The Senate and House convened for the first Extraordinary Special Session of 2019 by Proclamation of Governor Justice.
Both the Senate and House adjourned until both the Senate President and Speaker of the House decide to return.
The Senate reconvened at 11 p.m. to discuss H.C.R. 61, Applying to and urging Congress to call a convention of the states to limit the terms of office.
The Regular session ended before the Senate could vote on the Resolution.
The Legislature adjourned Sine Die.
The House of Delegates, in the midst of concurrence with Senate amendments, motioned to reconsider House Bill 3143.
This bill relates to requirements for making consumer loans in West Virginia. The bill limits the loans where finance charges may be imposed and clarifies the need for a license from the Division of Financial Intuitions. The House had refused to concur with Senate amendments, but after more information was brought forward and stakeholders expressed their opinion on the bill it was reconsidered.
The House concurred with amendments made and was passed, completing its legislation.
House Bill 3139 creates the PEIA rainy day fund. This bill changes certain requirements imposed on the PEIA Finance Board. The house concurred with Senate amendments and was passed. The bill has now passed legislation.
Senate Bill 487 relating to admissibility of health care staffing requirements in litigation. The bill was committed to a conference to committee and the report was to be taken up by the chamber. After much debate the report of the committee was accepted and the bill finished legislation after passage.
Various messages concerning legislation were received by the Senate prior to recess.
Nearing the end of the 84th Regular Session, the Senate received multiple messages urging the body to concur with changes offered by the House of Delegates. Of the concurred legislation were Senate Bills 365 and House Bills 2540 and 3044.
The House had originally moved to refuse to concur with Senate amendments made to House Bill 2503, but Delegate Jeff Pack, R-Raleigh, a Delegate who had originally voted on the prevailing side, moved to reconsider.
The Senate amendments to House Bill 2503 would issue additional protections to unprotected parents who are seeking counsel, and it also provides a mechanism for individuals between the ages of 18-21 to have access to housing in the event that they are involved in an abuse and neglect case. Concern was raised in regards to how much latitude the Senate had to amend the bill, considering the original bill passed out of the House was more narrow.
After a lengthy debate, the House reconsidered and concurred with the Senate’s changes and passed the bill 74-25.
House Bill 2618 also completed legislative action on this day. This bill would include undue influence as a factor in the definition of financial exploitation of an elderly person or protected person. The Senate’s changes to the bill improve the structure of the language within the bill, as well as create a cause of action in magistrate and circuit court where an elderly person or incapacitated adult is suffering financial exploitation due to the intentional misappropriation or misuse of funds or undue influence. The House unanimously concurred with the Senate changes.
The Senate refused to concur and requested that the Senate recede their amendments on House Bill 2709, a bill to exempt contact information for hunting license holders from public disclosure.
The House reconsidered their request of the Senate to recede their amendments on House Bill 3034, and ultimately concurred with the Senate amendments with further fiscal amendments.
The House of Delegates concurred with amendment to House Bill 3139. The amendment provided a source of funding for the bill.
House Bill 2193 was passed by the Senate without amendment and completed legislative action. This bill would provide a specific escheat of US savings bonds.
The House concurred with a Senate amendment to House Bill 2083 that removed findings and would require temporary identification cards be issued to individuals within 7 days of their request.
The House concurred in a vote of 54-45 with Senate changes to House Bill 2049 that would specify that private companies could not be held liable for attorney fees.
The House concurred with a title amendment to Senate Bill 622 in a vote of 57-42.
The House concurred with Senate changes to Senate Bill 410 that would issue administrative changes to the rule-making authority in the bill, thus completing legislative action.
The Senate reconvened at 9 p.m. to receive House messages.
Nine bills completed legislation including House Bill 2010, Relating to foster care. The bill would update the regulation of foster care in West Virginia. The bill does nine things which include:
The Senate also passed eight other bills. Those bills include the following:
All bills will be reported to Governor Justice to singed into law or vetoed.
The Senate is currently in session.
A number of House messages were received by the Senate concerning legislation conference committee prior to their 8 p.m. deadline.
Following the arrival of conference report, the body passed multiple bills after concurring with amendments offered by the House.
The House of Delegates reconvened at 7:50 p.m. to discuss and concur with amendments made to House Bill 2079, removing certain limitations on medical cannabis grower, processor and dispensary licenses.
The bill does exactly as it says in the short title and the House of Delegates concurred with the Senate amendments made to it. The bill was passed and has now completed legislation.
Senate Bill 632 improves student safety. This bill requires safety and security checks from county boards and multi-county centers. They are required to upgrade the measures as necessary and report these to the WVDE annually. County boards must also ensure placement of video cameras in self-contained classrooms.
Amendments by the Senate were concurred with, the bill was passed and has completed legislation.
The House of Delegates will reconvene at 9 p.m.
The House of Delegates continued to meet at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 7 on the final day of session to continue taking up messages from the Senate and conference committee reports.
The House of Delegates established two conference committees to address disagreements between the two chambers and take up come to a compromise.
The House refused to recede on their changes to Senate Bill 522, a bill to create the Special Road Repair fund. A conference committee consisting of Delegate Vernon Criss, R-Wood, Delegate Daniel Linville, R-Cabell, and Jason Barrett, D-Berkeley was appointed to reach an agreement on the bill.
A conference committee was also appointed to come to a compromise on Senate Bill 405, a bill to increase the limit on additional expenses incurred in preparing a notice list for redemption. Delegate Jeff Pack, R-Raleigh, Delegate Tom Bibby, R-Berkeley, and Delegate Tim Tomblin, D-Logan were appointed to this conference committee, due to congregate at 7:30 p.m. in the Senate President’s Conference Room.
The Senate accepted the conference committee report for Senate Bill 295, relating to crimes against public justice.
Delegate Ray Hollen, R-Wirt, presented the report, which issued a compromise on a bill that would include court security officers in the definition of people who could be criminally prosecuted for obstructing a police officer, adding protection for court security personnel and bailiffs as it relates to the potential to charge individuals for obstruction of such officers. The compromise adds correctional officers to the list of security personnel, and makes several other changes.
The House adopted the conference committee report and Senate Bill 295 completed legislative action.
The House of Delegates had consideration of changes that the Senate made to House Bill 2673. The changes consisted of allowing the state tax department to maintain administration of the plugging of orphaned gas and oil wells. The amendment didn’t operate in a way that changed the substance of the bill, so the House unanimously concurred.
The House of Delegates also adopted the Senate’s amendment to House Bill 2674, which seeks to expand the services issued by House Bill 2674 by combining provisions from House Bill 2882.
Changes made to House Bill 2947, a bill to expand telemedicine services in rural hospitals, was also concurred to by the House of Delegates. This bill would make a change to prohibit the use of telemedicine equipment in state emergency rooms.
The changes made to House Bill 2968 were also concurred to. This bill would add provisions to allow remote service units to bank communication terminals. The change that the Senate made would specify that a bank placing a remote service unit in the state would not have to have a physical presence in the state.
Changes made to House Bill 3131 consisted of removing the purview of the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Resources to raise employees’ salaries. The amendment instead creates a merit system in which state hospital employees can receive raises. The amendment was concurred to by the House with little discussion.
Senate Bill 424 was read all three times after a suspension of Constitutional rules. This bill would issue a $10 million supplemental appropriation to the Governor’s Civil Contingency Fund. The bill was passed earlier by the Senate, and completed legislative action upon being passed out of the House without amendment.
The House is in Recess until 9:00 pm. tonight, Saturday, March 9.
The Senate reconvened at 5 p.m. to discuss 64 nominations from Governor Justice presented to the Senate in Executive Message 3.
Yesterday, the Senate Committee on Confirmations approved all nominations on the list with the exception of number nine; bringing the list down from 65 to 64 nominees. The Senate unanimously approved all 64 nominees.
Eight Senate bills also completed legislation including Senate Bill 152, Relating generally to criminal offense expungement. The proposed legislation would authorize the expungement of certain misdemeanors and non-violent felonies from a person’s criminal record.
The other bills that completed legislation include the following:
All eight bills will be sent to the Governor to be signed into law or vetoed.
The Senate is currently in recess until 7:10 p.m.
Sen. Greg Boso, R-Nicholas, rose to describe contents of the message which detailed that a conference committee containing members of both houses met, resulting in the House adopting the Senate’s position on the bill, while also adding language which will become effective in 2020. Following the reading of the message members motioned to adopt the message and pass the bill.
The body also received other messages relating to Senate Bills which resulted in the creation of three conference committees. In relation to Senate Bill 405, the President apportioned Senators Boso, Sypolt and Palumbo.
In relation to Senate Bill 487, a bill which relates to the admissibility of health care staffing requirements in litigation, was sent to a conference committee where the President appointed Senators Takubo, Boso and Woelfel to represent the Senate
Additionally, Senate concurrent resolutions 63 and 74 were brought before the body for immediate consideration where they were immediately reported to the committee on rules.
Senate Bill 635 relates to coal mining activities. This bill expands protections to economic development, environmental, underground coal mining, and crimes and their punishment. The bill seeks to extend protections for mining operations. The House concurred with the Senate amendments and now the bill has passed legislation.
House Bill 2583 establishes the Family Planning Access Act. This bill permits trained pharmacists to give self-administered hormonal contraceptives under a standing prescription drug order. The House concurred with all Senate amendments, was passed, and now the bill has finished legislation.
House Bill 2694 relates to the state’s ability to regulate hemp. The bill adds new code sections to the Industrial Hemp Act. The state must submit to the Secretary of Agriculture in order to have primary regulatory authority over the production of industrial hemp. The House concurred with all Senate amendments, was passed, and will now finish legislation.
House Bill 3044 requires the Commissioner of Highways to develop a formula for allocating road funds. The bill provides terms, rule making authority, and requires the commissioner to develop a way for public communication and recommendation. The House refused to concur with Senate amendments that were made and will be sent back for their review.
House Bill 3143 relates to requirements for making consumer loans in West Virginia. The bill adjusts limits on consumer loans in the state where certain finance charges are applied and clarifies that a person must have a license from the divison before engaging in business. The House refused to concur with Senate amendments.
The House of Delegates will reconvene at 6:30 p.m.
The Senate reconvened at 3 p.m. to receive one message from the House of Delegates.
House amended and passed Senate Bill 522, Creating Special Road Repair Fund in which the Senate refused to concur with the House Amendments to the proposed legislation, and requested that the House recede from their amendments.
The Senate suspended the Constitutional rule requiring a bill to be read on three separate days for two bill that were passed out of the Senate Committee on Finance earlier this afternoon.
Senate Bill 424 would appropriate $10 million of un-appropriated funds from Fiscal Year 2019 to the Governor’s Contingency Fund, and Senate Bill 435 would appropriate of $12.7 million from un-appropriated funds from Fiscal Year 2019 and re-appropriate them to the following:
The Senate also passed 14 bills that were on third reading. Those bills include the following:
The Senate is currently in recess until 5 p.m.
A concurrent resolution which would change the legislative rules of the legislature was passed by the Senate Saturday.
If passed, Senate Concurrent Resolution 1 would allow for rejected bills to be carried over to the following session to further consideration. In an explanation from counsel, members learned specific details which would allow for the bills to essentially be revived in the committee in which they were rejected or unrecognized.
Counsel further explained that in order for the bill to be reintroduced in the session, the committee chair in which the bill was last active would have to push for the bill to be reconsidered. Legislation would keep the same number from the previous session and would be eligible for reconsideration unless the lead bill sponsor withdrew the legislation through written notice of the clerk.
Members of the committee sparked debate over the legislation as each member stated their support of opposition to the proposed change. Chair, Sen. Craig Blair, R-Berkeley, addressed the committee to explain that the resolution was created in order to make the legislative process more “efficient.”
Blair then stated that if issues were to arise in the future he would be open to reforming the change, but ultimately intends for the resolution to strengthen review of bills.
Sen. Ron Stollings, D-Boone, then addressed the Chair to ask if previous studies had been done to review why the rule for bills to not be carried over existed. The Senator’s question resulted in the Chair urging Stollings to motion for the resolution to be a study resolutions.
Stollings then mentioned for the resolution to become a study resolution prior to the bill being reported for the full Senate with the recommendation of passage.
Legislation relating to proceeds from certain oil and gas wells was rejected in a 30-4 vote, Saturday.
