for farmers throughout West Virginia.

The proposed bill would create the West Virginia Healthy Food Crop Block Grant Program. The program would provide an incentive of up to $10,000 per year to eligible West Virginia farmers who commit to growing fruits and vegetables that serve community health initiatives. The Program is meant for small independent farms throughout the state. If the legislation becomes law, this would be the first of its kind in the country.

The Committee approved the bill, which will be referred to the Senate Committee on Finance.

The Committee also discussed Senate Bill 344 which relates to the operation of state-owned farms. The bill would clarify language already in code that state-owned farms are managed by the commissioner of the Department of Agriculture.

The Committee approved the proposed bill, and will be reported to the full Senate to be voted upon.

RA



Wednesday, February 13, 2019 - 01:25 PM

Senate Passes Military Court Legislation
 

A bill which would establish a specialized military court was unanimously passed by the Senate during Wednesday’s floor session.  

Sen. Ryan Weld, R-Brooke, rose to discuss Senate Bill 40potentially legislation which would establish a Military Service Members Court program similar to a program which was disbanded in 2017. According to the Senator, the bill would right the wrongful closure of the previous program due to a false statement which described a lack of funding for the program 

The court would work similarly to the state’s court system while also providing specialized treatment programs to service members who have violated the law.  

Weld stated that court would greatly impact the state’s veterans, many of who suffer with post traumatic stress disorderNational average shows that 20 service members take their life every day due to the effects of PTSD 

Following passage of the bill, the body reviewed Senate Bills 47, 153, 285, 291296345, 405, 461, 481 and House Bill 2446; all pieces of legislation were passed. 

  • Senate Bill 153 would provide greater flexibility for making infrastructure project grants.
  • Senate Bill 296 would provide a 11-month window to permit members of PERS to purchase credited service 

The Senate took Senate Resolution 41, which recognizes the WV Kids Cancer Crusaders for their dedication and commitment to battling childhood cancer, under considerationSenator Glen Jefferies, D-Putnam, rose in support of the resolution and urged passage by the body.  

Prior to readings, three pieces of unfinished business were referred to committees following the introduction of Senate Bills 591 through 604

  • Senate Bill 597 would conform state law to federal law for registration of appraisal management companies
  • Senate Bill 600 relating to the preservation and disposal of biological evidence 

The following committees will meet today:

  • The Senate Committee for Agriculture Development will meet at 2 p.m. in 208W. 
  • The Senate Committee for Pensions 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 met at 3 p.m. in 208W.  

The following committees will meet tomorrow:

  • The Senate Committee Transportation and Infrastructure will meet at 9:30 a.m in 451M. 
  • The Senate Committee for Health and Human Resources will meet at 1 p.m. in 451M.
  • The Senate Education Committee will meet at 2 p.m. in 451M.  

›› House bills introduced on this date


Wednesday, February 13, 2019 - 09:56 AM

House Government Organization Committee Considers Bills Pertinent to EMS Day

 The House Committee on Government Organization had a consideration of five bills at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 13 in 215-E. All five of the bills considered on this day pertained to improving or revising West Virginia’s first responder services.

House Bill 2542 would expand access to emergency phone services by permitting the director of a county or municipality emergency telephone system to negotiate contracts for emergency mobile-phones in the county in the event landlines are unavailable.

This bill was passed unanimously and advanced to the House floor with recommendation that it pass.

Another bill that was advanced to the House floor was House Bill 2439. This bill would simplify the way WV volunteer fire departments document their use of state funds. Current statute requires these volunteer fire departments to report on their use of state appropriations by providing a report by a CPA, or by filing a sworn statement of expenditures which must be signed by the chief or director of the volunteer fire department. House Bill 2439 changes this by allowing these fire departments to undergo the simpler process of filing bank statements and check images instead of sworn statements of expenditures. The bill also provides a mechanism to issue out penalties to volunteer fire departments who misuse or misappropriate state funds, by allowing the state to withhold money in future instances.

House Bill 2411 was on the agenda for the House Government Organization committee as well, but this bill was tabled because most of its provisions were very similar to House Bill 2439.

The committee also had a consideration of House Bill 2958, a bill to allow the West Virginia State Auditor to conduct regular, 5-year audits of WV Volunteer fire departments to ensure the proper use of state money. This bill was also approved unanimously and advanced to the House floor with the recommendation that it pass.

House Bill 2830 was also advanced to the House floor on this day. This bill would establish Next Generation 911 services in the state of West Virginia. West Virginia is one of four states in the country that have yet to start establishing Next Generation 911 services, which allow users to communicate with emergency communication services through the use of text and/or multimedia message. The bill would provide for legislative findings, require a legislative report, and sets the parameters for which a commission would be established.

Delegate Michael Angelucci, D-Marion, expressed gratitude to House Government Organization Committee Chairman Gary Howell, R-Mineral, for putting bills pertinent to WV first responders on the agenda.

“Today is Emergency Medical Services Day at the Capitol,” Angelucci said. “Thank you for honoring our state’s first responders by putting these bills on the agenda and allowing us to consider them.”

Howell also expressed gratitude to WV’s first responders, saying that the thanks really goes to them.

“The honor goes to those who go out in the face of danger when we need it most,” Howell said.

The House Committee on Government Organization concluded their meeting by applauding these state workers, expressing gratitude for their hard work.



Tuesday, February 12, 2019 - 05:16 PM

House Health and Human Resources Committee Considers Originating Bill

The House Committee on Health and Human Resources convened at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 12 in 215-E to consider five bills, one of which being a bill that would permit the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services to increase salary schedules for state DHHR employees.

The bill, an originating bill in the Health and Human Resources Committee, would permit the Secretary of DHHR to increase salary schedules in needed fields, such as Child Protective Services workers, nurses, dieticians, and other underserved fields. They would be permitted to increase the classification schedule to align with the market rate to better compete with the private sector.

“Bureaucracy is still slow,” said DHHR Secretary Bill Crouch. “We need to move quicker on these classifications.”

Crouch stated to the committee that upwards of $18 million has been paid to staffing agencies in order to find qualified DHHR employees, and that passage of the bill would alleviate some of that pressure. The Department of Health and Human Resources currently has 310 employees.

There was some concern in the committee regarding the amount of power the bill would give to the Secretary of the department if passed.

Delegate Andrew Robinson, D- Kanawha, spoke against the originating bill.

“This would give the department a sweeping grab of authority, and too much power,” said Robinson.

Delegate Matthew Rohrbach, R- Cabell, and Jordan Hill, R-Cabell proposed an amendment that passed. The amendment made some technical clean-up to the language that clarified the bill would apply to the entire Department.

After a lengthy discussion, the originating bill was voted to be advanced to the House floor with the recommendation that it pass.

The committee also had a consideration of House Bill 2849, a bill that clarified the process in which pharmacy technicians are registered in the state of West Virginia.

The bill specifically defines 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.

House Bill 2849 was also advanced to the House floor with the recommendation that it pass.

Another bill that was advanced to the House floor was House Bill 2768, a bill that would make several clarifications to the Opioid Reduction Act that was passed by the WV Legislature last year.

The House Health and Human Resources also had a consideration of House Bill 2947. This bill would permit a physician practicing telemedicine to prescribe or order a Schedule II medication over a telemedicinal forum for immediate administration in the hospital.

This bill was approved by the committee, and now moves to the House Committee on the Judiciary for a second reference.

House Bill 2100, a bill that would establish a pilot program encourage WV schools to develop school-based mental health services in lieu of disciplinary, also passed through the committee on this day.

This bill uses existing mental and behavioral services in schools and encourages the utilization of these programs in a disciplinary fashion. House Bill 2100 would require the WV Department of Education to develop a pilot program to provide mental and behavioral health services as an alternative to suspending students for disruptive behaviors.

The bill passed through the committee unanimously, and was advanced to the House Education Committee for a second reference.



Tuesday, February 12, 2019 - 04:48 PM

Energy Committee Passes Bills Relating to Natural Gas and Wells

The Energy Committee met Tuesday to discuss two bills dealing with oil and gas leases and horizontal wells.

House Bill 2866 relates to the termination, expiration, or cancellation of oil or gas leases. The purpose of the bill is to require lessees to provide lessors with a recordable release for oil or natural gas leases, when the leases are expired, terminated, or cancelled under their terms.

The bill defines a procedure where lessors may attempt to document the invalidity of a lease in the public record, while also providing the operators an opportunity to dispute the invalidity before recordation.

There were several questions regarding to whom notice had to be provided and how the affidavit should be indexed in the county records. The committee amendment clarified that the lessor seeking the release should attempt notice on all of the lessees of record and any other lessees known to the lessor. The changes also require county clerks to record the affidavit under a larger group of names. The bill will be reported to the House after being referred to the Judiciary Committee.

House Bill 2834 updates and modernizes the minimum spacing provisions for the drilling of horizontal deep wells. In an effort to reduce the number of exceptions, this bill seeks to modify the powers and duties of the Oil and Gas Conservation Commission by imposing limitations under the commission’s duty to regulate horizontal deep wells. All other wells would be unaffected.

Under this bill, the commission may not impose spacing limitations of greater than 1,000 feet between horizontal deep wells operated by different operators or require a setback of more than 500 feet from a boundary that divides different operators.

Regarding spacing, a horizontal deep well is defined in the bill as only the estimated productive interval, being the perforated length of a horizontal section of the well bore in the target formation. The commission may not include the area of the well pad or vertical or angled portions of the well bore to calculate distances for horizontal deep wells, whether within or outside unit or lease boundaries.

This bill will also be reported to the House.

TH

›› House bills introduced on this date


Tuesday, February 12, 2019 - 04:21 PM

Finance Sends Four Bills to Senate

Four pieces of legislations were reported to the full Senate following review by the Senate Finance Committee, Tuesday.  

Of the proposed bills, all were sent to the full body with the recommendation that they each should pass. Senate Bill 117, relating to incentives for consolidating local governments, received two conceptional amendments offered by Sen. Robert Plymale, D-Wayne and Sen. Chandler Swope, R-Mercer.  

Following consideration of the other legislation, committee chair,  Sen. Craig Blair, R-Berkeley, motioned for 117 to be reintroduced to the committee for reconsideration. The legislation then received a committee substitute and was given a second report to the full Senate.  

Other bills reviewed by the committee were:

  • Senate Bill 259 intending to expanding the Coyote Control Program
  • Senate Bill 502 which would exempt sales of investment metal bullion and coins.
  • Senate Bill 550 which would declare certain claims to be moral obligations of the state.

 

›› House bills introduced on this date


Tuesday, February 12, 2019 - 04:19 PM

Education Reports Bill to Full Senate

The Senate Education Committee reported Senate Bill 553 to the full Senate, Tuesday, Feb, 12.  

The legislation, relating to federal fund for land-grant institutions, is also required to be reviewed by the Senate Finance Committee prior to coming before the Senate.  

President of West Virginia State University, Anthony Jenkins, came before members of the committee to outline the university’s funding and explain the impacts of land-grants on the institution.  

According to Jenkins, funding created through land-grants, federal government funding and state funding have enabled the university to help 20,000 residents within the state. Through passage of the bill, the state would donate $1.4 million to the university in order to match the funding supplied by land-grantsextending the university’s help throughout the entire state.  

Jenkins urged the committee to consider passage of the bill by stating that land-grant funding could potentially be jeopardized if the state doesn’t match the full amount accredited by the federal government 

“There have been many conversations concerning the seriousness of funding,” Jenkins said. “If the federal government doesn’t believe the state is being serious, funding could be taken away.” 

Following the committee’s agreement on the committee substitute, members motioned to report the bill. 

 

›› House bills introduced on this date


Tuesday, February 12, 2019 - 04:18 PM

Judiciary Committee Passes Bill to Sell Liquor on Sundays

The Senate Committee on the Judiciary met Tuesday afternoon for a brief meeting to discuss two bills on the agenda.

House Bill 2481 would allow the selling of liquor on Sundays from 1 p.m. to midnight unless on Christmas Day. The Committee approved a strike and insert amendment to also exclude Easter Sunday.

The Committee also discussed Senate Bill 295 which relates to crimes against public justice. The proposed bill would to include court security officers, the state fire marshal assistant, and deputy fire marshals in the definition of persons against whom obstructing an officer is a crime.

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

RA



Tuesday, February 12, 2019 - 04:16 PM

Committee Reviews Tobacco Legislation

Senate Bill 348relating to tobacco usage restrictions, came before the Senate Health and Human Resources Committee during Monday’s meeting.  

The proposed legislation, which would increase the buying age of tobacco products from 18 to 21, was highly advocated for by guests of the committee. Following explanation of the bill, three guests came before the committee in support of the bill which is intended to battle the state’s tobacco usage.  

Doctor Catherine Slemp, the interim state health office at the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, addressed the committee to explain her reasons for supporting the legislation. Slemp stated that each year 4,300 lives are lost in the state due to tobacco which ultimately accounts for a billion dollars in health costs being spent by the state.  

On average, 94 percent of the state’s smokers begin smoking before the age of 21; 75 percent begin at the age of 18.  

Following a question from Sen. Mike Azinger, R-Wood, Slemp explained that the bill was a result of the military seeking to improve the health based readiness of individuals who are attempting to enlist. According to the officer, many individuals who join the military at the age of 18 are already smoking or may begin to smoke following their arrival in the service. The long term goal of the military is to create a tobacco free environment.  

Lauren Rowley of the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association came before committee members concerning the committee substitute for Senate Bill 489, relating to the Pharmacy Audit Integrity ActRowley stated that following review of the revised language, the association appreciated the work of the committee substitute but disagreed with updates applied to the registration process.  

