WEST virginia legislature
2021 regular session
House Bill 3079
By Delegates D. Kelly, Hanna, Walker, Pushkin, Ellington, Holstein, Kessinger, Mandt, Reed and Rohrbach
[Originating in the Committee on Prevention and Treatment of Substance Use; reported on March 10, 2021]
A BILL to amend and reenact §16-59-2 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, relating to exempting recovery residences from certain standards.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
ARTICLE 59. Certification of Recovery Residences.
§16-59-2. Voluntary certification of recovery residences.
(a) The department shall contract with an entity to serve as the certifying agency for a voluntary certification program for drug-free and alcohol-free recovery residences based upon standards determined by the National Alliance for Recovery Residences (NARR) or a similar entity. The certifying agency shall establish and implement an accreditation program for drug-free and alcohol-free recovery residences that shall maintain nationally recognized standards that:
(1) Uphold industry best practices and support a safe, healthy, and effective recovery environment;
(2) Evaluate the residence’s ability to assist persons in achieving long-term recovery goals;
(3) Protect residents of drug- and alcohol-free housing against unreasonable and unfair practices in setting and collecting fee payments.
(b) The department shall require the recovery residence to submit the following:
(1) Documentation verifying certification as specified and administered by the certifying agency;
(2) If a municipality or county offers or requires verification of compliance with local building, maximum occupancy, fire safety, and sanitation codes applicable to single-family housing, documentation of verification by the municipality or county where the recovery residence is located stating that the recovery residence is in compliance.
(c) If a municipality or county offers or requires verification of compliance with local building, maximum occupancy, fire safety, and sanitation codes applicable to single-family housing, the municipality or county must perform requested or required inspections within 30 days of receiving a request for verification. If a residence is located within a municipality or county that offers or requires verification of compliance with local building, maximum occupancy, fire safety, and sanitation codes applicable to single-family housing, and the municipality or county fails to perform requested or required inspections within 30 days of receiving a request for verification, the residence may apply for and be granted certification directly through the certifying agency without the aforementioned verification.
(d) Upon receiving a complete application, the certifying agency shall evaluate the residence to determine if the residence is in compliance with national best-practice standards and safety requirements. Additionally, any application of the items specified in this section must comply with the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. §3601 et seq. and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 2008, 42 U.S.C. §12101 et seq.
(1) If it is determined that the residence is in compliance, the certification agency shall issue a certificate of compliance to the recovery residence operator for the specific recovery residence location set forth in the application.
(2) Each residence location, even if operated by the same person or entity, must maintain a certificate of compliance for the purposes of this article.
(e) The certifying agency may suspend or revoke a certificate of compliance if the recovery residence is not in compliance with any provision of this section or has failed to remedy any deficiency identified in writing and served by certified mail. Suspension or revocation may take place after a notice of deficiency is served and has existed for at least 30 days.
(f) The certifying agency shall implement and maintain a process by which a residence whose certification has been suspended or revoked may apply for and be granted reinstatement. If a municipality or county offers or requires verification of compliance with local building, maximum occupancy, fire safety, and sanitation codes applicable to single-family housing, and if the residence’s certification suspended or revoked for noncompliance with local building, maximum occupancy, fire safety, and sanitation codes applicable to single-family housing, the municipality or county may charge a fee of up to $100 for any requested reinspection of a recovery residence by the residence seeking reinstatement.
(g) The department shall periodically evaluate the quality, integrity, and efficacy of the accreditation program developed. The department shall promulgate rules subject to legislative approval in accordance with §29A-3-1 et seq. of this code to implement this section that shall include a process for receiving complaints against drug-free and alcohol-free recovery residences and criteria by which such residences’ certifications can be revoked.
(h) A person may not advertise to the public any recovery residence as a “certified recovery residence” unless the recovery residence has first secured a certificate of compliance under this section. A person who violates this subsection commits a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of not less than $1,000 nor more than $5,000 for each infraction.
(i) This article does not permit a structure that would not be normally classified as a single family dwelling to be exempt from the state building code or fire code.
(j) Nothing herein shall be read to require any recovery residence to obtain certifications set forth herein in order to conduct operations.
(k) A group housing facility comprised of 50 beds or more is exempt from a certifying agency’s standards for applicable building, fire safety, sanitation or occupancy codes, if a county or municipality has established those standards for that facility, as provided pursuant to §16-59-2(b)(2).
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to exempt large group housing facility from additional building, fire safety, sanitation or occupancy codes, if the county or municipality in which the facility is located has adopted those codes.
Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from a heading or the present law and underscoring indicates new language that would be added.