If passed, House Bill 2779 would have provided that proceeds from certain oil and gas wells be kept in a special fund if the individual who own’s the well had a unknown address. Following a brief explanation from Sen. Ryan Weld, R-Brooke, multiple Senators rose in opposition prior to the rejection vote.
The bill was the last piece of legislation reviewed by the body following a brief recess Saturday. Before House Bill 2779 was rejected, a number of other bills were passed by the Senate.
Of the passed bills were:
The House of Delegates continued their consideration on Saturday, March 9, on the final day of the legislative session to pass several supplemental appropriations bills on third reading.
Senate Bill 677 was passed unanimously by the House of Delegates. This bill would issue $23.5 million dollars of supplemental appropriation dollars to the WV Department of Health and Human Resources.
Senate Bill 678 is another supplemental appropriations bill that was passed unanimously by the House. This bill would transfer money from the State Excess Lottery Revenue Fund to the Office of Technology.
Senate Bill 679 was also passed as well. This supplemental appropriations bill would give $298,000 to the WV Division of Finance
Senate Bill 680 is a supplemental appropriations bill that would give $345, 247 to various state divisions within the Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety (DMAPS). This bill was also passed by the House with little discussion
Senate Bill 681 would take supplemental appropriations from Lottery Net Profits and issue them to Educational Broadcasting Authority. This was another supplemental appropriations bill that passed the House unanimously.
House Finance Committee Chairman Eric Householder, R-Berkeley, said that the WV Legislature has issued $225.9 million to various state agencies this session via the passage of supplemental appropriations bills.
The House of Delegates also had consideration of Senate Joint Resolution 5, a resolution to clarify the Judiciary’s Role in Impeachment Proceedings. The resolution, which needed a two-thirds vote to be adopted by the House of Delegates, failed with little discussion.
The House of Delegates is in Recess until 3:30 p.m. today, Saturday, March 9. They will reconvene again to receive Senate messages.
The House of Delegates convened at 11 a.m. on Saturday, March 9 on the final day of the legislative session to receive messages from the Senate.
Senate Bill 4, a bill to establish the permanency of the Municipal Home Rule Program, completed legislative action on this day. The Senate issued a title amendment to Senate Bill 4, which the House unanimously adopted and concurred with.
The Senate amended the title of Senate Bill 28, a bill to remove the hotel occupancy tax limit collects for medical care and emergency services, and also amended several provisions in the bill regarding dollar amounts of tax collections. The changes did not alter the nature of the bill’s impact, so the House concurred with these changes. Senate Bill 28 completed legislative action on this day.
Conference committees were appointed on two Senate Bills in order to reach a compromise between the two chambers.
The House refused to recede their amendments to Senate Bill 596 and appointed Delegate Jason Harshbarger, R-Ritchie, Delegate Chris Phillips, R-Barbour, and Delegate William Hartman, D-Randolph to conference on Senate Bill 596, which seeks to adjust voluntary contribution amounts on certain DMV forms. The Senate will also appoint three members for this conference committee.
A conference committee consisting of Delegate Moore Capito, R-Kanawha, Delegate Geoff Foster, R-Putnam, and Delegate Chad Lovejoy, R-Cabell, was appointed to reach a compromise on Senate Bill 487. The House refused to recede on their amendments for Senate Bill 487, which relates to admissibility of health care staffing requirements in litigation.
The House of Delegates concurred with a Senate amendment to House Bill 2849, a bill to establish different classes of pharmacy technicians. The Senate change would ensure verification of the proper authorities indicated in the bill.
The House of Delegates voted to concur as amended House Bill 3144 with a gallery full of WV coal miners looking on. The bill would provide a tax break for state coal miners via the North Central Appalachian Coal Severance Tax Rebate Act, a rebate that would be created by the bill.
Amendments to Senate Bill 673, a bill to eliminate the requirement for a state-wide master plan for public higher education and state and institutional compacts, were receded on this day. The Senate requested the House of Delegates to recede their changes to the bill, and they agreed to recede in a 52-44 vote.
A lengthy debate persisted over the House’s actions on House Bill 2001, a bill to issue a tax break to exempt social security benefits from personal income tax. The bill, a landmark piece of legislation by the House, went under significant changes by the Senate that put a salary cap on seniors who would receive tax exemptions, and implement the tax break over three years instead of within one fiscal year.
Delegate Mick Bates, D-Raleigh, echoed several members’ concerns that the Senate amendment changed the House bill too drastically.
“This isn’t a compromise if we concur, it’s a cave,” Bates said.
Several members were concerned that the House’s failure to concur with the Senate’s changes to House Bill 2001 could result in the death of the bill.
“Refusing to concur would simply be a high risk game of chicken,” Delegate Paul Espinosa, R-Jefferson argued.
The House of Delegates agreed to concur with the Senate changes to House Bill 2001 in a 52-44 vote.
The Senate reconvened at 1 p.m. to receive messages from the House of Delegates.
Three Senate Bills completed legislation, and will be reported to Governor Justice to be signed into law or vetoed. Those bills include:
The Senate also amended the House Amendments to four Senate bills. Those bills include the following:
All four bills will be sent to the House of Delegates, and request concurrence of said bills.
The Senate is currently in recess until 2:45 p.m.
Legislation which would allow pharmacists to dispense contraceptives without a prescription was passed by the Senate, Saturday morning.
Discussion over House Bill 2583 opened the Senate’s last third reading of the 84th regular session, resulting in unanimous passage of the proposed legislation. Prior to the bill’s passage, Sen. Ron Stollings, D-Boone, rose to urge the adoption of the bill but also condemned an amendment which was added during Friday’s second reading of the bill. The amendment in question established an 18 year or older age requirement to the legislation.
Before the bill came before the body, Senators engaged in brief debate over House Bill 2049, relating to a prime contractor’s responsibility for wages and benefits.
Other bills passed by the Senate included:
Throughout third reading the body also received a number of House messages which resulted in the adoption of three House Concurrent Resolutions. Of these were HCR14 recognizing US Army CPT Benjamin Ronk Memorial Bridge, HCR 6 recognizing US Army PFC Earl Russkie Cobb. SPC4 Carl Bradford Godson, and SSGT George T. Saunders Jr. Memorial Bridge and HCR 17 relating to Marine Coprs CPL Larry Scott Kennedy Memorial Bridge.
The Senate convened at 11 a.m. for the 60th day of the Legislative Session, and immediately took up House messages in regards to five bills.
The House refused to recede from their amendments to Senate Bill 241, Permitting county court clerks scan certain documents in electronic form, and Senate Bill 317, Authorizing three or more adjacent counties form multicounty trail network authority, and request the two bills go to a conference committee.
President Carmichael (R – Jackson, 4) appointed Senators Sypolt (R – Preston, 14), Swope (R – Mercer, 6), and Facemire (D – Braxton, 12) to the conference committee over Senate Bill 241, and appointed Senators Maynard (R – Wayne, 6), Smith (R – Tucker, 14), and Beach (D – Monongalia, 13) to represent the Senate’s interests over Senate Bill 317.
The Senate also amended the House Amendment to Senate Bill 40, Establishing Military Service Members Court program. Senator Weld (R – Brooke, 1) moved to amend the bill in its entirety, and bring it back to the original language of the Senate version. The proposed legislation would establish a Military Service Member Court program within the Supreme Court of Appeals.
The Senate also amended the House Amendments to Senate Bill 352, Relating to Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation acquiring and disposing of services, and Senate Bill 398, Relating to compensation for senior judges.
All three bills will be reported back to the House of Delegates, and will request concurrence of said bills.
The Senate is currently in session.
Legislation relating to the state’s budget and foster care system were passed by the Senate during an extensive floor session, Friday.
In a message sent by the House, Senate finance Chair, Sen. Craig Blair, R-Berkeley, rose to discuss a comprised version of House Bill 2020, which features recommendation from both houses. Of the most notable compromises in this budget was a 5 percent pay raise to the state’s teachers and service personnel, resulting in a $67 million appropriation to the fiscal year 2020 budget.
The Chair also announced plans for a special session which would review the state’s educational system’s impact on the state budget.
Overall, the total appropriations for the bill rests at $13,818,886,210. After highlighting the main compromises and totals, Blair addressed the body to state that he supported the revised budget which he believed “had something for everyone.” For more information pertaining to the compromised budget click here.
Prior to arrival of the message, the body revived and passed legislation relating to the state’s foster care system with a 33-1 one.
The vote to pass the proposed legislation marks House Bill 2010’s second passage by a body, ultimately relying on the House of Delegates’ review of Senate messages to decided whether or not the bill will complete legislation. If passed the bill will create a multilayer reform to the state’s foster care system, most notably through a privatization of the system through Managed Care Organizations.
Lengthy discussion over the bill opened Friday’s third reading where multiple Senators rose to urge passage of the proposed legislation.
Following passage the body, members undertook a lengthy calendar with resulted in the passage of 32 bills. A majority of these bills received unanimous decisions from Senators after minimal discussion among members.
Two bills relating to education were motioned to have amendments withdrawn from education Chair, Patricia Rucker, R-Jefferson. According to the Chair, House Bills 2378 and 2662 no longer needed the amendments adopted in education following the House’s revisions. Both pieces of legislation had amendments withdrawn before the bills were passed.
House Bill 2831, which would find and declare certain claims against the state to be moral obligations, received two amendments while on third reading. Prior to the bill’s passage, the body motioned to amend changes from the finance committee and from Sen. Dave Sypolt, R-Preston.
Passage of the bill was followed by a lengthy review of bills on second reading, resulting in nearly every bill receiving an amendment. For more information relating to Friday’s legislation calendar click here.
The House of Delegates reconvened at 5 p.m. to finish business from earlier today. The next bill on the agenda was Senate Bill 622. This bill relates generally to regulation and control of financing elections. After arduous debate over the bill and all of its amendments a motion was made to previous question debate. The bill was passed by the House.
Senate Bill 640 regulates sudden cardiac arrest prevention. The bill establishes the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Prevention Act. The purpose of the bill is to educate about and prevent cardiac arrest. The bill is specified for athletics and schools under the county board of education and has provisions to provide guidelines and educational materials for students about the risks of continuous play or practice after experiencing symptoms during exercise.
Schools must also hold informational meetings for students regarding warning signs at the beginning of each athletic season. Students must also sign waivers acknowledging that they received information about cardiac arrest. the bill was passed by the House.
Senate Bill 670 relates to WV College Prepaid Tuition and Savings Program. This bill expands eligible educational institutions under the program to include private or religious primary, middle, or secondary schools. The bill was passed by the House.
Senate Bill 665 allows for expedited oil and gas well permitting. This bill creates three new subsections that will govern horizontal well permits and fees. These subsections that allow for expedited oil and gas well applications will cost applicants special expedited fees. Any unused funds that would be left over from reclamation of abandoned wells will remain in state special revenue funds.
The committee amendment that was adopted reduces the expedited fees from $20,000 and $10,000 to $10,000 and $5,000. The bill was passed by the House.
At the end of the night the House of Delegates passed 41 bills on third reading. These bills can be accessed via the calendar.
The Senate Committee on Confirmations met Friday afternoon to consider 65 nominations by Governor Justice.
The Committee consented to all nominations except for number nine. The rest will be reported to the Senate for continued deliberation.
Below is a link with the nomination Governor Justice reported to the Committee.
The House of Delegates convened at 10 a.m. this morning and discussed Senate Bill 564 which expands comprehensive coverage for pregnant women through Medicaid.
This bill was well received and passed the House with minute opposition. The bill does exactly what it says and expands coverage for pregnant women through Medicaid. Considering that it was also National Women’s Day lawmakers spoke about how important this bill was to women and to children.
Senate Bill 40 establishes the Military Service Members Court Program. This bill establishes the program and functions to serve military veterans who suffer with arduous issues. The program has been shown to significantly help combat veterans struggling with mental health issues as well as substance abuse. The bill passed the House.
Senate Bill 103 relates generally to Public Defender Services. This bill includes a pay raise for public defenders and is the first to do so in nearly 30 years. The bill also passed the House.
Senate Bill 396 waves occupational licensing fees for low income individuals and military families. This bill waves initial license fees for any chapter 30 license for low-income individuals and military families. The bill was passed by the House after concurring with Senate amendments and has officially completed legislation.