“We believe the registration that is currently in place is fine and shouldn’t be changed,” Rowley said. “We have not heard any of our clients complain about our current registration so I’m hoping you can remove this.” 

When reviewing Senate Bill 545, relating to HIV testing, Sen. Ron Stollings, D-Boone, raised concerns over the objective of the bill and asked if it was intended to make HIV testing more restrictive.  

Council responded to the Senator by explaining that the bill isn’t intended to be restrictive, but to revamp the process by creating more flexibility with testing. 

Senate Bill 546, relating to health care provider taxes, was briefly reviewed by the committee as well.  

Each of the four bills were reported to the full Senate with the recommendation that each pass. 

 

›› House bills introduced on this date


Tuesday, February 12, 2019 - 03:01 PM

Industry and Labor Committee Passes Bill Relating to Contractors Wages for Employees

The committee for Industry and Labor met today to discuss House Bill 2049, relating to a prime contractors responsibility for wages and benefits of employees.

The purpose of this bill is to repeal a section of the West Virginia Wage Payment and Collection Act requiring a prime contractor to be responsible for the wages and benefits of a subcontractors employees in certain instances. The committee amendment made by the Subcommittee amends the language to provide additional language regarding how an employee may seek wages and/or fringe benefits from a prime contractor in the event that a subcontractor does not pay those wages and benefits in a manner consistent with the Wage Payment and Collection Act.

The bill will be reported to the House after first being reviewed by the Judiciary committee.

TH

›› House bills introduced on this date


Tuesday, February 12, 2019 - 01:30 PM

Five Bills Passed by the House of Delegates

The House of Delegates convened at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 12 on the 35th day of the regular session of the 84th West Virginia Legislature. On this day, six bills were on third reading, five of which were passed.

Before the consideration of business, Delegate Cody Thompson, D-Randolph, made a motion to discharge House Bill 2733 from the table for immediate consideration. House Bill 2733 would add the terms “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” to the list of protected classes under the state Human Rights Act.

Delegate Thompson’s motion to remove House Bill 2733 was rejected, as was a following motion to discharge the bill from the House Committee on Industry and Labor. The bill remains tabled.

One of the bills on third reading was House Bill 2330. This bill would allow military veterans who have certain qualifications to qualify for examination for licensure in certain fields. If a service member obtains a MOS related to the fields of plumbing, HVAC operation, or fire safety installation, they can also opt to take the examination for state licensure without going through additional state training under passage of this bill. House Bill 2330 was passed unanimously.

House Bill 2405, a bill to impose a tiered tax on managed healthcare providers within the state. If passed, the tax would be applied at the beginning of fiscal year 2021. The intent of the bill is to maximize federal matching dollars for utilization in the state’s Medicaid program. House Bill 2405 passed as well.

House Bill 2468 was postponed for one day and will appear on tomorrow’s agenda for third reading.

House Bill 2674 would create a loan repayment program for mental health professionals who have worked in the state of West Virginia within an underserved area for at least five years.

Delegate Martin Atkinson, R-Roane, spoke in favor of the bill’s passage.

“This bill would give mental health providers a chance to live, work, and raise a family within our beautiful state,” Atkinson said. “This would increase needed mental health support for our students, teachers.”

House Bill 2674 was passed by the House of Delegates.

House Bill 2734 was also passed on this day, a bill that would expand the utilities that currently can apply to the WV Public Service Commission for special reduced rates for low income utility customers to include privately owned sewer utilities and combined water and sewer utilities. West Virginia individuals receiving TANF, Social Security, and other specific forms of government assistance would be eligible to apply for these reduced utility rates if this bill passes.

House Bill 2813 was an additional bill on third reading that was passed. This bill would facilitate the collection of West Virginia use taxes from out-of-state retailers that do not have a physical presence in the state but “have an economic nexus” within the state.

Bills on second reading that were passed without amendment include Senate Bill 18, Senate Bill 323, House Bill 2109, House Bill 2609, and House Bill 2647.

Senate Bill 61, a bill on second reading in the House, was amended by the House Judiciary Committee. They added a portion to the bill pertaining to the admissibility of evidence within state courts. The amendment passed unanimously.

Bills on first reading were also advanced on this day. Most notably, Senate Bill 451 was read for the first time on this day. It will be on second reading and go through the amendment process during tomorrow’s House Floor session.

The House of Delegates is adjourned until 11 a.m. tomorrow, Wednesday, February 13th.

 

Committees Meeting Today:

  • The House Committee on Political Subdivisions will meet at 1 p.m. in 215-E.

  • The House Committee on Energy will meet at 2 p.m. in 418-M.

  • The House Committee on Health and Human Resources will meet at 2 p.m. in 215-E.

  • The House Committee on Pensions and Retirement will meet at 4 p.m. in 460-M.

Committees Meeting Tomorrow Before Floor Session:

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

  • The House Committee on Government Organization will meet at 9 a.m. tomorrow in 215-E.

  • The House Rules Committee will meet at 10:45 behind the House Chamber.

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

Tuesday, February 12, 2019 - 01:11 PM

Senate Passes Anti-Hazing Bill, Reports Ten Other Bills to House

The Senate convened Tuesday morning to discuss 12 bills that were on third reading and up for a vote.

Senate Bill 440 relates to anti-hazing laws. This legislation is a direct result of events that happened at West Virginia University in 2018. Five fraternities disassociated themselves from the University, and were subsequently banned from rejoining the University again for the next ten years.

Under current law, the anti-hazing law only relates to greek chapters that are a part of a higher education. SB 440 would amend the current code to include any students who are enrolled in a school of higher education, and are a part of a greek chapter, can be prosecuted for hazing. Whether or not a chapter is associated with a school or not.

Senate Bill 491 would extend the statutory deadline for the implementation of automatic voter registration in conjunction with certain Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) transactions from July 1, 2019 to July 1, 2021. The DMV is in need of updating their system mainframe before they can implement the automatic voter registration. SB 491 would give the DMV more time to update their system mainframe.

The Senate also passed nine other bills including:

  • Senate Bill 13: Relating to distributions from State Excess Lottery Fund
  • Senate Bill 26:   Permitting certain employees of educational service cooperatives participate in state's teacher retirement systems
  • Senate Bill 442: Supplementing, amending, and decreasing appropriation to Insurance Commission
  • Senate Bill 443: Supplemental appropriation of federal moneys to DHHR divisions
  • Senate Bill 444: Supplemental appropriation to DHHR divisions
  • Senate Bill 452: Supplemental appropriation to Second Chance Driver's License Program
  • House Bill 2191: Relating generally to limited video lottery
  • House Bill 2459: Exercising authority to exempt individuals domiciled within the state from certain restrictions contained in federal law
  • House Bill 2492: Relating to mandatory reporting procedures of abuse and neglect of adults and children

Senate Bills 574 to 589 were also introduced.

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

The following committees will meet today:

Health at 1 p.m. in 451M

Education at 2 p.m. in 451M

Government Organization at 2 p.m. in 208W

Finance at 3 p.m. in 451M

Judiciary at 3 p.m. in 208W

The following committees will meet tomorrow:

Energy at 10 a.m. in 208W

Agriculture at 2 p.m. in 208W

RA

 

›› Senate bills introduced on this date


Monday, February 11, 2019 - 06:54 PM

House Committee on Tech and Infrastructure Discusses Road Woes

The House Committee on Technology and Infrastructure convened at 1 p.m. on Monday, February 11 in 215-E to consider several pieces of legislation. After a brief recess, they also convened at 5 p.m. to continue their discussion. House Bill 2011, a bill to establish the Road Maintenance Program in West Virginia counties, was the central topic of discussion within the committee meeting.

House Bill 2011 would create a program in the state known as the Road Maintenance Program that would allow for and encourage a program in every district of the state to contract out with private contractors in order to perform road maintenance within that district. The WV Division of Highways and Legislative Auditor would oversee the efficacy of this bill if it were to pass.

The Road Maintenance Program would aim to solve for the abundance of road work projects delegated to the WV Division of Highways each year, and allow them to contract out services for projects that they don’t have the manpower or resources for.

A discussion regarding the bill’s ability to take work away from the state persisted throughout the committee meetings.

Delegate Daniel Linville, R- Cabell, spoke in favor of the bill for what it would do in regards to holding the state accountable for doing productive work on the roads.

“At the heart of this bill, it would be more beneficial to West Virginia citizens to get more bang for their buck.” Linville said. “If we encourage you to contract this work out, it would ensure all appropriations are spent.”

If House Bill 2011 passes, the Road Maintenance Program would allow districts to contract vendors out to do road construction, snow removal, and other applicable work if the WV Division of Highways fails to complete 90% of their targeted projects during the prior year.

 Despite representatives from the Division of Highways arguing that the legislation is unnecessary because of the agency’s ability to currently contract out work, House Bill 2011 passed through the Technology and Infrastructure Committee unanimously.

Delegate Ed Evans, D-McDowell, spoke in favor of the bill, saying that something needs to be done about state roads.

“Those roads are awful. I lost a future son-in-law to the dangers of Route 52. Something has to be done, for the safety of our constituents.” Evans said.

House Bill 2011 was amended technically and was advanced to the House Government Organization Committee for a second reference.

Additionally, the committee had a consideration of House Bill 2472 and House Bill 2846, two bills that would allow for the creation of special registration plates in the state.

Both of these bills creating special registration plates were referred to the House Finance Committee for second reference.

House Concurrent Resolution 32 was also approved by the Committee unanimously. This resolution would request the Commissioner of the WV Division of Highways to increase the speed limit on the highways to 75 miles per hour, in areas where appropriate.

House Concurrent Resolution 32 was approved to be advanced to the House floor with the recommendation that it pass, but it first come to the House Committee on Rules for consideration.



Monday, February 11, 2019 - 05:38 PM

Judiciary Committee Passes Right to Farm Bill, Reports Three Other Bills to Senate

The Senate Judiciary Committee met Monday morning to discuss a right to farm bill; along with three other bills on the agenda.

Senate Bill 393 would protect the rights to farm. It would also protect agricultural operations from nuisance litigation if the facility has been in operation for more than one year.  It provides language that an agricultural operation which has been in operation for a period of more than one year shall not be considered a nuisance, either public or private, as a result of any changed condition in or about the locality where the agricultural operation is located.

The proposed legislation was unanimously passed by the Committee and will be reported to the Senate.

Senate Bill 516 would to require the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources to make payment of attorney fees as allowed by law directly to the attorney instead of to the adoptive parent, in order to end acts of fraud. The bill also requires the department to make timely payment.  

Senate Bill 518 would restrict the sale and trade of dextromethorphan, common in congestion medicine. The bill sets age limits. The bill defines a term. The bill establishes a penalty. People under the age of 18 could buy not buy dextromethorphan.

Senate Bill 563 would prohibit a victim in sexual offense prosecutions from being subjected to certain physical examinations.

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

Following the approval of SB 563, a committee member made a motion to suspend the rules of the Committee to immediately consider Senate Bill 391, which would add “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” to the categories covered by the Human Rights Act, prohibiting discrimination in employment and places of public accommodation, and report it to the Senate. The Committee voted 10-5 against the motion, but committee members from both sides agreed and suggested to the Chair the Committee takes under consideration SB 391 in the coming weeks.

RA



Monday, February 11, 2019 - 05:28 PM

Judiciary Committee Holds Public Hearing for Campus Carry Act Bill

The Judiciary Committee held a public hearing regarding House Bill 2519, the Campus Carry Act. To simplify the bill, would allow students on a college campus to have a concealed carry weapon.  Many advocates for and against the bill from the state and local universities showed up to voice their opinions on the bill.

Advocates for the bill discussed how in other states there has been 50 percent reductions in crime on campus since the law was enacted. Many spoke as well about the importance of safety on campus and how dangerous it can be for young women to be on campus without being able to protect themselves. Advocates for the bill spoke about the violation it would be to American citizens 2nd amendment rights, and how security on campuses cannot always be around when there is danger present.

“A girl attending Florida State University was raped at knife point not fifteen feet away from a blue light to call for help. I also have a granddaughter that was in college and she lived in a room alone and was often uneasy about being by herself. She had to walk to her car and back from classes alone and although Pepper spray is an option I do not believe it would have helped in a situation like that. That story about this young girl from Florida State is what made me realize how desperately we need this legislation and why campus’s need campus carry” said Sarah Akin.

Those opposed to the bill also brought strong counterpoints to the committees attention. West Virginia’s rate of suicide has gone up in recent years and young adults dealing with mental health issues and the experimentation phases of college risk taking their own lives with this law. The point was also made that funds would increase greatly by universities as well as hiring additional security and security measures installed on campus. Those opposed also brought up facts that young adults between the ages of 18-21 in college brains are not fully developed and drinking and partying could only lead to accidents or disaster.

“I believe campus carry could lead to more harm, especially among women and the LGBTQ+ community. Public colleges in Colorado were forced to allow campus carry and rape increased 36 percent. As a survivor of sexual assault on campus I am disgusted that previous and current students are being used to advance a political agenda. Its clear that an increase in guns on campus doesn’t lead to a reduced rates on women and the queer community” said Ash Bray.

The committee will look at the bill in depth.

During committee earlier today the committee passed House Bill 2486 this bill relates to using criminal records of criminal conviction to disqualify a person from receiving a license for a profession or occupation.

TH

›› House bills introduced on this date


Monday, February 11, 2019 - 05:22 PM

House of Delegates Passes Computer Science Instruction Bill

During the floor session of the House of Delegates today Senate Bill 267 was passed. Senate Bill 267 is a bill that requires State Board of Education adopt a policy detailing level of computer science instruction. The bill also requires the Department of Education to develop and offer professional development opportunities to ensure educators are equipped with the requisite knowledge and skill to deliver computer science instruction. The bill authorizes the Department to partner with high-quality computer science professional learning providers in developing and offering the professional development opportunities.

