H. B. 3084
(By Delegates Staton, Mahan, Brown and Amores)
[Passed March 8, 2003; in effect ninety days from passage
AN ACT to repeal sections one hundred ten and one hundred eleven,
article seventeen, chapter forty-eight of the code of West
Virginia, one thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended; to
amend and reenact sections one hundred one, one hundred two,
one hundred seven and one hundred nine, article seventeen of
said chapter; and to amend and reenact section one hundred
five, article eighteen of said chapter, all relating to child
support enforcement; providing for the membership, duties and
powers of the support enforcement commission; and providing
for the general duties and powers of the bureau for child
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That sections one hundred ten and one hundred eleven, article
seventeen, chapter forty-eight of the code of West Virginia, one
thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, be repealed; that sections one hundred one, one hundred two, one hundred seven and
one hundred nine, article seventeen of said chapter, be amended and
reenacted; and that section one hundred five, article eighteen of
said chapter be amended and reenacted, all to read as follows:
ARTICLE 17. WEST VIRGINIA SUPPORT ENFORCEMENT COMMISSION.
§48-17-101. Creation of support enforcement commission; number of
The West Virginia support enforcement commission, consisting
of eight members, is hereby created in the department of health and
human resources and may use the administrative support and services
of that department. The commission is not subject to control,
supervision or direction by the department of health and human
resources, but is an independent, self-sustaining commission that
shall have the powers and duties specified in this chapter.
The commission is a part-time commission whose members perform
such duties as specified in this chapter. The ministerial duties
of the commission shall be administered and carried out by the
commissioner of the bureau for child support enforcement, with the
assistance of such staff of the department of health and human
resources as the secretary may assign.
Each member of the commission shall devote the time necessary
to carry out the duties and obligations of the office and the six
members appointed by the governor may pursue and engage in another
business, occupation or gainful employment that is not in conflict with the duties of the commission.
While the commission is self-sustaining and independent, it,
its members, its employees and the commissioner are subject to
article nine-a of chapter six, chapter six-b, chapter twenty-nine-a
and chapter twenty-nine-b [§§ 6-9A-1 et seq., §§ 6B-1-1 et seq., §§
29A-1-1 et seq. and §§ 29B-1-1 et seq.] of this code.
§48-17-102. Appointment of members of support enforcement
commission; qualifications and eligibility.
(a)Of the eight members of the commission, seven members are
to be appointed by the governor:
Provided, That no more than five
members of the commission may belong to the same political party.
(1) One member is to be a lawyer licensed by, and in good
standing with, the West Virginia state bar, with at least five
years of professional experience in domestic relations law and the
establishment and enforcement of support obligations;
(2) One member is to be a person experienced as a public
administrator in the supervision and regulation of a governmental
(3) One member is to be an employer experienced in withholding
support payments from the earnings of obligors;
(4) One member is to be a practicing family court judge, as
an exofficio member, who will serve in an advisory capacity,
without compensation or voting rights; and
(5)Three members are to be representatives of the public at large, with at least one being an obligor and one being an obligee.
(b)One member is to be the commissioner of the bureau for
children and families, department of health and human resources, or
his or her designee.
Each member of the commission is to be a citizen of the
United States, a resident of the state of West Virginia and at
least twenty-one years of age.
§48-17-107. Meeting requirements.
(a)The commission shall meet within the state at least twice
per calendar year and at such other times as the chairman may
decide. The commission shall also meet upon a call of four or more
members upon seventy-two hours written notice to each member.
(b)Four members of the commission are a quorum for the
transaction of any business and for the performance of any duty.
(c)A majority vote of the members present is required for
any final determination by the commission.
(d)The commission may elect to meet in executive session
after an affirmative vote of a majority of its members present
according to section four [§ 6-9A-4], article nine-a, chapter six
of this code;
(e)The commission shall keep a complete and accurate record
of all its meetings according to section five [§ 6-9A-5], article
nine-a, chapter six of this code.
§48-17-109. General duties of support enforcement commission.