Senate Bill 544 increases salaries for members of a WV State Police over three-year period. This bill increases annual salaries of West Virginia State Police by $3,000 per year for three consecutive years. The bill was passed by the House.
Senate Bill 522 creates the Special Road Repair Fund. The program created with this bill would be administered by the Division of Highways and would be funded by a $110,000,000 appropriation for the 2020 fiscal year. The bill lists out provisions of how counties would control the procedures and how procedures are to be administered for road repair. The bill was also passed by the House.
The House of Delegates re-convened at 5:00 p.m. to have a consideration of bills that were on second reading, and to consider the updated budget, House Bill 2020.
The House of Delegates considered the Senate’s amendments to House Bill 2020 and moved to concur with the amendment with further amendments.
“We have come up with a compromise on the position of the two houses,” Finance Chairman Eric Householder, R-Berkeley, said.
The House amendment to the strike and insert amendment notes several changes from the original House budget that was passed last week.
The provisions in the updated House Bill 2020 include a total general revenue of $4.6 billion. $7 million would be given to the WV Department of Tourism, $24 million for the Legislative branch, $124 for the Judicial branch, and $40 million for the Executive branch.
The pay raise for educators and school service personnel were noticeably absent from the bill, which Householder addressed.
“These will be worked out during the Special Session that our Governor has called for, so that we can have more time to work these items out properly.”
The House concurred with several amendments that came over from the Senate, including an increase in the Department of Health and Human Resources funds and the funds allocated to PEIA.
“This is a strong finish to our session,” Delegate Daryl Cowles, R-Morgan, “I am incredibly pleased with these results.”
The House of Delegates agreed to adopt the House Finance strike-and-insert, and report the updated version of House Bill 2020 back to the Senate.
Senate Bill 147 was also discussed at length and amended by the House Finance committee. The amendment that was adopted would increase financial provisions to local municipalities under the bill.
An amendment to Senate Bill 544 was also adopted in a vote of 56-43 on this day.
The amendment would issue a one time, 5 percent pay raise to police personnel in the state.
Senate Bill 561 went under technical amendments at length. A provision regarding Sunday brunch was also adopted into the bill.
Forty-one bills were advanced to third reading on this evening. These bills can be accessed on the Calendar.
The House is adjourned until 10 a.m. tomorrow, Friday, March 8.
The Senate Committee on the Judiciary met for a brief meeting following the evening floor session to discuss House Bill 2540.
The proposed legislation would prohibit the waste of game animals, game birds or game fish. The Committee adopted a strike and insert amendment to the bill which would add additional language to greater clarify the provisions within the bill.
The Committee approved the bill, and will be reported to the Senate to be voted upon.
An amendment which would erase age limitations on the Family Planning Access Act was adopted with a 5-4 vote, Thursday.
Debate over House Bill 2583 began in the Senate Health and Human Resources committee following a request from Sen. Ron Stollings, D-Boone, to amend a strike and insert amendment which was proposed by counsel earlier in the meeting.
Sen. Patricia Rucker, R-Jefferson, then raised concerns over the proposed amendment, directing caution to the possibility of a child obtaining and using a contraceptive without the consent or knowledge of their parent of guardian. Rucker then explained that after the bill arrived in the Senate, she consulted the sponsors of the bill who said they wouldn’t like to see the age requirement removed.
Following conversation with her fellow Senator from Boone, Rucker then stated that she wouldn’t be able to support the legislation following the adoption of Stollings’ amendment, citing the amendment could potentially cause the legislation to be rejected.
Prior to it’s adoption, Stollings furthered urged adoption of the bill by stating that if rejected, the bill would potentially contribute to the state child welfare crisis.
“We’re putting up a barrier if we support the age standard found in this bill,” Stollings said. “We have a major child welfare crisis in this state and I believe that teen pregnancy is a direct contributor. Putting up a age limit will establishing another barrier for the girls in our state.”
Immediately following consideration of the Family Planning Access Act, multiple industry representatives came before members to explain House Bill 3131, a relating to salary adjustments to employee of the Department of Health and Human Resources. After lengthy discussion of the bill, members moved to adopt a committee amendment prior to reporting the bill to the full body.
Also passed by the committee were two study resolutions relating to defibrillators in public schools and the causation, diagnosis and compensation of black lung.
Two study resolutions, intended to review the state’s education system, came before the Senate education in brief meeting, Thursday afternoon.
Both resolutions, which are being sponsored by members of the committee, were reported to the full Senate with the recommendation of passage.
Sen. Rollan Roberts, R-Raleigh, sponsor of one resolution, spoke in favor of the proposed legislation, explaining it’s objective of studying the state’s current education system.
According to the Senator, the resolution would seek to challenge the state’s decreasing enrollment by studying the current system in place and examine the possibility of reducing the state into 17 school districts.
“[Our state] keeps struggling with many factors of our education system,” Roberts said. “Hopefully this could aid in setting us on the right track.”
The second resolution proposed by the committee is intended to study the requirement provision of adequate mental health/counseling services to students across the state.
The Senate Committee on the Judiciary met Thursday morning before floor session to discuss House Bill 2079, removing certain limitations on medical cannabis grower, processor, and dispensary licenses.
The original House bill would limit the number of grower and processor permits, and dispensary permits to 165, and remove the requirements that licenses be limited in regions in the state.
The Committee adopted a strike and insert to the bill and would do the following:
The Committee adopted two amendments to the strike and insert. Senator Baldwin (D – Greenbrier, 10) moved to amend the strike and insert by adding “geographical locations” to the list of factors when granting a dispensary permit. Senator Lindsay (D – Kanawha, 8) amended the strike and insert by adding a requirement that any West Virginia business licensed under the bill must have 51 percent of the business own by West Virginia residents.
The bill was approved by the Committee, and will be reported to the Senate to be voted upon.
The Committee also adopted four originating Senate Concurrent Resolutions during the meeting. Those resolutions include:
All four resolutions will be reported to the Senate to be voted upon.
The Senate Body convened Thursday morning and unanimously concurred with House amendments to Senate Bill 1, Increasing access to career education and workforce training.
The Proposed legislation would to establish an Advanced Career Education (ACE) program and create the West Virginia Invests Grant Program.
The ACE would prepare students in secondary schools for community and technical college for an associate’s degree or work certification. The program would require pathways that consist of a curriculum of courses leading to an associate degree or certification that has been determined to satisfy an area of workforce need as determined the Department of Commerce.
The West Virginia Invests Grants would provide tuition assistance to qualifying students who pursue higher education at a community or technical college. The bill also provides a provision for the Grant that people who graduate with assistance from the Grant must reside in the state for a minimum of two years. If they chose to leave the state, they will then be required to pay back the grant.
The House Amendment to the bill was for technical cleanup and stylistic changes.
Senate Bill 285, relating to sale of homemade food items, also completed legislation. The proposed legislation would create a procedure for the selling of unhazardous homemade food items, and would allow third-party distribution of those items.
The House Amendment to the bill was for technical changes.
The following bills also completed legislation:
All six bills will be vent to Governor Justice to be signed into law or vetoed.
The Senate also passed 16 bills on third reading which include the following:
30 bills were advanced to third reading including House Bill 2010, relating to foster care, with amendments passing as well.
The proposed legislation updates the regulation of foster care in West Virginia. The bill does nine things which include:
The Senate Committee on Finance amended the bill for technical cleanup and reorganization.
The Senate is currently in recess until 4:30 p.m.
The following committees will meet today:
Rules immediately following floor session in the President’s Chamber
Health 10 minutes following the conclusion of Rules in 451M
Education 10 minutes following the conclusion of Health in 451M
The Senate is adjourned until tomorrow at 10 a.m.
The following committee will meet tonight:
Judiciary at 5:40 p.m. in 208W
The House of Delegates met at 9 a.m. on Thursday, March 7 to consider several pieces of legislation on third reading. On this 58th day of the legislative session, the House’s agenda was full and the legislative body passed 33 bills. Among noteworthy bills passed were Senate Bill 4 and Senate Bill 318.
The House of Delegates had a consideration of and passed Senate Bill 4, a bill to establish municipal home rule as permanent statute in the state of West Virginia. The municipal home rule program is currently statute in many municipalities across the state, allowing them to pass ordinances and establish levies and taxes according to their individual needs. The passage of Senate Bill 4 would prevent the program from succumbing to its sunset clause in July of 2019.
The House Government Organization committee proposed a primary amendment to the version of Senate Bill 4 that was passed by the Senate. The strike and insert amendment would make several substantial changes to the originally passed bill.
The strike and insert amendment removes the West Virginia Workplace Freedom Act and Labor-Management Relations Act provisions from the list of laws which municipalities may not contradict to reflect the will of this committee. It originally added referendum language to Senate Bill 4 that would subject rules set by municipalities to referendum votes of 30% of the voting population.
Delegate Steve Westfall, R-Jackson, and several other delegates proposed a secondary amendment that would strike the referendum language from the strike-and-insert amendment.
Delegate Geoff Foster, R-Putnam, spoke against the secondary amendment, arguing that the removal of the referendum language would “remove the right of the people to have a say.”
Delegate Shawn Fluharty, D-Ohio, spoke in defense of the secondary amendment, arguing that a referendum would freeze any action that a municipality wanted to take as far as levying necessary taxes.
The secondary amendment passed in a 56-42 after a lengthy discussion.
A secondary amendment proposed by Delegate Chris Phillips, R-Barbour, was also passed by the House of Delegates. The amendment would prevent a municipality from passing any ordinance concerning the possession of firearms.
A similar secondary amendment was proposed by Delegate Eric Nelson, R-Kanawha, regarding architectural engineering. This amendment to Senate Bill 4 was also adopted.
The House’s version of Senate Bill 4 was passed in a vote of 87-11.
Another substantial bill that was passed on this day was Senate Bill 318, which would transfer 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.
Members were concerned about the movement of an arguably effective office to a more political office. Delegate Mike Pushkin, D-Kanawha, was one of the members who spoke in opposition of the bill’s passage.
“We would be putting this fraud unit in a political, high profile office. It’s going to sensationalize the whole process. We’re going to be seeing a lot more visibility and a lot more press conferences after investigations if this paces.”
Other Delegates spoke in favor of the bill’s passage, arguing that Medicaid investigations should not be carried out under the purview of a Department of Health and Human Resources office.
“This just avoids a conflict of interest,” Delegate Tom Bibby, R-Berkley, said.
Senate Bill 318 passed in a close vote of 58-42.
Other noteworthy bills on third reading that were passed out of the House of Delegates included the passage of Senate Bill 238.
Senate Bill 238, which was passed unanimously by the House of Delegates, would increase the fines and period of license suspension for passing a stopped school bus as well as provide for the installation of forward-facing and rear-facing cameras on all school buses.
Senate Bill 529 passed after a debate regarding the bill’s classification as a “booze bill”. The bill would clarify provisions in the Non-Intoxicating Beer Act. Most of the provisions regard the methods of licensure and ability of the Alcoholic Beverage Commission to regulate stores selling alcohol. One change would increase the ABV of non-intoxicating beers from 12 percent to 15 percent.
“This is yet again, another one of those booze bills that we’ve been passing all session,” Delegate Tom Fast, R-Fayette said. “The increase of access to alcohol does not make our state a better place.”
Despite the concerns from several members, Senate Bill 529 passed.
Senate Bill 658 was passed in an 85-13 vote. This bill would allow individuals in the state of West Virginia with a felony of financial matters to not be restricted from licensing a vehicle.
All bills on third reading were passed out of the House of Delegates. All bills can be accessed via the Calendar.
The House is in Recess until 5:00 p.m. today, Wednesday, March 7. The House will reconvene to consider bills on second reading and to receive committee reports and messages from the Senate.
Committees Meeting After Floor Session:
-The House Judiciary Committee will meet at 3:30 p .m. in 418-M for consideration of resolutions.
Two bills intended to create a PIEA rainy day fund were reported to the full Senate following the adoption of an amendment in Thursday’s Senate finance committee.
If passed, House Bills 3139 and 2665 would result in the creation of a PEIA fund intended to be used by the state’s higher education establishments. Prior to discussion of the bill, multiple individuals from the state’s governmental industries came before members to explain the specific details of the bill
Deputy Secretary of the Department of Revenue, Allen Prunty, opened discussion of 3139 by explaining the new fund would act as a way to address future premium increases from PEIA. The fund would be established with 150 million, 105 million of which would come from the supplemental appropriation found in House Bill 2665.