Additional Bills that passed third reading include:

·     House Bill 2365, clarifying the definition of an employee for the purposes of unemployment compensation and workers    compensation.

·     House Bill 2583, Family Planning Access Act

·     House Bill 2661, relating to natural gas utilities

·     House Bill 2809, relating to prohibited acts and penalties in the Hatfield-McCoy recreation area

All additional bills on second and first reading were advanced as well.

TH

›› House bills introduced on this date


Monday, February 11, 2019 - 04:10 PM

House Committee on Government Organization Has a Brief Consideration of Two Bills

 The House Committee on Government Organization convened at 2 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 11 in 215-E to consider two bills. The committee advanced both House Bill 2881 and House Bill 2716.

House Bill 2881 is very similar to a piece of legislation that re-registered and changed the color scheme for state registration plates. The purpose of this bill is to provide for a change of the color scheme for county and municipal vehicle registration plates. House Bill 2881 would require all municipalities to obtain a new title certificate, registration certificate, and registration plate for all vehicles prior to January 1, 2020 and will require renewal every two years.

House Bill 2881 was approved unanimously by the Committee, and was advanced to the House Committee on Finance for a second reference.

House Bill 2716 was also considered by the committee, a bill to update motorboat equipment requirements in the state of West Virginia.

The bill, which mirrors federal code regarding motorboats, establishes in code what lighting requirements and boat class regulations are pertinent in West Virginia waters.

The bill was passed unanimously, and was advanced to the House Floor with the recommendation that it pass.



Monday, February 11, 2019 - 01:15 PM

Senate Reviews 11 Bills on Third Reading

Nine Senate Bills and Two House Bills were featured on third reading, 11 a.m. Monday, Feb. 11.  

 Of the 11 bills, all passed following votes from the Senators. The proposed Senate legislation featured:

  • Senate Bill 14 which would create the WV Farm-to-School Grant Program
  • Senate Bill 19 relating to the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program
  • Senate Bill 317 which would authorize three or more adjacent counties form multicounty trail networking authority
  • Senate Bill 352 relating to the Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation acquiring and disposing of services, goods, and commodities
  • Senate Bill 408 which would determine indigency for public defender services
  • Senate Bill 496 which would transfer the authority to regulate milk from DHHR to Department of Agriculture
  • Senate Bill 499 which would amend WV tax laws to conform to changes in partnerships for federal income tax purposes.
  • Senate Bill 542 relating to registration fees for military-related special registration plates 
Members also passed Senate Joint Resolution 5which would create clarification of the Judiciary's Role in Impeachment Proceedings Amendment. Sen. Charles Trump, R-Morgan, explained that if adopted, the resolution would amend a single section of code and add new language which would apply additional terms concerning impeachment proceedings.  

Following review of Senate legislation, Sen. Tom Takubo, R-Kanawha, motioned to lay over House Bill 2191 prior to the passage of House Bill 2307 

Two resolutions were also passed during Monday’s floor session with Senate Resolution 36 recognizing Bethany College on the 179th anniversary of its charter, and Senate Resolution 37 congratulating John Cobb Jr. for being named the WV Outstanding Tree Farmer for 2019. Multiple Senators rose in support of the resolutions prior to their passage.  

Following third reading, 11 bills were featured on second reading; of the 11 pieces of legislation, Senate Bill 13relating to distributions from the State Excess Lottery Fund,  House Bill 2459which would exercise the authority to exempt individuals domiciled within the state from certain restrictions contained in federal lawand House Bill 2492, relating to mandatory reporting procedures of abuse and neglect, received one amendment each.  

Senate Bills 564 though 573 were also introduced. 

  • Senate Bill 566 relating to compensation for State Athletic Commission members
  • Senate Bill 570 which would allow for contracts without bids for construction, demolition, or rehabilitation resulting from declared state of emergency 

The following committees will meet today:

  • The Senate Committee for Natural Resources will meet at 1 p.m. 208W. 
  • The Senate Committee for Banking 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 Infastructure will meet at 10 a.m. in 451M.
  • The Senate Committee for Health and Human Resources will meet at 1 p.m. in 451M. 
  • The Senate Education Committee will meet at 2 p.m. in 451M. 
 

›› House bills introduced on this date


Friday, February 08, 2019 - 07:43 PM

House Education Advances Senate Education Bill

The House Education Committee advanced a Senate education bill after making several changes to the original version.

The committee continued its third day of discussion on Senate Bill 451, hearing from agency and school representatives and adopting several amendments before legislators adopted the proposed strike-and-insert amendment and advanced the bill in a 15-10 vote. The bill now heads before the House Finance Committee.

The Senate passed the bill earlier this week following days of debate and deliberation. The measure, as passed by the Senate, introduced public charter schools, Education Savings Accounts (ESAs), a $250 tax credit for teachers buying supplies, a 5 percent pay increase to teachers and service personnel, and a $500 bonus for teachers who miss fewer than 10 days during an academic year.

Charter schools would be open in any school district and would be opt-in. ESAs would be open for 2,500 students who attend public charter schools in the state.

Several aspects of the Senate’s version of the bill were changed in a proposed strike-and-insert amendment presented in the House Education Committee.  

The House Education Committee adopted an amendment that eliminated Education Savings Accounts, or ESAs, from the bill.  

The strike-and-insert also limited the amount of charter schools. Originally, the committee proposed a pilot program of two schools—an elementary school in Cabell County and an elementary school in Kanawha County. However, the committee later adopted an amendment that kept the limit of two charter schools but broadened it to be two statewide instead of from Kanawha and Cabell counties.

The strike-and-insert removed virtual charter schools from the bill, changed the implementation date of establishing charter schools to July 2020. The strike-and-insert also would add a severability clause and removed a provision that would require unions to get written permission from members before spending membership dues on political causes.

The committee considered several amendments Friday evening. Following its initial rejection, an amendment was brought back up for consideration regarding work stoppages. The amendment, which was adopted the second time, would remove a section where county boards would withhold pay during a work stoppage.

Another amendment the committee adopted would have a majority of employees in a school proposed for a charter school and the majority of parents or guardians of kids that would go to that school to approve converting to a charter school.

Another amendment the committee adopted required charter schools to guarantee enrollment to all students previously enrolled in a public school and to guarantee enrollment for all students residing in that school’s attendance area.

The committee additionally approved amendments dealing with seniority, establishing and funding at a minimum of $5 million for School Innovation Zones, and an amendment that stated no elected official could profit or receive monetary consideration from charter schools unless the elected official is employed at the school before its conversion.

The committee rejected several amendments including one that would void the entire bill, an amendment to double the tax credit from $250 to $500 for supplies, an amendment calling for an education adequacy cost study, and an amendment to increase the annual bonus from $500 to $2,000 for teachers who don’t use more than four personal days.

Two public hearings on Senate Bill 451 are scheduled for Monday in the House Chamber – one taking place at 8 a.m. and the other at 5:30 p.m.



Friday, February 08, 2019 - 03:37 PM

Judiciary Committee Passes Banking Services for Medical Cannabis Bill

The Judiciary Committee looked through assorted bills Friday, one of which related to providing banking services for medical cannabis act.

House Bill 2538 seeks to provide banking services for services provided under the West Virginia Medical Cannabis Act. Currently, there are no existing laws regarding banking services for medical cannabis. Many other states use some form of banking services, but all are protected from federal law in regards to this type of legislation. The bill will be reported to the House.

Other bills voted on by the committee include.

·         Senate Bill 377 relates to minimum wage and maximum hour standards. Currently, seasonal employees of recreational establishments are not exempt from overtime laws. West Virginia Code does however already contain numerous exceptions to the definition of “employee” for the purposes of minimum wage and maximum hours laws that are “seasonal” in nature including legislative per diem workers and seasonal employees of commercial whitewater outfitters.

This bill excludes any seasonal employee of an amusement park who works for the park for less than seven months in any calendar year from the definition of the term “employee” for the purposes of the Minimum Wage and Maximum Hours Standards Law. The bill also adds a definition for “amusement park.” The bill was reported to the House by the committee.

·         House Bill 2709 relates to hunting licenses. This bill exempts the names, addresses and other contact information of hunting license holders from disclosure under FOIA requests. The new subsection to the bill provides, however, that the records shall be available to all law-enforcement agencies and other governmental entities authorized to request or receive such records. This bill was reported to the House by the committee.

·         House Bill 2715 relates to Class Q special hinting permits for disabled persons. Under current state law a person who is permanently disabled in the lower extremities may obtain a Class Q permit statewide hinting permit to hunt all legal species of fame during the designated hunting seasons from a motor vehicle. Current law requires a licensed physician to certify the Class Q applicants’ permanent disability. This bill expands the conditions of permanent disability for which an individual can obtain a permit.

There was also an amendment the committee unanimously rejected that was left unchanged in the committee substitute until further research unhinged it. The amendment stated that along with physicians, licensed chiropractors could also sign off on disability forms. However, it was revealed that the state does not allow chiropractors to sign off on disability therefore the committee rejected the amendment. The bill was reported to the House.

·         House Bill 2579 relates to the collection of tax and the priority of distribution of an estate or property in receivership. West Virginia currently holds trustees, receivers, administrators, executors or persons charged with the administration of an estate personally liable for taxes accrued and unpaid under Article 10 of Chapter 11. The bill seeks to clarify conflicts within the code and create uniformity relating to the collection of taxes, the priority of distribution of an estate and to limit the liability of a fiduciary charged with distribution of the estate. The bill was passed by the committee and reported to the House.

TH

›› House bills introduced on this date


Friday, February 08, 2019 - 02:50 PM

House of Delegates Considers and Passes 13 Bills

 The House of Delegates convened at 11 a.m. on Friday, Feb 8 on the 31st day of the legislative session to consider legislation. On this day, 13 bills were on third reading in the House, all of which were passed.

Senate Bill 240 was considered with amendments pending. This bill would remove certain specific legislative rules that are considered either obsolete or no longer applicable.

Delegate Barbara Fleischauer, D-Monogalia, proposed an amendment which passed the House unanimously. The amendment removed the removal of two specific rules regarding the regulation of a hazardous chemical, and a mental health parity rule.

The House Judiciary Committee also offered a strike-and-insert amendment to Senate Bill 240, which added four rules that were also ruled upon to be obsolete. This amendment also passed unanimously.

As amended, the House of Delegates advanced Senate Bill 240 unanimously.

The House also had a consideration of Senate Bill 354. The bill would provide for a supplemental appropriation requested by the State Auditor’s Office. The supplemental would expire $1.5 million dollars from the Auditor’s Offices’ Securities Regulation fund and re appropriate them to the Auditor’s Office Chief Inspector’s Fund. The bill passed the House and was voted to be effective from its passage.

The House passed House Bill 2392, which would allow 1-day licenses to be issued by the Alcoholic Beverages Commission for charitable events. This would allow those who are hosting a charitable event to apply for a single day license to sell non-intoxicating alcohol, such as beer and wine.

House Bill 2528 was tabled, on account of a very similar Senate Bill passing the House yesterday.

House Bill 2545 passed through the House of Delegates on this day as well. This bill would exempt purple heart recipients and other military veterans receiving other specific distinguished awards from paying a state vehicle registration fee. West Virginia individuals who qualify for this exemption would be allowed to put it towards one noncommercial vehicle.

House Bill 2546 is a bill that would exclude the value of durable medical equipment or mobility enhancing equipment when determining the value of the vehicle when deciding on the tax on the certification of title of the vehicle. This bill also passed through the House.

House Bill 2554 would establish attendance zones in the state that would designate which schools a student would attend. The bill would also allow counties to voluntarily have “open enrollment” policies which would allow students to transfer into a school without preclearance from their original school, as current statute mandates. After discussion, this bill passed the House.

Another bill that was passed through the House was a bill that would require the review and approval of state property leases by requiring two signatures and the review and approval of leasing of state property to nongovernment entities. House Bill 2601 passed through the House with little discussion.

House Bill 2696 was also passed, a bill to would create a naming convention to records lands owned by the state in an index system for easy cross-reference to county indexes. This would create an index system for attorneys searching for title information that would be specific to each county.

House Bill 2737 was also passed, a bill to provide professional training to the State Tax Division employees.

The House also had a consideration of and passed House Bill 2740, a bill that specified the instances in which parent can get inheritance from a child and vice versa. This bill would specify that in the state of West Virginia, a parent cannot take their child’s inheritance if their parental rights have been or could have been taken away. It also provides that as long as there isn’t a present will, a child can reap inheritance from a parent who does not have parental rights. This bill would ensure that a child can still receive inheritance.

House Bill 2746 was considered with amendments pending. House Bill 2746 would provide a mechanism that would allow state counties to close outstanding and unclaimed estates. Delegate John Shott, R-Mercer, proposed an amendment to make a minor technical change to the bill, which passed.

Delegate Tom Fast, R- Fayette, also moved to amend the bill. His amendment would strike language from the legislation that would add liability to the executor and/or personal representative of the estate, and make them responsible for claims made against the estate.

Delegate John Shott, R-Mercer, spoke against the bill, saying that the language helps to hold personal representatives accountable to their obligations regarding the estate. He maintained that the structure of the bill is upheld whether or not the amendment is passed.

Delegate Larry Rowe, D- Kanawha, spoke in favor of Delegate Fast’s amendment. He argued in favor of passing the bill, but doing so without incurring liability.

The amendment proposed by Delegate Fast was passed, as was House Bill 2746 overall.

