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Today in the Legislature

Friday, March 31, 2017 - 04:51 PM

House Judiciary Discuss Bill to Change State Pay Cycle

House Judiciary met today and discussed several bills.

SB 581 would make technical corrections to the Uniform Trust Code. The bill will be reported to the floor.

SB 4 would allow certain licensed professionals to donate their time to the care of the indigent and the needy and to allow them to gain credit for their time against continuing education requirements needed to maintain their license.

SB 398 wouldcreate The Emergency Volunteer Health Practitioners Act. The bill would regulate the practice of volunteer health practitioners during an emergency and create a registration system. It would also grant reciprocity to licenses issued to volunteer health practitioners in other states during an emergency. The bill will be reported to the floor.    

SB 344 would eliminate conflicting provisions within current code relating to the application of payments and the assessment of delinquency fees on consumer credit sales and consumer loans, except credit cards. The bill will be reported to the floor.

SB 523 would convert to a biweekly pay cycle for all state employees. It would modify the pay cycle for the members of the Legislature, courts, higher education institutions, WV State Police, Division of Correction, and other state agencies.  The bill will be reported to the floor. The bill will be reported to the floor.

SB 563 would amend the requirements for contracts that allow for balloon payments, require proof of mailing of notices to debtors that consumers are represented by legal counsel and prohibit class action lawsuits under this chapter. The bill will be reported to the floor.

SB 240 would crime of distribution of nude and sexually explicit images when the person depicted has an expectation of privacy. The bill will be reported to the floor.

SB 337 would allow the Division of Corrections to hire a person as a Correctional Officer no matter their placement on the correctional officer register. The bill will be reported to the floor.

SB 578 would establish a new fee structure for the furnishing of health care records, allowing records to be furnished to a patient’s personal representative and establishing a limit on the total fee allowable for the furnishing of a patient’s health care record.

SB 174 would eliminate the jurisdiction of the PSC over the transportation of household goods.

 

SB 346 would exempt any motor vehicles which are engaged exclusively in the nonemergency medical transportation of Medicaid members from the jurisdiction of the Public Service Commission.



Friday, March 31, 2017 - 03:23 PM

House Committee on Government Organization Passes Concurrent Resolutions

The House Committee on Government Organization met this afternoon and passed many Concurrent Resolutions out of the committee and also some bills.

SB 28 would create a new system for certain contiguous counties to establish regional recreation authorities. The bill was reported to the floor of the House with the recommendation that it pass.

SB 221 relates to composition of PEIA Finance Board.

Delegate Caputo (D-Marion) moved to amend the bill in order to add a person to the board to represent state workers. The amendment was adopted.

The bill was reported to the floor of the House with the recommendation that it pass as amended.

SB 588 relates to reproduction, distribution and sale of tax maps.

Delegate Sypolt (R-Preston) and Lynch (D-Webster) moved to amend the bill so that a dollar of the sale of the tax maps would go to a local 911 call center in order to fund it. The amendment was adopted.

The bill was reported to the floor of the House with the recommendation that it pass as amended.

The committee considered HCR Blank that would regard a study of the Office of Technology, HCR Blank regarding a study of the Alcohol Beverage Control Administration, HCR Blank regarding a study of the Division of Labor, HCR Blank regarding a study of Occupational Licensing, HCR Blank regarding a study of the regulation of Registered Nurses and Licensed Practical Nurses and, HCR Blank regarding a study of the Real Estate Division. The resolutions were reported to the floor with the recommendation they are adopted.



Friday, March 31, 2017 - 03:10 PM

Senate Judiciary Approves Bill Related to Fundraising Reporting During Session

The Senate Judiciary Committee has approved four House bills to be reported to the floor with the recommendation that they pass.

HB 2219 would authorize the Commissioner of Agriculture to promulgate 49 legislative rules relating to Livestock Care Standards.

Senator Ronald Miller, D-Greenbrier, withdrew his amendment pertaining to hunting tagged deer, which had been pending since the committee's last meeting.

Crescent Gallagher of the Dept. of Agriculture said the Division of Natural Resources (DNR) were in agreement about certain rules senators were concerned about during the last meeting.

DNR Deputy Director Emily Fleming said DNR was kept very involved with rules the Dept. of Agriculture would promulgate for the division.

HB 2373 would authorize school bus drivers trained in administration of epinephrine auto-injectors to administer auto-injectors to students or school personnel experiencing an anaphylactic reaction.

The bill would also make school bus drivers immune from liability for use of an epinephrine auto-injector except in cases of gross negligence or willful misconduct.

HB 2319 would require members of the Legislature to disclose contributions and fund-raising events while the Legislature is in session.

The bill specifically requires the information to be provided within five days of an event or a receipt of contribution, and requires the Secretary of State to publish such information on the Secretary of State’s website within one day.

Senator Robert Karnes, R-Upshur, proposed an amendment to incorporate the Board of Public Works into the bill and maintain regular reporting without being "overly excessive" with reporting requirements.

Karnes's amendment was rejected.

Lead sponsor of the bill, Delegate Jill Upson, R-Jefferson, said she created the bill to add another layer of transparency to ensure the timely reporting of financing by legislators during session.

HB 2083 would increase imprisonment lengths and fines for exposing children to methamphetamine manufacturing.

The committee will next meet 3 p.m. Monday, March 3, in room 208W. The agenda has been posted.



Friday, March 31, 2017 - 01:57 PM

Industrial Hemp Licensing Bill Approved in Senate Agriculture

The Senate Agriculture and Rural Development Committee has approved two bills to be reported to the full Senate with the recommendation that they pass.

HB 2453 would expand the list of persons the Commissioner of Agriculture may license to grow or cultivate industrial hemp.

Committee counsel said the Department of Agriculture has approved of the bill.

The bill will be referred to Senate Government Organization once reported to the floor.

HB 2552 would increase the pet food registration fee and direct that the additional money be deposited into the West Virginia Spay Neuter Assistance Fund.

The Fund has not received any regular funding since its creation, and the bill is expected to bring nearly $90,000 into the Fund.

Theresa Bruner of the Federation of Humane Organizations in WV discussed the organization's support for the bill.

Bruner said the dog food industry would be able to afford the fee raise due to its rapid financial growth over the past few years.

Attorney Mark Harman said the pet food industry is "adamantly opposed" to the bill and that he believed there were better ways to raise the money for the Fund rather than targeting one industry.

Senator Charles Clements, R-Wetzel, amended the bill to decrease the pet food registration fees to $50 and $35, instead of $100 and $70.

The bill will be referred to Senate Finance once reported to the floor.



Friday, March 31, 2017 - 01:21 PM

Action on Medical Marijuana Bill Delayed Until Monday

Chairman John Shott addressed the House at the start of session to let everyone know he would be making a motion on second reading for SB 386 (Creating WV Medical Cannabis Act). He said he looked it over last night and he did some research and he found an issue relating to the edible form of medical cannabis. He said it needs to be properly addressed in the bill for child proof packaging and identification for what the product is. This being said he would be making a motion to postpone action until Monday, April 3 on SB 386.

Delegate Pat McGeehan asked the chairman if members on the prevailing side would be invited to collaborate with the chairman and his attorneys. The chairman said any delegate wishing to come in this weekend, including Sunday is welcome to come.

Minority Leader Tim Miley addressed the floor saying that he had spoken with Speaker Tim Armstead and Chairman Shott and they are trying to work with everyone to move this forward.

There were 16 bills on third reading; two were postponed and 14 passed the House.

Action was postponed on SB 437 again.

Action was postponed on SB 634.

SB 338 would amend the Medical Professional Liability Act by adding a definition for “occurrence,” providing for a preference of venue, establishing an attorney’s fees schedule based upon the amount recovered. The bill passed 87-12 in the House.

SB 473 would clarify the circumstances in which naturally shed deer antlers may be lawfully collected, possessed and sold and to clarify that certain wildlife or parts thereof cannot be traded or bartered. The bill passed the House 94-5/

SB 41 would extend the total number of years that a person may be subject to a period of probation to seven years. The bill passed the House 97-2.

SB 497 would modify the liability of a physician offering volunteer care at school sporting events to provide that they may only be held liable for acts of gross negligence or willful misconduct. The bill passed the House 91-8.

Committee Meetings Today

Veterans Affairs: immediately after session in 215E

Judiciary: 1 p.m. in 410M

Government Organization: 2:30 p.m. in 215E

Finance: 3 p.m. in 460M

Committee Meetings Tomorrow

Government Organization: 9 a.m. in 460M

There will be a Public Hearing on SB 687 on Monday April 3 at 8:30 a.m. in the House Chamber.

 

The House is in recess until 5 p.m.

Update:

Upon reconvenement the House recieved committee reports.

They then voted on a title amendment on House Bill 2486, passing it with a vote of 78-17.

The following committees meet:

Finance at 8:30 a.m. tomorrow.

Judiciary after caucus tonight.

Government Organization at 8 a.m. tomorrow.

 

The Huse is adjourned until 9 a.m. tomorrow.

›› Completed Legislation

Friday, March 31, 2017 - 12:51 PM

Senate Discusses Prohibition of Production, Manufacture or Possession of Fentanyl

The Senate met today to pass three bills.

House Bill 2721 would remove the cost limitation on projects completed by the Division of Highways.

House Bill 2722 would eliminate the financial limitations on utilizing the design-build program for highway construction.

House Bill 3106 relates to increasing the number of limited video lottery terminals.

The bills are now completed legislation.

On second reading there were two bills.

House Bill 2329 would prohibit the production, manufacture or possession of fentanyl.

Senator Trump (R-Morgan) said the bill would create new criminal offenses and moves fentanyl to a schedule one drug. Senate Judiciary Committee has an amendment for the bill.

Senator Woelfel (D-Cabell) said, “The bill was a good bill from the House. Senate Judiciary has made it even better. This will be a great tool to combat the drug crisis we are facing.”

The bill was moved to third reading with the right to amend.

House Bill 2878 would increase the amount of authorized Federal Grant Anticipation Notes for which the Division of Highways may apply. 

On first reading there was one bill.

House Bill 2180 would authorize the issuance of special "In God We Trust" motor vehicle registration plates.

Senate Resolution 65 was also adopted today reaffirming sister-state ties between Taiwan and State of West Virginia.

These committees meet at the following times:

Agriculture and Rural Development at 1 p.m. in 451M.

Confirmations at 1 p.m. in 208W.

Judiciary at 2 p.m. in 208W.

Education at 10 a.m. tomorrow in 451M.

Government Organization at 10 a.m. tomorrow in 208W.

 

 

The Senate is adjourned until tomorrow at 9 a.m.

›› Completed Legislation

Friday, March 31, 2017 - 10:41 AM

House Government Organization Reports Four Bills Out of Committee

The House Committee on Government Organization met today to discuss Senate bills.

SB 412 relates to WV Jobs Act reporting requirements. This bill would redact reporting the job’s wage in the WV Jobs Act. This would make it so that companies employed by the state not have to report their wages for public record.

Delegate Caputo (D-Marion) moved to amend the bill. The amendment passed.

The bill was reported to the House floor with the recommendation that it pass.

SB 180 relates to PSC jurisdiction over certain telephone company and internet services. The current law does not specify jurisdiction of these current services. This bill would clarify that the PSC would have jurisdiction.

Delegate Hamrick (R-Harrison) wanted to know if text messages would count underneath this and found they would not as they are a different type of data.

The bill was reported to the House floor with the recommendation that it pass.

SB 350 would allow licensed professional counselors be issued temporary permit. This bill would allow temporary permits to be issued to counselors who are awaiting the results of their tests as long as they are under supervision. Their temporary license may be revoked at any time. The supervisor would be liable to any mishaps that happen while the temporary license is issued. The bill was reported to the House floor with the recommendation that it pass.

SB 480 would authorize local government adopt energy efficiency partnership programs. The bill would allow municipalities to enter into contracts with private owners to introduce energy efficiencies in their building. In order for the municipalities be able to do this, there would be resolutions of intent, public hearings, and rules and regulations they would have to follow.

Delegate McGeehan (R-Hancock) said, “I could see the government getting too involved in the private sector and development of property.”

The bill was rejected.

SB 499 would create Debt Resolution Services Division in Auditor's office. The bill was rejected.

SB 564 relates to Statewide Independent Living Council. This bill would make technical changes to the program and were recommended for conformity with other acts. It changes and adds some definitions. The bill was moved to be amended to put a cap on the payment members of the council would be allowed to receive. The amendment was adopted. The bill was reported to the House floor with the recommendation that it pass as amended.

The committee recessed until after the House floor meeting.



Friday, March 31, 2017 - 10:11 AM

Senate Finance Approves Bills Related to Governor Justice's Budget Plan

The Senate Finance Committee has approved four bills to be reported to the floor with the recommendation that they pass.

SB 304 would appropriate $2,700,000 in expiring funds from the General Revenue Fund to the state Department of Health and Human Resources.

Committee counsel also informed the committee that there is currently $678 million total in the state's Rainy Day Fund.

The bill was originally proposed by the governor as part of his budget plan.

SB 476 would appropriate $101,700,000 in expiring funds from the Revenue Shortfall Reserve Fund to the General Revenue Fund.

Mike McKown, director of the State Budget Office, was available to answer questions from committee members.

The bill was originally proposed by the governor as part of his budget plan.

HB 2963 would eliminate the requirement that the personal representative of a nonresident decedent apply to the Tax Commissioner for a certificate releasing all real property situate in this state from any estate tax lien, because West Virginia does not impose an estate tax or an inheritance tax on estates of persons dying after December 31, 2004.

HB 2734 would authorize a method for the collection and remittance of property taxes related to a dealer’s heavy equipment inventory.

Current law does not provide any special guidance in this regard.

Senator Jeff Mullins, R-Raleigh, amended the bill to make technical corrections regarding consistency in the bill's language.

The committee will not be meeting this afternoon or Saturday, April 1.



Thursday, March 30, 2017 - 05:40 PM

Bill to Reduce Exploitation of Seniors' Property Approved in Senate Judiciary

The Senate Judiciary Committee has approved seven bills to be reported to the floor with the recommendation that they pass.

HB 2526 would classify additional drugs to Schedules I, II, IV and V of controlled substances.

Morgan Leach, executive director of the WV Hemp Industries Association, explained an amendment offered by Senator Robert Beach, D-Monongalia, that would exclude industrial hemp from being classified as a controlled substance.

Matt Walker of GW Pharmaceuticals explained the difference between industrial hemp and regular hemp, which is considered a controlled substance.

Michael Goff of the Board of Pharmacy, said the Board supports industrial hemp as long as it is FDA-approved. 

HB 2303 would increase the fines and community service hours for littering.

Those convicted of littering can be fined an amount from $2,500 to $10,000 or committed to anywhere from 16 to 200 hours of community service that could involve cleaning up litter from any public highway, road, street, alley or any other public park or public property, or waters of the state, as designated by the court.

Lead sponsor of the bill Delegate Rupert Phillips, I-Logan, urged the committee to pass the bill and said he is "tired" of seeing litter throughout the state after spending hours in his own community cleaning up litter in public areas and waterways.

Senator Mike Woelfel, D-Cabell, amended the bill to strike certain language, restore the maximum fine of $25,000, restore the court's ability to institute a double charge of a fine and community service hours and exempt property owners from littering on their own property from criminal liability for any litter up to 50 pounds in weight.

Senator Richard Ojeda, D-Logan, said he did not agree that property owners should be allowed to litter on their own property, since doing so can reduce the property value of surrounding properties.

Senator Mike Romano, D-Harrison, said allowing people to litter on their own property is a "terrible mistake" that would make it harder to maintain clean cities and towns that are safe for citizens to live in, which is a problem he works to address in his own county.

Committee counsel added a strike-and-insert amendment to make technical corrections to the bill.

HB 2404 would bar persons who are convicted of certain criminal offenses from acquiring property from their victims through joint tenancy or inheritance.

Angela Vance of AARP said AARP has been working on this legislation for two years now to stop seniors from being exploited by their own family members and heirs.

"This is a real problem in West Virginia," Vance said, "And it's an ever-growing crime."

Committee counsel added a strike-and-insert amendment to make technical corrections to the bill.

HB 2364 would prohibit electioneering during early voting periods in and around early voting locations to the same extent as is currently prohibited at polling places on election day.

Current law does not allow electioneering within 300 feet of voting locations, but the bill would change this buffer zone to 100 feet to conform with federal guidelines.

Senator Romano amended the bill to clarify that exit pollers are not allowed to participate in the electioneering activities.

HB 2479 would adopt and implement the provisions of the Uniform Deployed Parents Custody and Visitation Act in West Virginia to set standard procedures for resolution and determination of custody and visitation issues when a parent is deployed in the military or other national service.

Similar bills have been adopted in 12 other states.

Committee counsel added a strike-and-insert amendment to make technical corrections to the bill.

HB 2731 would clarify that only civil actions with controversial amounts exceeding $10,000 must be heard in circuit court, except in actions relating to real estate installment sales contracts or actions confined exclusively by the Constitution to some other tribunal.

During the 2016 Regular Legislative Session, the Legislature passed SB 274 which increased the civil jurisdictional amount in magistrate court from $2,500 to $10,000. However, the Legislature failed to amend the circuit court jurisdictional statute to specify that the controversial amount, excluding interest, must exceed $10,000.

Committee counsel added a strike-and-insert amendment to make technical corrections to the bill.

HB 2548 would allow nonintoxicating beer licensees to have speakers outside of licensed premises as long as their use does not disturb the peace and quietude of community where the business is located.

A general counsel for the Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission was available to answer questions from the committee and said the Commission had no position on the bill.

The committee also laid over HB 2219 to review an amendment to the bill proposed by Senator Ronald Miller, D-Greenbrier, to remove a rule that would allow the Dept. of Agriculture to issue a rule affecting the Division of Natural Resources.

The rule is one of the 49 legislative rules relating to Livestock Care Standards the bill would authorize the Commissioner of Agriculture to promulgate.

The committee will meet 9:30 a.m. Friday, March 31, in 208W.



Thursday, March 30, 2017 - 05:18 PM

House Health Reports Senate Bill 60

The House Committee on Health and Human Resources met today to report Senate bills to the House floor.

SB 339 would create the Legislative Coalition on Chronic Pain Management. The bill was reported to the House floor with the recommendation that it pass.

SB 360 would create the Legislative Coalition on Diabetes Management. The bill was reported to the House floor with the recommendation that it pass but first be referred to the Committee on Government Organization.

SB 486 relates to health care provider taxes. The bill was reported to the House floor with the recommendation that it pass.

SB 60 relates to eligibility and fraud requirements for public assistance. There are systems like this in other states and they are doing well. Council said there is a belief based on research that there are individuals on these programs that would be found to be ineligible.

Jeremiah Samples, a representative of DHHR, said the department has been looking for years for a way to make sure that their services aren’t being taken advantage of, but ultimately it is a policy decision and the department stays neutral on this bill.

In the bill policy would be revised by setting a limit on the amount of assets one can have in order to be eligible. Delegate Bates (D-Raleigh) said that assets require income to maintain but there is no correlation between the assets one has and how hungry they are. Council later informed the committee that unless the applicant puts their assets on the form and their assets are registered with the DMV, then there is no other way for them to tell what assets they have, so they could have planes, pools or vehicles. The reason there is an asset test is because it is difficult for the department to make eligibility requirements based only on what applicants have in the bank.

Delegate Cooper (R-Summers) wanted to be sure the bill wouldn’t hurt those applying for SNAP benefits in emergency situations. He was assured it wouldn’t.

The program evaluate the eligibility and fraud requirements would be phased in so that more federal dollars could fund the program. There would also be a hearing for those who feel as though the department made a mistake and they can appeal to get their benefits back. The process to apply for an appeal would be in a written request.

Delegate Pushkin (D-Kanawha) questioned about those who have no longer are eligible for SNAP because of an increased work requirement. The presenter, Ms. Terri, said the work requirements are working, putting more people to work and giving them real wages.

Delegate Sobonya (R-Cabell) asked Mr. Samples if food stamps from West Virginia had been used in Hawaii and the Virgin Islands. He confirmed that there had been.

The bill was amended to make clear that work training or volunteering would count toward the work hours requirement and to implement the program fully by October 1, 2020. The amendment was attempted to be amended by Delegate Baldwin (D-Greenbrier) to make sure the able bodied are the only ones to apply for the work requirements. The amendment to the amendment was rejected. The amendment was adopted.

Delegate Pushkin moved to amend the bill. His amendment was rejected.

Delegate Longstreth (D-Marion) moved to amend the bill as well. Her amendments were also rejected besides one to make it so people didn’t have to reply to a notice in writing.

The bill was reported to the House floor with the recommendation that it pass.



Thursday, March 30, 2017 - 04:55 PM

House Judiciary Sends Two Bills to Floor

The Judiciary Committee met and discussed the following bills:

SB 602 would create a uniform system of recording and indexing of fictitious names used by sole proprietors in the state. The bill will be reported to the floor with the recommendation that it do pass.

SB 454 would eliminate certain fees generated by suggested executions and to further streamline the collection of state moneys received as a result of certain court transactions or court services through more efficient technology. The bill will be reported to the floor with recommendation that it do pass. 



Thursday, March 30, 2017 - 03:55 PM

Five Senate Bills Move from Committee to House Floor from House Judiciary

The House Finance committee met today and discussed five bills.

SB 321 would provide minimum reporting requirements for employee information to the Consolidated Public Retirement Board. The bill passed and will be reported to the floor.

SB 364 would update the WV code to the Streamlined Sales and Use Tax, which is done about every couple to few years. The bill will be reported to the floor with recommendation that it do pass.

SB 365 would maintain the solvency of the Unemployment Compensation Fund; and extending the time period for borrowing funds from the Revenue Shortfall Reserve Fund for the Unemployment Compensation Fund to September 1, 2018. The extension is wanted for later use, not current use. The bill will be reported to the floor with recommendation that it do pass.

SB 392 would a definition for “vested” to Municipal Police and Fire Retirement System; and clarify duty/nonduty disability. The bill will be reported to the floor with the recommendation that it do pass.

SB 566 would provide payment to certain claimants who provided commodities and/or services to the state, but who were not paid because the agency reached its budget limit. The bill will be reported to the floor with the recommendation that it do pass. 



Thursday, March 30, 2017 - 03:06 PM

Return-to-Learn Resolution Approved in Senate Education

The Senate Education Committee has approved a bill and a resolution to be reported to the full Senate with the recommendation that they pass.

HB 2706 would authorize legislative rules related to higher education.

These rules would involve the West Virginia Higher Education Grant Program, the PROMISE scholarship, the Research Trust Fund Program and the Annual Reauthorization of Degree-Granting Institutions, among other rules.

Originating Resolution 1 would request a study on Return-to-Learn protocols for elementary, secondary and higher education students who have suffered a concussion.

Senator Kenny Mann, R-Monroe, Chair, took Originating Resolution 2 off the agenda to be considered in a future meeting.