Prunty said the bill would establish three years of prefunding partially through a collection of fees from employees of the state’s higher education universities. The collection of these fees would be mandated, but according to Prunty, the bill established language which would give higher education employees the ability to request six additional months to cover the cost.
Following further discussions with additional representatives, Prunty returned to explain a conceptional amendment for the bill which was created through conversations with West Virginia University. The secretary explained the amendment would have serves two purposes; focusing the collection of assessment fees from those higher education employees who have PEIA, and establishing the option of a three payment installment plan, spanning three years, two of which are fiscal years.
After discussion of the amendment, Sen. Eric Tarr, R-Putnam, offered an additional amendment which would completely strike the section that requests payment from employees, keeping the language which establishes the fund. Tarr explained that the amendment intends to take the burden of payments away from the state’s higher education establishments, giving the Legislature the opportunity to find additional revenue to fund the remaining 40 million of the rainy day fund.
Multiple Senators agreed with Tarr’s amendment, ultimately resulting in it’s adoption to the bill. Following review of the amendment, counsel explain that the industry’s amendment would no longer be needed.
Following a vote from the committee, members motioned to report House Bill 3139, in addition to 2665, to the full Senate.
House Bill 2049 would amend §21-5-7 of the State Code 7 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 Committee strike and insert amendment was different from the House version with regards to notification of employers. The House bill set requirements for delivery of notice including for the mail to be certified. The adopted strike and insert amendment does not set any requirements.
House Bill 2709 related to hunting licenses. The Committee adopted a strike and insert amendment to bill that took away all of the original language of the House bill, and inserted the language of Senate Bill 414, The Protect Our Right to Unite Act.
The now amended bill would protect an individual’s right to anonymously support organizations. The proposed legislation would provide that such information is exempt from production under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). It would also state that the names, addresses, and other contact information of people’s hunting or fishing licenses is exempt from disclosure of a FOIA.
House Bill 2779 would use funds being held by the courts to plug orphaned oil and natural gas wells which are currently polluting the environment. The Committee adopted a strike and insert amendment proposed by Senator Romano (D – Harrison, 12) which would strike all of the language of the proposed House bill, and insert eh language of Senate Bill 541.
The amended bill would now require assurances for each well drilled instead of using a blank $50,000 bond to cover all wells drilled by an operator. In some cases, it only amounts to $20 per well. The bill would be in response to the orphaned well problem.
All three bills were approved by the Committee, and will be reported to the Senate to be voted upon.
The following bills were also passed by the Committee:
The Committee also considered passage of House Bill 2164 which would codify the right to appeal a final judgement of a circuit court to the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals. A motion was made by Vice Chair Weld (R – Brooke, 1) to strike all of the language of the House bill, and insert the language of Senate Bill 266, West Virginia Intermediate Court of Appeals. The motion was defeated by a vote of 8 – 8, and the bill is still in the Committee.
A bill which would reduce the severance tax on the state’s coal became the topic of extensive debate in Wednesday’s Senate finance committee.
Following the introduction of a committee amendment to House Bill 3142, members participated in lengthy discussion, ultimately resulting in the adoption of an amended amendment and the bill being reported to the full Senate with the recommendation of passage.
Senior Vice President for the West Virginia Coal Association, Chris Hamilton, stood before the committee to address numerous concerns surrounding the proposed legislation and further explained the intentions of the bill. According to Hamilton, the state’s coal severance tax is split into two categories; thermal and steam. If passed, the bill would effect the amount of severance tax which is given back to the state and to counties.
Currently the state receives 4.65 of the tax while counties receive .35. House Bill 3142 intends to reduce the state collection to 2.65 over a period of years while still allocating .35 to individual counties.
While discussing the legislation, multiple committee members questioned how the legislation could potentially impact employment in the state’s coal mines. Mark Muchow, deputy secretary for the Department of Revenue then came before the committee to explain that an impact on employment would depend on the market for steam coal, and although the market seems to be decreasing for surrounding states, West Virginia has recently experienced a 3.65 increase in coal production.
After numerous Senators spoke in favor and opposition of the bill, the committee concluded discussion of the legislation by adopting a committee amendment which was then amended by Sen. Ron Stollings, D-Boone, to require 5% of the coal’s severance tax to be allocated to counties for the purpose of economic development.
The committee opened their meeting by reviewing multiple supplemental appropriations, all relating to reallocation of state funds to various government organizations. Following consideration, all were reported to the full body.
The House of Delegates’ fiscal year 2020 budget was passed by the Senate in a 20-14 vote, Wednesday.
Immediately following passage of House Bill 2020, majority leader, Tom Takubo, R-Kanawha, motioned for the bill to become effective upon passage, resulting in rejection.
The proposed budget received a strike and insert amendment from finance committee Chair, Sen. Craig Blair, R-Berkeley, Tuesday, ultimately resulting in the budget being amended to include the Senate’s budget.
Senate Bill 150, the Senate’s budget bill, included reductions to 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.
Improvements to the proposed bill currently totals at $137,048,000 for fiscal year 2020.
Of the 13 House Bills on second reading, eight received amendments from various Senators and committees in the body. House Bill 2992, which relates to governmental websites, received an amendment from the committee on government organization and then received an amendment to the amendment from the finance committee,
Prior to readings, the body acknowledged various pieces of unfinished business and received multiple messages from the House, many of which were amended by the body. Senate Bill 154, which would allow for school facilities to be used for memorial services for certain community members, and Senate Bill 360, relating to third-party litigation financing, received amendments to the House’s amendments.
Multiple resolutions relating to George Washington High School’s athletic teams were also passed during Wednesday’s floor session Each of the resolutions were intended to congratulate the teams for their achievements. Of the resolutions were Senate Resolutions 70, 71 and 72.
The Senate is currently in recess until 6 p.m.
The following committees will meet today:
The following committees will meet tomorrow:
UPDATE: The Senate reconvened following their 6 p.m. recess to recieve committee reports and announce additional committee meetings. The body also recieved a proclamation from the Governor extended the session for one day with the intention of focusing on the 2020 budget.
The House of Delegates met today to discuss and pass many Senate bills, however they first concurred with amendments the Senate had made with House bills. These bills were all passed by the House and all amendments were accepted:
· House Bill 2311, exempting short-term license holder sot submit information to the State Tax Commission once the term of the permit has expired
· House Bill 2405, imposing a healthcare related provider tax on certain health care organization
· House Bill 2525, Tobacco Cessation Therapy Access Act
· House Bill 2907, requiring a form of a certified commitment order to the Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation
· Senate Bill 61, adding certain crimes for which for which prosecutor may apply for wiretaBills passed on Third Reading:
· Senate Bill 1, increasing access to career education and workforce training
· Senate Bill 187, authorizing Department of Revenue to promulgate legislative rules
· Senate Bill 285, relating to sale of homemade food items
· Senate Bill 537, creating workgroup to review hospice need standards
· Senate Bill 546, relating to health care provider taxes
· Senate Bill 587, relating to PEIA reimbursement of air ambulance providers
· Senate Bill 617, relating to method of payment to Municipal Pensions Security Fund
· Senate Bill 653, relating generally to practice of medical corporations
· Senate Bill 675, requiring DEP create and implement Adopt-A-Stream Program
Bills amended on Second Reading:
· Senate Bill 199, authorizing certain miscellaneous agencies and boards promulgate legislative rules
· Senate Bill 241, permitting county court clerk scan certain documents in electronic form
· Senate Bill 317, authorizing three or more adjacent counties from multi county trail network authority
· Senate Bill 392, relating to payment of invoices received by Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation
· Senate Bill 400, allowing Board of Dentistry create specialty licenses
· Senate Bill 402, authorizing Division of Forestry Investigate and enforce timber theft violations
· Senate Bill 405, increasing limit on additional expenses incurred in preparing notice list for redemption
· Senate Bill 487, relating to admissibility of health care staffing requirements in litigation
· Senate Bill 496, transferring authority to regulate milk from DHHR to Department of Agriculture
· Senate Bill 529, clarifying provisions of Nonintoxicating Beer Act
· Senate Bill 566, relating to compensation for State Athletic Commission members
· Senate Bill 596, adjusting voluntary contribution amounts on certain DMV forms
· Senate Bill 600, relating to preservation of biological evidence obtained through criminal investigations and trials
· Senate Bill 633, authorizing Board of Physical Therapy conduct criminal background checks on applicants for licenses
· Senate Bill 673, relating to public higher education accountability and planning
All bills on first reading were also advanced.
The House of Delegates is in recess until 4:30 p.m. this evening.
The House of Delegates reconvened to concur with bills amended by the Senate:
The House refused to concur with amendments made to House Bill 2009.
They will reconvene tomorrow at 9 a.m.
The Senate Committee on Government Organization reconvened Wednesday morning to continue their Tuesday afternoon meeting.
Before recessing on Tuesday, the Committee was discussing proposed strike and insert amendment to House Bill 3020, allowing 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.
The Committee moved to take away the strike and insert amendment, and instead only propose amendments to the original House Bill. The Committee then adopted a proposed amendment by Senator Palumbo (D – Kanawha, 17) which would limit the proposed legislation only to financial services.
House Bill 2856 would amend the provisions of the West Virginia Code relating to the administration of the operating fund of the Auditor’s securities division. It would change the amount of money from that account that is transferred to the General Revenue Fund. The bill is a cleanup bill from past legislation.
Senate Concurrent Resolution 1 would request the Joint Committee on Government and Finance study the state’s appraisal laws as they relate to Broker Price Opinions, Inspections, and evaluations and how they compare to other states’ laws.
The Committee unanimously adopted the two House bills and the Senate Concurrent Resolution. All three will be reported to the Senate to be voted upon.
Legislation seeking to reform the state’s foster care system was passed out of the Senate finance committee late Tuesday evening.
The arrival of the bill in finance stood as the final committee reference that House Bill 2010 will receive before coming before the full Senate for consideration.
Prior to passage of the bill, extensive debate over the legislation took place among members, ultimately resulting in a number of amendments being offered. Deputy Secretary for the Department of Health and Human Resources, Jeremiah Samples, came before the committee to address concerning surrounding the proposed legislation and aid in discussing amendments.
Following questions concerning the committee’s amendment, the bill received two; one from the committee of Health and Human Resources and another from Sen. Robert Plymale, D-Wayne.
Four bills were passed out of the Senate education committee following consideration in Tuesday’s meeting.
Of the legislation on the agenda, House Bill 2004, which would provide for a program of instruction in workforce preparedness, was the only piece of legislation to result in extensive debate. If passed, the bill would require for the state’s higher education organizations to aid in creating more opportunities for high school students to have access to college credit.
A large portion of the discussion surrounded around the state’s community and technical college’ use of the proposed bill, ultimately resulting in Sarah Tucker, chancellor of the West Virginia Community and Technical Education System, coming before the committee to answer member’s questions.
Following discussion of the bill, Sen. Mike Romano, D-Harrison, moved to amend the legislation to include language that would ensure high school students to be included in graduation ceremonies while also enrolled in technical career programs.
After discussion of the amendment, members moved to adopt Romano’s amendment and motioned to report the bill to the full Senate. Prior to consideration of 2004, the committee also reported House Bills 2378, 2662, 2422 and 2541.
The committee also motioned to send a higher education study resolution to the Senate but was unable to review the two remaining resolutions on their agenda.
House Bill 2768, which would reduce the use of certain prescription drugs, was reported to the full Senate following discussion in Tuesday’s Senate health and human resources committee.
According to an explanation provided by counsel, the bill relates to legislation previously passed out of the legislature concerning the review of medication prescribed by a physician. As a result, House Bill 2768 would aid in combatting the state’s physicians being cited for potential violations.
Following the explanation, Sen. Ron Stollings, D-Boone, addressed his fellow members and stated that the proposed legislation was a good clean up following the passage of earlier legislation. The Senator explained that due to the nature of the previous bill, physicians throughout the state have become fearful of prescribing certain medications, resulting in a “disservice to their community.”