House Bill 2759 was also passed, a bill allowing ancillary administration of the estate of nonresident decedents.  The bill, if passed, would provide a personal representative to file an affidavit to evidence the probate of a will in another jurisdiction. This intent of the proposed legislation is to make the transfer of property easier in the state when a loved one passes.

House Bill 2815 is a bill that would raise the monetary value of goods that are taken in a larceny to $2500. It was passed as well.

Bills on second reading that were advanced without amendment include Senate Bill 257, House Bill 2365, House Bill 2468, House Bill 2583, and House Bill 2661.

House Bill 2809 was amended on second reading. Delegate John Shott, R-Mercer, moved to make a technical amendment that would clarify the penalty clause of the bill.

All bills on first reading were advanced.

The House is adjourned until 11a.m. on Monday, February 11th.

 

There will be three public hearings occurring on Monday, February 11th.

-The House Committee on Finance will host two public hearings on Senate Bill 451. One occurring at 8:00 a.m., and one occurring at 5:30 p.m. Both are in the House Chamber.

-The House Committee on the Judiciary will host a public hearing regarding House Bill 2519 at 2 p.m. in the House Chamber.

 

Committees Meeting Today:

  • The House Committee on Judiciary will continue their posted agenda at 1:30 p.m in 418-M.

  • The House Committee on Education will continue their posted agenda regarding Senate Bill 451 at 2:30 p.m. in 215-E.

     

    Committees Meeting Monday, February 11th:

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

  • The House Committee on Government Organization will meet at 10 a.m. in 215-E.

  • The House committee on Rules will meet at 10:45 a.m. behind the House Chamber.

 

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

Friday, February 08, 2019 - 12:45 PM

Senate Passes Missing Persons Bill

The Senate convened Friday morning to discuss ten bills that were on third reading.

The most notable bill was Senate Bill 237. This legislation would require law-enforcement agencies with jurisdiction to accept a missing person complaint, and specifies the minimum information that law-enforcement agencies must attempt to collect from a complainant. It would require law-enforcement agencies receiving a missing person complaint to ensure that a report of the complaint and relevant information is entered into the state-level West Virginia Automated Police Network and when applicable, several other national databases, including those maintained by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The bill also prohibits a law-enforcement agency from delaying a missing person investigation pursuant to a written or unwritten policy requiring that a certain time period pass from receipt of a complaint or the date on which the person was last seen before an investigation may commence.

Some senators spoke to the bill, and how it will greatly help future families who lose family members. The bill was passed unanimously, and will be reported to the House on Monday.

The Senate also passed Senate Bill 263 which would limit the amount of pay which a member of the legislature may receive following the regular session of the Legislature when a state budget has not been passed. It also clarifies that a member is entitled to receive no more than five days of compensation for any extended or extraordinary session if a budget has not been passed.

Other bills that passed the Senate included:

  • Senate Bill 16 - Authorizing expenditure of surplus funds by Wyoming County Commission
  • Senate Bill 30 - Eliminating tax on annuity considerations collected by life insurer
  • Senate Bill 90 - Transferring Safety and Treatment Program from DHHR to DMV
  • Senate Bill 323 - Establishing revenue fund and source to support Department of Agriculture's improvement to facilities
  • Senate Bill 343 - Relating to review and approval of state property leases
  • Senate Bill 346 - Changing rate which certain judges are paid for mileage when traveling within state
  • Senate Bill 256 - Requiring MAPS provide state and federal prosecutors information
  • Senate Bill 453 - Relating to background checks of certain financial institutions

Senate Bills 555 to 563 were also introduced.

The Senate is adjourned until Monday, Feb. 11 at 11 a.m.

RA

 

 

›› Senate bills introduced on this date


Friday, February 08, 2019 - 09:55 AM

House Government Organization Advances Four Bills to the House Floor

The House Committee on Government Organization convened at 9 a.m. on Friday, Feb 8, in 434-M. The committee considered four pieces of legislation, all of which were passed unanimously.

House Bill 2338 is a bill that would allow owners of antique military vehicles to display alternate registration insignia compatible with the original, antique markings of the vehicle, in lieu of a standard West Virginia license plate.

This bill was advanced to the House Floor unanimously with the recommendation that it pass.

The House Committee on Government Organization then had a consideration of House Bill 2359. This bill would exempt commercial motor vehicle operators employed with a farm related service industry from the commercial driver’s license requirements. West Virginia citizens employed in the fields of agrichemical business, harvesting, livestock feeding, and other applicable careers would be exempt from getting a commercial driver’s license for a limited time.

This bill was also advanced to the House Floor unanimously with the recommendation that it pass.

House Bill 2692 was also passed by the House Committee on Government Organization, a bill that would equalize the candidacy filing dates for third party candidates, independent candidates, and the two major parties for state offices.

The committee also heard an originating bill regarding the reportage requirements of government agencies. The bill would require state agencies to have governmental websites containing up-to-date contact information, members, and legislative involvement. Counties and municipalities would be required to ensure that the websites are up to date.

This originating bill was moved to the House Floor with little discussion, with the recommendation that it pass.



Thursday, February 07, 2019 - 10:08 PM

House Education Continues Education Bill Discussion

The House Education Committee questioned several witnesses over provisions in a Senate education bill and presented further proposed changes to the bill Thursday evening.  

The Senate passed the bill earlier this week following many days of debate and deliberation. The House Education Committee presented a proposed strike-and-insert amendment that made several changes to the version passed out of the Senate.

Some of the proposed changes included capping charter schools at six statewide, removing virtual charter schools from the bill, and changing the implementation date of establishing charter schools to July 2020. The strike-and-insert also proposed limiting Education Savings Accounts, or ESAs, to families of students with special needs.

The strike-and-insert also would add a severability clause, changed the section related to payment during work stoppages, and removed a provision that would require unions to get written permission from members before spending membership dues on political causes.

The committee presented changes to the strike-and-insert Thursday evening. Most of the changes were technical in nature. The biggest change involved the number of charter schools, decreasing from six to two statewide.  

The newest version proposes a pilot project for charter schools consisting of one elementary school in Cabell County and one elementary school in Kanawha County that are low performing and designated as a federal Title I eligible schools.

The committee also heard input from several people Thursday. 

In the evening portion of the meeting, legislators heard from Rachelle Engen from the Institute for Justice, a parent of a special needs student, a high school teacher, a political director of the American Federation of Teachers-West Virginia and the president of the West Virginia Education Association.  

Delegates questioned Engen on ESAs. Six states currently have ESA programs although Nevada’s program currently is not operating. Engen told the committee that Florida has the highest participation rate, representing about 3 percent of eligible students.

Many questions focused on fraud prevention. Engen described the monitoring conducted by the state Treasurer’s office on ESAs.

Delegates asked what the ESA funds would cover. Engen told the committee people could use ESA funds for courses at charter schools, community colleges or private schools and additionally use ESAs for therapy and other services. Public funds are put into the ESAs with 75 percent of state aid going into it. Parents do not contribute to the ESA.

Kristy Black, a parent of a 15-year-old daughter who has down syndrome, also spoke before the committee. She talked about the services her daughter receives. She expressed concern with ESAs, saying the approximate $3,200 from an ESA would not come close to paying for services she receives through the public school system and the additional tutoring and therapy services her daughter needs.

The committee also heard from Greg Phillips, a social studies teacher at Robert C. Byrd High School and the president of the Harrison County Education Association. Phillips told the committee he didn’t think the $250 tax credit would go far.

The committee additionally heard from Kris Mallory, political director for the American Federation of Teachers-West Virginia, and Dale Lee, president of the West Virginia Education Association, who answered questions including discussing the differences between innovation zones and charter schools.

Innovation Zones are designated by the West Virginia Board of Education that provides schools with support and flexibility to collaboratively implement innovation to enhance student learning, according to the West Virginia Department of Education. Innovation Zones means that schools have been awarded grants to address student learning or dropout prevention, according to the state Department of Education.

The committee is adjourned until 9 a.m. Friday. The committee will meet in the Government Organization Committee room.



Thursday, February 07, 2019 - 05:45 PM

Energy Committee Passes Bill Relating to the Uniform Partition of Heirs Property Act

The committee on Energy took up a bill that would establish the Uniform Partition of Heirs Property Act.

House Bill 2802 would preserve family wealth in the form of real property. Some families engage in sophisticated estate planning to ensure the passage of generational wealth but those with smaller estates are more likely to use a simple will or to die intestate. For lower-income families, most of an estate consists of real property.

If the landowner dies intestate, the real estate passes to the landowner’s heirs as tenants-in-common. In a tenancy-in-common, any co-tenant has the legal right file an action with a court to partition the property.

Tenants-in-common are vulnerable because any individual cotenant can force a partition. Real estate investors may acquire a small undivided share of heirs’ property and file a partition action and force a sale. Using a partition by sale, an outside investor can acquire an entire parcel, sometimes at a price below its fair market value. This may deplete a family’s inherited wealth.

This bill provides to the heirs a series of due process protections; notice, appraisal, right of first refusal, right to a private auction, and if the other co-tenants choose not to exercise their right to buy the property, a commercial sale supervised by a court to ensure all parties receive a fair price and their share of the proceeds.

The act only applies to heirs’ property where one or more co-tenants must have received his or her property interest from a relative and only when there is no written agreement governing partition among the owners. If a property is not an heir’s property, the current partition statute will apply.

The bill would preserve the right of a co-tenant to sell his or her interest in inherited real estate while ensuring that the other co-tenants will have the necessary due process to prevent a forced sale to an outside investor.

The bill was reported to the House and will be referred to the Judiciary Committee.

TH

›› House bills introduced on this date


Thursday, February 07, 2019 - 05:05 PM

Committee for Seniors, Children, and Family Issues Pass Bills Regarding In-Home Care

The Committee for Seniors, Children, and Family Issues advanced two bills Thursday related to in-home care.

House Bill 2825 would create a workgroup to review the hospice need standards in this state. The purpose of the bill is to establish a workgroup to review the hospice services and relevant standards in effect in this state.

The workgroup shall be led by the chair of the West Virginia Health Care Authority and shall include the Secretary of the Department of Health and Resources, or an appointed designee.

The bill also selects organizations, which shall choose the remaining members of the workgroup, and outlines their duties. These include determining whether the current hospice standards and deadlines need modifications which would be reviewed by the Legislative Oversight Committee. The bill was reported to the House.

House Bill 2625 would establish reimbursement rates for congregate and in-home meals. The purpose of this bill is to raise the reimbursement rate for congregate and in home meals provided by senior centers. The bill was reported to the House.

TH

›› House bills introduced on this date


Thursday, February 07, 2019 - 04:57 PM

Judiciary Committee Reports Two Bills to the Senate, Lays One Over

The Senate Committee on the Judiciary met Thursday afternoon to discuss three bills.

Senate Bill 487 is an originating bill that would clarify that meeting minimum staffing requirements in a health care facility includes the provision of adequate supervision. The bill would a statutory rebuttable presumption for health care facilities or health care providers that appropriate staffing and adequate supervision to prevent accidents were provided if the health care facility or health care provider has demonstrated compliance with the minimum staffing requirements under state law.

Plaintiffs would need to prove clear and convincing evidence, which would be a 75 percent standard needed, instead of 51 percent standard by preponderance. The Committee lied the bill over for further discussion at a later time.

Senate Bill 339 would allow certain persons to carry pepper spray on and in the State Capitol Complex. The bill would allow for people ages 16 and older to carry pepper spray for self-defense reasons.

Senate Bill 481 relates to the Judicial Vacancy Advisory Commission. The bill would provide that no more than two appointed members of the Commission may be residents of the same state senatorial district, and no more than four from the same congressional district.

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

RA



Thursday, February 07, 2019 - 04:47 PM

Senate Finance Reviews Six Bills

Six pieces of legislation were discussed by Senate Finance Committee members Thursday.  

Senate Bills 40, 47, 117, 291296 and 461 were brought before the committee to be  explained and voted upon. Of the six bills, five pieces of the legislation received the decision to be reported to the full Senate with the recommendation that they each pass.  

One bill in particular, Senate Bill 40, which would establish the Military Service Members Court program, raised concern among a number of Senators on the committee. Sen. Doug Facemire, D-Braxton, questioned why the program would be created and asked why military members couldn’t use the state’s existing court system.  

Lead sponsor of the bill, Sen. Ryan Weld, R-Brooke, came before the committee and explained that West Virginia previously had a veteran’s court program which was disbanded in 2017 due to a lack of funding. According to Weld, following investigation, it was found that the program did in fact have more than enough funding to stay in operation. The Senator stated that the main purpose of the bill was to reestablish the court and right the wrongs that occurred in 2017.  

Weld explained that if passed, the bill would reestablish the program which provides options for rehabilitation, in addition to incarceration, to military service members. The fiscal note for the bill lists a $323,000 start up budget with $1.6 million being spent annually following full implementation.  

Following discussion of SB40, committee chair, Sen. Craig Blair, R-Berkeley, motioned to removed Senate Bill 117, which relates to incentives for consolidating local governmentsfrom the agenda and lay the bill over for one day.  

›› House bills introduced on this date


Thursday, February 07, 2019 - 04:41 PM

Health Committee Reviews Athletic Training Bill

The Senate Committee for Health and Human Resources reviewed Senate Bill 60, 1 p.m. Thursday.  

The legislation, which would begin a licensing practice of athletic trainingspurred conversation between committee members and representatives from the state’s athletic training field.  

President of the West Virginia Athletic Trainers Association, Jenni Johnson, came before committee members to explain that the potential legislation would create title protections for athletic trainers in the state. Johnson cited that the state currently has no board for athletic trainers to report to.  

