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Introduced Version House Bill 2122 History

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hb2122 intr
H. B. 2122


(By Delegate Frederick)
[Introduced February 9, 2005; referred to the
Committee on Industry and Labor, Economic Development and Small Business then the Judiciary.]


FN

A BILL to amend and reenact §22A-1-8, §22A-1-9, §22A-1-11, §22A-1-12 and §22A-1-13 of the code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, all relating to mine inspectors; districts and divisions; employment; tenure; oath; bond; mine safety instructors; qualifications; employment; employment of electrical inspectors; qualifications; salary and expenses; eligibility for appointment as mine inspector; qualifications; removal; eligibility for appointment as surface mine inspector; qualifications; and removal.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That §22A-1-8, §22A-1-9, §22A-1-11, §22A-1-12 and §22A-1-13
of the code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended and reenacted, all to read as follows:
ARTICLE 1. OFFICE OF MINERS' HEALTH, SAFETY AND TRAINING; ADMINISTRATION; ENFORCEMENT.

§22A-1-8. Mine inspectors; regions and districts; employment; tenure; oath.

Notwithstanding any other provisions of this code to the contrary, mine inspectors shall be selected, serve and be removed as provided in this article.
The Director, in consultation with the Legislature, shall divide the State into a sufficient number of regions mining districts and divisions, so as to equalize, as far as practical, the work of each inspector. The Director may assign inspectors to districts and may designate and assign not more than one inspector-at-large and one assistant inspector-at-large to each region division. The Director may designate the places of abode of inspectors at points convenient to the mines of their respective districts, and, in the case of inspectors-at-large and assistant inspectors-at-large, their respective regions divisions.
All mine inspectors appointed after the Mine Inspectors' Examining Board has certified to the Director an adequate register of qualified eligible candidates, so long as the register contains the names of at least three qualified eligible candidates, shall be appointed from the names on such register. Each original appointment shall be made by the Director for a probationary period of not more than one year.
The Director shall make each appointment from among the three qualified eligible candidates on the register having the highest grades: Provided, That the Director may, for good cause, at least thirty days prior to making an appointment, strike any name from the register. Upon striking any name from the register, the Director shall immediately notify in writing each member of the Mine Inspectors' Examining Board of the action, together with a detailed statement of the reasons therefor. Thereafter, if the Mine Inspectors' Examining Board finds, after hearing, that the action of the Director was arbitrary or unreasonable, it may then order the name of any candidate so stricken from the register to be reinstated thereon. The reinstatement is shall be effective from the date of removal from the register.
The name of any candidate passed over for appointment for three years shall be deleted from the register automatically.
After having served for a probationary period of one year to the satisfaction of the Director, a mine inspector has permanent tenure, subject to dismissal only for cause in accordance with the applicable provisions of section twelve of this article. No mine inspector, while in office, may be directly or indirectly interested as an employee, owner, lessor, operator, stockholder, superintendent or engineer of any coal mine. Before entering upon the discharge of the duties as a mine inspector, he or she shall take the oath of office prescribed by section 5, article IV of the Constitution of West Virginia, a certificate of which oath shall be filed in the office of the secretary of state.
The district inspectors, surface inspectors, electrical inspectors, inspectors-at-large and assistant inspectors-at-large, together with the Director, shall make all inspections authorized by this article and article two of this chapter and shall perform such other duties as are imposed upon mine inspectors by this chapter and by any applicable legislative rules.
§22A-1-9. Employment of mine safety instructors; eligibility; qualifications; examinations; salary; provisions relating to district mine inspectors applicable to mine safety instructors.