In the pursuit of not violating code, Stollings said that physicians that have ceased the use of certain drugs, leading to patients seeking alternative doctors. As numerous patients attempt to find certain drugs elsewhere, the state is beginning to notice overprescribing regions throughout the state. With limited use of these drugs, the state would also be aiding in the fight against West Virginia’s opioid epidemic.
Following Stollings remarks, Sen. Eric Tarr, R-Putnam, agreed with his fellow committee member in stating that passage of the bill would also update conflicts in existing legislation and put previous bills in compliance with federal language.
Prior to the bill, members also reviewed House Bill 2674, which would create a student loan repayment program for a mental health provider. In an explanation provided by counsel, members learned about the two programs which would be established and implemented following the bill’s passage. After discussion of the bill, members motioned to report the bill to the full Senate with the recommendation of passage.
Prior to review of the proposed legislation, the committee also reviewed two concurrent resolution and reported them to them to the full Senate. House Concurrent Resolution 48 which urges the Commissioner of the Bureau for Public Health to designate Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias as a public health issue and Senate Concurrent Resolution 41 which requests a study creating paid family and medical leave insurance program.
The Senate Committee on the Judiciary met Tuesday evening following the split Senate Floor Session to discuss six different House bills.
The Committee considered House Bill 2519, the Campus Self Defense Act (better known as Campus Carry), and adopted a strike and insert amendment to the bill. The proposed legislation would allow a person who holds a current and valid license to carry a concealed deadly weapon to carry such a weapon on the campus and in the buildings of a state institution of higher education. After a brief discussion over the bill, the motion to reported it to the Senate to be voted upon was defeated by a vote of 7 to 9.
The following bills were approved by the Committee and will be reported to the Senate:
House Bill 2694 would provide that if the state desires to have primary regulatory authority over the production of industrial hemp, the state may submit to the Secretary of Agriculture for approval through the West Virginia Department of Agriculture, and a plan under which the state will regulate the production of industrial hemp. The Committee adopted a strike and insert amendment for greater clarification of the bill.
House Bill 2934 would authorize the licensing of interactive wagering in West Virginia. The bill details the specific duties and powers the West Virginia Lottery Commission in oversight, with explicit provisions for rule-making authority, while requiring the Commission to levy and collect all fees, surcharges, civil penalties, and weekly tax on adjusted gross interactive wagering receipts and deposit them into the West Virginia Lottery Interactive Wagering Fund. A strike and insert amendment was adopted for technical cleanup.
House Bill 2486 would to remove barriers to employment for individuals with criminal records who seek licensure or certification in an occupation governed by this article, with certain exceptions. The Committee adopted a proposed strike and insert amendment for technical cleanup.
House Bill 3057 would continue the Adult Drug Court Participation Fund in the State Treasurer’s office.
House Bill 2503 would to amend certain procedures in child neglect or abuse cases. The bill would require a petition to include an accusatory statement, provide when a court may and may not appoint counsel, and it removes the provision permitting co-petitioners each to have counsel. A strike and insert amendment was adopted to rearrange the bill, and to greater clarify language within the proposed legislation.
The Senate Body reconvened Tuesday evening to finish the proposed amendments to Senate Bill 150, Budget Bill.
Five proposed amendments were adopted and incorporated into SB 150. The amendments include the following:
The Senate then lied the bill over, and immediately amended House Bill 2020, the Budget Bill. The Senate adopted a strike and insert amendment to the bill, which took out everything within the original language to House Bill 2020 and inserted the language of Senate Bill 150.
The amended House Budget Bill reduces the Governor’s Budget by $100 Million, and improves 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. These bills include:
According House Bill 2020, $15,890,000 would be collected through a reduction of general revenue of the following Senate bills:
The total appropriation of the amended House Bill 2020 is $13,729,074,601. Following the adoption of the amendment, the bill was advanced to third reading.
Following the adoption of the amendment, the bill was advanced to third reading.
The Senate is adjourned until tomorrow at 11 a.m.
The following committees will meet today:
Finance 15 minutes after the floor session in 451M
Judiciary 15 minutes after the floor session in 208W
The following committees will meet tomorrow:
Transportation at 9 a.m. in 451M
Gov. Org. at 10 a.m. in 208W
The Energy Committee advanced a bill relating to expedited horizontal oil and gas well permitting fees.
In the last meeting of the regular session, the House Energy Committee advanced Senate Bill 665. This bill amends the West Virginia Code by adding new subsections to allow for expedited oil and gas well permitting and expedited oil and gas well permit modifications upon the payment of applicable expedited fees.
The designation of the proceeds of such expedited fees, and the daily pro rata refund of the expedited fees if the permit or modification is not approved within statutory requirements set forth in the bill.
The bill now heads to the House.
The Judiciary Committee met briefly Tuesday for their last meeting before the end of the regular session, advancing two bills.
The committee advanced Senate Bill 613, which would require DNR include election of organ donation on hunting licenses. This bill amends and reenacts code relating to permitting individuals to make an anatomical gift on a hunting or fishing license. This also permits the Division of Natural Resources to provide donor registrant records collected to the donor registry.
The committee also advanced Senate Bill 340, which would repeal obsolete provisions of code relating to the West Virginia Physicians Mutual Insurance Company.
The Physician’s Mutual Insurance Company was created in 2001 to provide medical liability insurance to physicians in this state, at a time when many private carriers had either stopped writing this coverage in the state, or the premiums had increased to unaffordable amounts.
Initially state funded and formed, it was governed by the Board of Risk and Insurance (BRIM) which was tasked with implementing the initial formation and organization of the company.
The article initially specified that the company have a board of directors of certain members and provided for the transfer of policies previously initially written by BRIM to the company.
The article has been amended in the last several years and the PMIC has since been authorized to operate independently of BRIM, as a private mutual insurance company. Therefore, the article has no further purpose or function.
The Senate convened Tuesday for an extensive floor session that began with honoring a former member of the Senate Body.
John Franklin Deem (R – Harrisville, W.Va.), West Virginia politician, served in both the House of Delegates and the West Virginia Senate over the span of seven decades – starting in 1955 and ending in 2018. He died on October 10, 2018 at Camden Clark Memorial Hospital in Parkersburg, W.Va.
Deem was born in Harrisville, W.Va. in 1928, and he dedicated his life to serving the state and the country. Deem served in the United States Navy during World War II, and was the proud business owner of Frank Deem's Market in Harrisville, Frank Deem Chevrolet in St. Mary's, and the owner/operator of JF Deem Oil and Gas for more than 50 years.
The Senate unanimously adopted Senate Resolution 68, Memorializing the life of Honorable John Franklin Deem, and presented the Resolution to Deem’s wife, Rebecca and other family members.
Following the presentation of the Resolution, the Senate completed legislation on 14 bills that will be sent to Governor Justice to signed into law or vetoed.
House Bill 2538 would provide banking services for services provided under the WV Medical Cannabis Act. The proposed legislation is believed to be the final step into implementing medical cannabis into West Virginia Healthcare. The bill would do the following:
Senate Bill 3 would establish the West Virginia Small Wireless Facilities Deployment Act. It pre-empts the manner in which an authority may prohibit, regulate, or charge for the collocation of small wireless facilities. The House of Delegates added three provisions to the bill which the Senate concurred with and include the following:
Senate Bill 72 would create the Sexual Assault Victims’ Bill of Rights. The rights provided in the proposed legislation include the following:
The House Committee on the Judiciary implemented a strike and insert amendment to clarify definitions within the bill, and for technical cleanup. The Senate also concurred with the House Amendments.
Other bills that completed legislation include:
Governor Justice vetoed Senate Bill 61, adding certain crimes for which prosecutor may apply for wiretap, because the title of the proposed legislation didn’t relate to the contents of the bill. The Senate quickly amended the title, and passed it once again to fix the Governor’s concerns.
The Senate also passed eight bills that were on third reading, and will be reported to the House for concurrence. The eight bills include:
Senate Bill 150, the Budget Bill, was also on third reading with a right to amend the bill.
The Senate is currently in recess until 6 p.m.
The following committees will meet today:
Health at 2 p.m. in 451M
Energy at 2 p.m. in 208W
Education at 3 p.m. in 451M
Gov. Org. at 3 p.m. in 208W
Finance at 4 p.m. in 451M
Judiciary at 4 p.m. in 208W
The House of Delegates convened at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, March 5, for the 56th day of the legislative session. On this day, 20 Senate bills were up for passage on third reading, with a number of them regarding legislative rules for various state agencies.
Senate Bill 163, Senate Bill 175, Senate Bill 190, and Senate Bill 223 were all legislative rules bundles that were on third reading this day. All of these bundles were passed with little discussion, and made effective upon passage.
Noteworthy bills that were passed on third reading include Senate Bill 316, a bill to amend the provisions of the West Virginia Code relating to the correction of errors in payments to or from a municipal policeman’s or fireman’s pension and relief funds. The bill would authorize a municipality to approve continued overpayments of benefits from pension and relief funds for any retiree who retired prior to the enactment of the current provisions, instead of reducing the benefit payments to the correct amount as would be required under current law.
Senate Bill 491 passed after lengthy discussion that spanned over all three days of the bill being read. This bill 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 bill spurred discussion regarding the department’s delay in getting automatic voter registration implemented after legislation mandating it was passed in 2016. Miscommunication between the DMV and the WV Secretary of State’s Office has led to automatic voter registration stalling after its passage. Several delegates believed that the passage of the bill would not hold the departments accountable.
“We as a legislative body have directed this agency to accomplish something,” Delegate Andrew Robinson, D-Kanawha said. “If we get more people involved, and we get more people voting, that’s an advantage for all of us. More good will be done, more community involvement will happen across the state, and this would be beneficial across the board.”
Other delegates said that the passage of the bill would help to ensure that the agencies involved will receive the help necessary to get the job done.
Delegate Moore Capito, R-Kanawha, spoke in defense of the bill’s passage, saying that it would provide a “statutory ultimatum” for the agencies, and was “necessary to getting all the moving parts to come together”.
After a lengthy debate, Senate Bill 316 passed in a vote of 61-38.
Senate Bill 624 also generated debate on the House floor, but was ultimately passed. This bill would require the State Board to allow county boards to use an alternative assessment, such as the ACT assessment, pursuant to the locally selected assessment option provided for in the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).
All other bills on third reading were passed by the House of Delegates. All bills that were considered and passed can be accessed in the Calendar.
Senate Bill 1, a bill on second reading, was amended at length.
Senate Bill 1, a bill to increase access to the state’s community and technical schools, 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 of Delegates unanimously adopted the primary amendment to Senate Bill 1, a strike-and-insert amendment from the House Education Committee. The amendment would make several changes. The strike and insert includes 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.
Several secondary amendments to the primary amendment were also adopted on this day. A secondary technical amendment was made, and an amendment made by Delegate Phillip Diserio, D-Brooke, was also adopted.
Diserio’s amendment would encourage and foster cooperation between apprenticeship programs and community and technical schools.
The House is in Recess until 7 p.m. today, March 5.
They will reconvene to continue consideration of bills on second reading, consider bills on first reading, and to receive committee reports.
Committees Meeting After Floor Session Today:
-The House Pensions and Retirement Committee will meet directly following the 11 a.m. House floor session in 460-M.
-The House Committee on Energy will meet at 2:30 in 418-M.
- The House Committee on Finance will meet at 3 p.m. in 460-M for continued consideration of their agenda.
The House reconvened briefly at 7:00 p.m. to continue consideration of bills on second reading, consider bills on first reading, and to receive committee reports.
Senate Bill 285 was amended by the House Judiciary Committee. They offered a strike and insert to the bill which would allow for the local Health Department to order stoppage of sale if the homemade food is found to have caused a food-borne illness.
Senate Bill 537 was amended by the Health and Human Resource Committee to add in the WV Healthcare Authority as the reviewing entity.
All bills on first reading were advanced.
The House of Delegates is adjourned untill 11 a.m. on Wednesday, March 6.
-The House Committee on Finance will meet directly after the House floor session.
Committees Meeting Tomorrow Morning:
- The House Rules Committee will meet at 10:45 a.m. behind the Chamber.
The Judiciary Committee met for an extended meeting yesterday which encompassed a multitude of bills. One bill, Senate Bill 487 would improve ability of law enforcement to locate and return missing persons.