 



Thursday, March 30, 2017 - 03:00 PM

Senate Committee on Government Organization Reports Bills to Update State Websites

The Senate Committee on Government Organization met today to report House bills to the Senate floor.

House Bill 2767 would authorize the Secretary of State to transmit electronic versions of undeliverable mail to the circuit clerks. There was an amendment explained by council that was adopted. The bill was reported to the Senate floor with the recommendation that it pass.

House Bill 2427 would require agencies listed in the online state phone directory to update certain employee information by July 1st, 2017. They would be required to update it in 30 days after there are any changes made. The bill was reported to the Senate floor with the recommendation that it pass.

House Bill 2446 relates to the requirement that all executive branch agencies maintain a website that contains specific information beginning December 31st, 2017.

Justin McAllister, CFO for the office of technology, said the bill would not require his staff.

Senator Miller (D-Greenbrier) moved to amend the bill to only include fax machine numbers if the office uses them. The amendment was adopted.

The bill was reported to the Senate floor with the recommendation that it pass.

House Bill 2676 would transfer the Security office under the Division of Culture and History to the Division of Protective Services. Security for all Capitol Complex properties would be under the Division of Protective Services. The director of the Division of Culture said the bill would be fine, so long as his employees wouldn’t lose their jobs, and there would be better security. The bill was reported to the Senate floor with the recommendation that it pass.

House Bill 2939 relates to the sale of items in the State Police Academy post exchange to the public. There would not be any official State Police attire being sold in the post exchange, mostly just T shirts and hats. There would be no badges or blue lights. The bill was reported to the Senate floor with the recommendation that it pass.

House Bill 2949 would exempt specified Division of Natural Resources’ contracts for some replacement, repair or design for repairs to facilities from review and approval requirements. Senators Gaunch and Sypolt expressed their concern about the division of purchasing and that it may be worth studying. The bill was reported to the Senate floor with the recommendation that it pass.

House Bill 2948 would establish timelines for taking final action on certain permits. Currently the permit applications don’t have time requirements. The bill would make it so that the permits that don’t have issues need to be finished in 30 days and those that do have issues in 90 days. The bill was reported to the Senate floor with the recommendation that it pass.



Thursday, March 30, 2017 - 02:04 PM

Senate Health Committee Reports Eight Bills to the Floor

The Senate Committee on Health and Human Resources met to report eight bills out of the committee.

House Bill 2522 relates to a nurse licensure compact.

Sue Paynter, director of the IN board, said the bill is important so nurses could get a multi-state license. This would make it so nurses who work in Kentucky and live in West Virginia wouldn’t have to get two separate licenses.

Someone speaking against the bill said the bill would make background checks and proper punishment for malpractice more difficult to administer. If they have a multi-license, then nurses don’t have to report where they are working to the compact.

Senator Maroney (R-Marshall) said, “I think that each individual employer will check their employees background. I support the bill.”

The bill was reported to the Senate floor with the recommendation that it pass but it was first referred to the Committee on Judiciary.

House Bill 2724 relates to creating a pilot program under the Herbert Henderson Office of Minority Affairs. This pilot program would address poverty, drug abuse and other problems. The bill was reported to the Senate floor with the recommendation that it pass but first be reported to the Committee on Government Organization.

House Bill 2518 creates a legislative rule to permit a pharmacist or pharmacy intern to administer certain immunizations. The vaccines included are HPV and Influenza.

Senator Rucker (R-Jefferson) asked if there were provisions for informed consent and there are.

The bill was reported to the Senate floor with the recommendation that it pass.

House Bill 2653 would extend the date of use of the Multi State Real-Time Tracking System. The bill was reported to the Senate floor with the recommendation that it pass.

House Bill 2739 relates to supplemental Medicaid provider reimbursement. An amendment offered by council was adopted. Senator Trump (R-Morgan) moved to amend the amendment and it too was adopted. The bill was then reported to the Senate floor with the recommendation that it pass.

House Bill 2519 relates to a Medicaid program compact. This bill would make an inquiry to surrounding states about creating a Medicaid compact with them. The bill was reported to the Senate floor with the recommendation that it pass.

House Bill 2119 would repeal West Virginia Health Benefit Exchange Act. The West Virginia Health Benefit Exchange has never been operational as its duties were carried out by the federal government. The bill was reported to the floor with the recommendation that it pass.

House Bill 2188 would extend the length of time for the special Community-Based Pilot Demonstration Project to Improve Outcomes for At-Risk Youth. The bill would change the duration of the project from four to seven years. Federal funding is available to the project and no state money goes to it. The bill was reported to the floor with the recommendation that it pass.



Thursday, March 30, 2017 - 01:31 PM

Senate Overrides Veto on Bill Related to WV Workplace Freedom Act

The Senate has overridden a veto by Governor Jim Justice on a bill that would provide technical corrections to the definitions of the West Virginia Workplace Freedom Act and repeal provisions relating to the statutory construction of the act.

The veto for the bill, SB 330, was overridden with a 21-12 vote.

The Senate also passed a bill that would clarify certain requirements of the certificate of need process.

The bill, HB 2459, will now be sent back to the House for approval of amendments made by Senate Health and Human Resources and Senator Tom Takubo, R-Kanawha.

Members of the Senate adopted three Senate resolutions and two House concurrent resolutions.

SR 62 designates today as Marshall University Day at the Capitol.

SR 63 congratulates the Wyoming East High School golf team for winning the 2016 Class AA State Championship.

SR 64 congratulates the Herbert Hoover High School boys' basketball team and cheerleading team for outstanding athletic achievement.

HCR 109 extends the Committee of Conference relating to consideration of the committee substitute for HB 2099.

HCR 110 extends the Committee of Conference relating to consideration of the committee substitute for HB 2028.

Senator Greg Boso, R-Nicholas, requested that SCR 46 be referred to the Senate Rules Committee. The Senate concurrent resolution would request a study on consumer complaints regarding safety of aftermarket crash parts.

House Bills 2679, 2721, 2722 and 3106 were advanced from second reading. Of those bills, three were amended.

Senator Charles Trump, R-Morgan, amended HB 2679 on behalf of the decisions of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Senator Mike Hall, R-Putnam, amended HB 2721 to clarify language and remove certain limitations provided in the bill that could affect certain ongoing infrastructure projects in the state.

Senator Greg Boso, R-Nicholas, amended HB 2722 to apply certain provisions of similar bill SB 417 to the House bill, since the Senate bill did not pass the floor.

Committee Meetings Today

Health and Human Resources: 1 p.m. in 451M

Government Organization: 2 p.m. in 208W

Education: 2 p.m. in 451M

Judiciary: 3 p.m. in 208W

Finance: 3 p.m. in 451M

Committee Meetings Tomorrow

Pensions: 8:30 a.m. in 451M

Judiciary: 9:30 a.m. in 208W

Finance: 9:30 a.m. in 451M

Confirmations: 1 p.m. in 208W

The Senate is adjourned until 11 a.m. tomorrow.

›› Senate bills introduced on this date
›› Completed Legislation

Thursday, March 30, 2017 - 01:25 PM

Greyhound Bill moves on to Third Reading

The House of Delegates convened today and passed three bills.

SB 113 would authorize the Department of Environmental Protection to issue a legislative rule relating to Awarding of Matching Grants for Local Litter Control Programs. The bill passed 98-0 and will now go to the Senate for more consideration.

SB 362 would permit the redirection of the deposit of revenues collected from certain surcharges and assessments on workers’ compensation insurance policies and derived from net terminal income funds by the Governor through executive order to the General Revenue Fund. The bill passed 72-27 and will now go to the Senate for more consideration.

SB 419 would authorize the creation of special revenue accounts in the State Treasury for the deposit of Division of Labor fees. The bill passed the House 94-5 and will now go to the Senate for more consideration.

HB 2933 was tabled.

There were 16 bills on second reading, of those:

SB 437 discontinue the West Virginia Racing Commission special account known as the West Virginia Greyhound Breeding Development Fund and to transfer all moneys in the West Virginia Greyhound Breeding Development Fund to the State Excess Lottery Revenue Fund for appropriation by the Legislature.

Committee Meetings Today

Health and Human Resources: 2:30 p.m. in 215E

Finance: 3 p.m. in 460M

Judiciary: 4:30 p.m. in 410M

Committee Meetings Tomorrow

Gov. Org.: 9 a.m. in 215E

Finance: 9 p.m. in 460M

Judiciary: 9:30 a.m. in 410M

Education: 9:30 a.m. in 434M

Veterans Affairs: immediately after floor session in 215E

There will be a Public Hearing on SB 212 in the House Chamber tomorrow at 8:30 a.m.

The House is recessed until 5 p.m.

Update:

The House received the messages and committee report. The message from the Senate about their passage of SB 386, the authorization of medical marijuana in West Virginia, was received.

Delegate Mike Folk (R-Berkeley) motioned that the committee references be dispensed with and the bill be taken up for first reading. There was lengthy discussion on the motion.

Delegate Charlotte Lane (R-Kanawha) stood in support of this motion. She said, “This is our only chance” to see medical marijuana to be legalized for those who are suffering.

Delegate Mike Caputo (D-Marion) said, “We’ve been running away from this issue for way too long.” He said it’s time to show the people of West Virginia they are cared about.

Delegate Isaac Sponaugle (D-Pendleton) said, “It’s been vetted in Senate Judiciary and Health.” He reminded the body if they voted no, this would be the second time it would be on record for their constituents to see.

Delegate Cindy Frich (R-Monongalia) stood in opposition of the motion, insisting that it go through the committee process. She said, at this point we should be focused on the budget, not medical marijuana.

Delegate Jordan Hill (R-Nicholas) supported the bill, saying “I’m voting for this motion for the seniors suffering, the children in the hospital, and the vets who need it.” He said, this bill “gives us the chance to represent our constituents.”

Delegate Joe Ellington (R-Mercer) said he didn’t support the motion because it should go through the committee process and that he would run it in committee.

Delegate Tom Fast (R-Fayette) said people need to realized it does more than just legalize medical marijuana. It sets up commissions, rule making, dispensaries, and criminal penalties.

Delegate Larry Rowe (D-Kanawha) stood and reminded people this isn’t just a procedural issue, as he recited House rules 73 and 74. He said, “The rules of the House are not as limited as they seem.”

Judiciary Chair John Shott (R-Mercer) stood against the motion. He recalled how California’s medical use evolved into total legalization. He compared growers in this bill with pill mills. He also said the bill could be in conflict with federal law.

Majority Leader Daryl Cowles (R-Morgan) listed the reasons why we should go through the committee process. They included, talking to experts in the field, such as law enforcement and doctors. He said, this bill needed to be properly vetted through the committee process. 

Delegate Pat McGeehan (R-Hancock) said “we know it was double referenced to kill the bill.” He said he wished people would be more honest about procedures and realize that this is an important issue in the state.

Minority Leader Tim Miley (D-Harrison) said, “This issue hasn’t been prioritized.” The Senate prioritized it, the constituents think it’s a priority, and that it’s time for the House to make it a priority.

Folk closed debate saying that a person should have a certification for medical use. He pointed out how this could help our veterans. He said, “This is a good bill; it’s been vetted in the Senate.” The bill wouldn’t be made effective until July 2018.

The motion was adopted 54-40 and the bill was read for a first time. 

The House is adjourned until 11 a.m. tomorrow. 

›› House bills introduced on this date
›› Completed Legislation

Thursday, March 30, 2017 - 12:58 PM

Banking and Insurance Discuss SB 522

The House Banking and Insurance Committee met today to discuss SB 522.

 

SB 522 would define audit procedures between pharmacy benefits managers and pharmacies. The bill would require pharmacy benefits managers to register with the Insurance Commissioner and pay a registration fee. The Insurance Commissioner would be authorized to propose legislative rules relating to pharmacy benefits managers.



Thursday, March 30, 2017 - 12:56 PM

Bill to Increase Penalties for Littering Approved in Senate Judiciary

The Senate Judiciary Committee has approved HB 2509, which would permit a physician to prescribe certain controlled substances when using telemedicine technologies.

Mark Spangler, executive director of the Board of Medicine, was available to answer questions from committee members about how the bill would apply to telemedicine across state lines.

Mark Drennan, executive director of the WV Behavioral Heathcare Providers Association, said the bill would allow psychiatrists and physicians to more efficiently treat children without having to drive miles to physically prescribe medication for those children.

Drennan also clarified other specific provisions of the bill for members and discussed its cost-effectiveness and accessibility in the state.

Senator Patricia Rucker, R-Jefferson, amended the bill to include provisions to prevent the telehealth prescription of abortion-causing medications. 

The bill was previously reported out of Senate Health and Human Resources with the recommendation that it do pass.

The committee also laid over a bill that would authorize the Commissioner of Agriculture to promulgate a legislative rule relating to Livestock Care Standards.

The bill, HB 2219, contains a bundle of 49 rules related to Livestock Care Standards.

DNR Dir. Stephen McDaniel and Asst. Chief Game Manager Gary Foster were available to answer questions about certain rules within the bill related to disease outbreaks with wildlife and tagging systems.

Col. Jerry Jenkins of the DNR addressed questions from the committee regarding the violation of tagging rules.

Crescent Gallagher, legislative liaison for the Dept. of Agriculture, was available to field additional questions from the committee regarding disease testing and tagging.

Senator Ronald Miller, D-Greenbrier, made an amendment to restore stricken language regarding a registration book for hunters who kill tagged deer.

The committee is expected to meet 3 p.m. this afternoon.



Thursday, March 30, 2017 - 10:14 AM

The Senate Finance Committee Reports Four Bills

The Senate Finance Committee met this morning to discuss four bills.

House Bill 2475 would authorize the Tax Commissioner to collect tax, interest and penalties due and owing from payments to vendors and contractors from the Auditor and other state, county, district or municipal officers and agents. The bill was reported to the floor with the recommendation that it pass.

House Bill 2856 would declare public policy and legislative intent for improving the marketing, quality and frequency of passenger rail service of the Cardinal Passenger Train. The bill directs the director of tourism to work with the rail service. The bill was reported to the floor with the recommendation that it pass.

House Bill 2586 relates to required minimum distribution of retirement benefits of plans administered by the Consolidated Public Retirement Board. The bill was reported to the floor with the recommendation that it pass.

House Bill 2555 relates to tax credits for apprenticeship training in construction trades. This would eliminate the requirement that the credit be only taken by union employees.

Senator Prezioso (D-Marion) wanted to make sure that the apprentices would be paid at least minimum wage. He was assured they were and were often paid more than that. He then moved to amend the bill to pay the apprentices two dollars above minimum wage as that is what the tax credit is worth for the companies. The amendment was rejected. He then moved to amend the bill again to place in safeguards to make sure the system wouldn’t be abused. The amendment was adopted.

The bill was reported to the floor with the recommendation that it pass.



Thursday, March 30, 2017 - 10:00 AM

House Gov. Org. Approves Bill to Eliminate Salary for Water Development Board

The House Government Organization Committee met this morning and discussed four bills.

SB 349 would repeal outdated code related to the Department of Corrections. The bill was approved by the committee and will be reported to the floor.

SB 400 would eliminate an unnecessary and contradictory provision concerning appointments to the West Virginia Infrastructure and Jobs Development Council. The bill was approved by the committee and will be reported to the floor.

SB 412 would provide that reporting certified payroll information for persons employed under the West Virginia Jobs Act is not required, but that other information as to persons employed may be submitted. The bill was laid over to the next meeting.

SB 172 would eliminate the salary for members of the West Virginia Water Development Board. Delegate Caputo moved to amended the bill. He said that if people don’t show up to work, then they shouldn’t get paid. The amendment would bring the board in line with every other board. Amendment was adopted. The bill passed the committee and will be sent to the full House.



Wednesday, March 29, 2017 - 08:34 PM

Senate Passes WV Medical Cannabis Act with 28-6 Vote

The Senate has passed 11 bills and two resolutions after reconvening at 6 p.m. this evening.

SB 286 would address factors to be considered in making a determination as to a grant of visitation to a grandparent.

SB 386 would authorize medical cannabis in West Virginia.

Senator Charles Trump, R-Morgan, made a strike-and-insert amendment to the bill on behalf of the Senate Judiciary Committee that would create a new article of the Code to make provisions for allowing marijuana to be prescribed for medicinal purposes.

Senator Ron Stollings, D-Boone, proposed an amendment the Judiciary's amendment to add a section that would prohibit certain drug screening tests from including a report on the level of tetrahydrocannabinol in an individual's system. The amendment was rejected.

Those in opposition said the drug testing measures would be investigated by the Senate Rules Committee next session, and the addition of the amendment could make it more difficult for the bill to pass through the House and be approved by the governor.

Senator Trump, R-Morgan, further amended the Judiciary amendment to make technical corrections.

The bill passed with a vote 28-6.

SB 656 would create the Student Data Accessibility, Transparency and Accountability Act to allow ACT or the College Board to only receive payment or other consideration for certain information if they secure the affirmative written consent of the parent or student, given in response to clear and conspicuous notice, solely for providing the student access to employment, educational scholarships or financial aid and post-secondary educational opportunities.

SB 664 would remove the current $200,000 limitation on the amount collected by the county via the hotel occupancy tax that may be used for medical care and emergency services.

SB 667 would limit the authority of the Attorney General to disclose certain information provided by the Tax Commissioner unless it is subject to a protective order or agreement restricting the use of the disclosed information to the proceeding, arbitration or litigation.

SB 687 would make several modifications to law generally relating to coal mining, coal mine safety and environmental protection.

SB 688 would correct technical errors in current law related to solid waste management.

SB 689 would create a small claim payment system within the Division of Highways to investigate and pay limited types of claims for damage to vehicles caused by road conditions.

SB 690 would authorize the Superintendent of the West Virginia State Police to charge fees for certain use of the facilities under his or her direction.

SB 691 would define "off-highway vehicle" and "off-road vehicle," as well as create a digital road map that may be searched by road and vehicle type.

SB 693 would create the West Virginia Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act to setting forth a procedure for disclosing digital assets and electronic communications after an individual has deceased.

SJR 4 would create the County Economic Development Amendment of 2017 to fund infrastructure capital improvements using property taxes.

Senator Charles Clements, R-Wetzel, said the amendment would "determine the future of northern and north-central West Virginia," by supporting infrastructure projects in those areas to bring economic development and industries into the state that would otherwise opt for surrounding states.

SJR 6 would create the Roads to Prosperity Amendment of 2017 to provide for the improvement and construction of safe roads in the state.

"We're going to build a lot of roads in West Virginia," said Senator Mike Hall, R-Putnam.

Of those bills on third reading, SB 375 was not passed and was referred to the Senate Rules Committee. The bill would have changed the severance tax on limestone, sandstone and other mined stone products from a percentage of the sales price to a flat rate.

Senator Ronald Miller, D-Greenbrier, said the fixed rate of the bill could put small quarries in his district at a fiscal disadvantage in comparison to larger quarries.

The Senate advanced HB 2459 from second reading with amendments made by Senator Tom Takubo, R-Kanawha, on behalf of the Senate Health and Human Resources Committee relating to corrections made and provisions added to the bill.

House Bills 2679, 2721, 2722 and 3106 were requested to lie over one day in second reading.

Committee Meetings Tomorrow

Banking and Insurance: 8:30 a.m. in 451M

Judiciary: 9 a.m. in 208W

Finance: 9:30 a.m. in 451M

Energy, Industry and Mining: 1 p.m. in 208W

Health and Human Resources: 1 p.m. in 451M

Government Organization: 2 p.m. in 208W

Education: 2 p.m. in 451M

Judiciary: 3 p.m. in 208W

The Senate is adjourned until 11 a.m. tomorrow.

›› Senate bills introduced on this date
›› Completed Legislation

Wednesday, March 29, 2017 - 05:33 PM

Senate Passes SB 609 Creating Flexibility for Use of School Aid Funds

The Senate met this afternoon to pass more bills on third reading.

Senate Bill 446 would authorize the Governor to issue executive orders to furlough state employees. It would give the Governor the authority to declare a fiscal emergency. The bill was passed and sent to the House.

Senate Bill 465 relates to medical professional liability. If someone would file a medical malpractice claim against a doctor, it must be signed by a doctor with the same field of study. The bill was passed and sent to the House.

Senate Bill 469 would prohibit waste of game animals, birds or fish. There would be a fine of no more than $1000 or incarceration of up to 100 days. They would also lose their license to hunt for five years. The bill was passed and sent to the House.

Senate Bill 482 relates generally to the WV Parkways Authority. The bill is one of the Governor’s proposed bills. They would now be allowed to issue bonds to pay for projects financed from tolls. The bill was passed and sent to the House.

Senate Bill 484 relates generally to taxation. The bill was passed and sent to the House.

Senate Bill 501 relates to the WV Economic Development Authority. The bill would create a minority economic advisement council to help address economic problems of minority populated areas. The bill was passed and sent to the House.

Senate Bill 507 would allow pharmacists to inform customers about lower cost alternatives to prescribed drugs. It would make it so the policy of prescribers to inform their customers of all the options financially. The bill was passed and sent to the House.

Senate Bill 515 relates to parole requirements of hearings and releases. The bill was passed and sent to the House.

Senate Bill 521 relates generally to Public Defender Services. It would allow them to seek legal counsel in the case of voucher disputes. The bill would no longer borrow from the Rainy Day Fund and instead fund it through the General Revenue. Senator Hall (R-Putnam) explained this was so the funding for the program would not dry up. The bill was passed and sent to the House.

Senate Bill 526 would require mandatory insurance coverage for inherited enzymatic disorders. The bill was passed and sent to the House.

Senate Bill 534 relates to incentives for consolidating local governments. The bill was passed and sent to the House.

Senate Bill 549 would allow individuals at least 21 years or older to operate or ride motorcycles without a helmet if the individual has had a motorcycles license for five years, has health insurance, and has paid his health bills. If someone violates this law, there would be a fine of no less than $100-$500. Upon second offense, there may be incarceration.

“This bill is the organ donor act of 2017. I oppose this bill,” said Senator Woelfel (D-Cabell).

“We talk about rights, and it is fun to roll down the highway with the wind in your hair, but this is the right to die. I hope we defeat this bill,” said Senator Stollings (D-Boone).

“We can’t prevent people from making dumb decisions. This bill is about adults who can make their own decisions. This is also a pro-tourism bill and for those reasons I support the bill,” said Senator Rucker (R-Jefferson).

Senator Blair (R-Berkeley) said, “I ride. I know the risk of what could happen every time I get on the bike. This bill doesn’t require you not to wear a helmet. It is the choice of the rider. If someone hits you, it’s not their fault you didn’t wear a helmet.”

The bill was rejected.

Senate Bill 562 relates to civil actions for damages brought against county commissions and municipalities. It was amended on third reading by the Judiciary Committee. Liability for injuries on municipal property are subject to limitations including if the injury happens in the presence of employees or if there is gross negligence. The bill was passed and sent to the House.