(a) The office shall employ a sufficient number of mine safety instructors as the Director, in consultation with the Mine Inspector's Examining Board, determines to be reasonably necessary in fully and effectively carrying out the applicable provisions of this chapter and to equalize, as far as practical, the work of each mine safety instructor.
(b) To be eligible for employment as a mine safety instructor, the applicant shall be: (1) A citizen of West Virginia, in good health, not less than twenty-four years of age, of good character and reputation, and of temperate habits; (2) a person who has had at least five years of practical experience in coal mines: at least two years of which has been in mines in this state Provided, That graduation from any accredited college of mining engineering may be considered equivalent to two years of practical experience; (3) a person who has had practical experience with dangerous gases found in coal mines, and who has a good theoretical and practical knowledge of mines, mining methods, mine ventilation, sound safety practices and applicable mining laws and rules; and (4) a person who possesses a West Virginia foreman-fireboss certification and who has been a supervisor on a working section for at least three years; or a person who has had at least three one years year of experience as an actual working team member of a mine rescue team, or at least three years of experience as a member of a first aid team or emergency medical technician team; or a person who has had at least three five years of experience as the safety Director, or the equivalent as approved by the Mine Inspectors' Examining Board, of a mine; or a person who has had at least three years of experience as an active member of a mine safety committee. For the purpose of this section, practical experience means the performance of normal mining duties requiring a person to hold a certificate of competency and qualification as an experienced miner or a permit of apprenticeship as an inexperienced miner prior to actually performing such duties.
(c) (1) In order to qualify for appointment as a mine safety instructor, an eligible applicant shall submit to written, oral and practical examinations administered by the Mine Inspectors' Examining Board and furnish evidence of good health, character and other facts establishing eligibility as the Board may require. The examinations shall relate to the duties to be performed by a mine safety instructor and, subject to the approval of the Mine Inspectors' Examining Board, may be prepared by the Director.
(2) If the Board finds after investigation and examination that an applicant: (A) Is eligible for appointment; and (B) has passed each required examination with a grade of at least seventy-five percent or an overall combined average score of eighty percent, the Board shall add the applicant's name and grades to the register of qualified eligible candidates and promptly certify its action in writing to the Director. The Director shall may then appoint one of the candidates from the three having the highest grades.
(d) Mine safety instructors shall be paid an annual salary of not less than thirty-seven thousand four hundred dollars, which shall be fixed by the Director, who shall take into consideration ability, performance of duty, and experience and initiative. Mine safety instructors shall devote all of their time to the duties of the office.
(e) Except as expressly provided in this section to the contrary, all provisions of this article relating to the eligibility, qualification, appointment, tenure, and removal and reinstatement of underground mine inspectors, as well as those provisions relating to compensatory time and reimbursement for necessary expenses, are applicable to mine safety instructors.
§22A-1-11. Employment of electrical inspectors; eligibility; qualifications; examinations; salary; provisions relating to underground mine inspectors applicable to electrical inspectors.

(a) The office shall employ a sufficient number of electrical inspectors as the Director, in consultation with the Mine Inspectors' Examining Board determines to be reasonably necessary in fully and effectively carrying out the applicable provisions of this chapter and to equalize, as far as practical, the work of each electrical inspector.
(b) To be eligible for employment as an electrical inspector, the applicant shall be: (1) A citizen of West Virginia, in good health, not less than twenty-four twenty-five years of age, of good character and reputation, and of temperate habits; and (2) a person who has had five seven years of practical electrical experience in coal mines, at least two of which were in mines in this state, or a degree in electrical engineering from an accredited electrical engineering school and three years of practical electrical experience in underground coal mining. For the purposes of this section, practical electrical experience means the performance of duties requiring a person to be a certified electrician, as that term is defined in subdivision (2), subsection (d), section two of this article, prior to actually performing such duties.
(c) (1) In order to qualify for appointment as an electrical inspector, an eligible applicant shall submit to written, oral and practical examinations administered by the Mine Inspectors' Examining Board and furnish evidence of good health, character and other facts establishing eligibility as the Board may require. The examinations shall relate to the duties to be performed by an electrical inspector and, subject to approval of the Mine Inspectors' Examining Board, may be prepared by the Director.
(2) If the Board finds after investigation and examination that an applicant: (A) Is eligible for appointment; and (B) has passed the each required examinations examination with an average a grade of at least ninety eighty percent, the Board shall add the applicant's name and grades to the register of qualified eligible candidates and promptly certify its action in writing to the Director. The Director shall may then appoint one of the candidates from the three having the highest grades.
(d) Electrical inspectors shall be paid an annual salary of not less than forty-two thousand eight hundred twenty-eight dollars, which shall be fixed by the Director, who shall take into consideration ability, performance of duty and experience. Electrical inspectors shall devote all of their time to the duties of the office.
(e) Except as expressly provided in this section to the contrary, all provisions of this article relating to the eligibility, qualifications, appointment, tenure, and removal and reinstatement of underground mine inspectors, as well as those provisions relating to compensatory time and reimbursement for necessary expenses, are applicable to mine electrical inspectors.
§22A-1-12. Employment of district mine inspectors; eligibility; qualifications; examinations; salary and expenses; reinstatement; removal.