Following discussion of the bill, committee members motioned to report the bill to the full Senate following a second reference to the committee on government organization.  

Senate Bill 519, would require county emergency dispatchers to complete course for telephonic cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), and Senate Bill 518, would restrict the sale and trade of dextromethorphan to those under 18.  

Dextromethorphan, commonly referred to as DMX, is a cough medication that can cause fatal liver injury, cardiovascular effects and over-sedation. If passed, this bill would create a criminal misdemeanor and $100 fine for those who are found guilty of dispense the medication to an individual under 18.  

Both bills were voted to be reported to the full Senate with 518 receiving a second reference to judiciary and 519 receiving a second reference to finance.  

›› House bills introduced on this date


Thursday, February 07, 2019 - 04:39 PM

Banking and Insurance Committee Passes Bill Relating to Background Checks

The Banking and Insurance Committee took up House Bill 2621 which relates to background checks of certain financial institutions in its Thursday meeting. 

This bill amends and reenacts state code relating to background checks of certain financial institutions by the Division of Financial Institutions, formerly known as the Division of Banking. This section sets forth the duties and powers of the Commissioner, which includes in current law the mandatory duty to require a criminal background investigation.

The bill amends the current code to provide that the commissioner may determine alternate acceptable forms for background check information for direct or indirect principals of a licensee or applicant for a mortgage lender or broker license or a money transmission license who are not residents of the United States.

The bill does not apply to applications to charter or control a bank. It only applies to principals of a licensee or applicant for a mortgage lender or broker license or a money transmission license who are not residents of the United States. The bill was reported to the House and will be referred to the Judiciary Committee.

Two other bills also were taken up by the committee.

House Bill 2807 would create an additional modification to the West Virginia adjusted gross income of shareholders of S corporations engaged in banking.

The purpose of this bill is to provide a reducing modification to the West Virginia adjusted gross income of a shareholder of a Subchapter S corporation engaged in banking business in this state. The modifications are similar to modifications that presently exists in code for corporate next taxable income applicable to CD corporations, which includes banks organized as C corporations.

The provisions of the bill are applicable with respect to tax years beginning January 1, 2019. The bill was passed by the committee and will be reported to the House after being reviewed by the Judiciary Committee.

House Bill 2361 would establish certain requirements for dental insurance. The purpose of this bill is to prohibit insurers or health care service contractors from requiring dentists to provide a discount on any dental care service or materials not covered by the insurance or contract.

There was a committee amendment made to the bill which amends the section of heading, removes the definition of “contractual discount,” a term not found in the bill, to clarify that the prohibitions cover insurance policies and insurers as well as contracts by health care service contractors and makes technical corrections to the bill.

The bill is reported to the House after being reviewed by the Judiciary committee.

TH

›› House bills introduced on this date


Thursday, February 07, 2019 - 04:29 PM

House Health and Human Resources Advances Medicare Fraud Control Unit Bill

The House Committee on Health and Human Resources had a consideration of two pieces of legislation at 2 p.m. on Thursday, Feb 7 in 215-E. Both bills were advanced through the committee for a second reference to the House Judiciary Committee.

The first bill considered was House Bill 2801, a bill to require abortions performed in the state to be performed by a licensed physician. A strike-and-insert amendment to House Bill 2801 was proposed at the beginning of the committee meeting that was unanimously accepted. As amended, House Bill 2801 specifies that surgical abortion procedures must be performed by a licensed physician, thus preventing nurses from performing surgeries they’re not licensed to perform.

House Bill 2801 was approved by the committee with amendment, and with recommendation that it pass. The bill will go to the House Judiciary Committee for second reference.

The second bill on the agenda for consideration was House Bill 2867, a bill that would move the Medicare Fraud Control Unit from the jurisdiction of the WV Inspector General’s Office to the WV Attorney General’s Office.

Jolynn Marra, the Director of the Office of Health Facility and Licensure Certification (OHFLAC) and Interim Inspector General, attested to the success that the Medicare Fraud Control Unit has recently had in the state.

“We return $4.98 for every dollar spent in this program,” Marra said. “This unit does a fantastic job, especially with our new director. The numbers speak for themselves.”

WV Attorney General Patrick Morrissey was present to testify as to why House Bill 2867 should be passed, and why the Medicare Fraud Control Unit should be transferred to his office.

“The Attorney General’s Office is experienced,” Morrisey said. “We are a very visible fraud-fighting entity, and we’ve had a lot of success pursuing consumer fraud in the state.”

Morrisey elaborated that 43 other states have their Medicaid Fraud Control Units underneath the jurisdiction of Attorney General Offices, and that the addition of West Virginia’s program to the WV Attorney General Office would increase transparency, and strengthen national relations.

Several delegates spoke in favor of the transfer that House Bill 2867 should pass.

Delegate Amy Summers, R-Taylor, spoke in favor of the bill, arguing that it reduces transparency for the Medicaid Control Fraud Unit to be under jurisdiction of the Inspector General’s office, and office that reports to the Department of Health and Human Resources.

“I just feel it’s inappropriate that this office investigates a program administered by the agency they report to,” Summers said. “It feels a bit like a fox is in the hen house.”

Several other delegates had some concern regarding political motives, and the need for the transfer to occur in the first place.

Delegate Mike Pushkin, D-Kanawha, argued against House Bill 2867, saying that a politically affiliated office such as the Attorney General should not have power over how Medicaid fraud claims are handled.

Delegate Barbara Fleischauer, D-Monongalia, also was skeptical of the bill’s passage.

“I’ll be voting no because as the Director of OHFLAC stated, we are currently getting an excellent return on investment,” Fleischauer said. “The office is very successful right now. If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.”

Despite a lengthy discussion, the bill was advanced by the committee in a close 12-11 vote.

House Bill 2867 was advanced to the House Floor with the recommendation that it pass, but first receive consideration from the House Judiciary Committee.



Thursday, February 07, 2019 - 04:25 PM

House of Delegates Passes Bill to Create Family Drug Court Program

The House passed a bill Thursday that would permit the state Supreme Court to create a family drug court pilot program.

House Bill 2686 would permit family drug court programs that would only operate with abuse and neglect cases. This bill also establishes a state advisory committee, which would provide more local involvement in treatment courts.

Other bills that passed the House on third reading are:

·       Senate Bill 324, relating to Commissioner of Agriculture Employees

·       House Bill 2204, prohibiting state licensing boards from hiring lobbyists

·       House Bill 2479, relating to Corporate Governance Annual Disclosure Act

·       House Bill 2481, permitting the retail sale of alcoholic beverages on Sundays after 1 p.m. 

·       House Bill 2608, repealing the requirement of printing date a consumer deposit account was opened on paper checks

There was also a motion made on the floor to discharge House Bill 2733 from its committee. This is a bill that adds “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” to categories covered by the Human Rights Act. The motion was tabled.

All bills on second reading were advanced with the exception of one bill. House Bill 2365 had action postponed one day. This bill clarifies the definition of an employee for the purposes of unemployment compensation and worker’s compensation. 

All bills on first reading were also advanced.

Two public hearings will take place Monday, Feb. 11. A public hearing on Senate Bill 451, relating to comprehensive education reform, will take place at 8 a.m. in the House Chamber.

Another public hearing will take place later that day at 2 p.m. in the House Chamber on House Bill 2519, the Campus Self Defense Act.

TH

 

›› House bills introduced on this date


Thursday, February 07, 2019 - 03:03 PM

Blue Alert Plan to be Reported to the Senate

The Senate Committee on Government Organization met Thursday afternoon to discuss four bills on the agenda.

House Bill 2446 was the focal point of the meeting, as it would create the Blue Alert Plan. The Blue Alert Plan would aid in locating a law-enforcement officer who has disappeared in the line of duty or locating a suspect or suspects who kill or inflict a life-threatening injury upon a law-enforcement officer and remain at large. Alerts would go to media outlets who then would inform the public about the missing officer.

Senate Bill 345 would add the definition of grantee to include state spending units and local governments and to require grantees to report state grant spending information to grantors.

Senate Bill 285 relates to the selling of cottage foods. The bill would allow homemade foods, also known as cottage foods, to be sold at third party vendors. Foods must abide by current code and must contain labels of ingredients.

Senate Bill 405 would Increase the limit on additional expenses incurred in preparing notice list for redemption. The bill would increase it from $200 to $500.

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

RA



Thursday, February 07, 2019 - 12:42 PM

Visitors Fill Senate Chamber to Celebrate Resolutions
 

Multiple guests visited the Senate chamber to celebrate the passage of Senate Resolutions 33, 34 and 35, 11 a.m. Thursday.  

Resolution 33, which designated Feb. 7, 2019 as Veterans Visibility Day at the legislature, was unanimously passed by membersSen. Ryan Weld, R-Brooke, and Sen. Charles Clements, R-Wetzel, veterans of the military, rose to urge adoption of the resolution.  

The Senate also passed Senate Resolution 35which recognized Glenville State College and certain public school districts in West Virginia, and Senate Resolution 34, which designated Feb. 7, 2019 as Go Red for Women Day. Multiple Senators wore red in support for the resolution.  

Three bills were read for a third time with each of the bills being passed by the Senate. Sen. Charles Trump, R-Morgan, and Sen. Greg Boso, R-Nicholas, rose to give extensive explanations of the legislation.  

  • Senate Bill 127 relates to parole officers' duties to perform alcohol and drug testing of litigants 

  • Senate Bill 163 would authorize the DEP to promulgate legislative rulesThe bill will become effective upon passage.  

  • Senate Bill 392 relates to payment of invoices received by the Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation for contract work 

Ten bills were featured on second reading with only one piece of legislation, Senate Bill 343, which relates to review and approval of state property leases, receiving an amendment from Sen. Chandler SwopeR-Mercer 

Senate Bills 543 through 554 were introduced.  

  • Senate Bill 544 would increase salaries for members of the WV State Police over three-year period 

  • Senate Bill 550 would declare certain claims to be moral obligations of state 

The following committees will meet today: 

  • The Senate Health Committee will meet at 1 p.m. in 451M.  

  • The Senate Education Committee will meet at 2 p.m in 451M.  

  • The Senate Committee for Government Organization will meet at 2 p.m. in 208W.  

  • 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 committee will meet tomorrow: 

  • The Senate Judiciary Committee will meet at 9:30 a.m. in 208W. 

›› House bills introduced on this date


Thursday, February 07, 2019 - 10:32 AM

Supplemental Appropriations Pass Finance

A number of supplemental appropriations passed out of the Senate Finance Committee at a 9:30 a.m. meeting Monday.  

Following approval of minutes, committee members reviewed Senate Bills 442, 443, 444 and 445, and motioned to report all bills to the full Senate with the recommendation that they each pass.  

Senate Bill 442, which would supplement, amend and decrease appropriation to the Insurance Commissionwould grant the commission spending authority to move $10,000 out of their current expenses and implement it into personal services and employee benefits.  This authority would also allow the Insurance Commission to enhance implementation and planning for federal market reform and consumer protections 

Bill 443, a supplemental appropriation of federal money to the Department of Health and Human Resources divisionswould give the DHHR spending authority for three different line items in their federal revenue budget. Requests would include $1.4 million to fund the Division of Health’s community and mental health services$200,000 for the Energy Assistance Program and $13 million for the Childcare and Development Program.  

Supplemental appropriation to DHHR divisions, SB444would allow the DHHR to utilize funds from their special revenue budget and make two request— $872,000 for the Office of Laboratory Services and $885,000 for the Division of Health’s West Virginia Birth to Three fund.  

Senate Bill 445 would increase spending for the Second Chance Driver's License Program, an initiative which helps citizens attain their license following removal due to unpaid court costs. 

›› House bills introduced on this date


Wednesday, February 06, 2019 - 05:36 PM

House Education Committee Outlines Changes to Senate’s Education Bill

The House Education Committee went over a strike-and-insert amendment proposed to a Senate education bill.

The Senate passed the bill earlier this week following many days of debate and deliberation. The measure introduces public charter schools, Education Savings Accounts (ESAs), a $250 tax credit for teachers buying supplies, a 5 percent pay increase to teachers and service personnel, and a $500 bonus for teachers who miss less than 10 days during an academic year.

Charter schools would be open in any school district and are opt-in. Education Savings Accounts would be open for 2,500 students who attend public charter schools in the state.

The strike-and-insert proposed several changes to the version passed out of the Senate. Some of the proposed changes included limiting the amount of charter schools established to six, removed virtual charter schools from the bill, and changed the implementation date to July 1, 2020. The strike-and-insert also proposed limiting ESAs to families of students with special needs.

The proposed tax credit was expanded to include service personnel.

The strike-and-insert also added a severability clause.

The proposed new version also changed the section related to payment during work stoppages, withholding pay during the stoppage but paying after all days are made up.

The strike-and-insert includes the proposed pay raises.

The proposed new version also removed a provision that would require unions to get written permission from members before they could spend membership dues on political causes.

In the afternoon meeting, counsel outlined technical changes to the strike-and-insert. Some of the technical changes included changing the language to say that the $250 tax credit would apply to teachers and service personnel in public schools and for comparable positions in private schools. Counsel noted that not all positions in private schools would perfectly match up to those in public schools. 

 

After a few hours of questioning committee counsel, the committee adjourned until 9 a.m. Thursday.



Wednesday, February 06, 2019 - 05:30 PM

Judiciary Committee Passes Seven Bills

The House Judiciary Committee met Wednesday advancing several bills. 

One of the bills the committee advanced was House Bill 2609, which relates to presumptions of abandonment and indication of ownership in property. Currently, financial organizations are required to file an annual report with the State Treasurer concerning property that is presumed abandoned. Currently, this report must contain information about demand, savings or time deposits five years after the last indication by the owner of interest in the property.