Senate Bill 563 relates to Consumer Credit and Protection Act. The bill was passed and sent to the House.

Senate Bill 576 would provide exception to waste for certain oil and gas development. Senator Ferns moved to amend the bill twice for a technical cleanup. The amendment was adopted. Senator Romano moved to amend the bill many times but only one of them were adopted. Senator Clements moved to amend the bill but his amendment was also rejected. The bill was passed and sent to the House.

Senate Bill 588 relates to distribution, reproduction and sale of tax maps. This would create a revenue source for the assessors and give people information. The bill was passed and sent to the House.

Senate Bill 606 relates to minimum wage and maximum hours for employees. It would exempt those working at amusement rides and minor league baseball from the laws current requirements. The bill was passed and sent to the House.

Senate Bill 609 would create additional flexibility for school systems in use of school aid funds.

Senator Plymale (D-Wayne) said, “Our counties are in a deficit and this bill will call for a tax increase that they can’t afford to do.”

Senator Unger (D-Berkeley) said, “Now that we are empowering the boards of education, people can run for the board of education under the platform that they will decrease taxes.”

Senator Mann (R-Monroe) said, “We can’t keep spending money like its running down the Kanawha river. Expenses cannot exceed revenue and this is a tough decision for me. It is better to put some flexibility in their while we are trying to build industry. This bill is trying to keep the boat afloat.”

Senator Trump (R-Morgan) said, “This bill is a good plan and it holds every Board of Education harmless that gives back to them authority that they’ve had in the past.”

Senator Gaunch (R-Kanawha) said, “This bill has a tremendous amount of flexibilities in it, I think the counties will love it and that it will help them save money.”

The bill was passed and sent to the House with a vote of 17 yeas to 16 nays.

Senate Bill 636 would authorize the State Fire Commission to establish a program to address problems facing Volunteer Fire Departments. The bill was passed and sent to the House.

Senate Bill 637 relates to private club operations requirements. The fees for these private clubs allows for additional licenses to be issued as one license. The bill was passed and sent to the House.

 

The Senate is now in recess until 6 p.m.



Wednesday, March 29, 2017 - 05:33 PM

Senate Passes SB 609 Creating Flexibility for Use of School Aid Funds

The Senate met this afternoon to pass more bills on third reading.

Senate Bill 446 would authorize the Governor to issue executive orders to furlough state employees. It would give the Governor the authority to declare a fiscal emergency. The bill was passed and sent to the House.

Senate Bill 465 relates to medical professional liability. If someone would file a medical malpractice claim against a doctor, it must be signed by a doctor with the same field of study. The bill was passed and sent to the House.

Senate Bill 469 would prohibit waste of game animals, birds or fish. There would be a fine of no more than $1000 or incarceration of up to 100 days. They would also lose their license to hunt for five years. The bill was passed and sent to the House.

Senate Bill 482 relates generally to the WV Parkways Authority. The bill is one of the Governor’s proposed bills. They would now be allowed to issue bonds to pay for projects financed from tolls. The bill was passed and sent to the House.

Senate Bill 484 relates generally to taxation. The bill was passed and sent to the House.

Senate Bill 501 relates to the WV Economic Development Authority. The bill would create a minority economic advisement council to help address economic problems of minority populated areas. The bill was passed and sent to the House.

Senate Bill 507 would allow pharmacists to inform customers about lower cost alternatives to prescribed drugs. It would make it so the policy of prescribers to inform their customers of all the options financially. The bill was passed and sent to the House.

Senate Bill 515 relates to parole requirements of hearings and releases. The bill was passed and sent to the House.

Senate Bill 521 relates generally to Public Defender Services. It would allow them to seek legal counsel in the case of voucher disputes. The bill would no longer borrow from the Rainy Day Fund and instead fund it through the General Revenue. Senator Hall (R-Putnam) explained this was so the funding for the program would not dry up. The bill was passed and sent to the House.

Senate Bill 526 would require mandatory insurance coverage for inherited enzymatic disorders. The bill was passed and sent to the House.

Senate Bill 534 relates to incentives for consolidating local governments. The bill was passed and sent to the House.

Senate Bill 549 would allow individuals at least 21 years or older to operate or ride motorcycles without a helmet if the individual has had a motorcycles license for five years, has health insurance, and has paid his health bills. If someone violates this law, there would be a fine of no less than $100-$500. Upon second offense, there may be incarceration.

“This bill is the organ donor act of 2017. I oppose this bill,” said Senator Woelfel (D-Cabell).

“We talk about rights, and it is fun to roll down the highway with the wind in your hair, but this is the right to die. I hope we defeat this bill,” said Senator Stollings (D-Boone).

“We can’t prevent people from making dumb decisions. This bill is about adults who can make their own decisions. This is also a pro-tourism bill and for those reasons I support the bill,” said Senator Rucker (R-Jefferson).

Senator Blair (R-Berkeley) said, “I ride. I know the risk of what could happen every time I get on the bike. This bill doesn’t require you not to wear a helmet. It is the choice of the rider. If someone hits you, it’s not their fault you didn’t wear a helmet.”

The bill was rejected.

Senate Bill 562 relates to civil actions for damages brought against county commissions and municipalities. It was amended on third reading by the Judiciary Committee. Liability for injuries on municipal property are subject to limitations including if the injury happens in the presence of employees or if there is gross negligence. The bill was passed and sent to the House.

Senate Bill 563 relates to Consumer Credit and Protection Act. The bill was passed and sent to the House.

Senate Bill 576 would provide exception to waste for certain oil and gas development. Senator Ferns moved to amend the bill twice for a technical cleanup. The amendment was adopted. Senator Romano moved to amend the bill many times but only one of them were adopted. Senator Clements moved to amend the bill but his amendment was also rejected. The bill was passed and sent to the House.

Senate Bill 588 relates to distribution, reproduction and sale of tax maps. This would create a revenue source for the assessors and give people information. The bill was passed and sent to the House.

Senate Bill 606 relates to minimum wage and maximum hours for employees. It would exempt those working at amusement rides and minor league baseball from the laws current requirements. The bill was passed and sent to the House.

Senate Bill 609 would create additional flexibility for school systems in use of school aid funds.

Senator Plymale (D-Wayne) said, “Our counties are in a deficit and this bill will call for a tax increase that they can’t afford to do.”

Senator Unger (D-Berkeley) said, “Now that we are empowering the boards of education, people can run for the board of education under the platform that they will decrease taxes.”

Senator Mann (R-Monroe) said, “We can’t keep spending money like its running down the Kanawha river. Expenses cannot exceed revenue and this is a tough decision for me. It is better to put some flexibility in their while we are trying to build industry. This bill is trying to keep the boat afloat.”

Senator Trump (R-Morgan) said, “This bill is a good plan and it holds every Board of Education harmless that gives back to them authority that they’ve had in the past.”

Senator Gaunch (R-Kanawha) said, “This bill has a tremendous amount of flexibilities in it, I think the counties will love it and that it will help them save money.”

The bill was passed and sent to the House with a vote of 17 yeas to 16 nays.

Senate Bill 636 would authorize the State Fire Commission to establish a program to address problems facing Volunteer Fire Departments. The bill was passed and sent to the House.

Senate Bill 637 relates to private club operations requirements. The fees for these private clubs allows for additional licenses to be issued as one license. The bill was passed and sent to the House.

 

The Senate is now in recess until 6 p.m.



Wednesday, March 29, 2017 - 02:14 PM

Bill to Sell Hopemont Hospital Passes 51-49 in House

The House of Delegates convened at 9 a.m. this morning.

The Rules Committee moved HB 2933 to the foot of the agenda and tabled HB 2776 and HB 3108.

There were 14 bills on 3rd reading, among those:

HB 2129 would state the legal right and authority of state or local law enforcement to enter public areas on or adjacent to any private club, or take other appropriate police action to enforce the underage drinking laws of this state. Currently, police cannot enter private clubs without proper search warrant; this bill changes it to enforce underage drinking laws.

The bill passed in the House 77-23 and now will be sent to the Senate for more consideration.

HB 2363 would require that a state employee with a commercial driver’s license have a current medical evaluation certification and applicable medical wavier. If the CDLs aren’t being used for public employment, then the bill wouldn’t apply to the driver, according to Judiciary Chairman John Shott (R-Mercer).

Delegate Mike Folk (R-Berkeley) said he understands the intent of the bill, but the plain language of the bill doesn’t make clear the intent. The intent is to ensure safety on the roads from commercial drivers. The bill passed the House 88-11 and will now be sent to the Senate for more consideration.

HB 3080 would institute a “Celebrate Freedom Week” and would require the study of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and other founding American historical documents during this week.

This bill sparked a lot of discussion among the delegates.

Delegate Robert Thompson (D-Wayne) said there are already standards and requirements for each grade to meet regarding civics, government, 9/11. Pearl Harbor and other events. He said we don’t need more regulations.

Delegate Pat McGeehan (R-Hancock) said “I love the intent, but it’s vaguely written. He preceded to discuss the different interpretations of the constitution and said he doesn’t trust the State Board of Education to choose which interpretation be presented to the students.

Delegate Frank Deem (R-Wood) said, “I believe in Nationalism and West Virginia. I believe in making us better at home,” as he stood in support of the bill.

Delegate Stephen Baldwin (D-Greenbrier) said, “This bill is to hand out participation trophies to students. I come from the participation trophy generation and guess what we don’t what them anymore. You can keep them,” as he stood against the bill.

The bill passed 97-3 and was sent to the Senate for more consideration.

HB 3102 would permit the Secretary of DHHR to sell Hopemont Hospital and its assets. It would require the transfer of residents and minimize its effects on the employees.

Delegate Terri Sypolt (R-Preston) stood in opposition to this bill, which would directly affect her district. Yesterday, she had offered an amendment to keep Hopemont on the property it is currently on for the purpose of rebuilding on the land.

Delegate Linda Longstreth (D-Marion) there was no plan in place for this selling. No one knows where the residents are going, where another facility will be build, etc. These plans should have been in place before the selling.

Delegate Bill Hamilton (R-Upshur) said he opposed the bill because he knows what’s coming. Although this isn’t his county, the hospital in his county could be the next one up for selling.

The bill passed 51-49.

Committee Meetings Today

Judiciary: 1:15 p.m. in 410M

Rules: 3:25 p.m. behind the House Chamber

Committee Meetings Tomorrow

Judiciary: 8:30 a.m. in 410M

Ag. and Nat. Resources: 8:30 a.m. in 215E

Gov. Org.: 9 a.m. in 215E

Small Business: 9 a.m. in 434M

Banking and Insurance: 10 a.m. in 215E

Rules: 10:45 a.m.

Health and Human Resources: 2 p.m. in 215E

Committee Meetings Friday

Judiciary: 8:30 a.m. in 410M

The House is in Recess until 3:30 p.m. today. 

Update:

Action on HB 2933 was postponed one day. 

There will be a Public Hearing tomorrow at 8:30 a.m. in the House Chamber on SB 239. 

There will be a Public Hearing on March 31 at 8:30 a.m. on SB 212 in the House Chamber.

The House is adjourned until 11 a.m. tomorrow. 

›› House bills introduced on this date
›› Completed Legislation

Wednesday, March 29, 2017 - 12:29 PM

Senate Passed 13 Bills on Third Reading

The Senate met this morning to pass 13 bills on third reading.

Senate Bill 38 would create a five-year tax credit for new businesses locating on post mine sites.

Senator Stollings (D-Boone) said, "This will be a big tool in the tool box. The bill will grow and diversify our economy and it is only for five years."

The bill was passed and sent to the House.

Senate Bill 40 would require inclusion of protocols for response to after-school emergencies in school crisis response plans. This would particularly relate to sports based injuries for events and practices. The bill was passed and sent to the House.

Senate Bill 57 would continue personal income tax adjustment for certain retirees. The bill was passed and sent to the House.

Senate Bill 238 would increase tax credits allowed for rehabilitation of certified historic structures. The bill was passed and sent to the House.

Senate Bill 282 would direct the Office of Administrative Hearings to amend current legislative rules relating to appeal procedures. The bill was passed and sent to the House.

Senate Bill 294 would relate to a Community Sustainability Investment Pilot Program. The program would give grants to help creative communities in West Virginia. The bill was passed and sent to the House.

Senate Bill 333 would require all DHHR-licensed facilities access West Virginia's Controlled Substances Monitoring Program Database. The bill was passed and sent to the House.

Senate Bill 343 relates to transportation network companies. The bill was passed and sent to the House.

Senate Bill 369 would permit surface owners to purchase mineral interests when interest becomes tax lien. The bill was passed and sent to the House.

Senate Bill 399 would prohibit political subdivisions from enacting local ordinances regulating benefits employers provide to employees.

Senator Unger (D-Berkeley) said, "This bill is an example of hypocrisy in this body because the bill takes away local control."

Senator Trump (R-Morgan) said, "Uniformity is the objective here. This would prohibit counties from enacting their own minimum wage laws different from state laws."

The bill was passed and sent to the House.

Senate Bill 402 relates to covenants not to compete between physicians and hospitals. The bill was passed and sent to the House.

Senate Bill 406 relates to generic drug products. The bill would take the cash savings when a prescription is filled with a generic brand, and give it to the customer. The bill was passed and sent to the House.

Senate Bill 409 relates generally to the 2017 Tax Reform Act. The bill reduces the coal severance tax, has a sales tax increase, begin taxing certain services, make three tax brackets instead of five and would phase out the income tax depending upon the success of the bill.

Senator Prezioso (D-Marion) said, "I am opposed the bill. We can't be dealing with this in a time of fiscal uncertainty. The bill is a hybrid of SB 335. This would only further complicate the budget formulation."

Senator Hall (R-Putnam) said, "I'm going to have support something I'm not completely okay with because this is the last day to send it out. There are things I'd like to rethink but we have to keep the process moving."

Senator Palumbo (D-Kanawha) said, "My concern every step of the way has been that we are shifting the tax burden on lower income people. That is not the tax reform this state needs."

Senator Ferns (R-Ohio) said, "There has been more consideration on this legislation than any other this session. We have spoken with tax economists across the country and state. It has changed multiple times as it should have. The reduction of the personal income tax will result in a huge economic growth. And it won't hurt those on a fixed income as there is a fixed income tax credit. Taking bold steps is never easy, but taking them with an evidence based approach will be great for West Virginia."

The bill was passed and sent to the House.

Senate Resolution 59 was adopted designating March 29, 2017 as Tucker County Day.

Senate Resolution 60 was adopted recognizing Cabell Midland High School band for their exceptional accomplishments.

Senate Resolution 61 was adopted declaring WV Marching Band Invitational to be state's official marching band championship event.

Senate Concurrent Resolution 50 was adopted urging Congress to reschedule marijuana.

 

 

The Senate is in recess until 12:30 p.m.



Wednesday, March 29, 2017 - 08:59 AM

House Judiciary Reports Two Bills to Full House

The House Judiciary Committee met briefly before this morning's floor session to pass two bills out of the committee.

Senate Bill 456 relates to standards for termination of parental rights in child abuse and neglect cases. The bill adds some technical cleanup to a bill that was passed last year. 

Senate Bill 261 relates to increasing salary or wages of judgment debtors. This would help to give a person that works more protection from judgement creditors.

The bills were reported to the House with recommendation of passage.



Tuesday, March 28, 2017 - 06:59 PM

Oil and Gas Development, Medical Marijuana and Tax Reform Bills Addressed in Senate

The Senate has addressed three significant bills that will be considered for passage in third reading tomorrow.

SB 576 was requested to lay over in third reading. This bill would provide exceptions to waste for certain oil and gas development.

SB 409 was amended by Senator Robert Karnes, R-Upshur, in second reading to make technical corrections, provide for a $200 tax credit for low income seniors and correct the enaction clause. This bill would modify exemptions to the consumer sales and service tax, as well as repeal the personal income tax.

SB 386 was advanced to third reading from first reading with the right to amend. This bill would authorize medical cannabis in West Virginia.

All bills on first reading were unanimously advanced to second reading.

Committee Meetings Tomorrow

Transportation and Infrastructure: 8:30 a.m. in 451M

The Senate is adjourned until 9 a.m. tomorrow. 

Tomorrow is the last day for Senate bills on third reading to be considered for passage out of the Senate.

›› Senate bills introduced on this date
›› Completed Legislation

Tuesday, March 28, 2017 - 06:14 PM

WV Medical Cannabis Act Approved in Senate Judiciary

The Senate Judiciary Committee has approved two bills and an originating resolution to be reported to the full Senate with the recommendation that they pass.

SB 386 would authorize medical cannabis in West Virginia.

The West Virginia Medical Cannabis Act passed the committee with a 13-3 vote in favor of the bill.

Senator Ryan Weld, R-Brooke, expressed doubts about certain liabilities that could arise from the bill's enaction and inequalities between federal and state law.

Former West Virginia senator Lisa Smith spoke before the committee in support of the bill. 

Smith said her parents' ailments would have been able to be alleviated if medical marijuana were available in West Virginia. Her father died of Parkinson's disease and her mother currently suffers from multiple painful symptoms from nursing home injuries.

The committee approved a strike-and-insert amendment developed by committee counsel.

The bill was previously reported out of Senate Health and Human Resources with the recommendation that it do pass.

SJR 8 would enact a Fair and Simple Tax Reform (or FASTR) amendment to the state Constitution.

Among other specific provisions, the bill would repeal the personal property tax, authorize new classes of real property for the purpose of taxation, create a State infrastructure and equalization fund, provide for block grants to local schools and governments for education and infrastructure and establish exemptions to the real property tax.

Mike Carl, special advisor to The Senate Select Committee on Tax Reform, said the resolution would "replace a convoluted, internally complicated property tax structure" that the state has been trying to move away from for several years.

Senators were concerned with the resolution's possibly negative effects on tax increment financing (TIF) measures, among other aspects of the resolution's intent.

The resolution originated from The Senate Select Committee on Tax Reform.

Originating Concurrent Resolution 1 would urge Congress to reschedule marijuana to an alternative drug schedule.

Committee counsel said the resolution was created, since marijuana is currently categorized with much more dangerous and harmful drugs.

HB 2329 would make it unlawful to produce, manufacture or possess fentanyl.

The committee approved a strike-and-insert amendment developed by committee counsel.



Tuesday, March 28, 2017 - 05:37 PM

House Passes 17 Bills and Rejects Bill Increasing Teacher to Pupil Ratio

The House of Delegates met this afternoon to pass 17 bills on third reading and amend bills on second reading.

House Bill 2897 would raise the amount required for competitive bidding of construction contracts by the state and its subdivisions. The bill was passed and sent to the Senate.

House Bill 2930 would allow powerball hot lotto, and mega millions winners to remain anonymous. They would have to have one $1 million and up. Try to protect one from media, family or friend’s harassment. It would also make in an exemption from the Freedom of Information Act. The bill was passed and sent to the Senate.

House Bill 2941 would require the Commissioner of the Division of Highways to utilize the Attorney General for all legal assistance and services. The purpose of the bill is to make the Division of Highways like all other agencies and have to ask for council from the Attorney General before seeking outside council. The bill was passed and sent to the Senate.

House Bill 2961 relates generally to charitable bingo games and charitable raffles. The bill was passed and sent to the Senate

House Bill 2962 would enlarge the authority of the Tax Commissioner to perform background investigations of employees and contractors. The bill was passed and sent to the Senate.

House Bill 2963 would eliminate the tax lien waiver requirement for estates of nonresidents. The bill was passed and sent to the Senate.

House Bill 2967 relates generally to administration of estates and trusts. The bill is meant to improve the service of the

House Bill 3006 would exempt certain contracts between the Department of Health and Human Resources and West Virginia University, Marshall University or the School for Osteopathic Medicine from state purchasing requirements. The bill was passed and sent to the Senate.

House Bill 3022 relates to the reporting of fraud, misappropriation of moneys, and other violations of law to the commission of special investigations. The bill was passed and sent to the Senate.

House Bill 3037 would remove the Division of Energy as an independent agency. It would direct it under a division of the Department of Commerce. The bill was passed and sent to the Senate.

House Bill 3048 would relate to collection of Tier II fees for chemical inventories. The increase of fees would help to pay for training of first responders. The bill was passed and sent to the Senate.

House Bill 3088 relates generally to teacher-pupil ratios.

Delegate Moye (D-Raleigh) said, “I have been in the Committee for Education for many years and we usually equate smaller class sizes. This bill does the opposite of that. It is going backwards.”

Delegate Rowan (R-Hampshire) said, “Sixth grade is a transitional year. They also have trouble with organizational skills due to more freedom. Bullying begins with feeder school’s children meeting each other. Instead of lowering the ratio we are making it higher. We are looking for more opportunities for bullying. Who are we really helping with this bill? I urge rejection of this bill.”

Delegate Hornbuckle (D-Cabell), Delegate E. Evans (D-McDowell), Delegate Marcum (D-Mingo), Delegate Iaguinta (D-Harrison), and Delegate Thompson (D-Wayne) rose also to oppose the bill.

Delegate Dean (R-Mingo) said, “The bill gives more flexibility to class sizes for these schools so I support the bill.”

Delegate Espinosa (R-Jefferson) said we are actually allowing more flexibility for the local schools. This can also help them with funding as well.

The bill was rejected with a vote of 45 yeas and 55 nays.

House Bill 3091 relates generally to employer withholding taxes. The bill was passed and sent to the Senate.

House Bill 3095 would allow retired teachers to be employed by a higher education institution. The bill was passed and sent to the Senate.

House Bill 2109 relates to the West Virginia Land Reuse Agency Authorization Act. The bill was passed and sent to the Senate.

House Bill 2188 would extend the length of time for the special Community-Based Pilot Demonstration Project to Improve Outcomes for At-Risk Youth. The timeline would be extended from four to seven year. The bill was passed and sent to the Senate.

House Bill 2520 would prohibit the use of a tanning device by a person under the age of 18. Minors would have to receive written consent from a parent or guardian in order to use a salon.

Delegate Summers (R-Taylor) said, “The risk of cancers from these beds are drastically increased in those under 25. Melanoma is an aggressive cancer that takes young people’s lives.”

The bill was passed and sent to the Senate.

House Bill 2552 would increase the pet food registration fee and direct that the additional money be deposited into the West Virginia Spay Neuter Assistance Fund. The bill was passed and sent to the Senate.

All bills on second reading were moved to third reading with no amendments except for HB 3062, which was amended by Delegate Shott (R-Mercer).

Senate Bill 437 was attempted to be amended by Delegate Fluharty (D-Ohio) to have an economic impact study done on the bill.

Delegate Storch (R-Ohio) said, “I think an economic impact study would make logical sense so that we can see what the impact would be statewide.”

Delegate Nelson (R-Kanawha) said, “The pensions have been preserved by the actions taken up by the Senate. That is why we are taking up this bill now.”