The support enforcement commission shall have general
responsibility to review and provide comment to the bureau for
child support enforcement on its policies and procedures for
obtaining and enforcing support orders and establishing paternity
according to this chapter, as hereinafter provided, including,
without limitation, the responsibility for the following:
(a)To serve as a clearinghouse for information;
(b)To keep a record of all commission proceedings available
for public inspection;
(c)To file a written annual report to the governor, the
president of the Senate and the speaker of the House of Delegates
on or before the thirtieth day of January of each year, and such
additional reports as the governor or Legislature may request.
(d) To apply for grants;
(e) To form partnerships with state institutions of higher
(f) The commission shall conduct the federally required review
[45 C.F.R. 302.56(C)(3)(e)] of the child support formula every four
years and make a report to the Legislature of their findings.
ARTICLE 18. BUREAU FOR CHILD SUPPORT ENFORCEMENT.
§48-18-105. General duties and powers of the bureau for child
In carrying out the policies and procedures for enforcing the
provisions of this chapter, the bureau shall have the following power and authority:
(1)To establish policies and procedures for obtaining and
enforcing support orders and establishing paternity according to
(2) To undertake directly, or by contract, activities to
obtain and enforce support orders and establish paternity;
(3) To undertake directly, or by contract, activities to
establish paternity for minors for whom paternity has not been
acknowledged by the father or otherwise established by law;
(4) To undertake directly, or by contract, activities to
collect and disburse support payments;
(5) To contract for professional services with any person,
firm, partnership, professional corporation, association or other
legal entity to provide representation for the bureau and the state
in administrative or judicial proceedings brought to obtain and
enforce support orders and establish paternity;
(6) To ensure that activities of a contractor under a
contract for professional services are carried out in a manner
consistent with attorneys' professional responsibilities as
established in the rules of professional conduct as promulgated by
the supreme court of appeals;
(7) To contract for collection services with any person,
firm, partnership, corporation, association or other legal entity
to collect and disburse amounts payable as support;
(8) To ensure the compliance of contractors and their
employees with the provisions of this chapter, and to terminate,
after notice and hearing, the contractual relationship between the
bureau and a contractor who fails to comply;
(9) To require a contractor to take appropriate remedial or
disciplinary action against any employee who has violated or caused
the contractor to violate the provisions of this chapter, in
accordance with procedures prescribed in legislative rules
promulgated by the commission;
(10)To locate parents who owe a duty to pay child support;
(11) To cooperate with other agencies of this state and other
states to search their records to help locate parents;
(12) To cooperate with other states in establishing and
enforcing support obligations;
(13) To exercise such other powers as may be necessary to
effectuate the provisions of this chapter.
(14) To establish and maintain procedures under which
expedited processes, administrative or judicial are in effect for
obtaining and enforcing support orders and establishing paternity
according to this chapter;
(15) To promulgate all emergency and legislative rules
pursuant to chapter twenty-nine-a [§§ 29A-1-1 et seq.] of this code
as are required by this chapter: Provided, That all rules which
are in effect at the time of the implementation of this section shall continue in full force and effect until the commissioner of
the bureau for child support enforcement promulgates a rule or
rules regarding the same subject matter.
(16) To adopt standards for staffing, record-keeping,
reporting, intergovernmental cooperation, training, physical
structures and time frames for case processing;
(17) To review the state plan for child and spousal support
to determine its conformance or nonconformance with the provisions
of 42 U.S.C. § 654;
(18) To cooperate with judicial organizations and the private
bar to provide training to persons involved in the establishment
and enforcement of child support orders; and
(19) To promulgate legislative rules pursuant to chapter
twenty-nine-a [§§29A-1-1] of this code which may aid the bureau for
child support enforcement in the establishment and enforcement of
child support orders. In addition to the specific designation of
such rules that constitute emergency rules within the meaning of
section fifteen [§29A-3-15], article three, chapter twenty-nine-a
of this code, the commissioner may promulgate other rules as
emergency rules when such rule is necessary to ensure that the
state is awarded federal funds for the actions described in the
rule or when the promulgation of such rule is necessary to prevent
substantial harm to the public interest by ensuring that child
support is timely collected and disbursed.