In a medical professional liability action-if state staffing standards are met, it establishes a conclusive presumption of adequate staffing, and a rebuttable presumption that adequate supervision to prevent accidents was provided. Likewise, if staffing is less than state regulations dictate, there arises a rebuttable presumption of inadequate staffing or supervision which was a contributing cause of a fall, injury or death. The bill was reported to the House.
Senate Bill 485 clarifies notification requirements for insurance purposes. This bill removes a notice provision regarding transfer of a policyholder between companies within the same insurance group and adds it to another section. The bill was reported to the House.
Senate Bill 90 relates to transferring Safety and Treatment Program from DHHR to DMV. This requires that moneys from the DHHR Safety and Treatment Fund be transferred to the DMV Treatment Fund. This bill also creates a new subsection that requires the DMV to create grievance and appellate procedures by promulgation of rules that allows participants to appeal to the regular courts of the state after they have exhausted administrative remedies. The bill was reported to the House.
Senate Bill 561 permits the Alcohol Beverage Control Administration to request the assistance of law enforcement. The bill accomplishes 15 separate items and permits ABCA to request and obtain the assistance of local law enforcement in enforcing liquor laws. The bill was reported to the House.
Senate Bill 369 relates to generic drug products. This bill removes the requirement that pharmacies “pass along” acquisition cost savings with respect to generic drugs to insured customers. Pharmacies still must pass along those savings to uninsured individuals. The bill was reported to the House.
Senate Bill 669 allows appointment of commissioners to acknowledge signatures. This bill a new article to allow the appointment of commissioners to acknowledge signatures performed in or out of the State by persons residing in or out of the State covering deeds, leases, and other writings pertaining to West Virginia property for recordation in the State. The bill was reported to the House.
Three bills relating to the state’s veterans passed the Senate military committee following brief discussion Tuesday morning.
After receiving minimal questions from the committee, members still motioned to report each of the three bills to the Senate with the recommendation of passage. Of the reported legislation were House Bills:
A study resolution intended to look at the sell of round timber wood was originated by the Senate committee for natural resources Tuesday morning.
Committee Chair, Mark Maynard, R-Wayne, explained that the resolution arose following “push back” surrounding House Bill 2718, a bill which would require purchasers of roundwood to collect and maintain certain information regarding the buying and selling of the wood. The bill originally passed out of the House
In an explanation provided by counsel, members learned that the objective of the resolution would be to investigate the buying and selling of roundwood in the state while also tracking records which are distributed during transactions. Counsel stated that the resolution would aid establish violation standards and a fine of $1,000 to $3,000 for not distributing records during an transaction.
Jason Webb from the Land and Mineral Owner Association came before the committee to explain that the House Bill 2718 was a direct result of a similar bill passed in 2012 which required the sellers of roundwood to keep records. Webb stated that since the passage of the bill, crimes in which round timber wood has been stolen and sold without records have significantly increased. The objective of this study resolution would intend for an increase in record keeping to aid in potential crimes according to Webb.
Following discussion of this resolution, the committee motioned to report to the resolution to the full Senate with the recommendation of passage.
The Senate Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development met Tuesday morning for a brief meeting to discuss one House bill.
House Bill 2396 would create the West Virginia Fresh Foods Act. The meat and potatoes of the bill consist of requiring state-funded institutions, such as schools, colleges, correctional facilities, government agencies, and state parks to purchase a minimum of five percent of fresh produce from in-state producers.
The goal of the proposed legislation is to promote local in-state farming instead of buying fresh produce from out-of-state producers. The original bill required a minimum of 20 percent to be from in-state producers, but was amended to five percent while in the House Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources. The Senate Committee adopted a strike and insert amended for technical clean up to the bill and was approved unanimously.
The bill will be reported to the Senate, and will request to have the second reference to the Senate Committee on Government Organization to be waived.
The Senate Committee on the Judiciary met Monday afternoon for a long discussion over an intellectual property bill.
House Bill 2014 create the West Virginia Intellectual Property and Trade Secrets Act which is different from the Uniform Trade Secrets Act. The goal of the bill is to “Make West Virginia an outlier in a positive sense towards tech companies”, said Speaker Hanshaw (R – Clay, 33).
It would rearrange the current Code to place a short title at the front of the article. It adds a new definition of intellectual property to the current definitions found in the article. The statute of limitation would be expanded from three to five years.
Multiple stakeholders testified during the committee either for or against the proposed legislation. After hearing from both sides, Chairman Trump (R – Morgan, 15) decided to table to the bill until a later date, so the Chamber of Commerce and other stakeholders could have enough time to read the Committee Substitute strike and insert amendment to the bill.
The Committee also passed three House bills during Monday’s meeting.
House Bill 2190 would modify bail requirements in the judicial system. It would require a magistrate, except for good cause shown, to release a person charged with certain misdemeanor offenses on his or her own recognizance.
House Bill 2412 would consolidate criminal offenses relating to government procurement into one article within Chapter 61 of the West Virginia Code, to establish definitions common to all offenses, and to clarify who is subject to these prohibitions.
House Bill 2809 relates to the Hatfield-McCoy Recreation Area. Currently, a person who does not remain within and on a designated and marked trail while within the Hatfield-McCoy Recreation Area is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, shall be fined not more than $100.
The bill would increase the criminal fines for individuals who do not remain within and on a designated trail while within the Hatfield-McCoy Recreation Area to a fine of not less than $1,000.
At the beginning of the meeting, Chairman Trump announced that House Bill 2519, Campus Self Defense Act, was taken off the Committee agenda.
Eights bills were reported out of the Senate finance committee following brief discussion Monday afternoon.
Despite the lengthy agenda, members were able to review the proposed legislation and adopt multiple amendments to address techincal errors found within the bills. Of the passed legislation were House Bills: 2001, 2452, 2550, 2579, 2667, 2992, 3135 and 3144.
While reviewing 3144, Sen. Corey Palumbo, D-Kanawha, raised concern over the absence of a fiscal note which has been drafted to create a new tax rebate. Deputy Secretary for the Department of Revenue, Mark Muchow, came before the committee to address the Senator’s concern and explained that it’s hard to establish a a solid number for a rebate drawn from the state’s coal field.
Muchow further stated that although it’s difficult to establish a solid number for fiscal, he predicted the initial start up administration cost for the bill would be around $70,000.
Although it was on the committee’s agenda, House Bill 2831, which intends to aid in finding and declaring certain claims against the state and its agencies to be moral obligations, was motioned to be laid over by Sen. Dave Sypolt, R-Preston.
A study resolution concerning the Board of Risk and Insurance Management resulted in extensive debate during Monday’s Senate banking and insurance committee.
The originating resolution came about as a result of the committee’s discussion surrounding Senate Bill 552 last month. If passed, the bill would have attempted to reform the practice of securing the state’s insurance.
Following an explanation from counsel, Sen. Corey Palumbo, D-Kanawha, opened discussion by thanking the committee for rejecting the proposed legislation and stating that he believed interim meetings shouldn’t be used to study BRIM. Sen. Mike Romano, D-Harrison, then built onto his fellow Senator’s statement by explaining that he’s found BRIM to be extremely difficult while practicing law in his daily life.
Sen. Craig Blair, R-Berkeley, then addressed the Senators to state that the main concept behind the proposed resolution was due to multiple requests being made to BRIM by specific government organizations throughout the state.
“I think we have a duty to study BRIM and how they’re paying out (the organizations),” Blair said. “We may not identity anything wrong with BRIM, but maybe the resolution will reveal what’s going wrong in other organizations.”
Blair further explained that while reviewing multiple claims to BRIM, he found the organizations in questions were reporting claims from anywhere between $0 to $100,000.
Sen. Harrison then addressed his fellow committee member to ask if the topic of the study should be potentially be shifted, resulting in Blair motioning for a conceptional amendment to strike language within the bill to provide that specific information be drawn from BRIM to ultimately see where the organization can be improved and strengthened.
Following discussion of the amendment, members motioned to adopt the Blair’s proposal and report the bill to the full Senate with the recommendation of passage.
The House Health and Human Resources Committee convened at 4 p.m. on Monday, March 4 in 215-E for their final committee meeting for the regular legislative session. During this meeting, the House Health and Human Resources committee voted overwhelmingly to defeat Senate Bill 348, a bill to increase the age to purchase tobacco in WV to 21.
Senate Bill 348 is a bill that passed through the WV Senate after a lengthy debate. This bill would raise the age that West Virginian individuals could buy tobacco products from 18 to 21. The bill would additionally add a provision that would penalize individuals for smoking in an enclosed vehicle with a person under the age 17. Despite the bill being passed in the Senate after nearly a day’s worth of debate, Senate Bill 348 was rejected by the committee with very little discussion.
“People turn 18 and can vote, they can join the military, I don’t see why they shouldn’t be able to make the choice to smoke tobacco,” Delegate Jim Butler, R-Mason said in opposition to the bill.
Delegate Cindy Lavender-Bowe, D-Monongalia, spoke in defense of Senate Bill 348’s passage.
“West Virginia has the 7th highest number of teenagers who smoke,” said Lavender-Bowe. “This is a good bill; it aims to educate our youth.”
Despite several delegates agreeing with her sentiments, the majority of members voted against Senate Bill 348.
The House Health and Human Resources Committee had a consideration of and passed Senate Bill 640 with little discussion. This bill would establish the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Prevention Act.
The purpose of the proposed act is to promote education of sudden cardiac arrest to aid in detection and prevention to West Virginia students while they are in their youth. The bill provides that the WV Department of Education working in conjunction with the State Health Officer will develop educational materials and guidelines regarding sudden cardiac arrest for students of all ages and risks associated with continuing to play or practice after experiencing fainting or seizures during exercise, unexplained shortness of breath, chest pains, racing heart, or extreme fatigue.
Senate Bill 640 was advanced to the House floor with recommendation that it pass.
The Senate unanimously motioned to lay over their 2020 budget bill Monday morning.
Despite being on third reading, Senate Bill 150 will now be taken up for consideration Tuesday, March 5.
Finance Chair, Sen. Craig Blair, R-Berkeley, rose to explain that the swift passage by the finance committee had caused for the body to “get ahead of themselves” concerning the budget. The Chair also urged his fellow Senators to relay all questions relating to the budget to him or his staff.
Additionally, a message concerning Saturday’s passage of the House of Delegates’ budget was also received by the body, prompting members to take the bill up for immediate consideration and read for a first time.
Of the 15 pieces of legislation on the calendar for second reading, seven bills received amendments from the body. A majority of the amendments offered by members arose out of committees and provided minimal technical changes to the bill.
The body also passed Senate Resolution 76 which recognized the WV School of Osteopathic Medicine. Multiple members rose to urge adoption of the legislation prior to it’s passage.
The Senate is currently in recess until 5:30 p.m.
The following committees will meet today:
The following committees will meet tomorrow:
UPDATE: Following recess, the Senate reconvened to accept additional committee reports. The body is now adjourn until Tuesday, Feb. 5 at 11 a.m.
The Judiciary Committee met briefly and discussed Senate Bill 102. This bill relates generally to powers and authority of courthouse security officers.
The purpose of this bill is to authorize certain West Virginia courthouse security officers to carry concealed firearms while off duty with court approval. After much discussion about the bill and questions asked a subcommittee was established to further investigate the bill and determine a result. The subcommittees report came back and they reached the conclusion to submit the bill to a study resolution for further investigation.
Senate Bill 238 increases certain penalties for passing stopped school buses. This bill simply increases fines for illegally passing a school bus, passing a bus causing serious bodily injury, passing a bus causing death. Finally the bill require that school buses purchased after July 1, 2019 be equipped with operating forward-facing cameras. The bill will be reported to the House.
Senate Bill 404 relates generally to sediment control during commercial timber harvesting operations. The bill will be reported to the committee.
Senate Bill 600 relates to preservation of biological evidence obtained through criminal investigations and trials. This bill directs the Secretary of DMAPS to investigate modes and methods of storing and preserving biological evidence from criminal cases. It also directs the Secretary to give the legislature proposals and draft legislation for biological evidence storage and preservation. The bill will be reported to the House.
Senate Bill 493 corrects terminology referring to racing vehicles illegally on streets. This bill amends code which makes it unlawful to race motor vehicles on public streets. The bill changes the term “drag racing” to “illegal street racing.” The bill will be reported to the House.