Delegate Canestraro (D-Marshall) said, “I’m appalled that we are being told to rely on a study done in January of 2014. Things change. This cut will devastate all of those involved in this industry.”

Delegate Fluharty (D-Ohio) said, “We have a duty to do the right thing here.”

The amendment was not adopted.

Delegate Eldridge (D-Lincoln) moved to amend the Senate Bill 437 to take the funds designated to the Greyhound Breeding Development Fund and put them in the State Road Fund.

Delegate Nelson (R-Kanawha) said there are other bills that will help the road fund. This is the wrong facility to do that with and will hurt the budget as the funds as of now would be going to the General Revenue Fund.

The amendment was not adopted.

Senate Bill 437 was moved to lie over one day.

The House then received committee reports.

 

 

The House is adjourned until 9 a.m. tomorrow.



Tuesday, March 28, 2017 - 04:40 PM

Senate Advances 44 Bills from Second Reading

The Senate has advanced 44 bills and one joint resolution from second reading.

Senate Bills 38, 40, 57, 238, 282, 286, 293, 294, 333, 343, 369, 375, 399, 402, 406, 409, 446, 465, 469, 482, 484, 501, 507, 515, 521, 526, 534, 549, 563, 588, 606, 609, 613, 636, 637, 656, 664, 667, 687, 688, 689, 690, 691 and 693 and Senate Joint Resolution 6 were advanced from second reading.

Amendments were offered for 11 of those bills on second reading.

Senator Ron Stollings, D-Boone, amended SB 38 to make technical corrections.

Senator Mike Hall, R-Putnam, amended SB 293 to make technical corrections.

Senator Charles Trump, R-Morgan, made a strike and insert amendment to SB 369 on behalf of the Senate Judiciary Committee to clarify the process of permitting surface owners to purchase mineral interests when the interest becomes tax lien.

Senator Ryan Weld, R-Mercer, amended SB 399 to clarify the intent of a provision in the bill related to political subdivisions.

Senate Majority Leader Ryan Ferns, R-Ohio, proposed a strike and insert amendment to SB 484 that would incorporate a budget proposal from Governor Justice in with the bill. The amendment was unanimously rejected after it was determined that the proposal was outdated and had since been revised by the governor in meetings with the House majority and minority and Senate minority.

Senator Mike Romano, D-Harrison, amended SB 521 to make technical corrections.

Senator Trump made an amendment to SB 549 on behalf of the Senate Judiciary Committee to add more requirements to the bill's provisions including an age limit, mandatory health insurance.

Senator Mike Hall, R-Putnam, amended SB 609 on behalf of the Senate Finance Committee to correct certain property levy rates in the bill.

Senator Ronald Miller, D-Greenbrier, made an amendment to SB 687 relating to the support of fish populations in environmental protection.

Senator Mark Maynard, R-Wayne, amended SB 691 to make a technical correction.

Senator Hall amended SJR 6 to make a technical correction to an incorrect date in the resolution.

Committee Meetings Today

Education: 4:30 p.m. in 451M

Judiciary: 4:45 p.m. in 208W

Committee Meetings Tomorrow

Transportation and Infrastructure: 8:30 a.m. in 451M

The Senate is in recess until 6 p.m. this evening.

›› Senate bills introduced on this date
›› Completed Legislation

Tuesday, March 28, 2017 - 02:37 PM

Senate Completes Legislation on Water Pollution Control Act

The Senate has completed legislation on two bills that will now be sent to the governor for enaction.

HB 2506 allows permit limits to be calculated using design flows recommended by the United States Environmental Protection Act for human health; specifically, the use of the harmonic mean flow. It would also allow for mixing zone overlapping while retaining the application of water quality criteria that are developed for protection of drinking water.

HB 2774 allows aircraft and aircraft parts to be taxed at the same rate as aircraft property.

The Senate also passed 14 bills to be sent to the House for further consideration.

SB 60 would provide for eligibility and fraud requirements for public assistance by requiring the Department of Health and Human Resources to implement work requirements for applicants for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

Senator Robert Beach, D-Monongalia, made a motion to table the bill due to the possibly negative effects increased regulations in the bill could have on the 20% of the state population who rely on those SNAP benefits. The motion was rejected.

SB 74 would allow fire departments to charge fees for service calls.

Senator Greg Boso, R-Nicholas, amended the bill to change a certain fee amount limit provided.

SB 217 would increase the number of limited video lottery machines allowed at retail locations. The bill was reported to the floor with the recommendation that it pass.

SB 376 would add persons who have been adjudicated as a juvenile delinquent for conduct related to qualifying offenses to comply with the registration requirements of the Sex Offender Registration Act.

SB 401 would permit a county board of education to base its employment decisions, transfers, reassignments, reductions in the number of professional personnel, reductions in classroom teaching positions and reductions in the workforce on an individual’s qualifications.

SB 578 would establish a new fee structure for the furnishment of health care records by allowing records to be furnished to a patient’s personal representative and establishing a limit on the total fee allowable for the furnishment of a patient’s health care record.

SB 601 would adjust limits on consumer loans in West Virginia for which certain finance charges may be imposed.

SB 621 would provide that at any point after a county board of education provides written notice to the state board that it is considering or in the process of closing or consolidating a school or schools, any revision or supplementation to certain rules is not applicable to the school closing or consolidation project described in the county board's notification to the state board.

SB 630 would establish the Accessibility and Equity in Public Education Enhancement Act to allow a county board or a multicounty consortium to create a virtual instruction program for one or more schools serving any composition of grades K-12 by adopting a policy creating the program and contracting with virtual school providers.

SB 634 would create an exemption for the Department of Health and Human Resources from having to go through the requirements of the Division of Purchasing when entering into agreements with West Virginia University or Marshall University for the provision of services, which will encourage collaboration and cost-saving between the Universities and Department of Health and Human Resources.

SB 647 would repeal a section of the Code which imposes an additional county excise tax on the privilege of transferring real property for the purposes of funding farmland preservation, and replace the same by amending the Code to add a subsection which provides for an additional county excise tax on the privilege of transferring real property for the purposes of funding the county farmland preservation program and the operations, programs and activities of the local economic development corporation or authority.

Senator Ronald Miller, D-Greenbrier, made an amendment to make minor changes for clarification throughout the bill.

SB 686 would exempt facilities providing direct patient care that are managed, directed, controlled and governed by the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Resources from the otherwise required oversight and review by the Purchasing Division of the Department of Administration, as well as require the Legislative Auditor to audit purchasing made by such facilities and report the findings to the Joint Committee on Government and Finance.

HB 2001 modifies the ethics and purchasing laws to provide more transparency in government.

Senator Charles Trump, R-Morgan, made an amendment on behalf of the Senate Judiciary Committee to correct language in the bill related to public contracts and other provisions. 

Senator Ryan Weld, R-Mercer, further amended sections of the Judiciary amendment related to the Ethics Commission and higher education compliance.

HB 2868 would clarify that presumed abandoned property in the form of amounts owed by an insurer on a life or endowment insurance policy or an annuity that has matured or terminated, and obligations related thereto, are guided by the policies, requirements and interpretations of the Insurance Commissioner.

Of those bills on third reading, Senate Bills 281416417421 and 504 were requested to lie over for one day.

Members of the Senate also adopted four resolutions.

SR 55 designates today as WVU and WVU Extension Service Day at the Capitol.

SR 56 congratulates the WVU rifle team for winning the 2017 NCAA Rifle Championship.

SR 57 recognizes the 200th anniversary of the Sistersville Ferry.

SR 58 recognizes the 100th year of the main structure at Parkersburg High School.

The Senate is in recess until 2:45 p.m. this afternoon.

›› Senate bills introduced on this date
›› Completed Legislation

Tuesday, March 28, 2017 - 01:28 PM

House of Delegates Rejects Bill Eliminating Film Tax Credits and Increasing Beer Tax

The House of Delegates met this morning to discuss the bills on third reading.

House Bill 2002 relates to parental notification of abortions performed on emancipated minors. the bill would require that the doctor performing the abortion notify the parents in the case of a minor. the minor could get permission from a psychiatrist or psychologist or have the physician petition the court in order to bypass these steps.

Delegate Fleischauer (D-Monongalia) said, "I am in support of working in a bipartisan fashion. There are deep issues here but we listened, talked and heard each other. Thank you."

The bill passed and was sent to the Senate.

House Bill 2196 relates to the secondary school’s athletic commission. The bill would let homeschool students play in extracurricular public school sports. They must not be 19, comply with all of the rules set by the public school, not be compensated, play for schools in their own district and be in good academic standing for the previous two years.

Delegate Fast (R-Fayette) said, "These homeschool parents pay the full array of taxes to fund these schools. Let’s let them participate in the programs provided."

The bill passed and was sent to the Senate.

House Bill 2376 relates to the organizational structure of state government. The bill would make the bureau of Medical Services its own department that would answer to the governor and the legislature. The bill passed and was sent to the Senate.

House Bill 2453 expands the list of persons the Commissioner of Agriculture may license to grow or cultivate industrial hemp. The bill would put in place an application process to grow hemp and would be permitted at the discretion of the Department of Agriculture.

Delegate Marcum (D-Mingo) said, "This will help to diversify the economy in southern West Virginia. It will grow well on post-mine sites."

The bill passed and was sent to the Senate.

House Bill 2561 relates to public school support. 

Delegate Moye (D-Raleigh) said, "The bill does a lot of good things but I believe in my heart of hearts, what it does to school busses in the wrong thing to do."

Delegate Espinosa (R-Jefferson) explained that the bill doesn't change the repair standards for school busses but changes the way they are funded.

The bill was passed and sent to the Senate.

House Bill 2589 would permit students who are homeschooled or attend private schools to enroll and take classes at the county's vocational school. The students would only be admitted if there is space in the classrooms and if they have had all of the appropriate shots. The bill was passed and sent to the Senate.

House Bill 2653 would extend the Multi State Real-Time Tracking System. The bill was passed and sent to the Senate.

House Bill 2704 would prohibit persons convicted of sexual offenses against children with whom they hold positions of trust from holding certification or license valid in public schools. The bill was passed and sent to the Senate.

House Bill 2711 would abolish regional educational service agencies and provide for the transfer of property and records.

Delegate Zatezalo (R-Zatezalo) said, "I was concerned about eliminating RESAs because of all the services they provide, but I am encouraged by all the work the Committee on Education put in to making the transition smooth.

In response to some questions about firefighter education in particular, Delegate Espinosa said the bill gives counties the freedom to pick what services they deem necessary in the transition year. The bill would also give flexibility in the school calendar, testing standards on the local level and keeps everything in line with federal regulations. The bill was passed and sent to the Senate.

House Bill 2720 would allow the School Building Authority to transfer funds allocated into the School Construction Fund. The bill was passed and sent to the Senate.

House Bill 2771 relates to temporary teaching certificates for Armed Forces spouses. The bill was passed and sent to the Senate.

House Bill 2781 would require a person desiring to vote to present documentation identifying the voter to one of the poll clerks. The bill was passed and sent to the Senate.

House Bill 2794 relates to the means of giving notice to a debt collector of a consumer's representation by legal counsel. The bill was passed and sent to the Senate.

House Bill 2804 would remove chiropractors from the list of medical professions required to obtain continuing education on mental health conditions common to veterans and family members.

Delegate Wilson (R-Berkeley) said his army friends don't like going to the doctor because of the annoying questions brought up about their time overseas and that he is in favor of the bill.

The bill was passed and sent to the Senate.

House Bill 2815 relates to higher education governance. The bill was amended and was approved. The bill was passed and sent to the Senate.

House Bill 2816 would eliminate new film tax credits. it would also raise the taxes on beer and soda.

Delegate Barrett (D-Berkeley) said the films and show being filmed in the eastern panhandle generate a lot of economic activity and they will leave if the credits were taken away.

Delegate McGeehan (R-Hancock) said, "I oppose the bill. How much are we going to extract from the private economy? I thought the republicans controlled this legislation. We sound like a bunch of prohibitionists. Many in the chamber said we will live within our means, but I guess this is just alcohol."

The bill was rejected with a vote of 39 yeas and 60 nays.

House Bill 2878 would increase the amount of authorized Federal Grant Anticipation Notes for which the Division of Highways may apply. The bill was passed and sent to the Senate.

House Bill 2887 relates to retirement and separation incentives. The bill was passed and sent to the Senate.

Committee meetings announced:

Judiciary after floor session this evening and 8:45 a.m. tomorrow in 410M.

Public Hearing on SB 239 at 8:30 a.m. Thursday, March 30th.

Rules at 1:20 p.m. behind the chamber.

 

 

The House is in recess until 1:30 p.m.



Tuesday, March 28, 2017 - 11:10 AM

County Economic Development Amendment Approved in Senate Judiciary

The Senate Judiciary Committee has approved two bills and two resolutions to be reported to the floor with the recommendation that they pass.

SB 562 would reform the liability of municipalities and county commissions for civil actions brought by reason of a slip and fall injury due to defect or disrepair of municipal or county owned property.

Senator Mike Romano, D-Harrison, proposed an amendment to include an "open and obvious" policy to protect businesses and cities from civil actions where an open or obvious obstacle was involved in the injury. Those who opposed the amendment said it did not serve the bill's original intent.

Senator Charles Trump, R-Morgan, made a strike-and-insert amendment on behalf of the committee to make technical corrections to the bill.

The committee first reported the bill without a recommendation and has again viewed the bill on its second reading to speed up the bill's processing for passage.

SJR 4 would authorize the Legislature to, by general law, allocate a portion of ad valorem property taxes paid by owners of certain new manufacturing facilities and large capital additions to existing manufacturing facilities located in counties in which county commissions elect to fund infrastructure capital improvements using property taxes.

Marshall County Commissioner Bob Miller Jr. voiced his support for the bill and detailed how the additional funding would support the county's infrastructure projects for I-68.

Senator Charles Clements, R-Wetzel, said the resolution would be a "game changer" for growing the economy in struggling counties.

This is a companion piece of legislation to SB 210, which passed the Senate yesterday.

An identical resolution passed the Senate during the last session, but was not taken up for consideration in House Judiciary in time for passage.

The resolution was previously reported out of Senate Finance with the recommendation that it do pass.

The committee also laid over SJR 8, which would enact a Fair and Simple Tax Reform (or FASTR) amendment to the state Constitution.

Among other specific provisions, the bill would repeal the personal property tax, authorize new classes of real property for the purpose of taxation, create a State infrastructure and equalization fund, provide for block grants to local schools and governments for education and infrastructure and establish exemptions to the real property tax.

Mark Muchow, deputy secretary of the WV Department of Revenue, was available to answer questions from the committee about the bill's provisions.

Committee counsel said similar resolutions had been proposed in prior years.

The resolution originated from The Senate Select Committee on Tax Reform.

The committee is expected to meet 3 p.m. this evening in 208W.



Monday, March 27, 2017 - 10:43 PM

Senate Advances House Bill to Protect Drinking Water Quality to Third Reading

The Senate has advanced 18 bills from second reading this evening to be put to a vote in tomorrow's session.

SB 60 would provide for eligibility and fraud requirements for public assistance by requiring the Department of Health and Human Resources to implement work requirements for applicants for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

Senator Ed Gaunch, R-Kanawha, amended the bill to strike out certain stores that were originally prohibited from accepting electronic benefit transfer card transactions.

Senator Corey Palumbo, D-Kanawha, also amended the bill to clarify and correct some of the bill's language.

Senator Douglas Facemire, D-Braxton, proposed an amendment that was rejected to strike out a certain subsection of the bill related to all assets of the members of a SNAP applicant’s household.

SB 217 would increase the number of limited video lottery machines allowed at retail locations. The bill was reported to the floor with the recommendation that it pass.

SB 281 would increase the number of limited video lottery machines that a retailer may have from five to seven, increase the number of limited video lottery terminals certain tax exempt organizations may have and require the Lottery Commission to conduct a bid for permits held by current permit holders expiring June 30, 2021 prior to September 1, 2017.

SB 376 would add persons who have been adjudicated as a juvenile delinquent for conduct related to qualifying offenses to comply with the registration requirements of the Sex Offender Registration Act.

SB 401 would permit a county board of education to base its employment decisions, transfers, reassignments, reductions in the number of professional personnel, reductions in classroom teaching positions and reductions in the workforce on an individual’s qualifications.

Senator Ed Gaunch, R-Kanawha, amended the bill to make mostly technical corrections to the bill that he had not addressed earlier with the bill's drafting. 

SB 416 would eliminate the cap on the size of projects constructed by the Division of Highways and to remove the sunset date.

SB 417 would remove the financial limitations on how many design build projects may be undertaken by the Division of Highways.

Senator Mike Hall, R-Putnam, amended the bill to make a minor technical correction.

SB 421 would increase from $200 million to $500 million the amount the Division of Highways is allowed to use to apply for Federal Grant Anticipation Notes to be reimbursed from the funds made available to West Virginia from the federal government’s Highway Fund for West Virginia.  

SB 578 would establish a new fee structure for the furnishment of health care records by allowing records to be furnished to a patient’s personal representative and establishing a limit on the total fee allowable for the furnishment of a patient’s health care record.

SB 601 would adjust limits on consumer loans in West Virginia for which certain finance charges may be imposed.

SB 621 would provide that at any point after a county board of education provides written notice to the state board that it is considering or in the process of closing or consolidating a school or schools, any revision or supplementation to certain rules is not applicable to the school closing or consolidation project described in the county board's notification to the state board.

SB 630 would establish the Accessibility and Equity in Public Education Enhancement Act to allow a county board or a multicounty consortium to create a virtual instruction program for one or more schools serving any composition of grades K-12 by adopting a policy creating the program and contracting with virtual school providers.

SB 634 would create an exemption for the Department of Health and Human Resources from having to go through the requirements of the Division of Purchasing when entering into agreements with West Virginia University or Marshall University for the provision of services, which will encourage collaboration and cost-saving between the Universities and Department of Health and Human Resources.

Senator Tom Takubo, R-Kanawha, made an amendment to the bill to include the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine in the provisions of the bill.

SB 647 would repeal a section of the Code which imposes an additional county excise tax on the privilege of transferring real property for the purposes of funding farmland preservation, and replace the same by amending the Code to add a subsection which provides for an additional county excise tax on the privilege of transferring real property for the purposes of funding the county farmland preservation program and the operations, programs and activities of the local economic development corporation or authority.

SB 686 would exempt facilities providing direct patient care that are managed, directed, controlled and governed by the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Resources from the otherwise required oversight and review by the Purchasing Division of the Department of Administration, as well as require the Legislative Auditor to audit purchasing made by such facilities and report the findings to the Joint Committee on Government and Finance.

HB 2506 would allow permit limits to be calculated using design flows recommended by the United States Environmental Protection Act for human health; specifically, the use of the harmonic mean flow. It would also allow for mixing zone overlapping while retaining the application of water quality criteria that are developed for protection of drinking water.

Senators Ronald Miller and Mike Romano moved to amend the bill to bring the bill in line with surrounding states and address the needs of civilians who presented before the Senate Judiciary Committee in regards to overlapping mixing zones. Both were rejected on the grounds that the amendments were unnecessary and simply limited the provisions of the bill that had already been agreed upon by several parties involved.

HB 2774 would allow aircraft and aircraft parts to be taxed at the same rate as aircraft property.

HB 2868 would clarify that presumed abandoned property in the form of amounts owed by an insurer on a life or endowment insurance policy or an annuity that has matured or terminated, and obligations related thereto, are guided by the policies, requirements and interpretations of the Insurance Commissioner.

Senator Charles Trump, R-Morgan, amended the bill on behalf of the Senate Judiciary Committee to clarify the chronological orders of when and how certain groups or organizations mentioned in the bill are supposed to take action toward their provided responsibilities.

Of those bills on second reading, SB 484 was requested to lie over for one day. The bill would eliminate the exemption from sales tax for certain sales of materials acquired for use in state highway projects.

All bills on first reading were advanced to second reading.

Committee Meetings Tomorrow

Judiciary: 9 a.m. in 208W

Finance: 9:30 a.m. in 451M

Education: 2 p.m. in 451M

*Transportation and Infrastructure will not be meeting.

The Senate is adjourned until 11 a.m. tomorrow.

›› Senate bills introduced on this date
›› Completed Legislation

Monday, March 27, 2017 - 07:22 PM

Bill to Allow Optional Motorcycle Helmet for 21+ Approved in Senate Judiciary

The Senate Judiciary Committee has approved a bill, SB 549, that would allow individuals 21 and older to operate a motorcycle without a helmet under specified conditions.

Senator Robert Beach, D-Monongalia, made an amendment that would change the motorcycle endorsement qualification to 5 years instead of 2 years. The amendment was rejected.

Senator Mike Romano, D-Harrison, proposed an amendment to require health insurance coverage in the case that there is a motorcycle accident involving someone who was not wearing a helmet. The amendment was rejected.

The committee previously reported the bill to the floor, but it was requested that the bill be referred back to Judiciary again on its second reading.

The bill was previously reported out of Senate Transportation and Infrastructure with the recommendation that it do pass.

The committee also moved that SB 560 be revised into a resolution to be studied during the interim. The bill would establish a medical malpractice peer review panel by the Board of Medicine to review medical malpractice and medical malpractice-related claim.



Monday, March 27, 2017 - 04:59 PM

Senate Finance Reports SB 609 to Full Senate

The Senate Finance Committee met this afternoon to discuss two bills.

Senate Bill 609 would create additional flexibility for school systems in use of school aid funds. Senator Hall said explained an amendment to the bill. The amendment would raise the levy rate and everyone would get their money. If the county so chooses then they won't have to raise the levy rate if they don't want to. This would cause everyone to be funded without action. The amendment was adopted.

Senator Stollings (D-Boone) said, "I rise in opposition of this bill. We are basically taking money from education and placing the bill with the counties so they have to find the funds and raise their taxes. If the counties opt out of this, then education will be cut by this amount. When we are in the state we are in right now, we ought to be doubling down on education funding, not the opposite."

The bill was reported to the floor with the recommendation that it pass as amended with a vote of 15 yeas and 6 nays.

The next bill discussed was a committee originating bill that would create a special revenue fund in the State Treasury for volunteer fire fighters. $1.50 for each acre of timberland would be collected by the tax commissioner and put into that fund. Most will go to volunteer fire departments retirement. The tax commissioner would be able to promulgate rules to carry out the bill. 

The bill was reported to the floor with no recommendation for first reading so it could be brought up back to the committee tomorrow.

The committee is in recess until 6 p.m. by request of the president of the Senate.



Monday, March 27, 2017 - 04:03 PM

Senate Health and Human Resources Committee Reports HB 2459

The Senate Health and Human Resources Committee met briefly to discuss HB 2459.

House Bill 2459 relates to regulation of health care and the certificate of need process. The amendment proposed by council was adopted and the bill was then swiftly sent to the floor of the Senate with the recommendation that it pass.

