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Introduced Version House Bill 2853 History

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hb2853 intr
H. B. 2853


(By Mr. Speaker, Mr. Kiss and Delegates Michael, Kominar, Mahan, Varner, Barker and Moore) [Introduced March 3, 2005; referred to the

Committee on Roads and Transportation then Finance.]



A BILL to amend the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, by adding thereto a new article, designated §17-2D-1, §17-2D-2, §17-2D-3 and §17-2D-4, all relating to the West Virginia Courtesy Patrol; providing a purpose; addressing the operation and scope of the courtesy patrol program; and providing education services to courtesy patrol participants after program enrollment.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended by adding thereto a new article, designated §17-2D-1, §17-2D-2, §17-2D-3 and §17-2D-4, all to read as follows:
ARTICLE 2D. THE WEST VIRGINIA COURTESY PATROL PROGRAM.
§17-2D-1. Purpose.
The West Virginia Legislature recognizes the need to provide assistance to motorists who are stranded on four-lane expressways in the state, especially in the rural areas, from a safety perspective, in addition to remaining positioned to continue intelligent transportation systems applications, and meet the state's Homeland Security and Amber Alert initiatives. We also recognize the need to find innovative ways to transition welfare recipients into self-sufficient roles in the private sector.
In nineteen hundred ninety-eight, as a result of Senate Resolution No. 30, the West Virginia Division of Highways reinitiated a courtesy patrol program which provides assistance to stranded motorists traveling the state's controlled access expressways and to remove obstacles in the traveled way which create safety hazards to drivers. An additional benefit of the patrol is the assistance provided to law enforcement and emergency personnel at accident scenes; preventing secondary accidents, additional property damage and additional injuries. Courtesy patrol drivers are also first responders certified in CPR and first aid
.
A task force formed to implement the program recommended the service be provided by a private contractor and to require the operators to be welfare to work participants.
Several state agencies partnered with the Division of Highways to implement the program and write the program requirements for the contract, which was advertised for competitive bids. They include: Department of Health and Human Resources, Bureau of Employment Programs, Division of Motor Vehicles, Department of Administration-Purchasing Division, Bureau of Commerce-Tourism Division, Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety-State Police, and the Department of Education.
The Citizens Conservation Corps of West Virginia, a nonprofit corporation has operated the West Virginia courtesy patrol since its inception. The courtesy patrol program has been a great success for the State of West Virginia and has accomplished and continues to accomplish the goals of the program. The West Virginia courtesy patrol is identified by the United States Department of Labor as a national model for best practices on innovative approaches to job creation with welfare recipients transitioning into the work force. The program possesses one of the highest job retention percentages in the country for a transitional program of the type. To that extent, the West Virginia Legislature expresses a desire to continue the courtesy patrol program in its current form.
§17-2D-2. Operation and scope of the courtesy patrol program.
(a) The courtesy patrol program will continue in its current form and will remain under the Division of Highways.
(b) The courtesy patrol program will be operated by a nonprofit corporation, under contract with the Division of Highways.
(c) The nonprofit corporation chosen to operate the courtesy patrol program must offer AmeriCorps educational awards to qualified program participants.
(d) The courtesy patrol program will continuously patrol a designated area of highway looking for and providing assistance to disabled vehicles and stranded motorists. The patrol units will also watch for debris in the roadway, spilled loads, accidents, obstructions to traffic and other potential hazards or abnormal occurrences, notify appropriate highway and enforcement personnel of the location and nature of the situation, monitor bridges, overlooks, and interchanges for suspicious activity, and continue its role in the state's Amber Alert System for abducted children.
(e) Each year, the Commissioner shall request in the budget for the Division of Highways that the Legislature appropriate funds for the courtesy patrol program.
(f) The Division of Highways is required to continue funding to furnish the fleet of vehicles to operate the courtesy patrol program, to continue funding of other proper motor vehicles as needed, and to continue the funding of other required materials to be used by the work force created by this section in the operation of the courtesy patrol.
(g) The Division of Highways shall provide all necessary equipment for the courtesy patrol trucks to accomplish the goals of this legislation.
(h) The Division of Highways shall provide all of the gasoline necessary for the operations of the courtesy patrol.
§17-2D-3. Program Participants.
(a) The courtesy patrol will utilize participants who receive governmental assistance and benefits and noncustodial parents of children who receive governmental assistance thereby reducing the number of individuals receiving such benefits in addition to providing job training and educational benefits to participants.
(b) The Department of Health and Human Resources shall refer eligible and qualified individuals to the courtesy patrol program.
(c) The Department of Health and Human Resources shall ensure that individuals who are referred to the courtesy patrol program have received certain minimum job readiness training, as determined by the nonprofit corporation chosen to operate the courtesy patrol program prior to being employed in the courtesy patrol program.
(d) The Department of Health and Human Resources is responsible for any expenses for personal equipment required for the courtesy patrol participants for employment in the courtesy patrol program. The personal equipment will include, but not be limited to, uniforms and pagers.
(e) The Department of Health and Human Resources may use funding from any source to meet the requirements of the previous subsection, including accounts designated as personal accounts for the program participants.
(f) The Department of Health and Human Resources may use private contractors, including the nonprofit corporation chosen to operate the courtesy patrol program to provide the job readiness training required in subsection (c), section three, article two-d of this chapter.
(g) No participant in the courtesy patrol program will be considered to be an employee of the nonprofit corporation chosen to operate the courtesy patrol program until they have completed the job readiness training required in subsection (c), section three, article two-d of this chapter, and have been accepted for employment by the nonprofit corporation.
(h) The courtesy patrol program is designed as a transitional employment opportunity for the participants where the participants are employed for two years while they gain the skills necessary to become employable outside the courtesy patrol program.
(i) The program participants will receive at least minimum wage for time spent working in the courtesy patrol program after the participants become employed.
§17-2D-4. Education services to courtesy patrol participants after program enrollment.

(a) All participants in the courtesy patrol program shall participate in educational services designed to make the participants self-sufficient and employable after leaving the courtesy patrol program.
(b) After a participant becomes employed in the courtesy patrol program, the nonprofit corporation chosen to operate the courtesy patrol program shall refer each participant to the Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College for education services.
(c) Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College shall develop an individualized education plan for each participant.
(d) No program participant will be required to participate in more than six hours of educational services per week.
(e) The time spent by participants in educational services is not considered time spent working for which wages are payable. However, any time spent in the educational services described in this section will count toward the satisfaction of the work requirements of section seven, article nine, chapter nine of this code.


NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to continue the courtesy patrol program in its current form, to be administered by a nonprofit organization that can also offer qualified participants AmeriCorps educational grants.

This article is new; therefore, strike-throughs and underscoring have been omitted.
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