Senate Bill 657 provides consumer protection regarding self-propelled farm equipment. This bill includes certain agricultural vehicles in the definition of “motor vehicles” for the purpose of including those vehicles within the coverage of the state’s consumer protections related to express manufacturer warranties. The bill will be reported to the House.
The House Health and Human Resources Committee convened at 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 1 in 215-E to consider several Senate bills. The committee had a consideration of five bills, one of which being a bill to expand Medicaid coverage for pregnant women in the state.
Senate Bill 564 would provide that the Department of Health and Human Resources extend Medicaid coverage to pregnant women and their newborns to 185 percent of the federal poverty level effective July 1, 2019 or a soon as possible and provide 60 days’ worth of postpartum care. Additionally, the Children’s Health Insurance Board shall create a benefit plan for comprehensive coverage for pregnant women between 185 percent and 300 percent of the federal poverty level including prenatal care, delivery and 60 days’ postpartum care authorized under the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
Senate Bill 564 was passed with little discussion, and advanced to the House Finance Committee for a second consideration.
“I want to thank the committee for voting for this bill,” Delegate Barbara Fleischauer, D-Monongalia said. “It’s important that our babies come into this world with as much access to needed resources as possible.”
The committee also had consideration of and passed Senate Bill 574 after little discussion regarding liberty. The bill would authorize a member of the hospital medical staff to order an involuntary hospitalization of a person at the hospital if the physician believes that the individual is addicted or mentally ill and is likely to cause serious harm to themselves or to others if allowed to remain at liberty. The bill only allows hospitals to involuntarily hold individuals for 48 hours without a mental hygiene petition.
Senate Bill 653 was advanced to the House floor with little discussion. This bill would permit podiatric physicians, osteopathic physicians, and physician assistants to become shareholders in a medical corporation along with physicians.
Senate Bill 537 would direct the WV Healthcare Authority to establish a workgroup to conduct research on hospice need standards to be presented to the Legislature by June 30, 2019. This bill was also advanced to the House floor with the recommendation that it pass.
Senate Bill 546 raised a little controversy, but was ultimately advanced to the House floor with the recommendation that it pass. This bill would impose a tax increase of 0.13 percent on specified acute care hospitals to maximize federal funding in order to increase payment for employed practitioners.
The House of Delegates convened at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, March 2 to consider multiple pieces of legislation, including the proposed House budget for fiscal year 2020.
House Bill 2020, a committee substitute passed out of House Finance committee last week, was on third reading on this day with amendments pending. The bill is split in 19 distinct sections and provides for the government appropriations within the state of WV for fiscal year 2020.
Finance Committee Chairman, Eric Householder, R-Berkley, explained the bill in sections for House members.
Noteworthy provisions in House Bill 2020 include $1.3 billion dollars for state roads, federal block grants equaling $550 million, $24 million for the State Legislature, $121 million for the WV Judicial Branch, and $40 million for the WV Executive Branch. The Department of Administration will receive $121 billion, an increase from last year to establish the WV Cybersecurity Office, $40 million for child welfare within the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Department of Commerce will get $80 million.
Overall, the proposed House budget bill would see a $49 million deviation from the Governor’s original proposed budget.
“Here’s your budget, in record time,” Delegate Householder said. “We have included the promised pay raises to our state employees, we have funding for PEIA, and we have allocations for all of our state agencies.”
The budget bill went under several amendments that added technical clarification and further allocations for the state surplus fund.
Householder moved to make a technical amendment to the budget bill, which updated phone numbers of certain state agencies within the bill. The amendment was adopted unanimously.
A number of female Democratic Delegates offered an amendment that would give $125,000 to 9 sexual assault prevention programs across the state out of the surplus fund to help them establish more programs to help victims. After little discussion, this amendment was adopted.
An amendment was also adopted to the budget bill to also allocate $200,000 out of the surplus fund to give to the DHHR to update their newborn screening laboratories.
As amended, the House of Delegates passed the budget bill in a vote of 92-5.
Other bills that were passed by the House of Delegates on this day included Senate Bill 60, which is a bill to transition qualified state athletic trainers from certification to licensure.
Senate Bill 310 was also unanimously passed by the House. This bill would prohibit a health insurance contractor that covers dental services or a participating provider that has an agreement with a dentist from setting fees unless the services are covered services. The bill also provides that a dentist may not charge more for services and materials that are not covered under a dental benefits policy than his or her usual customary rate.
Senate Bill 408 underwent a technical amendment and then was passed with no debate. This bill would clarify who has the right to determine indigence for public defender services. The passage of this bill would give the authority to make the determination of the need for a public defender to the court administrator in circuits with one. In circuits with no administrator but a public defender’s office, a public defender employee makes the determination. Circuits with neither an administrator or a public defender office, the circuit court makes the determination.
Senate Bill 641 was also passed on this day. This bill would convert the existing revolving loan fund to a grant Primary Care Support Program for federally qualified health centers and federally qualified look-alike in order to secure federal medical assistance percentage funding.
Bills on second reading that were advanced on this day without amendment include Senate Bill 441 and Senate Bill 635.
Senate Bill 3 was amended thoroughly by the House Judiciary Committee, which made efforts to combine Senate Bill 3 with similar provisions from the House’s version of the bill, House Bill 2001. The strike and insert amended included language from House Bill 2001 pertaining to pole attachments and feasibility studies, but kept most of the language in Senate Bill 3 the same. The amendment was adopted and the bill was advanced to third reading.
Senate Bill 72 was also amended by the House Judiciary Committee. This amendment would add a sentence to the Sexual Assault Victim’s Bill of Rights that pertains to protections for children.
Bills on first reading were all advanced.
The House of Delegates is in Recess until 4 p.m. today, Saturday, March 2. The House will reconvene to receive committee reports.
Committees Meeting Today After Floor Session:
-The House Health and Human Resources will meet at 2 p.m. in 215-E.
-The House Committee on the Judiciary will meet at 3 p.m. in 418-M.
-The House Committee on Finance will meet at 3 p.m. in 460-M.
The House of Delegates met briefly at 4 p.m. on Saturday, March 2 to receive committee reports and advance Resolutions.
The House of Delegates is adjourned until 11 a.m. on Monday, March 4.
Committees Meeting Monday Before Floor Session:
-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 the Judiciary will meet at 9:15 a.m. in 418-M.
-The House Rules Committee will meet at 10:45 a.m. behind the House chamber.
House Bill 2703 came before the Senate committee for reconsideration following it’s rejection by the committee on Friday morning.
When the bill was originally rejected by the committee, Chair, Sen. Craig Blair, R-Berkeley, addressed his fellow Senators and stated that a large reason for the rejection was due to nobody coming before the committee to answer questions concerning the bill. Blair explained that if an individual familiar with the legislation would come before the committee, a fellow member could motion for reconsideration.
Per the Chair’s request, following the committee’s agenda, Sen. Eric Tarr, R-Putnam, motioned for the bill to be reconsidered which received unanimous compliance from his fellow members. Following counsel’s explanation of the bill, which relates to the refund of excise taxes collected from petroleum products, a representative from the Oil Marketers and Grocers Association came before the committee to answer questions.
According to the associations Director of Government Affairs, Daniel Hall, under current code a petroleum dealer can apply for evaporation tax refunds established through calculations from the state operators. Under the current code, dealers can collect up to $2,500-$3,000 on fuel tax returns annually; if passed, House Bill 2703 would allow for dealers to collect up to $10,000.
Following discussion between Hall and the committee, Sen. Dave Sypolt, R-Preston, motioned to amend the proposed legislation in order to reinstate certain sections of the bill removed by the House prior to the bill’s passage. Senator Tarr supported the motion by stating that after reviewing the various versions of the bill, he believed the reinstated language would aid in strengthening the bill. Ultimately the amendment was adopted by members and the bill was reported to the full Senate with the recommendation of passage.
Prior to review of 2703, the committee also rejected House Bill 2967, which permits a county to retain excise taxes when transferring a title of real estate. If passed, the bill would result in a multiple phase county collection drawn from the state income tax and ultimately result in a total loss of $13 million over the course of a decade.
The bill’s language establishes that beginning in 2020, 10 percent of a county’s income tax would be given to the county and increase by another 10% every July 1 for the subsequent years till 2029.
Deputy Revenue Secretary for the Department of Revenue, Mark Muchow, came before the committee following the bill’s explanation and stated that the bill would result in a significant loss of revenue over the course of the next decade, particularly in regards to K-12 education and the state’s police officers.
Following the secretary’s statement, the committee motioned to reject the bill.
The Senate Committee on Judiciary met Saturday morning following the floor session to discuss two House bills that were on the Committee agenda.
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. Any signature executed in conformity with the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act is enforceable. The Judiciary Committee adopted a strike and insert amendment for technical purposes.
House Bill 2647 would create the Self-Service Storage Limited License Act which would allow owners of self-service storage facilities to sell personal property insurance in connection with the lease or rental of leased space at their self-service storage facility.
Both bills were approved by the Committee, and will be reported to the full Senate to be voted upon.
The Senate body convened Saturday morning for a brief floor session to conduct daily order of business.
The Senate completed legislation on two Senate bills that were reported from the House of Delegates yesterday.
Senate Bill 518 would prohibit a person from knowingly or willfully selling or trading a finished drug product containing any quantity of dextromethorphan to a person under the age of 18. A person found guilty of violating these provisions is guilty of a misdemeanor and subject to a fine of $100 to $250. The House Committee on Health amended the bill adding more language to it to clarify the age requirements.
Senate Bill 545 would eliminate outdated HIV testing protocols to be used by insurers. The House Committee on Health adopted a strike and insert amendment to the bill for cleanup and technical purposes.
Both bills will be reported to Governor Justice to be signed into law or vetoed.
The Senate also discussed five bills that were on third reading and up for passage.
House Bill 2547 would reconcile a section of state code making it a misdemeanor to remain within a certain distance of a polling place during elections. In 2018, the Legislature enacted a bill to reduce the electioneering prohibition zone around polling places, during elections, from 300 feet to 100 feet. One section remained within 300 feet of a polling place. This bill would correct that error, and the Senate Judiciary Committee amended the bill to move the distance from 100 feet to 200 feet.
House Bill 2691 relates to concealed carry licenses. Current law has concealed carry licensees good for five years from issuance. The House Bill would have licenses expire on one’s birthday. The Judiciary Committee’s strike and insert amendment deals with current licenses by saying that licenses in effect on the bill’s effective date are good for 5 years or until a licensee’s birthday in the 5th year, whichever is later. New licenses and renewals would run five years, birthday to birthday.
Other bills on third reading included:
All bills were passed by the Senate, and will be reported to the House of Delegates.
The Senate is adjourned until Monday, March 4 at 11 a.m.
The following committees will meet today:
Finance at 10:30 a.m. in 451M
Judiciary at 10:30 a.m. in 208W
The House Finance Committee considered proposed changes to a Senate bill that would provide the “last dollar in” for students attending community and technical colleges in state.
In Friday’s meeting, the committee took up Senate Bill 1. The bill was double referenced, first advancing out of House Education, which made several recommended changes to the bill.
The bill would create a new grant program that would provide tuition for qualifying students up to the amount of tuition less any other scholarships or money available from other sources.
The bill also would expand the existing ACE programs, which connect secondary schools with community and technical colleges to prepare students for post-secondary education. The bill expands this program from 1,000 participating students to 2,500.
The House Education Committee expanded the grant program established under the original bill to include four-year institutions, both public and private.
The House Finance Committee presented its proposed amendment, which took out coverage for private four-year institutions. The bill, as amended, would keep the extension to public four-year institutions that offer two-year associate’s degree programs. Six universities in the state would qualify.
The committee advanced Senate Bill 1 to the House floor.
The House Finance Committee also advanced these bills Friday:
A bill intended to create a federal/state matching program for small businesses received an amendment in Friday’s Senate Economic Development committee.
If made into law, House Bill 2550 would create a two phase matching program for the Small Business Innovation and Research Program and the Small Business Technology Transfer Program throughout the state. In an explanation provided by counsel, members reacquainted themselves with the Senate’s version of this bill, Senate Bill 602, and reviewed differences between the two bills
According to counsel, the main difference between the two bills is found within language of the Senate version which requires that entities awarded with a grant receive 75 percent of their funding through the first phase of implementation and the remaining 25 percent in phase two. The House version would simply split funding 50/50 between the two phases.