Before adjournment, Senator Trump (R-Morgan) said, "I think we would be remiss if we didn't recognize that our decisions didn't affect real people." He then went on to recognize the secretary of DHHR, someone who has attended every meeting of the committee.



Monday, March 27, 2017 - 03:41 PM

Senate Passes Election Financing Reforms

The Senate has passed 18 bills to be sent to the House for further consideration.

SB 69 would create the sexual assault survivors’ bill of rights regarding medical forensic examinations, sexual assault evidence collection kits and other similar topics.

SB 167 would allow law enforcement to obtain DNA samples, taken by buccal swab rather than drawing blood, from arrestees for certain criminal offenses. The bill also expands DNA sample collection to all those convicted of a felony offense.

SB 210 would provide for the fair distribution of costs for county development by authorizing the assessment and collection of fees to offset the cost of development, including industrial development, within affected counties.

SB 316 would require individuals receiving unemployment compensation to seek out seasonal employment. 

SB 380 would create a two-year pilot program permitting recreational vehicles on designated roads and trails in Cabwaylingo State Forest after purchase of special permits. The bill also provides for designation of campgrounds and tent sites to be used by the ATV and ORV users.

SB 388 would identify additional persons who may possess firearms on school property in parking areas.

SB 412 would provide that reporting certified payroll information for persons employed under the West Virginia Jobs Act is not required, but that other information as to persons employed may be submitted.

SB 437 would discontinue the West Virginia Racing Commission special account known as the West Virginia Greyhound Breeding Development Fund and transfer all moneys in the Fund to the state Excess Lottery Revenue Fund for appropriation by the Legislature.

Senator Mike Hall, R-Putnam, made an amendment to clarify some of the language in the bill.

SB 453 would add the classification and base salaries of certain civilian employees of the WV State Police Forensic Laboratory.

SB 493 would provide an increase in compensation for conservation officers.

SB 539 would make significant revisions to the law regulating election financing by modifying provisions relating to receipts and expenditures in elections, electioneering communications, reporting requirements and financial statements, among other modifications.

Senator Ronald Miller, D-Greenbrier, amended the bill to add certain language to the bill, and Senator Corey Palumbo, D-Kanawha, made a strike and insert amendment related to a provision protecting free speech.

Senators Mike Romano, Ronald Miller and Glenn Jeffries proposed different amendments to generally increase disclosure measures, and all were rejected.

SB 566 would provide payment to certain claimants who provided commodities and/or services to the state, but who were not paid because the agency reached its budget limit.

SB 586 would change the annual fees for custom slaughters, custom processors or distributors to triennial fees.

SB 614 would provide loan insurance for commercial loans used for the expansion of broadband service to unserved or underserved areas. 

SB 628 would provide funding for the Statewide Interoperable Radio Network through additional court costs to be imposed in criminal cases.

SB 631 would clarify the process by which municipal governments may abate unsafe, unsanitary or dangerous dilapidated structures that are detrimental to the public safety or welfare.

SB 671 would reestablish the West Virginia Anatomical Board.

SB 685 would create a one-day special license for charitable events to sell non-intoxicating beer.

Of those bills on third reading, Senate Bills 74504 and 576 and House Bill 2001 were requested to lie over for one day, and SJR 10 was tabled.

Members of the Senate also adopted SR 53 to designate today as West Virginia Industrial Hemp Day and SR 54 to designate today as Women's and Girl's Day at the Capitol.

Committee Meetings Today

Health and Human Resources: 3:45 p.m. in 451M

Judiciary: 4:15 p.m. in 208W

Finance: 4:15 p.m. in 451M

Committee Meetings Tomorrow

Transportation and Infrastructure: 10 a.m. in 451M

Education: 2 p.m. in 451M

The Senate is in recess until 7:30 p.m. this evening.

›› Senate bills introduced on this date
›› Completed Legislation

Monday, March 27, 2017 - 02:50 PM

Resolutions Discussed in House Roads and Transportation

The House Roads and Transportation Committee met today and discussed several resolutions.  

HCR 78 would name the bridge locally known as Crab Orchard Creek Pipe over WV 16 in Raleigh County as the “Almond Brothers and Family Veterans Bridge.”

HCR 41 would name the bridge on WV Route 9 over the Shenandoah River in Jefferson County as the “Major Martin Robison Delany Memorial Bridge.”

HCR 50 would name a portion of Route 14, starting at the Lowe Family Cemetery to the intersection of Route 10 and Route 15 in Logan County as the “Lowe Mountain Memorial Highway.”

HCR 9 would name the bridge locally known as Baptism Bridge over the Little Cacapon River in Hampshire County as the “Frenchburg Bridge.”

SCR 28 would name a portion of road staring at the intersection of US Route 219 and WV State Route 15 to the Pocahontas County line in Randolph County as the “US Army SPC 4 Randall W. Arbogast Memorial Road.”

SCR 15 would name the bridge locally known as Kopperston Mine Bridge over the Tug River in Wyoming County as the “US Army CPL Herbert “Herb” Linkous Memorial Bridge.”

HCR 75 would increase the speed limit on highways to 75 miles per hour where appropriate



Monday, March 27, 2017 - 02:38 PM

House Judiciary to Reconsider House Joint Resolution 24

The House Judiciary Committee met in the afternoon briefly today to discuss HJR24 and SB 239.

HJR 24 would propose an amendment to the Constitution of the State of West Virginia relating to education, and providing for the election of members of the State Board of Education. The bill was moved to be reconsidered by the committee and the movement was adopted.

Senate Bill 239 would limit the use of wages by employers and labor organizations for political activities. The burden of responsibility would be on the employers to be sure the law is carried out. Many already do this through the use of a form, signed by both the employer and the employee. There would have to be an annual renewal of the contract as well. The bill was laid over until the next meeting.

The committee is in recess until 5 minutes after the House floor session at 4 p.m.



Monday, March 27, 2017 - 02:14 PM

Product Liability Bill Passes in House

Today, the House of Delegates convened and passed 12 bills, of those:

HB 2799 would remove the fourth requirement minors must fulfill to receive a work permit. The requirement is that the minor appear before the superintendent of school, which removes them from school for it takes to appear.

Delegate Richard Iaquinta II (D-Harrison) opposed the bill because students could get work permits easier. He said work is the number one reason students in West Virginia drop out of school. Fifty-five percent of them drop out because of family financial issues.

Delegate Geoff Foster (R-Putnam) said that it’s a simple bill that removes one requirement from the work permit process and that it would help students.

The bill passed 87-12 and will now be sent to the Senate for more consideration.

HB 2850 would limit product liability to the manufacture. This would keep business from being held responsible in product malfunction, as long as the seller didn’t do anything to alter the state of the product. The bill does set guidelines and exemptions. The bill passed 65-34 and will now be sent to the Senate for further consideration.

HB 2966 would create the West Virginia Sentencing Commission, which reduce disparity between sentence and crime. It would also do a study of national and local programs for drug rehabilitation. It would act as a standing Sub-Committee and make recommendations to the Legislature.

The bill passed the House 97-2 and will now be sent to the Senate.  

Action on HB 3108 was delayed one day.

Five bills were moved to the foot of 2nd reading and they include HB 2561, HB 2711, HB 2816, HB 2817, and HB 2933. SB 419 was moved from the Special Calendar to House Calendar.

Committee Meetings Today

Judiciary: 5 min. after session

Roads and Transportation: 5 min. after session

Rules: 3:45 p.m. behind House Chamber

Agriculture and Natural Resources: 8:30 a.m. tomorrow

The House is recessed until 4 p.m. today. 

Update:

The House revconvened at 6:45 p.m.

HB 3107 was advance to third with amendments pending. If a delegate has an amendment for the bill, they will re-work the amend for SB 437, which was advanced and read for the first time tonight. The bills are similar and relate to horse and dog racing lottery.

HB 3109 was advance to third with amendments pending. This bill would transfer the regulatory authority of the Board of Registered Professional Nurses, the Board of Licensed Practical Nurses, the Medical Imaging and Radiation Therapy Technology Board of Examiners, and the Nursing Home Administrators Licensing Board, to the Board of Nursing and Health Services.

HB 2561 would provide flexibility for school systems in the use of school aid funds. The would authorize counties to use up to $200,000 of the funds restricted for bus purchasing.

Delegate Rick Moye (D-Raleigh) move to amend the bill to diverted$200,000 from purchasing of school buses to be used as needed, as long as buses passed inspection. Diversion could only be used one every three years.

Delegate Paul Espinosa (R-Jefferson) opposed the amendment because the bill is to allow for more flexibility in the school boards. He said, “emergencies do not happen on a planned schedule.”

“If anyone wants to say we underfund our counties, especially our low density counties, I would agree with you. This amendment gives the school boards a little extra. Each and every year our buses are evolving, just like a car. I don’t think it’ll be long before there will be sensors that will alert the bus driver that a student is in a danger zone.

This gives them flexibility, just not unlimited flexibility. I spoke with two superintendents, and one said ‘Rick, you’re right. It doesn’t need to be unlimited flexibility.’” The amendment was rejected 34-60.

HB 2711 would abolish Regional Education Service Agencies (RESA) and funding by July 1, 2017. The bill would also eliminate the office of Education Performance Audits and establish the County Superintendents’ Advisory Council. The bill would also provide authority for county school systems to share services. The bill would require flexibility to meet the one hundred eighty instructional days in the school calendar. It would provide teachers with uninterrupted time for planning periods each week.

Delegates Isaac Sponaugle (D-Pendleton) and Larry Rowe (D-Kanawha) moved to amend the bill by placing in it the Governor’s pay raise for teachers.

Delegate Eric Nelson (R-Kanawha) stood against it, saying there is no funding source for the pay raise, which it why finance rejected it.

Sponaugle said there will 3.5 million from RESAs being cut. He said, “many of us on this side want to support our educators” The amendment was rejected

Espinosa amended the bill so that schools can use alternative methods of instruction for up to five days when schools are closed due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances. The amendment was adopted.

HB 2816 would eliminate the new film tax credits but preserving credit for taxpayers authorized to claim credit and eliminate exemption from consumer’s sales and service tac for certain purchases of material acquired for use in state highway projects and increase the rate of barrel tax on beer.

Butler moved to amend the bill by increasing the tax from 6 to 6.5.

Nelson opposed to this amend, because this would be the highest sales tax surrounding our state.

Butler said there are very few offers for cuts, and we’ve got to do something. I think this is showing some respect for the governor’s work put into the budget.

The amendment was rejected 0-97.

Delegate Jim Butler (R-Mason) also moved to amend the bill by applying the Governor’s B&O tax.

Nelson said, “I guess a yes vote would solve our budget problem. But I urge rejection of the amendment because it would hurt the business owners in the state.”

Dlegate Mike Folk (R-Berkeley) said he rejects the amendment for another reason. There is another budget that is set for 85 million less than last year’s. There are other ways to solve budget problems other than taxes.

Butler said, we should consideration for governor’s proposal or suggest ways for state to live within means.

The amendment was rejected 0-97.

HB 2933 was advanced to 3rd with amendments pending. Delegates Nelson and Brent Boggs (D-Braxton) have the right jointly amend the bill.

Committee Meetings Tonight

Judiciary: resume at 7:55 p.m. and again 12:01 a.m., if agenda isn't completed and 8:45 a.m. in 410M

Gov. Org.: reconvene after floor session in 215E

Committee Meetings Tomorrow

Ag. and Nat. Resources: 8:30 a.m. in 215E

Rules: 8:45 a.m. tomorrow behind the House Chamber

 

Delegate Geoff Foster (R-Putnam) wanted to speak to the House. He said, “We hosted the VP this weekend. He came to address the small businesses in the state. It was an honor for us and many of your constituents.”

The House is adjourned until 9 a.m. tomorrow. 

›› House bills introduced on this date
›› Completed Legislation

Saturday, March 25, 2017 - 02:04 PM

The Senate Passes Governor's Proposed Bill To Increase State Road Fund

The Senate met today and passed eight bills, six of which are going to the House and two of which are completed legislation.

Senate Bill 428 relates to partial filling of prescriptions.

Senate Bill 433 would permit counties to increase the excise tax on privilege of transferring real property.

Senate Bill 477 would increase the State Road Fund by raising DMV fees and motor fuel excise taxes. Senator Boso (R-Nicholas) amended the bill with some technical amendments. Many senators stood and spoke in favor of the Governor's proposed bill.

Senate Bill 602 would create a uniform system of recording and indexing fictitious names used by sole proprietors.

Senate Bill 622 relates generally to tax procedures and administration.

Senate Bill 658 would establish a procedure for retitling mobile and manufactured homes.

House Bill 4486 would provide that when a party's health condition is at issue in a civil action, medical records and releases for medical information may be requested and required without court order. Senator Romano (D-Harrison) moved to send the bill back to be reconsidered in the Committee on Judiciary. The movement was shot down with a vote of 15-19.

House Bill 2811 relates to the definition of above ground storage tanks.

There were 39 bills on second reading. 15 of the bills were laid over to retain their place on the calendar. Senate Bill 539 had four pending amendments. Senator Romano moved to amend the bill but the amendment was rejected. Senator Palumbo (D-Kanawha) amended the bill for more clarity. Senator Miller (D-Greenbrier) moved to amend the bill however a decision was not made and the bill was moved to third reading with right to amend. 

The following committees meet:

Finance at 2 p.m. in 451M and 9:30 on Monday.

Judiciary at 2 p.m. in 208W.

 

The Senate is adjourned until Monday at 11 a.m.

›› Completed Legislation

Saturday, March 25, 2017 - 01:30 PM

Debate Heats Up on Bill on 1st Reading

The House of Delegates convened at 8:30 a.m. to discuss legislations. There were 22 bills on third reading. Of those were the following:

HB 2346 would require the Commissioner of the Division of Motor Vehicles to conduct a study on the cost effectiveness of flat license plates; it would also require the commissioner of the DMV to issue those types of licenses plats, if the study shows they are cost effective. The bill passed the House 93-3 and will now be sent to the Senate for consideration.

HB 2515 would prohibit the relocation, removal, alteration, or renaming, of any statue, monument, memorial, nameplate, or plaque which is located on public property and has been erected for, or named, or dedicated in honor of certain historical military, labor, civil rights, and Native American events, figures, and organizations. It would also prohibit any person from preventing the governmental entity having responsibility for maintaining the items, structures, or areas from taking proper measures to protect, preserve, care for, repair, or restore the items, structures, or areas. It would establish a process by which the West Virginia State Historic Preservation Office may grant waivers under certain circumstances. The bill passed the House 73-23 and will now be sent to the Senate for consideration.

HB 2724 would establish a community-based pilot project to promote public health through comprehensive community development in communities across West Virginia, and to support this project through the Herbert Henderson Office of Minority Affairs. The bill passed 88-8 and will be sent to the Senate for more consideration.

HB 2935 would establish the state Flood Protection Planning Council and authorize certain duties; it would also establish a Joint Legislative Committee on Flooding. Delegate Stephen Baldwin (D-Greenbrier) spoke to the bill and thanked leadership for getting this bill on the agenda. He said this council is important so that we could have a plan for future disasters. Every delegate stood to vote as they remembered those who were lost in the summer flood. The bill passed 96-0 and will now be sent to the Senate for their consideration.

HB 2980 would add a $10 fee for each additional defendant plead in a multiple defendant civil action case. The bill passed 89-7 and will now be sent to the Senate for more consideration.

HB 3101 would create a misdemeanor and criminal penalties for fishing within 200 feet of DNR personnel while stocking fish into public waters. The purpose of this bill is to ensure the safety of DNR personnel while stocking waters. They have been hooked with fishing hooks because fishermen continued to fish while they were stocking. The bill passed 92-4 and will now be sent to the Senate for more consideration.

HB 3105 would close certain modernization funds and transferring funds remaining in the Licensed Racetrack Modernization Fund and the Historic Resort Hotel Modernization Fund to the General Revenue Fund of the state during the FY 2017. In 2011, the fund was put together to assist the four casinos. For every $2 spent, they received $1 in tax credit. There was $58 million set aside and $30 million was used If they didn’t use the funds within 2 years the funds would revert back to General Revenue. There are $7 million in the fund.

In regards to HB 3105, Delegate Pat McGeehan (R-Hancock) opposed the bill. He said that the Mountaineer Racetrack in his district has plans to use their money this year. While the establishment of the fund was convoluted, it is still their funding, he said. The Mountaineer Racetrack needs to make updates to remain competitive. He said if the updates cannot take place, then it may have to close. If it closes, his district would lose 11, 000 jobs.

Delegate Cindy Frich (R-Monongalia) stood in support of the bill, arguing that the state and the casinos were in a business partnership and the money belonged to the state as well.

The bill passed 50-46 and will now be sent to the Senate for more consideration.

HB 3106 would establish a maximum of seven limited video lottery terminals at a regular retail location. It would increase the number from five to seven. This would bring in revenue from permits for each machine, as well as funding from general playing of the machine. The bill passed 88-8 and now will be sent to the Senate for more consideration.

HB 3107 was on second reading today and action was delayed one day on the bill.

HB 2933 was on first reading today and Delegate Pat McGeehan (R-Hancock) moved to reject the bill on first reading. Many delegates had opinions on whether the bill should be rejected or continue on to 2nd, then 3rd reading.

Delegate Mike Folk (R-Berkeley) said, “This is a tax increase.” He then preceded to name the items that would be taxed. Food, 3 percent tax. Mobile homes, Barbers, Architects, Music Lessons, Hair Salons, and many more 5 percent tax. He said the bill proposed could set a flat income tax, but for middle/working class West Virginians it would be a tax increase of .9 percent.

Majority Leader Daryl Cowles (R-Morgan) argued that it was not a tax increase, but a fair flat rate; a lower rate, because all things we purchase would only be taxed at 5 percent. He called it tax reform; boarder and lower. “Everybody pays a little bit, but everyone pays lower.” He said “It’s a serious proposal; it is a solid idea and it should have your full consideration.” When asked if this would enhance revenue, he said it was revenue neutral. Cowles said the bill would make West Virginia competitive advantage over boarder states.

Delegate Justin Marcum (D-Mingo) argued that if it was revenue neutral, it shouldn’t even be up for debate with the budget situation we are in. He also said “If everyone got a tax break, then revenue would go down.” He said that this bill would be a tax break for the ultra-wealthy and the working middle class would be taxed more.

Delegate Shawn Fluharty (D-Ohio) said, “I think we should stop, do not pass go, and do not collect more money on the backs of hard working West Virginians.”

McGeehan said that there’s another balanced budget, HB 2908, and that the Governor's staff has read it and likes it. He said, this bill extracts the wealth from West Virginians. “It’s a tax increase for unproductive bureaucrat spending. It’s going to hurt the poorest in the society.”

The rejection of the bill failed 44-50 and the bill will be on second reading on Monday.

The Rules Committee moved HB 3037, HB 3088, HB 2552, HB 2711, and HB 2188 from the House Calendar to the Special Calendar for first reading.

Committee Meetings Today

Finance: 15 minutes after session in 460M to discuss budget

Judiciary: 12 p.m. in 410M

Committee Meetings Monday

Government Organization: 9 a.m. in 215E

Rules: 10:45 a.m. behind the House Chamber

Roads and Transportation: 1 p.m. in 215E

 

The House is adjourned until 11 a.m. Monday.

›› House bills introduced on this date
›› Completed Legislation

Saturday, March 25, 2017 - 10:14 AM

Senate Education Committee Reports Two Bills

The Senate Education Committee met this morning to discuss two bills.

Senate Bill 40 would require inclusion of protocols for response to after-school emergencies in school crisis response plans. This would give sports based after school activities a plan for if someone got hurt in an after school practice.

Senator Trump (R-Morgan) clarified that there would still be protections in place for capable citizens in case they decided to deliver aid on site.

The bill was reported to the full Senate with the recommendation that it pass.

Senate Bill 656 relates to student data accessibility, transparency and accountability act. This would make some specific rules in regards to the ACT so that they don't release information that students or parents don't want released. Council said the intent of the bill was so that the ACT can receive payment for the release of the information. It will also serve as a recruitment tool because businesses will be able to request information. The bill allows for schools to send prospective students scholarship and recruitment material as well.

Senator Unger (D-Berkeley) said, "To me this raises privacy issues. These companies could start farming information for these students. I'm a little concerned."

Heather Hutchins, general counsel for the Department of Education, said the bill is especially for students who won't be doing post-secondary education after high school, with the adoption of the ACT as West Virginia's standardized test. The bill would allow for the sharing of the score for recruiting purposes without having to take the test again in a private setting for those who wish to do so. There would also be mechanisms to send those scores to schools but they would be difficult.

Senator Azinger (R-Wood) made sure that guardians were included in those who could send scores as well.

Senator Karnes (R-Upshur) moved to amend the bill so if the student was younger than 18 then they must have their parent or guardian's permission to send the scores. Senator Trump then moved to amend the amendment so that if it was 15 or younger. The amendment was adopted.

The bill was reported to the full Senate with the recommendation that it pass.



Friday, March 24, 2017 - 03:55 PM

Bill Relating to Sale of Tax Maps is Reported Out of Senate Government Organization

The Senate Government Organization Committee met today to pass three bills out of the committee.

Senate Bill 588 relates to reproduction, distribution and sale of tax maps. The purpose of this bill is to create a funding source to distribute and reproduce the tax maps while also giving the public access to them. Paper and electronic tax maps will be made available for purchase from the county assessor. There would be no limit to the reproduction. There would be no liability to third parties for errors in the maps. Each map would be $25 and the revenue would be split throughout different funds.

Senator Sypolt (R-Preston) said the purpose of the bill is to get more information regarding tax in the hands of the people but also make it self-sustaining.

A representative of the Kanawha County Assessor’s Office said they were in support of the bill to have a new revenue stream in order to keep the maps updated and available.

The bill was reported to the full Senate with the recommendation that it pass.

Senate Bill 534 relates to incentives for consolidating local governments. The purpose of the bill is to provide incentives for local services to consolidate in order to save money and become more efficient. 

Former Senator McCabe spoke in favor of the bill as council. He said, "This kind of legislation puts forth a mindset that can help us compete more at a national level."

The bill was reported to the full Senate with the recommendation that it pass.

Senate Bill 501 relates to the WV Economic Development Authority. The bill was reported to the full Senate with the recommendation that it pass.



Friday, March 24, 2017 - 03:07 PM

Select Committee on Tax Reform Reports Two Bills

The Select Committee on Tax Reform met briefly to discuss two bills today.

Senate Bill 409 would modify exemptions for consumer’s sales and service tax. The bill gives exemptions to some taxes on services under the sales tax but not to others. The bill was reported to the floor with the recommendation that it pass but first be referred to the Committee on Finance.

Joint Resolution 8 would be the Fair and Simple Tax Reform Amendment. It would repeal parts of the tax code and add a new section. It would repeal some property tax exemptions and change laws that allow local bonds be used to upkeep city and state property. The bill was reported to the floor with the recommendation that it pass but first be referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.