(a) The office shall employ as many underground mine inspectors as the Director determines to be reasonably necessary in fully and effectively carrying out the applicable provisions of this chapter in consultation with the Mine Inspectors' Examining Board, considers necessary to equalize, as far as practical, the work of each mine inspector.
(b) To be eligible for employment as a mine inspector the applicant shall be: (1) A citizen of West Virginia, in good health, not less than twenty-four years of age, of good character and reputation and of temperate habits; (2) a person who has had at least five six years of practical experience in coal mines: at least two years of which have been in mines of this state Provided, That graduation from any accredited college of mining engineering may be considered the equivalent of two years of practical experience; (3) a person who has had practical experience with dangerous gases found in coal mines; and (4) a person who has a good theoretical and practical knowledge of mines, mining methods, mine ventilation, sound safety practices and applicable mining laws and rules. For the purpose of this section, practical experience means the performance of normal mining duties requiring a person to hold a certificate of competency and qualification as an experienced underground miner or a permit of apprenticeship as an inexperienced underground miner prior to actually performing such those duties.
(c) In order to qualify for appointment as an underground a mine inspector, an eligible applicant shall submit to written, oral and practical examinations administered by the Mine Inspectors' Examining Board and furnish evidence of good health, character and other facts establishing eligibility as the Board may require. The examinations shall relate to the duties to be performed by an underground a mine inspector and, subject to the approval of the Mine Inspectors' Examining Board, may be prepared by the Director. If the Board finds after investigation and examination that an applicant: (1) Is eligible for appointment employment; and (2) has passed each required examination, with a grade of at least seventy-five percent or an overall combined average score of eighty seventy-five percent, the Board shall add the applicant's name and grades to the register of qualified eligible candidates and promptly certify its action in writing to the Director. The Director shall may then appoint one of the candidates from the three having the highest grades.
(d) Underground District mine inspectors shall be paid an annual salary of not less than thirty-eight thirty-nine thousand one two hundred sixty seventy-six dollars; assistant inspectors-at-large, not less than forty-four thousand four hundred forty-eight dollars; inspectors-at-large, not less than forty-six thousand one hundred four dollars, each of which shall be fixed by the Director, who shall take into consideration ability, performance of duty, and experience and initiative. In accordance with established rules of the State's Travel Management Office, underground mine inspectors shall also be allowed and paid expenses necessarily incident to the performance of their official duties: Provided, That no reimbursement for expenses may be made other than upon the timely submittal of a properly itemized expense account settlement completed by the underground mine inspector, approved and countersigned by the Director, or his or her designated representative, verifying that the expenses were actually incurred in the performance of official duties. Underground Mine inspectors shall devote all of their time to the duties of the office and shall be afforded compensatory time or compensation of at least the regular rate of pay for all time worked in excess of forty forty-two hours per week.
(e) Any mine inspector who has fulfilled the requirements of this section with respect to employment and who has served satisfactorily as a mine inspector for a minimum period of one year and who has terminated their employment as a mine inspector, upon successfully passing a physical examination, may be reinstated as a mine inspector within two years after terminating their employment with the approval of the Mine Inspectors' Examining Board and the Director.
(e) (f) (1) An underground A mine inspector, after having received a permanent appointment, may be removed from office only for physical or mental impairment, incompetency, neglect of duty, public intoxication, malfeasance in office or other similarly good cause.
(2) Proceedings for the removal of an underground a mine inspector may be initiated by the Director whenever there is reasonable cause to believe that adequate cause exists, warranting removal. The proceeding may be initiated by a verified petition, filed with the Mine Inspectors' Examining Board by the Director, setting forth with particularity the facts alleged. Not less than twenty reputable citizens, who are operators or employees in mines in this State, may petition the Director for the removal of an underground a mine inspector. If the petition is verified by at least one of the petitioners, based on actual knowledge of the affiant and of the alleged facts, which, if true, warrant the removal of the inspector, the Director shall cause an investigation of the alleged facts to be made. If, after the investigation, the Director finds that there is substantial evidence, which, if true, warrants removal of the inspector, the Director shall file a petition with the Board requesting removal of the inspector.
(3) On receipt of a petition by the Director seeking removal of an underground a mine inspector, the Board shall promptly notify the inspector to appear before it at a time and place designated in the notice, which time shall be not less than fifteen days thereafter. There shall be attached to the copy of the notice served upon the inspector a copy of the petition filed with the Board.
(4) At the time and place designated in the notice, the Board shall hear all evidence offered in support of the petition and on behalf of the inspector. Each witness shall be sworn, and a transcript shall be made of all evidence taken and proceedings had at the hearing. No continuance may be granted except for good cause shown. The Chair of the Board and the Director have power to administer oaths and subpoena witnesses.
(5) If any mine inspector against whom a petition has been filed willfully refuses or fails to appear before the Board, or having appeared, refuses to answer under oath any relevant question on the basis that the testimony or answer might incriminate him or her or refuses to waive immunity from prosecution because of any relevant matter about which the inspector may be asked to testify, then the inspector shall forfeit his or her position.
(6) If, after hearing, the Board finds that the inspector should be removed, it shall enter an order to that effect. The decision of the Board is final and is not subject to judicial review.
§22A-1-13. Employment of surface mine inspectors; eligibility; qualifications; examinations; salary; provisions relating to district mine inspectors applicable to surface mine inspectors.