Another noticeable difference is that the House version establishes that companies can only apply for grants every five years whereas the Senate version has no limitation on the application for grants.
Following counsel’s explanation, the WV Bioscience Association Executive Director, Bryan Brown, came before the committee to discuss specific details of the bill, particularly relating to the extensive application process which must be completed prior to any grant money being award.
According to Brown, surrounding states have created similar matching programs in order to help companies apply for grants, ultimately allowing for more federal money to come into the state. Although the application process can be seen as rigorous, companies are often times provided with incentivized to apply for grants through new technology projects. Brown stated that if passed, the bill could potentially aid in strengthening the state’s tech field.
After consideration from the committee, Sen. Eric Tarr, R-Putnam, motioned to amend language within the House Bill concerning grant applications in order to match the Senate Bill’s rule which allows for unlimited requests.
Sen. Mike Romano, D-Harrison, spoke against Tarr’s amendment and urged the Senator to recede his proposal to prevent the bill from being rejected. Despite Romano’s request, Tarr sustained his request and the amendment was adopted by the committee.
Following adoption of the amendment, members motioned to report the bill, in addition to House Bill 2420, to the full Senate with the recommendation of passage.
The Senate Committee on Workforce met for the first time this legislative session Friday afternoon, and immediately discussed a bill relating to prime contractor’s responsibility for wages and benefits.
House Bill 2049 would amend §21-5-7 of the State Code 7 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 Committee adopted an amendment proposed by Senator Jefferies (D – Putnam, 8). The amendment states that “An employee must notify the prime contractor within 100 days of being notified by a statement or other means that wages or benefits were not paid.” Once the prime contractor is notified, the employee has 1 year to take action (civil suit), and must produce proof (pay stubs/bank statements) to show missing wages and benefits.
The Committee approved the bill, and will be reported to the Committee on the Judiciary.
Two House Bills came before the Senate education committee, Friday,
Both bills on the committee’s agenda are intended to improve the state’s educational system and quickly received passage from members.
House Bill 2853, which establishes the West Virginia Program for Open Education Resources, in conjunction with the state’s Library Commission, also received a second committee reference to the finance committee.
Executive Secretary for the Library Commission, Karen Goff, briefly came before members of the committee to explain the history of the legislation which passed out of the House with a 99-0 vote.
According to Goff, the legislation originally arose out of the need to provide educational materials to college students and combat rising textbook costs. Goff explained that Delegate Joshua Higginbotham, R-Putnam, then amended the bill to include K-12 students prior to receiving passage from the House.
When reviewing House Bill 2363, members voted to adopt a title amendment to the bill prior to it’s passage.
Sen. Stephen Baldwin, D-Greenbrier, addressed the committee to thank his fellow Senators for supporting the bill which intends to aid his local school district.
The Judiciary Committee met Thursday and discussed Senate Bill 40, which establishes a Military Service Members Court program.
This bill seeks to reinvigorate the Military Service Members Court- a program which was once an operative wing of the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals.
The court is similar to the Adult Drug Court and Addiction Treatment Pilot Program but focuses on military veterans and their particular issues. The program has proven its value to combat veterans suffering from a spectrum of battlefield issues like PTSD and traumatic brain injury which often lead to a mental health disorder, cognitive impairment and/or substance abuse.
Once under the auspices of the state Supreme Court, former Justice Allen Loughry eliminated the program for financial reasons. The bill seeks to reinstitute the Military Service Members Court by legislation, with an operative organizational structure.
Senate Bill 360 relates to third party litigation financing. The purpose of this bill is provide consumer protections with regard to third-party litigation financing transactions. Third-party litigation financing is currently unregulated in West Virginia.
With the passage of this bill, West Virginia would join a growing number of states that have seen fit to enact statutory consumer protection laws governing third-party litigation financing. Other states that have enacted such laws include Tennessee, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Indiana, Vermont, Wisconsin and New York.
The bill was advanced out of committee and reported to the House.
The committee also took up Senate Bill 531, which relates generally to workers’ compensation claims. This bill seeks to exclude claims for hearing loss or hearing impairment form the requirement that workers’ compensation claimants must be represented by counsel to enter a settlement agreement. The committee advanced the bill, which will be reported to the House.
The committee also advanced to the House floor Senate Bill 101, which equalizes penalties for intimidating and retaliating against certain public officers and other persons. This bill establishes criminal penalties for “intimidation” and “retaliation” crimes.
The crime of intimidation with the intent to influence a judicial proceeding carries a misdemeanor penalty, while the crime of retaliation for the outcome of such a proceeding carries a felony.
The committee also considered Senate Bill 237, which would improve the ability of law enforcement to locate and return missing persons. The bill provides minimum steps for all law-enforcement agencies receiving and investigating missing person complaints. The bill requires a law-enforcement agency with jurisdiction to accept a missing person complaint and specifies the minimum information that law-enforcement agencies must attempt to collect from a complainant.
The bill also requires 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 will be reported to the House.
Multiple House Bills on second reading were passed by the Senate following a suspension of Constitutional rules, Friday.
Of the 20 House Bills on second reading eight received amendments from the body. Following House Bill 2193’s adoption of an amendment, Majority Leader Sen. Tom Takubo, R-Kanawha, motioned for the bill to be advanced to third reading, ultimately leading to the bill’s passage by the body.
Of the House Bills amended were: 2193, 2359, 2476, 2531, 2547, 2691, 2813 and 3140. Health and Human Resources Committee Chair, Sen. Michael Maroney, R-Marshall, motioned to lay over House Bills 2525 and 2530.
The highly debated bill which received a 59-41 vote from the House of Delegates will now be double referenced to the Senate’s judiciary and finance committees. If passed, the bill would allow for conceal carry on the state’s college campuses.
The body also took up Senate Bill 150 for immediate consideration following it’s passage in Thursday’s finance committee. For more information concerning the Senate’s fiscal year 2020 budget click here.
Additionally, the Senate passed two resolutions prior to second reading. Senate Resolution 65 designated the month of March as American Red Cross Month; Senate Bill 66 congratulating the Greenbrier West High School wrestling team for winning the 2019 Class A state Championship.
The Senate is currently adjourned until Saturday, March 2 at 9 a.m.
The following committees will be meeting today:
The House of Delegates convened today and passed Senate Bill 545, relating to HIV testing.
This bill removes unnecessary procedures and tests from the HIV testing protocol as well as updating the system.
The House passed these bills Friday:
· Senate Bill 295, relating to crimes against public justice
· Senate Bill 408, determining indigence for public defender services
· Senate Bill 518, restricting sale and trade of dextromethorphan
· Senate Bill 593, permitting critical access hospital become community outpatient medical center
There were two bills on second reading that were amended before being advanced. Senate Bill 60, licensing practice of athletic training and Senate Bill 641, relating got primary care support programs.
The House also advanced the budget bill, House Bill 2020. The budget bill was advanced to third reading with right to amend.
The Energy Committee met briefly yesterday to discuss House Bill 635. This bill relates generally to coal mining activities.
This bill is broken down into three essential parts: Economic Development, Environmental, Underground Coal Mining, and Crimes and Their Punishment. There was also a committee amendment made to the bill which makes certain technical changes to the provisions dealing with the Mine Trespass Act.
It specifically notes that these provisions also apply to inactive workings, as well as active or abandoned workings, it clarifies the language relating to subsequent convictions to note these must be for the same offense, and removes ambiguity in the section relating to underground mine trespass to note that only inactive or abandoned workings must be sealed or posted for a trespass conviction to occur.
A bill which passed the House with a 99-0 vote was rejected by the Senate finance committee Friday morning.
House Bill 2703, which relates to refunds of exercise taxes collected from petroleum dealers, came before the committee and received minimal recognition from members. In discussion from counsel, the committee learned the bill would have account for a fiscal loss of less than $50,000 annually following implementation in 2020.
After the bill was rejected, committee Chair, Sen. Craig Blair, R-Berkeley, stated that members would be more than welcome to revive the legislation if members of the House sought reconsideration.
Also reviewed by the committee was legislation intended to create a new category of the Innovation in Education grant program.
Associate Superintendent of Schools, Clayton Burch, came before the committee to answer questions concerning House Bill 2009 which showcases a fiscal impact of $125,000 for implementation. According to the Superintendent, the House Bill help to strengthen the state’s higher education system in conjunction with Senate Bill 1.
“If this (bill) is passed, mastery based education would become a situation where people can move faster in getting an education,” Burch explained. “We think this meshes well with Senate Bill 1 in order to benefit those who want to jump start their college education.”
Following consideration from the committee, members unanimously voted to adopt a strike and insert amendment after being amended by Sen. Corey Palumbo, D-Kanawha. The bill has been reported to the full Senate with the recommendation of passage.
The Senate Committee on the Judiciary met briefly Friday morning to discuss a bill relating to medical cannabis in West Virginia.
House Bill 2538 would add banking services for medical cannabis in the state. The proposed legislation would do the following:
Senator Romano (D – Harrison, 12) said during the meeting said that the proposed legislation was the final piece needed to finish what the Legislature started in 2017; to provide West Virginians with access to medical cannabis if they need it.
The Committee also discussed House Bill 2600 which would provide for an alternative method to publish sample ballots for electronic voting machines. The Committee adopted a strike and insert amendment to the bill to add more clarification.
Both bills were approved by the Committee, and will be reported to the full Senate to be voted upon.
The House Committee on Government Organization convened at 9 a.m. on Friday, March 1 in 215-E to consider several pieces of legislation. Three of the agenda items on this day were study resolutions that originated in the Government Organization Committee, all of which were adopted unanimously.
The first study resolution would require state agencies to issue a comparative study that would analyze interstate and intrastate hauling. The resolution aims to help Public Service Commission haulers, and was adopted and advanced to the House floor with little discussion.
Another resolution involved the study of municipalities and their economies to scale. If adopted, this study resolution would require the legislature to study municipalities to best tailor efficiency incentives in individual municipalities during interim sessions. This resolution was also advanced to the House floor with recommendation that it be adopted.
The final resolution originated and adopted during this meeting was a House Concurrent Resolution that would require the WV Legislature to study BRIM, or the WV Board of Risk and Insurance Management to evaluate their outcomes and efficiency during interims.
In addition to the adoption of the three originating resolutions, the committee also had a consideration of three Senate bills.
Senate Bill 330 was advanced to the House floor with little discussion. The passage of this bill would require state agencies to include their contact information on their directory and website, unless they get expressed consent from the Legislature.
Senate Bill 344 was also advanced to the House floor with the recommendation that it pass. This bill would make clarifications regarding state-owned farms and clarify that they are owned by the Commissioner of the Department of Agriculture. It would also make technical updates to the code and provide that state institutions may purchase items from vendors that state owned farms cannot directly produce.
Senate Bill 667 was advanced to the House floor after little debate regarding the effectiveness of the bill’s passage. Senate Bill 667 would establish the WV Motorsport Committee. The committee would consist of five people including the chairperson and have to report updates to the Legislature annually. The committee would be responsible for establishing racing events and promotion in order to spur industrial and economic growth in the state. The committee would be unpaid, but subject to have their transportation reimbursed.
Several delegates held some reservations about how much of a return on investment a motorsports industry would have in the state.
“We had one of these in the state before, and it honestly didn’t do too much,” Delegate Tony Paynter, R-Wyoming said. “I don’t think the involvement of the state government would help this industry much.”
Chairman Gary Howell, R-Mineral, spoke in favor of Senate Bill 667’s passage.
“When this committee existed in the state before, it began to attract investors before it was cut due to budget cuts,” Howell said. “This is an opportunity to bring investment to the state.”
Senate Bill 615 generated a lot of discussion. The passage of this bill would allow county commissioners an ongoing mechanism to consider compensation increases for elected county official every two years in an amount up to the increase in the annual Consumer Price Index published by the United States Department of Commerce over the prior two years, or three percent, whichever is greater.
Concern over Senate Bill 615 was brought up by several Delegates, who raised concern over the power that the bill would give County commissioners to give themselves pay raises. Delegates were also concerned over the fluctuating nature of the state economy, and how the implications of the bill could change given the year.
Because of these fiscal and accountability concerns, consideration on Senate Bill 615 was postponed until Monday.