Friday, March 24, 2017 - 03:02 PM

House Passes Bill to Sell Jackie Withrow Hospital

The House of Delegates met today and passed 14 bills.

SB 306 would supplement, amend, and increase an item of appropriation in the aforesaid account for the designated spending unit for expenditure during the fiscal year 2017. The bill passed 99-0.

HB 2180 would authorize the issuing of special “In God We Trust” license plates for a $10 fee, as well as special “Friends of Coal” license plates. The bill passed 98-0.

HB 2208 would allow counties and municipalities to establish a joint airport hazard comprehensive plan for the purpose of satisfying requirements of federal aviation law, protecting the public safety or preventing hazardous conditions. This is to help with safety with takeoff and landing. The bill passed 98-0.

HB 2366 would require the selling of Jackie Withrow Hospital by the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Resources. Currently, the state owns seven long-term care facilities. The Department of Corrections uses part of the building. Delegate Nelson said this bill allows the Secretary of DHHR to look into selling the facility and most importantly, where to relocate the residents. Delegate Bates stood to educate the House about Jackie Withrow. She was a member of the House of Delegates and the first woman to chair the Health and Human Resources Committee. If passed and the hospital is closed, there is a special revenue account to be known as the “Jackie Withrow Long Term Care Facility Development Fund.” The bill passed 58-41.

HB 2475 would require the Auditor and other state, county, district or municipal officers to certify to the Tax Commissioner the identity of payees prior to issuance of payments, and authorize the Tax Commissioner to identify those payees who are not in good standing with the Tax Department and to require the Auditor or issuing officer to forward to the Tax Commissioner the lesser of the amount of tax interest and penalty owed or the remaining amount of payment. The bill passed 96-2.

HB 2494 would provide that statewide school report cards are only to be made available to custodial parents and guardians of students upon request instead of automatically being sent to the parents and guardians. The bill passed 95-2.

HB 2524 would improve the focus on school-level continuous improvement processes led by the principal. The instruction must include the standards for high quality schools, the school accreditation process and strategic planning for continuous improvement. In the bill, school systems are given the flexibility to establish their own systems of support and supervision of beginning principals and the current state mandated programs and processes are eliminated. The bill passed 63-35.

HB 2679 would prohibit county park commissions from prohibiting firearms in their facilities and to clarify that a firearm may be carried by a person for self-defense in state parks, state forests and state recreational areas managed by the Department of Natural Resources. The bill passed 95-4.

HB 2702 would excuse students from school for a family member’s illness provided an in depth excuse is provided by a doctor with a reason of why the student needs to be home with the family member. The bill passed 95-3.

HB 2709 would authorize the City of South Charleston to levy a special district excise tax for the benefit of the South Charleston Park Place Economic Opportunity Development District. This would allow for a road expansion and development opportunities for an 80-acre pond and tech park. The bill passed 92-5.

HB 2734 would authorize a method for the collection and remittance of property taxes related to dealer’s heavy equipment inventory. The bill passed 98-0.

HB 2774 wouldallow aircraft and aircraft parts to be taxed at the same rate as aircraft property. The bill passed 92-4.

HB 2805 would declare certain claims against the state to be moral obligations of the state and to authorize payments therefor from the following funds: General Revenue Fund: $ 624,388.72, State Road Fund: $828,710.52, and Special Revenue Funds: $ 458,733.53 for a total of $1,911,832.77. The bill passed 98-0.

HB 3093 would establish Broadband Enhancement and Expansion Policies. The bill would authorize the establishment of cooperative associations for the purpose of obtaining internet services. The bill passed 97-2.

Committee Meetings Today

Gov. Org.: 3 p.m. in 215E

Judiciary: 3:15 p.m. in 410M

Education: 3:15 p.m. in 434M

Finance: 3:15 p.m. in 460M 

The House is in recess until 5:30 p.m. this evening. 

Update:

The House met briefly at 7:15 p.m. to recieve standing committee reports. 

Committee Meetings after 5 minutes after evening session: Finance, Judiciary, and Education. 

Tomorrow, the Rules Committee will meet at 8:15 a.m.

The House is adjourned until 8:30 a.m.

›› House bills introduced on this date
›› Completed Legislation

Friday, March 24, 2017 - 02:32 PM

Senate Passes Second Chance to Work Bill on Floor

The Senate met this morning to pass nine bills on third reading.

Senate Resolution 51 designated March 24, 2017 as Jefferson County Day and Senate Resolution 52 designated March 24, 2017 as firefighter's day.

Senate Bill 18 would require a new comprehensive statewide student assessment.

Senator Prezioso (D-Marion) said, "This bill is a total assault on public education. I oppose it."

Senator Romano (D-Harrison) also opposed it and said, "If we don't have a strong education system, then the American dream is nothing but a puff of smoke."

Senator Karnes (R-Upshur) was for the bill and said, "Taxpayers need to know that their dollars are being invested wisely."

The bill passed with a vote of 18 yeas and 16 nays.

Senate Bill 61 would Provide consumers sales and service tax and use tax exemption for certain services and tangible personal property sold for repair, remodeling and maintenance of aircraft.

Senate Bill 76 would create the West Virginia Second Chance for Employment Act.

Senator Jeffries (D-Putnam) said, "This gives us an opportunity to welcome able, trustworthy citizens back into a normal life."

Senator Gaunch (R-Kanawha) said, "I believe in personal responsibility but I also believe in mercy and this bill strikes a great balance between both."

Senate Bill 183 would transfer the Division of Forestry from the Department of Commerce to the Department of Agriculture.

Senate Bill 419 would create special revenue fund sources for the Division of Labor to meet statutory obligations.

Senate Bill 464 would eliminate taxation on annuity consideration received by life insurer.

Senate Bill 486 relates to health care provider taxes.

Senate Bill 535 would reorganize the Division of Tourism and rename it to the West Virginia Tourism Office. The bill also allows for increased flexibility to market the state with a more strategic and results driven approach.

Senate Bill 538 would create special conditions of parole.

The following committees meet today:

Select Committee on Tax Reform at 2:15 p.m. in 451M.

Energy, Industry and Mining at 2:15 p.m. in 208W.

Government Organization at 3:15 p.m. in 451M or 208W.

Judiciary at 4:15 p.m. in 208W.

Finance at 4:15 p.m. in 451M.

The following committees meet tomorrow:

Natural Resources at 8 a.m.

Government Organization at 8 a.m.

Education at 9 a.m.

 

The Senate is adjourned until 10 a.m. tomorrow.



Friday, March 24, 2017 - 11:06 AM

Senate Health Refers Medical Cannabis Bill out of Committee

The Senate Committee on Health and Human Resources discussed one bill this morning.

Senate Bill 386 would create the West Virginia Medical Cannabis Act. This bill would set up a cannabis commission in DHHR. There would be an application process, ongoing evaluations, conditions needing to be met for the use of cannabis, and a referral process. There would be a criminal background check and registration process for the growers as well. The bill is also set up to be diverse in geography and minority owned businesses. There is a penalty for violation of the bill of 5 years and $10,000. There is also a proposed substitute with technical changes. 

Senator Clements (R-Wetzel) asked, "Are there records that will be kept on who is prescribing this?"

Council confirmed that there would be.

Senator Maroney (R-Marshall) said, "I've never really given a lot of thought to this but this definitely helps people with certain diseases. I'm glad we are talking about it."

Senator Stollings (D-Boone) moved to amend the bill to mandate that the recommendations are reported to the board of pharmacy. The amendment was adopted.

Senator Stollings also moved to amend the bill so that ten percent of the contracts awarded through the commission would go to the Veteran's Agriculture Program. The amendment was adopted.

Senator Karnes (R-Upshur) moved that those with the prescription can grow their own two plants for personal use instead of going to a dispensary in order to keep the price down. The amendment was adopted.

Senator Maroney said, "I personally can't support the bill as written but I can support the concept. The bill is too broad. I also don't know what it would mean if we legalize this in the state but not federally."

The bill was reported to the Committee on the Judiciary with the recommendation that it pass with a vote of 6 yeas and 5 nays.



Friday, March 24, 2017 - 10:17 AM

House Gov. Org. Discuss Originating Bill at Morning Meeting

House Government Organization discussed HB 2376 and HB Originating in committee this morning.

HB 2376 would provide that the Bureau for Medical Services be renamed the Department of Medical Services with the Commissioner of the Bureau for Medical Services becoming the Secretary of the Department of Medical Services.  The bill would provide that the Department continue to operate as currently configured as the Bureau for Medical Services with the structure of the Department of the Health and Human Resources for administrative support, interagency cooperation and program support.

HB Originating would create the Board of Nursing and Health services, by combining all nursing and health boards into one.  



Thursday, March 23, 2017 - 04:33 PM

Vaccination Exemption Bill Approved in Senate Education

Senate Education met today and discussed SB 401 and SB 537.

SB 401 wouldpermit a county board of education to base its employment decisions, transfers, reassignments, reducing the number of professional personnel, reductions in classroom teaching positions and reductions in the workforce on an individual’s qualifications. The goal of this legislation is to keep the most qualified educators in the classroom.

Chairman Mann (R-Monroe) stepped out of the chairman’s seat to be able to discuss this bill, because he opposed it. He believes we are already keeping our most qualified teachers here and moving from the seniority system could lead to the “buddy-system,” where people are hired because of who they know, not their qualifications. He also felt changing to this system could burden the county boards of education.

Senator Plymale (D-Wayne) said he had an issue with number nine on the list of considerations for filling vacancies. Number nice states, “Other measures or indicators upon which the relative qualifications of the applicant may fairly be judged.” He said without knowing these other measures, he wasn’t comfortable supporting the bill. The bill passed the committee 7-6 and will be sent to the full Senate.

SB 537 wouldprovide exemptions from mandatory immunizations. Sharron Stefan spoke to the committee and stated she has treated children and never saw a serious complication from vaccinations. Senator Stollings (D-Boone) said, “98-99 percent of the health care community is in agreement with vaccines.” He said being able to prevent diseases with vaccines are what we hope for. The bill passed in the committee and will be sent to the full Senate.

 

The committee recessed until 6:30 p.m. this evening. 



Thursday, March 23, 2017 - 04:25 PM

Senate Gov. Org. Approves Bill to Exempt DHHR from Certain Purchasing Requirements

The Senate Government Organization Committee has approved four bills to be reported to the full Senate with the recommendation that they pass. 

SB 380 would create a two-year pilot program permitting recreational vehicles on designated roads and trails in Cabwaylingo State Forest after purchase of special permits.  

The bill also provides for designation of campgrounds and tent sites to be used by the ATV and ORV users.

DNR Director Steve McDaniel said the division very much supports the bill.

The bill was previously reported out of Senate Natural Resources with the recommendation that it pass.

SB 631 would clarify the process by which municipal governments may abate unsafe, unsanitary or dangerous dilapidated structures that are detrimental to the public safety or welfare.

SB 671 would reestablish the West Virginia Anatomical Board.

SB 634 would create an exemption for the Department of Health and Human Resources from having to go through the requirements of the Division of Purchasing when entering into agreements with West Virginia University or Marshall University for the provision of services, which will encourage collaboration and cost-saving between the Universities and Department of Health and Human Resources.

DHHR Deputy Secretary Jeremiah Samples said the current purchasing policies have created problems with allowing the DHHR to cooperate with WVU and Marshall in a timely manner for collaborative projects, events or activities.

Samples said there are very many universities in states throughout the nation that already have such provisions in place.

Andrew Kirkner of the West Virginia Association of Health Plans said the private sector's main concern is ensuring that they are still able to competitively bid on certain contracts the bill deals with.

Kirkner counsel made an amendment related to the bill's treatment of Medicaid, which the committee adopted.

The committee laid over SB 638, which would provide an exemption from taking the business and law portion of the examination for a license under the West Virginia Contractor Licensing Act when an applicant presents evidence of retaining a certified public accountant or public accountant to file business and tax filings required by the state and federal government.

Members felt that they needed more time to assess the provisions of the bill in relation to the exam to ensure those exempted from the business and law portion of the exam would still be qualified to do their jobs as needed.

David Mullins and Mitchell Woodrum of the Division of Labor were present to answer questions from members of the committee about the examination.

Members of the committee also adopted the subcommittee reports for Senate Bills 294534 and 501.

The committee is recessed until a time that will be announced tomorrow during the Senate floor session.



Thursday, March 23, 2017 - 03:44 PM

House Finance Reports Bill to Sell Hopemont Hospital

The House Finance Committee met again this afternoon to discuss three bills.

House Bill 3048 relates to collection of Tier II fees for chemical inventories. The fees collected would be increased to a maximum of $2,500 from $100. 

Delegate Westfall (R-Jackson) asked if this was a one-time fee. Council informed the committee that the fees would be taken up over time.

The jump for the fees are to pay for training of employees and maintenance of the facilities that house the chemicals. The manufacturers of the chemicals are also in favor of the bill.

The bill was reported to the floor of the House with the recommendation that it pass.

House Bill 2720  would allow the School Building Authority to transfer funds allocated into the School Construction Fund. The bill as introduced would allow transfer of funds to a school construction funds. The bill was reported to the floor with the recommendation that it pass.

House Bill 3102 relates to selling Hopemont Hospital. The bill ensures that a replacement facility be constructed that can hold at least 60 beds for the patients in the hospital. The bill was amended by Delegate Longstreth (D-Marion) to ensure the beds built would be given to those at Hopemont first.

Delegate Longstreth said, "I was trying to make it more clear that this would be a replacement facility for the patients and not replacing Hopemont itself."

Delegate Walters (R-Kanawha) asked, "If a patient can receive better service at another facility, are we now restricting them to this facility?"

Council responded that the bill would not force them to go to the certain replacement facility for long term care.

Delegate Householder (R-Berkeley) urged rejection of the amendment. He said the language was duplicative and places an unneeded burden on those selling the hospital.

The amendment was adopted. The bill was then reported to the floor with the recommendation that it pass.



Thursday, March 23, 2017 - 03:18 PM

Bill Related to Health Care Record Fees Approved in Senate Health

The Senate Health and Human Resources Committee has approved a bill that would establish a new fee structure for the furnishment of health care records.

The bill, SB 578, would do so by allowing records to be furnished to a patient’s personal representative and establishing a limit on the total fee allowable for the furnishment of a patient’s health care record.

Stephen New of the West Virginia Association for Justice, said there are problems with the bill, since current law was specifically created to comply with federal law and the proposed bill would violate those agreements.

Senator Charles Trump, R-Morgan, is the lead sponsor of the bill and said he created the bill to address the amount of litigation with the current law by setting clearer cost caps on the documents.

The committee also voted to lay over HB 2459, which would clarify certain requirements of the certificate of need process.

The bill was sent to the committee last year but was never voted on or reported out.

Sonia Chambers, chair of the West Virginia Healthcare Authority, was available to answer questions from members of the committee about the effects of the bill.

Secretary of the DHHR Bill Crouch was also present to field questions from the committee, but he said the DHHR did not have time to review the bill prior to the meeting.

Senator Ron Stollings, D-Boone, motioned that the committee lay the bill over until the bill could be further reviewed by those parties affected by it.

The committee is in recess until 10 a.m. tomorrow, where they will meet again in room 451M in order to finish addressing the previous bill, as well as Senate Bills 386 and 47, which were also on the agenda for today.



Thursday, March 23, 2017 - 03:06 PM

House Judiciary Approve Com. Sub. for Parental Notification Bill (HB 2002)

The Judiciary Committee met to receive sub-committee reports and move bills to House floor.

HB 2930 wouldallow a Powerball winner to be anonymous if they elect to be anonymous. The bill will be reported to the floor with recommendation that it do pass.

HB 2704 wouldprohibit persons convicted of sexual offenses against children with whom they hold positions of trust from holding certification or license valid in public schools. It would also prohibit persons convicted of sexual offenses against children with whom they hold positions of trust from being employed by any educational, vocational, training, day care, group home, foster care program, or rehabilitation facility in the state and increase penalties for persons who are school employees and convicted of sexual offenses against children with whom they hold positions of trust. The sub-committee found it is already illegal for someone convicted of those crimes to be near a school or accept employment there. The committee substitute takes criminal code and applies it to educational code. The bill will be reported to the floor with recommendation that it do pass.

HB 2781 would require voters to provide a photo identification when voting and identify the requirements for those photo identifications, to set forth certain qualifying identification documents. It would provide for provisional ballots to be cast by voters who do not possess the required photo identification. The bill will be reported to the floor with recommendation that it do pass.

HB 2002 would require a 24 hour wait from constructive (mail) notification to parent of minor. The minor, alone or with doctor, may petition the court for notification waiver. The committee substitute also state minor should see a psychiatrist. The bill will be reported to the floor with recommendation that it do pass.

HB 2520 was reconsidered to reject an amendment from the Health and Human Resources Committee. The bill prohibits the use of tanning devices by minors, those under the age of 18. The bill passed again and will be reported to the floor with the recommendation that it do pass.

 

The Judiciary Committee is in recess until after the floor session this evening. 



Thursday, March 23, 2017 - 02:30 PM

Seven Bills Moved from House Today

Today the House of Delegates passed seven bills.

SB 127 would authorize the Insurance Commissioner to issue a legislative rule relating to Adoption of a Valuation Manual.

HB 2519 would require the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Resources to enter into a compact to ensure payment for health care services provided to other states’ Medicaid participants.

HB 2808 would provide assisted outpatient treatment to individuals suffering from mental illness to prevent them from harming themselves or others, as well as to prevent the costs of inpatient involuntary hospitalization and costs of incarceration due to untreated mental illness.

HB 2857 would create the West Virginia Safer Workplaces Act. It allows employers to test employees and prospective employees for drugs and alcohol. The drug testing must be done during work time and the employer must pay for the testing. If a test is failed, a second test shall be administered. If both come back with positive results, then discipline actions may be taken. The goal of this legislation is to make the workplace safe for all employees.

HB 3009 wouldgrant the Office of Health Facility Licensure and Certification access to the Controlled Substances Monitoring Program database for regulatory purposes.

HB 3061 wouldencourage a limited cohort of schools to implement mastery-based education through the Innovation In Education program.  The Department of Education is given a range of duties from the identification of barriers and potential solutions to developing an incubator process to support schools awarded an Innovation In Schools/Mastery-Based grant. The schools must meet the same requirements and accountability as other Innovation In Education schools.

HB 3089 would provide a transition to the county board of education level of the process for review and adoption of instructional resources required to be used in the schools under the jurisdiction of the county board.

HB 2702 was on 2nd reading today and was amended by Delegate Cowles (R-Morgan) and Delegate Summers (R-Taylor). HB 2707 would provide that excused absences for personal illness, when a family of member of student is ill.

Delegate Cowles amended it to add more flexibility and clarity for unintended consequences. It added nurse practitioner to the list of medical practitioners who could give medical documentation for the family member and changed family member to include not just the parent or guardian. His amendment also states that notification could be given within three days of returning.

Delegate Summers amended it by removing the notification of absences at three days, as there is notification at five days.

HB 2871 was moved out of Rules Committee. This bill eliminates the mandatory 80 percent of the employer, 20 percent employee cost share on PEIA active employee premiums and to instead set 80 percent as the maximum employer share and 20 percent as the minimum employee share.

Committee Meetings Today

Finance: 2 p.m. in 460M

Judiciary: 2 p.m. in 410M

Rules: 4:45 p.m. behind House Chamber

Committee Meetings Tomorrow

Finance: 9 a.m. in 460M

Judiciary: 9 a.m. in 410M

Gov. Org.: 9 a.m. in 215E

Education: 9:30 a.m. in 434M

The House is in recess until 5 p.m. tonight. 

Update:

The Rules Committee moved SB 347, HB 2763, HB 2794, HB 2799, HB 2804, HB 2805, HB 2850, HB 2878, HB 2897, HB 2941, and HB 3096 from the Special Calendar to the House Calendar. 

The House is adjourned until 11 a.m. tomorrow. 

›› House bills introduced on this date
›› Completed Legislation

Thursday, March 23, 2017 - 02:15 PM

Senate Passes Bill Allowing Sunday Retail Sale of Liquor

The Senate has passed 15 bills to be sent to the House for further consideration.

SB 339 would create a legislative coalition to study and report to the Legislature on chronic pain management in the state.

SB 362 would permit the redirection of the deposit of revenues collected from certain surcharges and assessments on workers’ compensation insurance policies and derived from net terminal income funds by the Governor through executive order to the General Revenue Fund.

SB 414 would create the Division of Multimodal Transportation under the Secretary of Transportation and to combine the employees, equipment, assets, liabilities and duties previously executed by the Public Port Authority, the state Aeronautics Commission and the West Virginia State Rail Authority.

SB 461 would exempt the West Virginia State Police from state purchasing requirements.

SB 467 would increase the maximum bet permitted for limited video lottery terminals, remove restrictions on bill denominations accepted by limited video lottery terminals and fix the state share of gross profits from limited video lottery revenues at 50% beginning July 1, 2017.

SB 472 would permit bear hunting with guides.

SB 479 would allow sales of liquor by retail licensees after one o’clock p.m. on Sundays and transfer the authority to set the maximum wholesale markup percentage of all liquor, other than wine, from the commissioner to the Legislature.

SB 499 would create the Debt Resolution Services Division within the Auditor’s office administered by the existing employees of the Auditor’s office.

SB 523 would make statutory changes related to converting to a biweekly pay cycle from a monthly or semimonthly cycle for state employees. This bill would be effective from passage.

SB 533 would provide that no wine or liquor excise tax will be collected on purchases of wine or intoxicating liquors in the original sealed package for resale, if the final purchase of the wine or intoxicating liquor is subject to the excise tax.

SB 572 would require that elections for county surveyors be conducted on a nonpartisan basis and provide for the appointment and election of a new county surveyor if the office is vacated.

SB 585 would strike the code section regarding locomotive power units and helper units.

SB 595 would allow portions of otherwise exempt property that are being used for nonexempt purposes to be separately assessed and taxed for property tax purposes.

SB 684 would correct existing incorrect references in the two sections relating to the West Virginia State Police. This bill would be effective from passage.

Members of the Senate also adopted SR 50 to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the national and state ChalleNGe Program.

Senate Bills 18, 61, 76, 183, 419, 464, 486, 504, 535 and 538 were advanced from second reading.

Of those bills advanced, Senator Patricia Rucker, R-Jefferson, made an amendment to SB 18 to make a provision requiring legislative oversight of the actions of state boards of education. Senator Mike Romano, D-Harrison, moved to amend the amendment to include home-schooled students under the provisions of the bill. His motion was rejected.

Another advanced bill, SB 535, was amended by Senator Charles Trump, R-Morgan, to allocate any bonds not issued or sold for the improvement of certain state parks nu January 1, 2018, to the General Revenue Fund.

