H. B. 4003
(By Delegates Morgan, Stephens, Hatfield,
Hartman, Householder, Staggers and Talbott)
[Introduced January 12, 2012; referred to the
Committee on Government Organization.]
A BILL to amend and reenact §30-1-5 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, relating to professional licensing boards; modifying who has the authority to call meetings and administer oaths; clarifying the establishment of quorums; providing that persons who report violations in good faith are not subject to civil damages; requiring boards to maintain a business office open to the public; and requiring board members to adhere to ethical standards for appointed officials requiring boards to maintain a business office open to the public.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That §30-1-5 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended and reenacted to read as follows:
ARTICLE 1. GENERAL PROVISIONS APPLICABLE TO ALL STATE BOARDS OF EXAMINATION OR REGISTRATION REFERRED TO IN CHAPTER.
§30-1-5. Meetings; quorum; investigatory powers; duties.
(a) Each board is required to hold meetings as set forth in this chapter, but shall hold at least one meeting annually, at such time and place as it may prescribe by rule, to transact business which may legally come before it. A board may hold additional meetings, upon the call of the chairperson or upon the written request of two board members.
(b) A quorum is:
(1) A simple majority of the members; or
(2) In the case of a vacancy on the board, a simple majority of the remaining members.
© Each board may:
(1) Compel the attendance of witnesses;
(2) Issue subpoenas and subpoenas duces tecum;
(3) Conduct investigations;
(4) Hire an investigator; and
(5) Take testimony and other evidence concerning any matter within its jurisdiction.
(d) The chairperson of the board may administer oaths.
(e) Each board shall investigate and resolve complaints which it receives and shall, within six months of the complaint being filed, send a status report to the party filing the complaint by certified mail with a signed return receipt, and within one year of the status report’s return receipt date issue a final ruling, unless the party filing the complaint and the board agree in writing to extend the time for the final ruling.
(f) Each board shall maintain a business office that is open to the public and identified with a sign on the front of the building. Each board shall provide access to its public records, including the disposition of the complaints which it receives, in accordance with the provisions of chapter twenty-nine-b of this code.
(g) Each board member shall adhere to the ethical standards for appointed officials set forth in section five, article two, chapter six-b of this code.
(h) Each person regulated by a board and each board member shall report to the board, in a timely manner, a violation of the provisions of this chapter which are administered and enforced by that board. Law-enforcement agencies or their personnel and courts shall report in a timely manner to the appropriate board a violation of the provisions of this chapter by an individual. A person who reports or provides information in good faith is not subject to civil damages.
(I) When a board obtains information that a person has engaged in, is engaging in or is about to engage in an act which constitutes or will constitute a violation of the provisions of this chapter which are administered and enforced by that board, it may issue a notice to the person to cease and desist and apply to the circuit court for an order enjoining the act. Upon a showing that the person has engaged, is engaging or is about to engage in such an act, the court may order an injunction, restraining order or other order as the court considers appropriate.
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to clarify the law governing the duties of professional licensing boards. The bill modifies who has the authority to call meetings and administer oaths; clarifies the establishment of quorums; provides that persons who report violations in good faith are not subject to civil damages; requires boards to maintain a business office open to the public; and requires board members to adhere to ethical standards for appointed officials requiring boards to maintain a business office open to the public. The bill also permits these boards to issue notices of cease and desist and to apply to the circuit court for appropriate relief.
This section has been completely rewritten; therefore, it has been completely underscored.