(a) The office shall employ as many surface mine inspectors as the director determines to be reasonably necessary in fully and effectively carrying out the applicable provisions of this chapter.
(b) To be eligible for employment as a surface mine inspector the applicant shall be: (1) A citizen of West Virginia, in good health, not less than twenty-four years of age, of good character and reputation and of temperate habits; (2) a person who has had at least five years of practical experience in coal mines, at least two years of which have been in surface mines in this state: Provided, That graduation from any accredited college of mining engineering may be considered the equivalent of two years of practical experience; and (3) a person who has a good theoretical and practical knowledge of surface mines, surface mining methods, sound safety practices and applicable mining laws and rules. For the purpose of this section, practical experience means the performance of normal mining duties requiring a person to hold a certificate of competency and qualification as an experienced surface miner prior to actually performing such duties.
(c) (1) In order to qualify for appointment as a surface mine inspector, an eligible applicant shall submit to written, oral and practical examinations administered by the mine inspectors' examining board and furnish evidence of good health, character and other facts establishing eligibility as the board may require. The examinations shall relate to the duties to be performed by a surface mine inspector and, subject to the approval of the mine inspectors' examining board, may be prepared by the director.
(2) If the board finds after investigation and examination that an applicant is: (A) Eligible for appointment; and (B) has passed each required examination with a grade of at least seventy-five percent, or an overall combined average score of eighty percent, the board shall add the applicant's name and grades to the register of qualified eligible candidates and promptly certify its action in writing to the director. The director shall then appoint one of the candidates from the three having the highest grades.
The office shall employ as many surface mine inspectors as the Director, in consultation with the Mine Inspectors' Examining Board, considers necessary to equalize, as far as practical, the work of each inspector.
(a) To be eligible for employment as a surface mine inspector the applicant shall be: (1) A citizen of West Virginia, in good health, not less than twenty-four years of age, of good character and reputation and of temperate habits; (2) a person who has had at least five years of practical experience in coal mines:
Provided, That graduation from any accredited college of mining engineering may be considered the equivalent of two years of practical experience; and (3) a person who has a good theoretical and practical knowledge of surface mines, surface mining methods, sound safety practices and applicable mining laws and rules. For the purpose of this section, practical experience means the performance of normal mining duties requiring a person to hold a certificate of competency and qualification as an experienced surface miner or a permit of apprenticeship as an inexperienced surface miner prior to performing those duties.
(b) In order to qualify for appointment as a surface mine inspector an eligible applicant shall submit to written, oral and practical examinations administered by the Mine Inspectors' Examining Board and furnish evidence of good health, character and other facts establishing eligibility as the Board may require. The examinations shall relate to the duties to be performed by a surface mine inspector, and subject to the approval of the Mine Inspectors' Examining Board, may be prepared by the Director. If the Board finds after investigation and examination that an applicant is: (1) Eligible for appointment; and (2) has passed each required examination with a grade of at least seventy-five percent, the Board shall add the applicant's name and grades to the register of qualified eligible candidates and promptly certify its action in writing to the Director. The Director may then appoint one of the candidates from the three having the highest grades.
(d) (c) Surface mine inspectors shall be paid an annual salary of not less than thirty-seven thousand three hundred thirty-two dollars, which shall be fixed by the Director, who shall take into consideration ability, performance of duty, and experience and initiative. Surface mine inspectors shall devote all of their time to the duties of the office.
(e) Except as expressly provided in this section to the contrary, all provisions of this article relating to the eligibility, qualification, appointment, tenure, and removal and reinstatement of underground district mine inspectors, as well as those provisions relating to compensatory time and reimbursement for necessary expenses, are applicable to surface mine inspectors.


NOTE: The purposes of this bill are to require the Director to consult with the Legislature when dividing the state into mining districts and divisions; to require the Director to consult with the Mine Inspectors' Examining Board when establishing the minimum number of inspectors and instructors that will be necessary to carry out the provisions of this code; to clarify the meaning of "practical experience" as it relates to eligibility requirements for vacant exempt positions; to revise work experience requirements for mine safety instructor applicants; and, to revise minimum passing scores for inspector and instructor examinations.

Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from the present law, and underscoring indicates new language that would be added.
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