Committee Meetings Today

Energy, Industry and Mining: 2:15 p.m. in 208W

Health and Human Resources: 2:15 p.m. in 451M

Government Organization: 3:15 p.m. in 208W

Education: 3:15 p.m. in 451M

Judiciary: 4:15 p.m. in 208W

Finance: 4:15 p.m. in 451M

Education: 6:15 p.m. in 451M (if needed)

Judiciary: 8:15 p.m. in 208W (if needed)

Committee Meetings Tomorrow

Health and Human Resources: 10 a.m. in 451M

Tax Reform: 1 p.m. in 451M

Judiciary: 2 p.m. in 208W

The Senate is adjourned until 11 a.m. tomorrow.

›› Senate bills introduced on this date
›› Completed Legislation

Thursday, March 23, 2017 - 10:28 AM

House Finance Discusses Six Bills in Morning Meeting

The Finance Committee met this morning and discussed several bills.

HB 2962 would enlarge the authority of the Tax Commissioner to perform background investigations of employees and contractors and make technical corrections. The enactment of this bill is necessary for the Tax Commissioner to receive federal tax information for the Internal Revenue Service.

HB 2961 would amend the procedure by which a charitable gaming licensee may appeal the Tax Commissioner’s sanctions against the licensee for violations of the charitable gaming laws, by allowing the licensee to petition the Office of Tax Appeals for an administrative hearing rather than the Tax Commissioner.

HB 2963 would eliminate the requirement that the personal representative of a nonresident decedent apply to the Tax Commissioner for a certificate releasing all real property situate in this state from any estate tax lien, because West Virginia does not impose an estate tax or an inheritance tax on estates of persons dying after December 31, 2004.

HB 2967 would remove the requirements for the State Tax Commissioner to administer the fiduciary supervisor/fiduciary commissioner qualifying test and annual training seminar. 

HB 3091 would change the due date for employers to file their annual reconciliation and withholding statements with the Tax Commissioner to January 31, which date is consistent with the date by which employers must file their annual employer withholding reconciliation statements with the Internal Revenue Service and require more employers to file W-2 information electronically with the Tax Commissioner. 

HB 3102 would permit the Secretary of DHHR to sell Hopemont Hospital and its assets.

The Finance Committee will be meeting this afternoon at 2 p.m.  



Thursday, March 23, 2017 - 10:14 AM

Bills Related to Division of Highways Approved in Senate Finance

The Senate Finance Committee has approved five bills to be reported to the full Senate with the recommendation that they pass.

SB 614 would provide loan insurance for commercial loans used for the expansion of broadband service to unserved or underserved areas. 

The bill was previously reported out of Senate Economic Development with the recommendation that it do pass.

SB 69 would create the sexual assault survivors’ bill of rights.

The bill was previously reported out of Senate Judiciary with the recommendation that it do pass.

SB 416 would eliminate the cap on the size of projects constructed by the Division of Highways and to remove the sunset date.

Tom Smith, secretary of the West Virginia Department of Transportation, said he was in support of the bill, since it would allow the department to more easily enter into public-private partnerships for infrastructure developments.

Smith said those partnerships would especially become helpful as the department becomes more dependent on private funding as state funding decreases due to budget issues.

The bill was previously reported out of Senate Transportation and Infrastructure with the recommendation that it do pass.

SB 417 would remove the financial limitations on how many design build projects may be undertaken by the Division of Highways.

Currently, no more than $50 million a year up to an aggregate of $150 million may be expended for design build projects.

Senator Greg Boso, R-Nicholas, said more funding to allow designers to work closely with construction teams can increase the safety and efficiency of certain projects.

The bill was previously reported out of Senate Transportation and Infrastructure with the recommendation that it do pass.

SB 421 would increase from $200 million to $500 million the amount the Division of Highways is allowed to use to apply for Federal Grant Anticipation Notes to be reimbursed from the funds made available to West Virginia from the federal government’s Highway Fund for West Virginia.  

Funds obtained from this federal grant will only be used for the completion of interstate or other highway facilities designated as part of the federal-aid highway system or for toll bridges.

The bill was previously reported out of Senate Transportation and Infrastructure with the recommendation that it do pass.

The committee will meet again at 3 p.m. today in 451M.



Wednesday, March 22, 2017 - 07:56 PM

Senate Judiciary Lays Over Redistricting Bill

The Senate Judiciary Committee has approved three bills and an originating joint resolution to be reported to the floor with the recommendation that they pass.

HB 2868 would clarify that presumed abandoned property in the form of amounts owed by an insurer on a life or endowment insurance policy or an annuity that has matured or terminated, and obligations related thereto, are guided by the policies, requirements and interpretations of the Insurance Commissioner.

Christina Merbedone, assistant director of Unclaimed Property, said the Treasurer's Office is against the bill due to certain amendments made to the bill in the House before coming to Senate Judiciary that would remove the Treasurer from having administration over unclaimed property.

SB 592 would provide for an independent redistricting commission to propose redistricting plans during census years.

According to counsel, the commission’s main task is to propose plans to the Legislature based on Constitutional and legal requirements and considerations and which is removed from stark political aspirations or concerns. 

Senator Mike Romano, D-Harrison, made a motion that would lay the bill over until Friday, March 24, to allow the committee more time to study the lengthy provisions of the bill.

Originating Joint Resolution #1 would propose an amendment to the state constitution to eliminate the office of county surveryor.

John Green of the West Virginia Society of Professional Surveyors said the society opposes the bill and he hopes the committee will reject it.

Counsel said only 9 individuals were elected to county surveyor roles out of all 55 counties.

HB 2001 would modify the ethics and purchasing laws to provide more transparency in government.

The committee heard the subcommittee report for the bill and approved the amendments suggested by the subcommittee as detailed in the report.

Rebecca Steptoe of the State Ethics Commission said the commission has reviewed the changes of the bill, and she made some suggestions for small improvements that could be made to the bill.

Senator Mike Romano, D-Harrison, made an amendment that would allow the quorum number to decrease to two-thirds when there are vacancies on the ethics board. The amendment was rejected.

Those in opposition cited the possibility that too many vacancies would allow board members of particular parties to gang up against a party that might be in the minority due to the vacancies for rejecting the amendment.



Wednesday, March 22, 2017 - 04:59 PM

Senate Finance Discusses SNAP Requirement Bill

The Senate Finance Committee discussed six bills today.

Senate Bill 437 would discontinue the West Virginia Greyhound Breeding Fund. Yesterday there were concerns about distributions of funds from certain casino and race track activities no longer going to employee pensions. The committee added to the bill to ensure the pensions would stay secure.

A representative of the West Virginia Kennel Association said, "This legislation could end 1,700 jobs. This is going to cost more than it will get. Unemployment costs could go up and many West Virginian families may have to relocate."

The bill was reported to the Senate floor with the recommendation that it pass.

Senate Bill 60 relates to eligibility and fraud requirements for public assistance. This bill would restrict SNAP benefits to those who have committed fraud against public assistance or those who are over six months behind on child support payments. The bill would require a computerized identity process for those applying for public assistance. About 7,000 of those getting SNAP benefits would have to start in a program to begin working as they are able bodies adults.

Senator Gaunch (R-Kanawha) asked, "Is there anything in this bill that would cause people to lose their benefits who deserve them?"

The representative said they would keep their benefits.

Senator Stollings (D-Boone) clarified for the committee that the state would be saving over $1 million if the bill is passed.

Senator Unger (D-Berkeley) asked, "If the legislature was to take the cowardly way out and cut and run. What would that do to DHHR in relation of that bill?"

The chair of the committee, Senator Hall (R-Putnam) said, "If we pass something out of this committee, it is the will of the Senate and we will fund it."

Senator Palumbo (D-Kanawha) moved to amend the bill to make the language regarding the phase in requirement of the bill clearer. The amendment was adopted.

Senator Facemire (D-Braxton) said the bill only would affect 0.00018 of the population and wondered if the bill was really worth the trouble it could cause.

Senator Gaunch said the bill addresses a lot of issues that are happening with SNAP and the people of West Virginia deserve to have be financially responsible.

The bill was reported to the floor with the recommendation that it pass as amended.

Senate Bill 493 would provide an increase in compensation for conservation officers to be closer to what usual police officers receive.

The bill was reported to the floor of the Senate with the recommendation that it pass.

Senate Bill 566 relates to claims against the state. The subcommittee on the bill met and suggested that the claims discussed in the bill be paid as moral obligation of the state.

The bill was reported to the floor of the Senate with the recommendation that it pass.

Senate Bill 453 would add classification and base salaries of certain civilian employees of the West Virginia State Police Forensic Laboratory.

The bill was reported to the floor of the Senate with the recommendation that it pass.

A Senate Bill originating would exempt certain DHHR facilities from statewide purchasing requirements. These facilities are nursing homes and psychiatric facilities. The bill was reported to the floor with the recommendation that it pass.



Wednesday, March 22, 2017 - 03:11 PM

House Judiciary Approves Bill to Make Fishing During Stocking Illegal

House Judiciary met today and discussed several bills. 

HB 2799 would prohibit the superintendent of schools from requiring a physical examination to be included to the application for a minor’s work permit unless it is required by the prospective employer. The bill will be reported to the floor with recommendation that it do pass.

SB 239 would protect an employee’s wages or salaries from being withheld or diverted for political activities without the express, written authorization of the employee. The bill makes clear that it is unlawful for any person to coerce or intimidate any employee into making a political contribution or engaging in political activities. This bill was removed from the agenda after today’s session.

HB 3020 would provide that the penalty for hunting, trapping, or fishing on the lands of another, entering upon posted lands, or destroying posted land signs shall be equivalent to the penalty for criminal trespassing. The bill will be reported to the floor with recommendation that it do pass.

HB 3101 would create a misdemeanor and criminal penalties for fishing within 200 feet of agency personnel while stocking fish into public waters. The bill was introduced to provide safety for stocking personnel, because some fishermen are casting their poles during the stocking process, which personnel at risk of being hooked. The bill will be reported to the floor with the recommendation that it do pass.

HB 2794 would require proof of mailing of notices to debtors that consumers are represented by legal counsel. This is to have concrete evidence that notification was given.

HB 2869 would provide that certain state employees may be granted a leave of absence with pay while providing assistance as an essential member of an emergency aid provider during a declared state of emergency. The bill will be reported to the full House with the recommendation that it do pass.

HB 2548 would allow non-intoxicating beer licensees to have speakers outside of licensed premises as long as their use does not disturb the peace and quietude of the community where the business is located. The bill will be reported to the House with the recommendation that it do pass.

HB 2654 would expand county commissions’ ability to dispose of county or district property and eliminate the requirement that property conveyed to volunteer fire department or volunteer ambulance service reverts back to county commission.

HB 2109 would include a municipal land bank as an agency within the West Virginia Land Reuse Agency Authorization Act and that a municipal land bank may acquire tax delinquent property. The bill will be reported to the floor with recommendation that it do pass.

HB 2453 would expand the list of persons the Commissioner of Agriculture may license to grow or cultivate industrial hemp. It will be reported to the floor with recommendation that it do pass. 



Wednesday, March 22, 2017 - 02:56 PM

Senate Banking Approves Bill Related to Insurance for Enzymatic Disorders

The Senate Banking and Insurance Committee has approved a bill that would provide for mandatory insurance coverage for inherited enzymatic disorders.

The bill, SB 526, provides a list of the diagnosed conditions for which insurance coverage should extend.

A fiscal note from PEIA shows the estimated cost to the organization would be $145,800, and a fiscal note from the DHHR shows a fiscal impact of $1,028,568 to the state.

The committee requested that the DHHR refresh their fiscal note, since it was found to be inaccurate after committee proceedings.

DHHR Deputy Secretary Jeremiah Samples was also available to answer questions from committee members.

Kaycee Childress of the national Children's Medical Nutrition Alliance said the bill would specifically help low income families that normally cannot afford insurance policies to cover their children's rare diseases.

Childress said 20 other states currently have similar mandates in their laws.

She also said most commercial insurance companies believe the bill is a "slippery slope," since certain prescribed medical foods fall under coverage of the bill, instead of strictly medications.

Director of PEIA Ted Cheatham was present to answer questions from members of the committee.

Committee counsel also suggested a few mandates to bring clarity to certain provisions in the bill, which will be added to the bll as a single amendment which will then be incorporated into a committee substitute.

The bill will be referred to Senate Finance once reported to the floor.



Wednesday, March 22, 2017 - 02:53 PM

House Government Organization Reports Eight Bills Including HB 2935

The House Committee on Government Organization reported eight bills out of the committee today.

House Bill 2515 would enact the West Virginia Monument and Memorial Protection Act of 2017. There is no current law to protect these monuments. The historical significance would only be noted if the monument or memorial has an age of 50 years.

Delegate Caputo (D-Marion) questioned council to see if there was a provision in the bill to relocate the memorials or monuments and was assured by council that it was.

The bill was reported to the floor with the recommendation that it pass.

House Bill 2935 relates to state flood protection planning. This bill would create a legislative joint interim committee to study flood protection and report back to the legislature. It would also create a council of experts to study the West Virginia flooding to report to the committee.

The bill was reported to the floor with the recommendation that it pass.

House Bill 2897 would raise the amount required for competitive bidding of construction contracts by the state and its subdivisions. 

James Meadows, general counsel from the purchasing division, said, "An agency that goes out to bid will be able to pick the alternates in the order they are listed. If the selection doesn't impact who would be the lowest bid, then they can pick in any order."

The bill was reported to the floor with the recommendation that it pass.

House Bill 2346 relates to motor vehicle plates. This bill would start a study as to if flat plates are more economically efficient than the embossed plates currently in use.

Delegate Marcum (D-Mingo) asked if the bill would take away the license plates making jobs away from inmates and was assured it wouldn't. He then spoke in support of the bill.

An amendment to the bill by Delegate Hamrick (R-Harrison) to create a second study to find information about the privatization of creating the plates. The privatization of the making of the plates has worked for other states and this study would find out if this is a good idea for West Virginia as well. The amendment was adopted.

The bill was reported to the floor with the recommendation that it pass as amended.

House Bill 3053 relates to motor vehicle lighting. This clarifies that as long as 60 percent of LED lights are lit, it is considered as functional.

The bill was reported to the floor with the recommendation that it pass.

House Bill 2949 would exempt specified Division of Natural Resources’ contracts for some replacement, repair or design for repairs to facilities from review and approval requirements. 

The bill was reported to the floor with the recommendation that it pass.

House Bill 2788 would allow military veterans who were honorably discharged with certain military ratings to qualify for examinations required of a probationary firefighter. The veterans would have to meet all other requirements as well.

The bill was reported to the floor with the recommendation that it pass.

House Bill 2939 relates to the sale of items in the State Police Academy post exchange to the public. There was an amendment to the bill to clear up technical issues. The amendment was adopted.

The bill was reported to the floor with the recommendation that it pass as amended but first be referred to the Committee on Judiciary.



Wednesday, March 22, 2017 - 01:10 PM

House Passes Three Bills in Morning Floor Session

The House passed three bills in their floor session this morning.

House Bill 2827 would update the all payor claims database.

House Bill 2840 would reorganize the departments, agencies and commissions within the executive branch of state government.

House Bill 2856 would declare public policy and legislative intent for improving the marketing, quality and frequency of passenger rail service of the Cardinal Passenger Train.

Delegate Folk (R-Berkeley) opposed the bill saying that in these times of economic uncertainty, the legislature should not be putting together new special revenue accounts to subsidize federally funded programs.

Delegate Fleischauer (D-Monongalia) said she supported the bill because other forms of transportation are already subsidized and trains are one of the least polluting, convenient, and most beautiful forms of travel.

The bill passed with a vote of 95-5.

There were two bills out of seven that were amended on second reading today.

Senate Bill 127 was amended by the Committee on Judiciary to repeal and replace some outdated rules.

House Bill 3061 was amended by Delegate Fast (R-Fayettee) to strike language in the bill about state oversight so as to not ruin the bill's original intention.

Delegate Rowe (D-Kanawha) moved to reject House Bill 2524 which was on first reading. The movement was not adopted.

Delegate Hill (R-Nicholas) remarked, "I live in a district devastated by last year’s floods. Just under two dozen people died. Governor Tomblin lit the red beacon at the top of our capitol as a symbol that our state is coming together to stand behind those who were effected. It was a symbol of hope and all that is good within our people. And now Governor Justice is using it as a prop in his show of budget nonsense."

Committees meeting today:

Judiciary at 1:30 p.m. in 410M.

Finance at 2:30 p.m. in 460M.

Government Organization at 2 p.m. in 215E.

Education at 2:30 p.m. in 434M. Will Resume at 6:30 p.m.

Committees meeting tomorrow:

Finance at 9 a.m. in 460M.

Education at 9 a.m. in 434M.

Rules at 10:45 a.m. behind the House Chamber.

The House is in recess until 5 p.m. tonight.

UPDATE:

The House met briefly to receive committee reports in order to prepare bills for the passage process tomorrow. Also more committee meetings were announced.

 

The House is adjourned until 11 a.m. tomorrow.

 



Wednesday, March 22, 2017 - 12:48 PM

Bill to Double Penalties for Child Abuse Passes in Senate

The Senate has passed four bills to be sent to the House for further consideration.

SB 243 would repeal statutory language authorizing a minor over age of fourteen years to nominate a guardian in domestic relation matters.

SB 288 would double the penalties for child abuse offenses.

SB 360 would create a legislative coalition to study and report to the Legislature on diabetes in the state.

SB 398 would create The Emergency Volunteer Health Practitioners Act to regulate the practice of volunteer health practitioners during an emergency and create a registration system that grants reciprocity to licenses issued to volunteer health practitioners in other states during an emergency.

Of those bills on third reading, SB 339 was requested to lie over for one day before voting.

Members of the Senate also adopted SR 48 to congratulate the Charleston Catholic High School golf team for winning the 2016 Class A State Golf Championship, and SR 49 to designate today as Civil Air Patrol Day in West Virginia.

Senate Bills 362, 414, 461, 467, 472, 479, 499, 523, 533, 572, 585, 595 and 684 were advanced from second reading, and SB 18 was requested to lie over one day in second reading.

Of those bills advanced, Senator Craig Blair made an amendment to SB 479 that would clarify that retail licensees may not sell liquor between the hours of 12 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Sundays and at any time on Christmas day, or between the hours of 12:00 a.m. and 8:00 a.m. on all other days.

Committee Meetings Today

Agriculture and Rural Development: 2 p.m. in 208W

Banking and Insurance: 2 p.m. in 451M

Judiciary: 3 p.m. in 208W

Finance: 3 p.m. in 451M

Tax Reform: 5:30 p.m. in 451M

Committee Meetings Tomorrow

Finance: 9:30 a.m. in 451M

Energy, Industry and Mining: 1 p.m. in 208W

Health and Human Resources: 1 p.m. in 451M

Government Organization: 2 p.m. in 208W

Education: 2 p.m. in 451M

Judiciary: 3 p.m. in 208W

Finance: 3 p.m. in 451M

The Senate is adjourned until 11 a.m. tomorrow.

›› Senate bills introduced on this date
›› Completed Legislation

Wednesday, March 22, 2017 - 10:39 AM

Senate Interstate Cooperation Committee Rejects SB 659

The Senate Committee on Interstate Cooperation met to discuss one bill.

Senate Bill 659 would enact the Recognition of Emergency Medical Services Personnel Licensure Interstate Compact. This Compact is an interstate act that allows emergency medical personnel to practice their services between states that have also signed this bill into law. The bill would only apply to EMTs and paramedics that are active under a medical director. In the event that a state's governor declares a state of emergency the bill would still be enacted. The bill won't be enacted until two more states adopt the bill as ten need to in order to form the commission to govern the act. If the compact hasn't become effective by July 2021 then the bill will be dissolved.

Brian Skinner, the Council for Public Health, said he does have some concerns for the bill. He thinks it is unconstitutional because the commission could legislate and pass rules across multiple states. The commission could also demand fees to cover its annual budget and would have a fiscal impact. 

Senator Sypolt (R-Preston) asked if there are any advantages in the concept of a commission like this legislation.

Mr. Skinner responded there are some but this legislation has some legal implications that are risky. However, they have no objections to looking into legislation like this in the future.

The bill was rejected.



Wednesday, March 22, 2017 - 10:32 AM

Bill Related to Unemployment Compensation Requirements Passes Senate Workforce

The Senate Workforce Committee has approved a bill that would require individuals receiving unemployment compensation to apply for and accept seasonal employment.

The bill, SB 316, would further require that those individuals work a minimum of 25 hours a week at their seasonal jobs.

Connie Kirk, unemployment insurance director of WorkForce West Virginia, said the organization supports the bill's passage, since it would bring state law into compliance with federal law and make it easier for the organization to supply unemployment benefits.

The bill will be referred to Senate Finance once reported to the full Senate.



Wednesday, March 22, 2017 - 09:51 AM

House Finance Reports Three Bills

House Finance met briefly this morning to report three bills.

House Bill 2841 would require board members to have attended a board meeting in order to be compensated for the meeting. The bill was reported to the floor with the recommendation that it pass.

House Bill 2763 related to the approval by the Council for Community and Technical College Education of acquisitions. The bill was reported to the floor with the recommendation that it pass.

House Bill 2980 relates to civil lawsuit filing fees for multiple defendant civil action.

Delegate Frich (R-Monongalia) said she was happy there would be more money going to the state's forensic laboratory was going to be receiving more money but wondered how much it would be.

The commission of counties representative said there wasn't an exact number however it would be substantial.

The bill was reported to the floor with the recommendation that it pass.



Wednesday, March 22, 2017 - 09:32 AM

Subcommittee on K-12 Issues Reports Bill Relating to Standards to Education

The subcommittee on K-12 Issues met today on discuss HB 2443.

House Bill 2443 would establish academic standards and assessment methods. The bill would as taken up by the committee, would make standards on county levels flexible in that they can take away some standards and replace them with more intensive standards in another area. 

The committee came to the conclusion that having separate counties having separate standards is a bad idea.

Delegate Thompson (D-Wayne) said, "I don't think that each county should have a totally different set of standards. I understand having some flexibility between counties but it has to be consistent.

Council said under current law, West Virginia has to have a state wide set of standards, however these standards can be added upon at a county level, just not taken away from.

Delegate Westfall (R-Jackson) asked, "If we want to add certain standards to certain counties, can we do it?"

Council said that only the counties could do that and that the state would not be involved.

The committee came to the conclusion that there must be a statewide standard for West Virginia. If they want to add standards that is fine but they can't take away from the standards to incorporate those extra requirements.

The bill was reported back to the full committee on Education with the recommendation that the extra standards can be adopted but a closer look be taken at the subtraction and altering the flexibility of standards.



Tuesday, March 21, 2017 - 04:47 PM

Senate Finance reports Governor Justice's DMV Bill to Floor

The Senate Finance Committee reported three bills to the floor of the Senate including one on Governor Justice's Road plan.