This bill seeks to prevent unnecessary reporting and administrative costs associated with reporting of accounts held by a financial organization for active customers of the financial organization.

The committee advanced the bill to the House floor.

Senate Bill 18 relates to crimes committed on State Capitol Complex. This bill would remove the requirement that a person must have a valid concealed handgun license to lawfully keep a firearm in their vehicle on the Capitol grounds. The Senate committee substitute states that a person who may otherwise lawfully possess a firearm may keep a firearm in his or her vehicle if locked and out of view.

This bill was passed by the committee and reported to the House.

Senate Bill 61 adds certain crimes for which prosecutors may apply for wiretap. Under current law, a prosecutor may apply for a wiretap upon a showing of reasonable cause to believe the wiretap would provide evidence under six crimes. These are kidnapping, aiding the escape of a detainee, violations of the controlled substances act, human trafficking, treason and participation in an organized criminal enterprise. This bill also permits prosecutors to apply for wiretaps in extortion investigations.

There was one amendment made to the bill that removed the provision “attempted extortion” as a permissible crime for wiretap. The committee then passed the bill as amended and reported it to the House.

House Bill 2109 extends the maximum period of confinement a judge may impose for certain, first-time probationary violations. The purpose of this bill is to extend the maximum period of confinement a judge may impose for certain, first-time probationary violations form 60 days to six months. For subsequent violations, the judge receives greater sentencing discretion than provided currently. The bill passed the committee and was reported to the House.

House Bill 2720 authorizes certain investigators and first responders to carry firearms. This bill allows the West Virginia Attorney General’s investigators, reserve deputies, firefighters and ambulance personnel to carry firearms upon completion of a firearms training and certification program and they must maintain certification in a manner which is equivalent to that which is required of members of the State Police.

The agency of which the individual is a member may, if the so elect, authorize reimbursement of personnel for the cost of such training, but is not required to do so. It incorporates the training requirements for reserve deputies as adopted by Judiciary previously.

The bill passed the committee and will be reported to the House.

House Bill 2618 refers to including undue influence as a factor in the definition of financial exploitation of an elderly person or protected person. This bill amends both the civil and criminal actions for financial exploitation of an incapacitated person, elderly person or protected person to expand the definition of financial exploitation to include the use of undue influence resulting in financial or asset loss or disadvantage.

There were four amendments made to the bill that included language changes and the bill was then passed by the committee and reported to the House.

TH

›› House bills introduced on this date


Wednesday, February 06, 2019 - 05:12 PM

Judiciary Committee Cracks Down on Hazing, Addresses DMV Problems

The Senate Committee on the Judiciary met Wednesday afternoon, and discussed three bills on the agenda.

Senate Bill 440 relates to anti-hazing. The bill would modify the definition of “hazing” in the Anti-Hazing Law to address any type of organization whose members include students at any public or private institution of higher education. The bill was introduced because of the five fraternities at West Virginia University that disassociated themselves from the University in 2018. WVU responded by banning the five fraternities from the University for the next ten years.

Senate Bill 491 relates to a voter registration through the Division of Motor Vehicles. In 2016, a law required the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) update its systems to do automated voter registration. The effective date has been pushed back to July 1, 2019. The proposed bill would extend the deadline to July 1, 2020 so the DMV, Department of Transportation (DOT), and Secretary of State can update their systems entirely to comply with previous legislation.

House Bill 2459 would give the state of West Virginia the authority to opt out of a federal statue regarding the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP). Federal law states people who have been convicted for a drug possession cannot receive SNAP benefits. West Virginia is one of only three states that comply with the 1996 federal statute.

The Committee approved all three bills, and were reported to the full Senate to be voted upon.

RA  



Wednesday, February 06, 2019 - 04:50 PM

The House Committee on Government Organization Advances Bill to Regulate Annexing

The House Committee on Government Organization convened at 9 a.m. in 215-E and then 2 p.m. to continue the posted agenda in 434-M. The committee met to discuss three pieces of legislation, all of which passed through committee.

House Bill 2699 would add a restriction requiring that the land area annexed by municipal annexation by minor boundary adjustment shall include that 50 percent or more of the land area annexed is occupied residential.

The bill generated some discussion as to how restrictive it would be to county commissions in terms of annexing certain property, or if it would add too much bureaucracy to the existing process. After limited debate, the bill passed through the Committee and was advanced to the House Committee on the Judiciary.

Another bill, House Bill 2708, was also moved to the House Committee on the Judiciary. This bill would create the Local Government Labor and Consumer Marketing Regulatory Limitation Act. The bill prohibits political subdivisions from enacting any ordinance, regulation, local policy, local resolution or other legal requirements regulating certain areas of employer-employee relationship and the sale or marketing of consumer merchandise.

This bill seeks to restrict the prohibition of certain material such as plastic containers, bags, and other similar consumer merchandise. The bill also prohibits a political subdivision from increasing the minimum wage in a job, job applications, how employees organize, and how hours and scheduling are handled. All employer-employee relationships would be subject to state statute, and no law regarding these items passed by a political subdivision would be considered valid.

Delegate Tony Paynter, R-Wyoming, proposed an amendment to strike some of the language, therefore giving local municipalities more control at the local as to handling regulations.

The bill passed as amended and was advanced to the House Committee on the Judiciary.

House Bill 2330 was also passed and advanced to the House Floor, which would allow for the licensure of military personnel in certain technical fields. If a service member obtains a MOS related to the fields of plumbing, HVAC operation, or fire safety installation, they can also opt to take the examination for state licensure without going through additional state training.

 



Wednesday, February 06, 2019 - 04:03 PM

Pensions Committee Reviews Pensions Bill

Senate Bill 316 was highly discussed by the Senate Pensions Committee, 2 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 6.  

The proposed legislation would preserve previously approved state Municipal Policemen's or Firemen's pensions. Blair Taylor, executive director of the West Virginia Municipal Pensions Oversight Board, came before the committee to address concerns surrounding increased pensions plans for police officers and firefighters.  

According to Taylor, pensions may raise to 75 percent once a police officer or firefighter completes 30 years of service.  

The director also addressed questions pertaining to the calculations of pensions and explained that following the passage of House Bill 2601, the oversight board doesn’t calculate pensions. Passage of the House Bill prompted the local board in Morgantown to contact the Attorney General to ask if the legislation was retroactive. Ultimately, it was indicated that local boards needed to address and correct any pensions that were incorrectly paid.  

Following review of the bill, committee members voted to report 316 to the full Senate but first be referenced to the committee on finance.  

Of the other three pieces of legislation, Senate Bill 38which exempts DNR police officers' pension benefits from state income tax, was under reconsideration. Attention was drawn back to the bill following rising concerns regarding litigation. The bill was tabled following a motion moved Romano. 

Finally, Senate Bill  26, which would permit certain employees of educational service cooperatives participate in state's teacher retirement systems, received a committee substitute. Senate Bill 341, which would establish a minimum monthly retirement annuity for retirants with 20 or more years of service, received an amendment by Sen. Mike Azinger, R-Wood. Both bills were reported to the full Senate. 

›› House bills introduced on this date


Wednesday, February 06, 2019 - 01:56 PM

House of Delegates Passes Bill to Address WV's Orphaned Well Issue

The House of Delegates convened at 11 am on Wednesday, Feb 6 in the House Chamber to consider legislation. The House passed four bills that were on third reading this day, one of which was a bill to address the state’s overabundance of abandoned gas and oil wells.

House Bill 2779 is a bill that would transfer unclaimed funds produced from abandoned oil and gas wells to the WV Oil and Gas Reclamation Fund. If an oil/gas well remains unclaimed for seven years, the proceeds from that well will go to the state fund, which works to plug orphaned and nonfunctioning oil and gas wells throughout the state.

The bill aims to solve the issue of the surplus of abandoned wells in the state by providing more funds for the state to plug them. The bill passed unanimously through the House, and was advanced to the Senate for further consideration.

Other bills that were passed today included House Bill 2363, which would authorize the length that the Upper Kanawha Valley Resiliency and Revitilization Program to be extended to the end of October 2024 instead of 2020. The program is required to report its findings and accomplishments to the Legislature every October until then. This program is an effort to revitalize the upper areas of the Kanawha Valley, an area that has been economically struggling since the closure of a community college within the region.

House Bill 2490 is a bill that would allow public pools in the state to make small renovations and improvements without consulting the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Resources. The bill would also prevent the Secretary from proposing or enforcing any rules which prevent recreational water facilities from making necessary upgrades, renovations, or repairs. These renovations could not exceed $25,000. This bill also passed through the House unanimously.

House Bill 2691 also passed easily through the House and was advanced to the Senate for further consideration.

This bill would change the expiration dates for newly issued concealed carry permits in the state of WV. Instead of the expiration of these permits occurring five years to the date of application, this bill would mandate that the expiration occurs on the applicant’s birthday after the permit has been active for five years. This would ensure simplicity as to when the licenses expire, and aligns the expiry of concealed carry licenses with state drivers’ licenses expiration dates.

These four bills passed through the House, and several bills moved through their second readings without amendments. These bills included Senate Bill 324, House Bill 2204, House Bill 2479, House Bill 2481, House Bill 2608, and House Bill 2606.

Senate Bill 240, another bill that was on second reading, was postponed until the next House Floor Session.

The House adjourned until 11 a.m. tomorrow, Thursday, February 7.

 

House Committees Meeting Today After Floor Session:

The House Committee on Veterans Affairs and Homeland Security will meet at 1 p.m. in 434-M.

The House Committee on Government Organization will continue their posted agenda at 2 p.m. in 434-M.

The House Committee on the Judiciary will continue their posted agenda at 2 p.m. in 410-M.

The House Committee on Education will meet at 3 p.m. in 215-E.

 

House Committees Meeting Tomorrow Before Floor Session:

The House Committee on Education will meet at 9 a.m. in 215-E.

The House Committee on Small Business, Entrepreneurship, and Economic Development will meet at 9 a.m. in 434-M.

The House Committee on Banking and Insurance will meet 10 a.m. in 434-M.

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

Wednesday, February 06, 2019 - 01:07 PM

Senate Sends Seven Bills to the House of Delegates

The Senate held regular floor session on Wednesday to discuss seven bills.

Senate Bill 154 would require county boards of education to allow school facilities in the county to be used for the funeral or memorial service of a community member of distinction who was a military service member, veteran who served under honorable conditions, or who served as a first responder.

Senate Bill 157 is a part of Rules Bundle 2 which includes three rules. The bill would allow a vendor contracts to be cancelled if it was awarded in error.

Senate Bill 175 is a part of Rules Bundle 5 and includes nine rules. The bill would set out the process for exchange of data from various entities with the Office of Drug Control Policy. The information would be uploaded to a database on fatal and non-fatal overdoses.

Senate Bill 267 would require the State Board adopt a policy detailing the appropriate level of computer science instruction to be available to students at each level.

Senate Bill 387 would authorize the Governor seek return of fugitives found in other states or District of Columbia.

Senate Bill 392 would allow the Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation to pay contract claims that are not otherwise provided for.

House Bill 2462 would allow correctional employees to carry firearms if they:

  • Successfully completes approved training program for firearms certification equivalent to Deputy Sheriffs
  • Completes annual firearms course equivalent to certified law enforcement

Senate Bills 533 to 541 were also introduced.

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

The following committees will meet today:

Economic Development at 1 p.m. in 208W

Pensions at 2 p.m. in 451M

Agriculture at 2 p.m. in 208W

Finance at 3 p.m. in 451M

Judiciary at 3 p.m. in 208W

The following committees will meet tomorrow:

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

Natural Resources at 10 a.m. in 208W

Health at 1 p.m. in 451M

Education at 2 p.m. in 451M

RA

›› Senate bills introduced on this date


Tuesday, February 05, 2019 - 04:56 PM

Judiciary Committee Approves Proposed Constitutional Amendment

The Senate Committee on the Judiciary met Tuesday afternoon to discuss one joint resolution and two bills on the agenda.

For two days, committee members had long discussions over Senate Joint Resolution 5.

Senate Joint Resolution 5 would amend Article IV of the West Virginia State Constitution. It would clarify that courts have no authority or jurisdiction to interfere with impeachment proceedings of the House of Delegates or the Senate, and that a judgment rendered by the Senate following an impeachment trial is not reviewable in any court in the state. The Committee approved the Resolution, and it was referred to the Committee on Finance.

Senate Bill 317 would authorize three or more contiguous counties to form a multi-county trail network authority. The legislation would allow multi-county trail network authorities to incorporate private land into authority-managed trail systems. Each authority would be governed by a board, and would include and executive director. The director would be required to submit an annual budget.

Senate Bill 408 would clarify who has the authority to make determinations of indigency for the purpose of eligibility for public defender services. Administrators or Public Defender employees would make the determination.

Both bills were reported to the Senate to be voted upon.

RA



Tuesday, February 05, 2019 - 04:32 PM

House Health and Human Resources Committee Discusses Controlled Substances

The House Committee on Health and Human Resources had a consideration of two pieces of legislation, one of which being an originating bill to update the list of Schedule I drugs in the state of West Virginia.

The originating bill aims to add a number of designer drugs to the state list of Schedule I drugs. Schedule I is a category of drugs designated by the DEA for having no medicinal properties and for having a severe risk for abuse.

The bill in its original form generated little contention, but a series of amendments proposed by Delegate Mike Pushkin, D-Kanawha, and Delegate Mick Bates, D-Raleigh, generated a lengthy discussion.

Delegate Pushkin moved to amend the bill, arguing to move the “cannabis” and “marihuana” referred to in the legislation from Schedule I to Schedule IV.

The amendment was ultimately overruled by the chairman, Delegate Joe Ellington, R- Mercer. The argument was that the amendment was not germane to the proposed legislation, as the originating bill only seeks to amend the Schedule I list and there was no mechanism to move any of the items to Schedule

Delegate Pushkin addressed this by introducing another amendment to completely remove marijuana from the list of Schedule I drugs, arguing that if he “couldn’t reschedule it, he would de-schedule it.”

“In the 1970’s, a mistake was made by adding this drug onto the list of Schedule I drugs,” Pushkin said. “This body voted last year that this drug has medicinal properties, let’s follow through on that. By passing this, we can send the message that this drug never belonged here in the first place.” Pushkin said.

The amendment ultimately failed in a 13-10 vote.

An amendment to the originating bill did pass through the Health and Human Resources, an amendment that would update the language in the code in reference to marijuana.

Delegate Mick Bates moved to amend the bill by changing the references to “marihuana” to instead read “marijuana, sp. (cannabis)” in the code, therefore mirroring the federal DEA regulations.

The originating bill, sponsored by the House Health and Human Resources Committee, was voted to be advanced to the House Floor with recommendation that it pass as amended.

“Thank you for allowing us to have this consideration,” Pushkin said in closing remarks. “A lot of people in the state are honestly using this plant already, so we have a lot of work to do in the future. We need to educate ourselves on this, and be prepared to continue discussing this.”

The Committee also had a consideration of House Bill 2583, a bill that would permit a pharmacist to dispense a self-administered hormonal contraceptive under a standing prescription drug order.  The proposed legislation would create an opt-in program, where pharmacists could voluntarily dispense a 12-month supply of hormonal birth control. Pharmacists who wish to opt into this program must receive training and administer the proper counseling to patients who seek to receive the contraceptive drug.

The House Committee on Health and Human Resources voted unanimously to advance this bill to the House Floor with the recommendation that it pass.



Tuesday, February 05, 2019 - 04:23 PM

Finance Reports Six Bills to Full Senate

The Senate Finance Committee reviewed multiple pieces of legislation, 3 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 5. 

Of the seven bills on the agenda, five were received from the Senate while two were retrieved from the House. In total, six of the bills were reported to the full Senate with the recommendation that they each pass.  

While Senate Bills 13, 14, 19 and 499 were reported to the full Senate, Senate Bill 147, which would shift funding from the Landfill Closure Assistance Fund to local solid waste authorities, was laid over. The decision to lay over the bill followed Sen. Robert Plymale, D-Wayne, raising concern over whether or not the potential legislation could jeopardize existing landfill plans from counties 

Senate Bill 19, which relates to the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program, received a committee substitute.  

Committee members also reviewed House Bill 2191, which relates to limited video lottery, and House Bill 2307 which relates to creating a provisional license for practicing barbering and cosmetology.

›› House bills introduced on this date


Tuesday, February 05, 2019 - 04:20 PM

Government Organization Reviews Dairy Bill

The Senate Committee for Government Organization reviewed the committee substitute for Senate Bill 4962 p.m. Tuesday, Feb 5. 

The proposed legislation, which would transfer the authority to regulate milk from the Department of Health and Human Resources to the Department of Agriculture, was highly questioned by committee members.  

Following the reading of the bill, Judy Vallandingham Director of Public Health Sanitation at the Bureau of Public Health, came before the committee to address concerns pertaining the the transfer.  

According to Vallandinghama special task force was created to evaluate the potential need for a transferand a majority found that the Department of Agriculture would greatly benefit by acquiring the authority. The task force featured a representative from the DHHR, a representative from the Department of Agriculture, a representative from the milk industry and three Senators.  

Sen. Corey Palumbo, D-Kanawha, questioned if the transfer would potentially affect the quality of milk meant for consumption. Vallandingham assured the Senator that the product would be tested through multiple checks in order to produce healthy grade A milk.  

The committee also reviewed Senate Bill 352 which relates to the Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation acquiring and disposing of goods and commodities 

Both bills were voted to be sent to the full Senate with the recommendation that they each pass. 

›› House bills introduced on this date


Tuesday, February 05, 2019 - 01:54 PM

House of Delegates Considers Postponing Education Reform Bill

Today in the House of Delegates during the introduction of bills one delegate proposed a motion for the House to postpone a Senate education bill indefinitely.

House Majority Leader Amy Summers, R-Taylor, 49, motioned that the motion to postpone the bill be tabled. The House then voted on Summers' motion to table which passed 52-44 with four members absent. The House referred Senate Bill 451 to the Committee on Education and then Finance.

The House passed these bills Tuesday: 

  • Senate Bill 268: Updates the meaning of federal taxable income in the West Virginia Corporation Net Income Tax Act. This bill completed legislative action. 
  • Senate Bill 269: Updates terms used in personal income tax act. This bill also completed legislative action.
  • House Bill 2004: Provides for a program of instruction in workforce preparedness
  • House Bill 2420: Establishes the Mountaineer Trail Network Recreation Authority
  • House Bill 2666: Supplemental appropriation to the Department of Veteran’s Assistance
  • House Bill 2668: Supplemental appropriation to the Department of Administration, Public Defender Services

All other bills on second and first were advanced with no amendments made.

 

 

 

›› House bills introduced on this date


Tuesday, February 05, 2019 - 01:51 PM

Health Committee Reports House Bill to the Full Senate

The Senate Committee on Health and Human Resources met Tuesday afternoon to discuss three bills on the agenda.

House Bill 2492 would direct all reports of abuse and neglect to the central office of Department of Health and Human Resources. The Committee unanimously approved the House Bill, and reported it to the full Senate to be vote upon.

Senate Bill 394 would allow the state of West Virginia to opt out of a federal statute that would not allow an individual living in the state who has previously been convicted of a felony involving a controlled substance from receiving benefits under the supplemental nutrition program (SNAP). The bill is currently tabled in committee.

Senate Bill 400 would permit the West Virginia Board of Dentistry to create specialty licenses. The bill would change the specific examination an applicant must pass before being issued a license to practice dentistry. The bill was approved, and was referred to the Committee on Government Organization.

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Tuesday, February 05, 2019 - 12:40 PM

Senate Presents Senate Resolutions

Members of the Senate unanimously passed three resolutions prior to second reading, Tuesday, Feb. 5.

Passage of the resolutions follows extensive floor debates concerning Senate Bill 451 last week. No resolutions were passed during floor sessions where discussion and passage of the comprehensive education bill took place.

Senate Resolution 27, which designated Feb. 5, 2019 as West Virginia Alzheimer’s Day, was presented by Sen. Tom Takubo, R-Kanawha, while Sen. Roman Prezioso, D-Marion, presented Senate Resolutions 28 and 29.

The life and career of Joe Retton, a former men’s basketball coach at Fairmount State University was commemorated by resolution 28 and resolution 29 congratulated Doug Nuzum for winning the Earle S. Dillard Insurance Agent of Year Award.

Following resolutions, members of the Senate advanced eight bills to third reading, and of those bills, two received committee substitutes. The committee substitute for Senate Bill 154 would allow for the use of school facilities for funeral and memorial services pertaining to certain community members.

Senate Bills 521 through 532 were also introduced.

  • Senate Bill 523 would prohibit retailers from selling or leasing products that make certain content accessible on internet. 
  • Senate Bill 530 relates to the state employee merit system.

The following committees will meet today:

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

›› House bills introduced on this date


Tuesday, February 05, 2019 - 12:14 PM

House Industry and Labor Advances Bill to Eliminate Worker Reportage Requirements

 The House Committee on Industry and Labor met at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 5 to consider two pieces of legislation, one of which would strike language requiring workers on state-funded construction projects to report certified payroll information to the WV Division of Labor.

House Bill 2441 would amend current statute which requires the employers working on publicly funded construction projects to submit payroll information containing their employees’ counties of residence, addresses, and the number of employees working on a given project. The bill would strike this requirement, allowing the WV Division of Labor to get needed compliance information from already conducted spot-checks.

Delegate Geoff Foster, R-Putnam, lead sponsor of the bill, argued that the passage would protect the privacy of the employees working on these sites.

“Somebody’s personally identifiable information should not be public information,” Foster said.

House Bill 2441 generated lengthy debate regarding transparency and the legislation’s implication for the West Virginia Jobs Act.

Opponents of the bill, such as Shawn Fluharty, D- Ohio, argued that passage of House Bill 2441 would complicate compliance with the West Virginia Jobs Act, which ensures that public construction projects give employment preference to West Virginia citizens.

“The West Virginia Jobs Act is crucial to keeping jobs in West Virginia,” Fluharty said. “The passage of this bill would make it harder for us to pinpoint where these employees live, where they’re coming from, and it makes it easier for employers to hire illegal immigrants for these jobs instead.”

Other opponents argued that House Bill 2441 reduced transparency regarding state taxpayer dollars.

Delegate Rodney Miller, D-Boone, spoke to the issue of transparency.

“The need for transparency in our state transcends politics, we can agree to the importance of transparency across both sides of the aisle. The public deserves to know what happens with public money. The passage of this bill enhances the ability for these contractors to violate our state code.” Miller said.

Mitch Woodrum, the WV Commissioner of Labor, was available to answer questions pertaining to the bill.

Woodrum testified that while the legislation may perhaps make it easier for illegal immigrants to slip through the cracks and gain these employment positions, that the Division of Labor is committed to conducting spot checks to ensure that West Virginians are getting first preference when it comes to these state projects.

There was a request for the WV Press Association to also answer questions, but the request was denied by the Chair due to time constraints.

Despite heated discussion, House Bill 2441 was approved by the committee, and advanced to the House Committee on the Judiciary for second reference.

The House Committee on Industry and Labor also had a consideration of House Concurrent Resolution 25, a resolution that would request the Joint Committee on Government and Finance to study and analyze the discrepancy between estimates and actual readings of electrical meters. This is due to widespread state complaints regarding electrical meters.

House Concurrent Resolution 25 was unanimously approved by the Committee, and was advanced to the House Floor with the recommendation that it be adopted but first be referenced to the House Committee on Rules.



Monday, February 04, 2019 - 05:24 PM

Senate Finance Hastily Reviews Legislation

The Senate Finance Committee swiftly reviewed six bills following Banking and Insurance, 4:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 4.  

The brief meeting followed an extensive floor session which saw the passage of the omnibus education bill.  

Senate Bills 16, 30, 90, 323, 346 and 263 were each reported to the full Senate with the recommendation that they pass. Four pieces of the legislation received committee substitutes from committee members.  

One committee substitute, relating to Senate Bill 90, would transfer the Safety and Treatment Program from the Department of Health and Human Resources to the Division of Motor Vehicles .  

Adam Holley, general counsel for the division, addressed Senators and explained that the program was originally owned by the DMV and later transferred to the DHHR in 2009. Holley contributed the original transfer due to the DHHR being better equipped for handling the program.  

Members also reviewed Senate Bill 323 which would establish a revenue fund in order to support the Department of Agriculture's improvement to facilities. The bill was originally introduced last year where it passed through the Senate and House and was vetoed by the Governor. 

 

›› House bills introduced on this date


Monday, February 04, 2019 - 05:22 PM

Banking and Insurance Reviews Legislation

The Senate Committee for Banking and Insurance review four Senate Bills, 3:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 4.  

Following their agenda, the committee discussed four bills, three of which are committee substitutes, and unanimously motioned to send the legislation to the full body with the recommendation that they each pass. All three of the committee substitutes are double referenced to the Senate Judiciary Committee also.  

  • Senate Bill  47 would exempt nonpaid volunteers at ski areas from receiving workers' compensation benefits 

  • Senate Bill 340 would repeal obsolete provisions of the WV Medical Professional Liability Insurance Joint Underwriting Association. 

  • Senate Bill 407 relates to the abandonment and indication of ownership in property held by financial institution.  

  • Senate Bill 453 relates to background checks of certain financial institutions.

 

›› House bills introduced on this date


Monday, February 04, 2019 - 04:59 PM

Judiciary Committee Reviews Three Bills Related to Estate Administrations

Among the many bills the House Judiciary Committee discussed Monday, three were specifically referenced for the committee to look over.

These three bills relate to estates administrations as well as ownership of estates and each passed the committee and will be reported to the House without any amendments.

House Bill 2740 would bar a parent from inheriting from a child in certain instances. Currently, a parent who has had his or her parental rights terminated, may still inherit form their child. Further, a child may not inherit from a biological parent who dies interstate after his or her parental rights to said child have been terminated. This bill amends the definition of “parent” by adding a sentence that references the new section which bars a parent from inheriting from or through a child in certain instances.

The bill seeks to bar a parent from inheriting from a child if parental rights are terminated by court order and the parent-child relationship has not been judicially re-established or if the child died before reaching 18 and there is clear and convincing evidence that immediately before the child’s death, the parental rights of the parent could have been terminated under the law of this state for nonsupport, abandonment, abuse, neglect, or other actions or inactions of the parent toward the child. The bill also permits 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 2746 relates to administration of estates. The purpose of this bill is to allow the county commission to administratively close un-progressed or 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 provides for ancillary administration of West Virginia real estate owned by non-residents by affidavit and without administration. The bill simplifies the procedure by which West Virginia real estate property owned by nonresident decedents is probated.

Other bills passed by the committee are:

House Bill 2809 relates to prohibited acts and penalties in the Hatfield-McCoy Recreation Area. Currently, certain acts are prohibited as they relate to the Hatfield-McCoy Regional Recreation Authority. A person who commits one of the enumerated acts is guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction shall be fined not more than $100. Under this bill, people who do not remain within and on a designated and marked trail will be subject to a fine of not less than $1,000. Persons who do not remain within and on a designated and marked trail and cause damage to a landowners property or interfere with a landowners use of the property will be subject to a fine of not less than $2,000.

House Bill 2761 relates to modernizing the self-service storage lien law. West Virginia’s lien law was passed in 2001 and has not been updated since that time. This bill seeks to modernize West Virginia’s self-storage lien law to reflect technological advances and contemporary industry practices. The bill was heavily discussed and four amendments were added to it. Texting was added to the electronic messaging system of the bill, blanket immunity now only applies to someone acting in good faith in the storage unit, and a new subdivision creates additional requirements for the military.

House Bill 2647 is the self-storage limited license act. This bill establishes a limited lines insurance license to allow owners of self-service storage facilities to obtain a license to sell, solicit or offer self-service storage insurance coverage to occupants. The bill requires the insure issuing the self-service storage insurance to appoint a supervising entity to supervise the administration of the program including development of a training program for employees and authorized representatives of the owner who sell, solicit, or offer self-service storage insurance.

House Bill 2815 raises the value of goods or chattels that are taken in a larceny to constitute grand larceny. The purpose of this bill is to increase the monetary value of goods or chattels stolen to be considered grand larceny.

The Judiciary committee will meet again on Wednesday, January 4.

TH

 

›› House bills introduced on this date


Monday, February 04, 2019 - 03:43 PM

Senate Bill 451 Passes the Senate

After many days and hours of debate and deliberation, the Senate passed Senate Bill 451, comprehensive education reform, on Monday by a vote of 18-16. The bill was reported to the House of Delegates.

The 140-page bill introduces major educational reform for West Virginia. The legislation would introduce public charter schools, education savings accounts (ESA), a $250 tax credit for teachers buying supplies, 5 percent pay increase to teachers and service personnel, and a $500 bonus for teachers who miss less than 10 days during an academic year.

Some senators expressed concerns with public charter schools and education savings accounts.

The charter schools could be open in any school district, and is an op-in. Students and their families would have to apply for admission into a charter school, and would be first-come first-serve.

Education savings accounts would be open for 2,500 students who attend public charter schools in the state at any one time. Funds in the account can also roll over year to year. If a student enrolls in public school, then their ESA account would result in immediate suspension.

The Senate also passed 11 other bills, which include:

Senate bills 512 to 520 were also introduced.

The following committees will meet today:

Banking at 3:30 p.m. in 451M

Finance ten minutes after Banking in 451M

Judiciary ten minutes after Banking in 208W

The following committees will meet tomorrow:

Transportation at 10 a.m. in 451M

Health at 1 p.m. in 451M

Education at 2 p.m. in 451M

RA

 

›› Senate bills introduced on this date


Monday, February 04, 2019 - 03:38 PM

House Government Organization Advances Four Bills

 The House Committee on Government Organization convened at 2 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 4 to consider four bills on the agenda.

House Bill 2528 would authorize the West Virginia Commissioner of Agriculture to employ a general counsel that would be necessary to perform the duties of the office.

House Bill 2528 was approved by the House Committee on Government Organization unanimously, and was recommended to the floor with the recommendation that it pass.

House Bill 2696 would create a naming convention to records lands owned by the state in an index system for easy cross-reference to county indexes. This would create an index system for attorneys searching for title information that would be specific to each county.

This new series of books would mostly serve to provide easily accessed information regarding state agencies whose names have changed. For example, information pertinent to the WV Division of Highways would also be made more accessible under the agency’s previous name, the State Roads Commission.

House Bill 2696 also approved by the House Committee on Government Organization unanimously, and was recommended to the floor with the recommendation that it pass.

House Bill 2601 was also advanced to the House floor. This bill would ensure the review and approval of state property leases by requiring two signatures and the review and approval of leasing of state property to nongovernment entities.

House Bill 2392 was also advanced to the House floor, a bill that would allow 1-day licenses to be issued by the Alcoholic Beverages Commission for charitable events. This would allow those who are hosting a charitable event to apply for a single day license to sell non-intoxicating alcohol, such as beer and wine.



Monday, February 04, 2019 - 01:37 PM

Passes Two Bills on Third Reading, Memorializes Former Lawmaker

The House of Delegates considered several pieces of proposed legislation, heard a memorial resolution for the late James M. Casey, and listened to several noteworthy remarks from delegates at 11 a.m. on Monday, February 4 in the House Chamber.

The House of Delegates first adopted and read aloud House Resolution 10, a resolution honoring the late James Michael Casey, who passed this past October.

James Michael Casey was honored for being a former member of the House of Delegates, as well as an active attorney. He was also a lobbyist, and an “advocate for his community”. The House honored him and his family, who were present to accept the resolution.

There were second bills on third reading on this day, the 27th day of the legislative session.

House Bill 2607 is a bill that would make certain technical changes to existing code regarding the licensure of nursing homes. It would change the language to revise the reportage requirements for licensed nursing homes in the state. The strike-and-insert legislation cleans up some language in the previous code in order to better specify the Secretary of DHHR’s administrative responsibilities, as well as specify the requirements of licensed state nursing homes as far as reportage goes.

The bill passed the House and was advanced to the Senate for further consideration.

House Bill 2612 would authorize the Secretary of the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources to update rules regarding the source water protection plans throughout the state. Currently, each public water utility is mandated to report the status of their water and a water protection plan to the state commission every three years. This bill would allow the timeframe of this reportage to be more flexible in order to give these water utilities more time to review the status of their water protection.

House Bill 2612 was unanimously passed as well, and advanced to the Senate for further consideration.

Bills on second reading that were advanced include Senate Bill 268, Senate Bill 269, House Bill 2004, House Bill 2420, House Bill 2666, and House Bill 2668.

House Bill 2420, another bill on second reading, was postponed for one day.

House Bill 2691 and House Bill 2779 were also read for the first time on this day.

Several Delegates made noteworthy remarks at the end of this House floor session.

Delegate Evan Hansen, D- Monongalia, spoke of his sponsorship of House Bill 2589. Hansen described this bill as a piece of legislation that would loosen energy restrictions on West Virginia companies, and allow the state to be more inclusive of companies utilizing solar energy.

“The fastest growing energy sector is that of solar energy,” Hansen said. “Like it or not, the world is changing. You can dig in your heels and keep making the current economy look like the economy has for fifty years, but I ask that you support all job options—not just the ones that have sustained us for the past century.”

Delegate Dianna Graves, R- Kanawha, made comments commending the bipartisanship within the House this legislative session.

“I’m impressed with how bipartisan we have been under the current Speaker,” Graves said. “Lifting all boats doesn’t work if half of us are left behind, so let’s keep this up.”

The House of Delegates is adjourned until 11 a.m. tomorrow, Tuesday, February 5th.

 

The following committees will meet today after the House Floor Session:

-The House Committee on Technology and Infrastructure will meet at 1 p.m. in 215-E.

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

-The House Committee on the Judiciary will continue their morning meeting at 2 p.m. in 410-M.

-The House Committee on Government Organization will meet at 2 p.m. in 215-E.

-The House Committee on Education will meet at 3 p.m. in 434-M.

-The House Committee on Fire and Emergency Medical Services will meet at 4 p.m. in 215-E.

 

The following committees will meet tomorrow before the House Floor Session:

-The House Committee on Agricultural and Natural Resources will meet at 8:30 a.m. tomorrow in 215-E.

-The House Committee on Industry and Labor will meet at 10 a.m. tomorrow in 215-E.

 

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

Friday, February 01, 2019 - 06:11 PM

Senate Adopts Six Amendments for Comprehensive Education Reform Bill

A total of six amendments were adopted to Senate Bill 451 following a brief recess Friday.  

The second reading of the comprehensive education reform bill received a number of amendments with a select few being accepted by Senators. The series of proposed changes follow the adjournment of the committee on the whole Thursday, Jan. 31.  

In addition to 451, 11 other Senate Bills were features on second reading and were advanced to third reading.  

Prior to second reading, numerous bills were also featured during third reading with Senate Bill 4, which relates generally to the Municipal Home Rule Program, receiving a total of four amendments. Following the additions, members voted to pass the legislation.  

Senate Bills 103, 233, 264270, 331, 332 and 390 were also passed with four of the bills becoming effective upon passage.  

  • Senate Bill 103 relates generally to the Public Defender Service. 

  • Senate Bill 233 relates to changing the age requirements for deputy sheriffs applicants.  

  • Senate Bill 390 would require electric utilities to submit a series of feasibility studies when constructing and operating middle-mile broadband internet projects 

The Senate is adjourned until 11 a.m. Monday morning. 

 

›› House bills introduced on this date


Friday, February 01, 2019 - 04:56 PM

Judiciary Committee Reports Final Rules Bundle

The Senate Committee on the Judiciary met for a quick meeting Friday afternoon to discuss Senate Bill 163.

 Senate Bill 163, Bundle 3, is the final rules bundle to come out of the Committee. The bill consists of eight other bills relating to Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).

  • Senate Bill 163 modifies certain emission standards related to the DEP. 
  • Senate Bill 160 would update ambient air quality standards for the state. 
  • Senate Bill 161 would update the air pollutant standards for the state.
  • Senate Bill 162 would update air pollutant standards for hazardous waste.
  • Senate Bill 164 and Senate Bill 165 both repeal rules that are no longer needed for the DEP.
  • Senate Bill 166 would update regulations on removing hazardous waste. 
  • Senate Bill 167 would update the requirements for the discharge of hazardous waste. 

The rules bundle was approved by the Committee, and was reported to the Senate to be voted upon.

RA

 

›› House bills introduced on this date


Friday, February 01, 2019 - 03:37 PM

House Judiciary Advances Criminal Offense Expungement Bill

The Judiciary committee advanced a bill dealing with criminal offense expungement, expanding the Second Chance for Employment Act. 

Senate Bill 152 relates generally to criminal offense expungement. This bill is an expansion on a bill that passed in 2017, Senate Bill 76. This previous bill only applied to non-violent misdemeanors. The current bill would add non-violent felonies to this statute.

This bill expands expungement of nonviolent felonies, sets a timeframe for expungement, and incorporates the governor’s “Jim’s Dream” program for second chance programs. The strike and insert bill will next head to the House Finance Committee.

The Judiciary Committee also reviewed House Bill 2321, which would allow workers compensation benefits for first responders diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. The committee briefly discussed the bill and what it incorporated but decided it would be reviewed by a subcommittee.

The Judiciary Committee advanced House Bill 2365, which relates to the definition of employee for the purposes of unemployment compensation and worker’s compensation. This bill amends state code to standardize the “independent contractor” inquiry. This bill incorporates the 20 factor test, which is used by the IRS, into worker’s compensation and unemployment compensation cases. This bill next heads to the House floor.

Another bill the committee discussed was House Bill 2481. which would permit retail liquor licenses to sell alcoholic beverages from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Sundays. This would only apply to beer and wine. The committee reported this bill to the House.

The Judiciary Committee also discussed House Bill 2686, which relates to permitting the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia to create a family drug court pilot program. Currently, state code does not provide for Family Drug Treatment Courts.

This would permit family drug court programs and would only operate with abuse and neglect cases. This bill also establishes a state advisory committee, which would provide more local involvement in treatment courts. The bill passed the committee and was reported to the House.

TH

›› House bills introduced on this date


Friday, February 01, 2019 - 01:59 PM

House of Delegates Passes Bill Relating to Social Security Benefits

The West Virginia House of Delegates took up and passed a bill exempting Social Security benefits from personal income tax.

In Friday’s floor session, the House reviewed House Bill 2001. This bill relates to exempting social security benefits from personal income tax.

Delegates in favor of the bill stated that the elderly deserved this bill and that it would benefit our state as well as reduce taxes. Those who showed reluctance toward the bill were unsure of the how well it would actually benefit the state and warned that its consequences be monitored.

Other bills on third reading that passed the house include

·         Senate Bill 27: Removes restrictions on where certain traditional lottery games may be played

·         Senate Bill 255: Relates to emergency medical services advisory committee

·         House Bill 2472: Relates to a reserving methodology for health insurance and annuity contracts

·         House Bill 2476: Relates to the valuation of a motor vehicle involved in an insurance claim

·         House Bill 2478: Modifies the Fair Trade Practices Act

·         House Bill 2480: Relates to the regulation of an internationally active insurance group

·         House Bill 2524: Permits a pharmacist to convert prescriptions authorizing refills under certain circumstances 

·         House Bill 2679: Relates to state issued identification cards

Bills appearing on second reading and advanced to third reading were:

·         House Bill 2607: Relates to the licensure of nursing homes 

·         House Bill 2612: Proposes rules related to the completion or updating of source water protection plans

All bills on first reading were advanced.

Some delegates voiced their opinions and concerns over the omnibus education bill, Senate Bill 251, in Some delegates who spoke made it known that they are listening to the procedures happening in the Senate and are ready for the bill to enter the House.

The House of Delegates will reconvene 11 a.m. Monday.

TH 

›› House bills introduced on this date


Friday, February 01, 2019 - 11:19 AM

Judiciary Committee Reports Two Bills to the Floor, Recessed Until the Afternoon

The Senate Committee on the Judiciary met Friday morning to discuss two bills before the Senate Floor Session.

Senate Bill 109 would correct an internal code reference as a result of a bill passed in the 2016 regular session exempting certain persons from prohibitions against carrying concealed handguns or deadly weapons on the property of another.

Senate Bill 127 relates specifically to probation officers. The bill would authorize probation officers to preform alcohol and drug testing of litigants as directed by the circuit and family courts.

Both Bills were approved by the Committee, and were reported to the Senate to be voted upon.

The Committee is adjourned until later this afternoon.

RA




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