Senate Bill 281 would increase the number of limited video lottery machines allowed at retail locations. The bill was reported to the floor with the recommendation that it pass.

Senate Bill 622 relates generally to tax procedures and administration. The bill gives the tax commissioner rule making authority on procedures and administration. The bill was reported to the floor with the recommendation that it pass.

Senate Bill 477 would increase the State Road Fund by raising DMV fees and motor fuel excise taxes. The bill will also increase the minimum average wholesale price of fuel. 

Senator Palumbo (D-Kanawha) wanted to be sure that the Governor's proposed tax increases from tolls was not in the bill.

Senator Boso (R-Nicholas) confirmed fo Senator Palumbo the bill he was speaking about is a separate bill.

The $42 million fiscal note would be from the DMV fees and $158 million would be from the gas tax increases.

Joey Garcia, senior council for legislation and policy for Governor Justice, said, "The money, based on this bill, would flow into the state road fund. The fund could be used for the bond plans that Governor Justice has plans for."

The bill was reported to the full senate with the recommendation that it pass.



Tuesday, March 21, 2017 - 04:44 PM

House Finance Sends Three of "Governor's Bills" to Full House

HB 2878 would increase from $200 million to $500 million the amount the Division of Highways is allowed to use to apply for Federal Grant Anticipation Notes to be reimbursed from the funds made available to West Virginia from the federal government’s Highway Fund for West Virginia. The funds obtained from this federal grant will only be used for the completion of interstate or other highway facilities designated as part of the federal-aid highway system or for toll bridges. The bill will be reported to the floor with recommendation that it do pass.

HB 2721 would set the cap on the size of projects constructed by the Division of Highways to $10 million and to extend the sunset date to six years. The bill will be reported to the floor with the recommendation that it do pass.

HB 2722 would remove the financial limitations on how many design build projects may be undertaken by the Division of Highways.  Currently, no more than $50 million a year up to an aggregate of $150 million may be expended for design build projects. The bill will be reported to the floor with the recommendation that it do pass.

Originating Bill relating to limited video lottery. Currently, video lottery retailers can only have five video lottery terminals. This bill would increase that number to seven. Revenue enhancements involved licensing for each machine and more play of the machines. The bill will be reported to the floor with the recommendation that it do pass. 



Tuesday, March 21, 2017 - 04:06 PM

Senate Bill 630 is Discussed by Senate Education Committee

The Senate Education Committee met today to discuss SB 630.

Senate Bill 630 would establish the Accessibility and Equity in Public Education Enhancement Act. The act would allow the county boards to create a virtual instruction program through policy for the schools to adopt. It may offer an online pathway for those wishing to get a high school diploma. An eligible student in the program must be included in the school enrollment numbers. The student participating in the program may participate in extracurricular activities so long as they keep in line with the other eligibility requirements. 

Senator Mann (R-Monroe) commented, "This would help people with special needs, troubled children, or everyday students. I don't see everyone going into this realm, but it would give them an option. It provides flexibility."

Senator Stollings (D-Boone) said, "It mentions K-12 and I'm not sure about the children in Kindergarten through 3rd."

Dr. Ron During, the superintendent of Kanawha County Schools, said, "I feel like we can enhance the accessibility of public education. We can customize schooling to fit families’ lifestyles. This program can help the kids who want to get a modeling portfolio together or study abroad to be a concert pianist, stay enrolled in their home high school while following their dream. This moves education to the future."

When asked about the younger children using the program by Senator Stollings, Dr. During said the program could provide these students who would be homeschooled otherwise with vetted material to make sure the children are being educated properly.

Dr. During also said truancy won't be an issue because there are methods they use to be sure students are online.

"Do we have any idea how much it would cost for students to participate in this program?" asked Senator Romano (D-Harrison).

Dr. During responded they might get more funding because of the homeschooled children who would enroll in the program. He also explained the development of the program has to happen first before they find out how much it may cost.

The bill was laid over until Thursday as another committee had to meet but will be taken up again then.



Tuesday, March 21, 2017 - 04:03 PM

Fire Service Fees Bill Approved in Senate Government Organization

The Senate Government Organization Committee has approved six bills to be reported to the full Senate with the recommendation that they pass.

SB 74 would allow fire departments to charge fees for service calls.

Vivian Parsons, executive director of the West Virginia County Commissioners Association, said she had "a little bit of concern" about 

Senator Douglas Facemire, D-Braxton, proposed an amendment to the bill that would require homeowners insurance policies to cover fire service fees in residential situations. The amendment was rejected.

Jill Rice of the West Virginia Insurance Federation was available to answer questions from members of the committee.

SB 433 would permit counties to increase the excise tax on the privilege of transferring real property.

The fiscal not for the bill shows there would be an increase in County Commission revenues of up to $5.1 million if all fifty-five counties increased their rate. 

Parsons said the West Virginia County Commissioners Association "wholeheartedly" supports passage of the bill.

SB 602 would create a uniform system of recording and indexing of fictitious names used by sole proprietors in this state.

Steve Connolly, deputy Secretary of State, was available to discuss the provisions of the bill with members.

Patty Hamilton of the West Virginia Association of Counties, said the Association approves of the bill.

SB 658 would establish a procedure whereby mobile and manufactured homes may be retitled provided certain conditions are met.

Andy Gallagher, executive director of the West Virginia Housing Institute, said the Institute had no objections to the bill.

Gallagher said all surrounding states already have passed similar bills.

Committee counsel spoke on behalf of the Division of Motor Vehicles to share their concerns toward the "over-burdensome" nature of the bill.

Senator Craig Blair, R-Berkeley, Chair, formed three subcommittees to evaluate Senate Bills 534, 502 and 294.

Senator Corey Palumbo, D-Kanawha, will serve as Chair, and Senators Ed Gaunch, R-Kanawha, and Tom Takubo, R-Kanawha, will serve as members in a subcommittee to look at SB 534, which would create incentives for local governments to consolidate in an effort to save money on local services.

Senator Glenn Jeffries, D-Putnam, will serve as Chair, and Senators Ryan Weld, R-Mercer, and Randy Smith, R-Tucker, will serve as members in a subcommittee to look at SB 502, which would permit the West Virginia National Guard to contract out and hire persons to perform specialized technical services. 

Senator Ronald Miller, D-Greenbrier, will serve as Chair, and Senators Ed Gaunch, R-Kanawha, and Dave Sypolt, R-Preston, will serve as members in a subcommittee to look at SB 294, which would create the Community Sustainability Investment Pilot Program as a matching grant program to foster the development of creative communities in West Virginia.

The committee will meet at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday in 208W, where they will pick up with Senate Bills 408 and 412.



Tuesday, March 21, 2017 - 02:40 PM

Juror Striking Bill Rejected in House Today

Today the House of Delegate met today. Eight bills passed and one bill was rejected.

HB 2402 would create a special procedure for a person in possession of an abandoned antique vehicle to apply for and receive title to the vehicle and to create a procedure for the DMV to search for the owner of the vehicle to provide notice of an application for the title to the vehicle. This bill passed the House on a 98-1 vote. The bill will now be sent to the Senate for more consideration.

HB 2471 would require that on and after January 1, 2018, insurance coverage for breast cancer screening be provided by the Public Employees Insurance Agency, accident and sickness insurance providers, group accident and sickness insurance providers, health care corporations, and health maintenance organizations. The bill passed 96-5 in the House and will now be sent to the Senate for further consideration.

HB 2637 would extend the time a retired teacher could work as a substitute teacher post-retirement limit in areas of critical need and shortage to June 30, 2020. The bill also adds speech pathologists and school nurses under these provisions. The bill passed 99-0 and was sent to the Senate for more consideration.

HB 2738 would provide more flexibility in the employee transfer process. It would remove the April 1 deadline for notifying the employee that he or she is being considered for a transfer. It would require a statement of reason for the transfer. The bill passed 56-43 in the House and will now be sent to the Senate for consideration.

HB 2767 would authorize the Secretary of State to transmit electronic versions of undeliverable mail to the circuit clerks of the state to minimize agency costs and streamline processes for the state. The bill passed 98-0 in the House and will be sent to the Senate.

HB 2797 would clarify that there is statutory immunity for government agencies and officials from actions of third-parties using documents or records of governmental agencies for unlawful acts. The bill passed the House 95-5 and will now be sent to the Senate.

HB 2798 wouldclarify provisions relating to candidates unaffiliated with a political party as it relates to certificates of announcement, preventing potential candidates registered as members of a political party from using the provisions of the section to seek candidacy for office. The bill passed the House 94-4 and will now be sent to the Senate.

HB 3030 would clarify that appeals to the Supreme Court are a matter of right and that every party has an opportunity to be heard. The bill passed the House 96-2 and will now be sent to the Senate.

HB 2828 would have decreased the number of strikes a defendant has in a criminal proceeding from six to four from a panel of potential jurors and increased the number of strikes the prosecution has from two to four. Delegate Sponaugle (D-Pendleton) said it is the people’s right to strike jurors and that it should not be easy to put people in the Penitentiary when he stood in opposition of the bill. The bill was rejected in the House 40-56.

During the Remarks by Members, Delegate Dean (R-Mingo) stood and said he supported our current education standards and that it was time to trust our teachers. There have been countless hours and plenty of money put into the current standards.

Delegate Kessinger (R-Fayette) stood and spoke about how it has been a tough session. She said everyone should be working together “for our state to live within its means.”

Committee Meetings Today

Prevention and Treatment: After caucus in 215E

Health and Human Resources: 15 minutes after Prevention and treatment in 215E

Finance: 3 p.m. in 460M

Gov. Org.: 4 p.m. in 215E

Sub-Committee on 2002: 4:45 p.m. in 410M

Committee Meetings Tomorrow

Finance: 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. in 460M

Sub-Committee on K-12: 9 a.m. in 434M

Judiciary: 9:15 a.m. in 410M

Rules: 10:45 a.m. behind House Chamber

Education: 2 p.m. in 434M

Gov. Org.: 2 p.m. in 215E

The House is adjourned until 11 a.m. tomorrow. 

›› House bills introduced on this date
›› Completed Legislation

Tuesday, March 21, 2017 - 02:24 PM

Senate Energy, Industry and Mining Report Bill Relating to Above Ground Storage Tanks

The Senate Committee on Energy, Industry and Mining met today to discuss one bill, HB 2811.

House Bill 2811 relates to the definition of above ground storage tanks. Tanks of 10,000 gallons or less and not located in the zone of critical concern would be exempt from certain proceedings. The zone of critical concern is 1,000 feet from principle stream. Signage and provisions remain same for those not exempted. Oil tanks in the drilling process still have to follow the current rules as well. 

The bill was reported to the full senate with the recommendation that it pass with no discussion in the committee.

There are two bills in subcommittees but once the scheduling conflicts are resolved, the committee intends on discussing them.



Tuesday, March 21, 2017 - 02:19 PM

Senate Health Approves SB 402

The Senate Health and Human Resources Committee has approved a bill that would generally prohibit covenants from competing between physicians and hospitals.

Senator Tom Takubo, R-Kanawha, Chair, answered questions from the committee about the bill, SB 402.

The bill will be referred to Senate Judiciary once reported to the floor.



Tuesday, March 21, 2017 - 02:06 PM

Senate Completes Legislation on Step Therapy Bill

The Senate has completed legislation on a bill that would regulate the use of step therapy protocols by providing a simple and expeditious process for exceptions to the protocols that the health care provider deems not in the best interests of the patient.

The bill, HB 2300, was originally passed last year by former governor Earl Ray Tomblin but was voided due to technical issues with the bill, which have since been corrected.

The Senate also passed 12 bills to be sent to the House for further consideration.

SB 27 would permit home-based, micro-processing foods to be sold at farmers markets. 

SB 36 would add sales of gasoline, diesel fuel and blended fuel to the list of products exempted from the Unfair Practices Act.

SB 216 would prohibit the exclusion, modification or limitation of any warranty or remedy in the sale of used motor vehicles, specifically pertaining to "as is" motor vehicle sales. This bill will be made effective from passage.

SB 219 would create a criminal offense to hold all participants involved in a conspiracy to violate the drug laws responsible.

SB 341 would establish a West Virginia business growth in low-income communities tax credit.

SB 468 would remove restrictions on where KENO theme lottery games may be played, specifically, games that utilize an electronic computer and video screen to operate a lottery game and communicate the results thereof, such as the game "Travel," and do not utilize an interactive electronic terminal device allowing input by an individual player.

SB 480 would authorize local units of government to adopt local energy efficiency partnership programs and to create districts to promote the use of energy efficiency improvements by owners of certain real property, and provide for the financing of such programs.

SB 547 would generally modify fees to be paid to the Secretary of State.

SB 548 would provide for the specific escheat of United States savings bonds and all rights and legal title thereto and define terms.

SB 564 would modify the West Virginia Independent Living Act and provisions relating to the statewide Independent Living Council to conform to requirements of the federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended.

HB 2447 would rename the Court of Claims the state Claims Commission, among other modifications.

HB 2766 would establish a new special revenue fund to collect and remit moneys to the Adult Drug Court Participation Fee Fund in the state to maintain and administer the state’s adult drug court programs.

Members of the Senate also adopted SR 44 to designate today as Down Syndrome Awareness Day at the Capitol, SR 45 to also designate today as Preston County Day at the Capitol, SR 46 to recognize Leadership Jefferson and SR 47 to celebrate the achievements and contributions of Monongalia County.

Senate Bills 243, 288, 339, 360 and 398 were advanced from second reading.

Of those bills, Senator Ron Stollings, D-Boone, made an amendment to SB 360 to have a dietician added to the diabetes coalition provided in the bill.

Committee Meetings Today

Energy, Industry and Mining: 2 p.m. in 208W

Health and Human Resources: 2 p.m. in 451M

Government Organization: 3 p.m. in 208W

Education: 3 p.m. in 451M

Judiciary: 4 p.m. in 208W

Finance: 4 p.m. in 451M

Transportation and Infrastructure: following adjournment of Senate Finance and Senate Judiciary in 451M

Judiciary: 6-8 p.m. in 208W

Committee Meetings Tomorrow

Government Organization: 8:30 a.m. in 208W

Interstate Cooperation: 10 a.m. in 451M

Workforce: 10 a.m. in 208W

Agriculture and Rural Development: 2 p.m. in 208W

Judiciary: 3 p.m. in 208W

Finance: 3 p.m. in 451M

Tax Reform: 5:30 p.m. in 451M

The Senate is adjourned until 11 a.m. tomorrow.

›› Senate bills introduced on this date
›› Completed Legislation

Tuesday, March 21, 2017 - 10:59 AM

Bill Removing Financial Limitations on DOH Projects Approved in Senate Transportation

The Senate Transportation and Infrastructure Committee has approved a bill that would remove the financial limitations on how many design build projects may be undertaken by the Division of Highways.

The bill, SB 417, was created as part of Governor Jim Justice's infrastructure plans.

Currently, no more than $50 million a year up to an aggregate of $150 million may be expended for design build projects.

Mike Clowser, executive director of the Contractors Association of West Virginia, spoke in favor of the bill's passage.

Tom Smith, secretary of the West Virginia Department of Transportation, was available to answer questions from committee members.

Michael Haid, executive director of the West Virginia Society of Professional Engineers, said the current road system has failed and "is getting worse," and the bill would help to fix that.

The bill contains a second reference to Senate Finance once reported to the floor.

The committee is recessed until 10 minutes after Senate Finance and Senate Judiciary adjourn this evening.

 



Tuesday, March 21, 2017 - 10:59 AM

House Judiciary Approves There C.S.I. Bills in Morning Meeting

House Judiciary met this morning. 

HB 3022 would require the reporting of fraud and misappropriation of funds to the Legislature’s Commission on Special Investigations. The Commission on Special Investigations (CSI) is a year round committee that looks into allegations of fraud. Often times when an employee commits fraud the company or business will quietly let them go, this bill would require the report of the employee’s fraud. The bill will be reported to the floor with recommendation that it do pass.

SB 247 would authorize a prosecuting attorney to designate and deliver grand jury records to law-enforcement officers or investigators for investigative purposes. The bill will be reported to the floor with recommendation that it do pass.

SB 248 would clarify the composition and chairmanship of the Commission of Special Investigations. It is chaired by the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House. The members consist of four delegates and four senators, with no more than two from the same party from each legislative body. The bill will be reported to the floor with the recommendation that it do pass.

HB 2948 would require certain state agencies to take final action on certain completed permit applications within thirty days if uncontested, or ninety days if contested, unless other timelines exist. Agencies include agriculture, traffic regulations, natural resources, labor, commercial motor carriers, trade, fire prevention, and volunteers for non-profit youth organizations. Public health was amended out of the bill by Delegate Fleischhauer (D-Monogalia). The bill will be reported to the floor with recommendation that it do pass. 



Tuesday, March 21, 2017 - 10:39 AM

House Finance Reports Race Track Modernization Fund Elimination Bill

An Originating House Bill was taken up today by the House Committee on Finance.

The Originating House Bill would take the four percent of taxes that are generated from race tracks and casinos up until $17.5 million and make it so that it no longer goes into a Modernization Fund for the race tracks and casinos.

The race track and casino Modernization Fund provides funds so the tracks are able to upgrade their machines to compete with the other states' tracks and casinos. However, the limited Video Lottery retailers, where most of these funds are originating, are only taxed at about 52 percent.

A representative from the race tracks said the fund has helped them keep that level up on the competition. Also the majority of the funds go to upgrading the machines. He also said 80 to 90 percent of players are from out of state and the modernization fund will help to keep the tracks competitive with the out of state ones. 

Delegate Gearheart (R-Mercer) asked, "Are there any other industries that get tax dollars to stay competitive?"

Council said there weren't any.

Delegate Longstreth (D-Marion) asked, "Where are the employees coming from?"

Council said that the employees are primarily from West Virginia.

The bill was moved to be amended by Delegate Rowe (D-Kanawha) to direct the first $2 mill to go to the Library Commission that would be directed to general revenue. The amendment was rejected after encouragement to run the amendment as a separate bill.

The House Bill Originating was reported to the floor with the recommendation that it do pass with a close vote of 14 yeas and 11 nays. 



Tuesday, March 21, 2017 - 08:23 AM

Senate Judiciary Lays Over Election Financing Reform Bill

The Senate Judiciary Committe has approved two bills to be reported to the floor with the recommendation that they pass.

SB 76 would create the West Virginia Second Chance for Employment Act, which would expand eligibility for criminal expungement to persons convicted of certain nonviolent felonies in order to help them obtain better employment opportunities.

The bill was previously reported out of Senate Economic Development with the recommendation that it do pass.

Senator Ryan Weld, R-Brooke, amended the bill to exempt those convicted of soliciting a minor for sexual acts and those convicted of conspiracy in murder, as well as another to disclose certain related expenditures.

Several members voiced their support for the bill's passage in both the Senate and the House.

SB 538 would allow the Board of Parole to require parolees to engage in alcohol or antagonist drug opioid therapy as a special condition of parole when recommended by the Commissioner of Corrections.

Stacy Norwicki-Eldridge of the Division of Corrections said the division approved of the bill. She also answered questions for members of the committee related to how the division would carry out the provisions of the bill.

A third bill, SB 539 ,would make significant revisions to the law regulating election financing by modifying provisions relating to receipts and expenditures in elections, electioneering communications, reporting requirements and financial statements, among other modifications. After long discussion, the bill was held over for a future meeting.  



Monday, March 20, 2017 - 04:10 PM

Parental Notification Bill sent to Sub-Committee

House Bill 2002 was discussed today in a public hearing. People from around the state addressed the committee with their personal stories, opinions, and facts about parental notification in regards to a minor seeking abortion.

Those who supported HB 2002 believe that stronger notification laws would help communications between minor and parent, help discover cases of sexual assault and abuse, and protect young women.

Those who oppose HB 2002 believe that the current law is strong enough and any stronger law is unnecessary. They believe that if passed, this bill would put young women at risk of getting “backdoor” abortions, an illegal and unsafe abortion which could lead to complications or death for the young woman. They also pointed out that only four minors had notification waivers in 2015 and 92 percent of West Virginia teens notify themselves about having abortions.

HB 2002 would strength laws requiring parental notification of abortions on minors, who are not emancipated. The bill was referred to a subcommittee.

HB 2850 would limit the product liability action against the seller to the manufacturer of the product. This is to protect the “mom and pop” shops from being liable for product issues and holds the manufacturer accountable for the issue. This would include car dealers; the car manufacturer would be held accountable, but a dealer may not be. Committee Substitute was approved and will be reported to the full house.

HB 2966 would create the West Virginia Sentencing Commission. The members would serve without compensation. The members would consist of: two delegates appointed by the Speaker of the House, two senators appointed by the President of the Senate, five current or retired circuit judges, magistrates, or municipal judges appointed by the Governor, two West Virginia citizens appointed by the Governor, the Chief Justice of the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals, one county prosecutor and one public defender appointed by the Governor.

Delegate Byrd (D-Kanawha) amended the bill to focus on drug recovery as well as sentencing due to the addiction problem in the state. Delegate Fleischauer (D-Monongalia) amended the bill to state the attorneys would be selected by the President of the West Virginia Bar Association. Delegate Pushkin (D-Kanawha) amended the bill to state that the West Virginia Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors President would appoint two members to serve on the commission. All amendments were adopted. The bill was approved and will be reported to the floor.

HB 2520 would prohibit minors (those under the age of 18) from using tanning devices. The bill was approved by the committee and will be reported to the full House.

HB 2679 would permit the carrying of a concealed, uncased firearm within state parks and park facilities for self-defense; county park commissions cannot prohibit it in state parks. This does not apply to recreational areas of the park. For example, you cannot have the firearm in the pool area, but you can have it in the park area. The bill will be reported to the full house with the recommendation that it do pass.

HB 3018 would add correctional employees to the list of persons against whom an assault is a felony. The bill also states that an incarcerated person commits a crime against a correctional employee will serve consecutive sentences. The bill will be reported to the floor with recommendation that it do pass. 



Monday, March 20, 2017 - 04:07 PM

House Finance Committee Reports Five Bills To Pass on the House Floor

The House Finance Committee met today and reported five bills to the House floor.

House Bill 2734 would authorize a method for the collection and remittance of property taxes related to dealers' heavy equipment inventory. The bill was reported to the floor with the recommendation that it pass.

House Bill 2709 would authorize the City of South Charleston to levy a special district excise tax. The bill was reported to the floor with the recommendation that it pass.

House Bill 2805 would find and declare certain claims against the state and its agencies to be moral obligations of the state. Most of the claims have been against the division of highways regarding potholes. The bill was reported to the floor of the House with the recommendation that it pass.

Delegate Rowe (D-Kanawha) said this is a well-run agency and he supports the bill.

House Bill 2871 would eliminate the mandated employer versus employee cost share of eighty percent employer, twenty percent employee for Public Employee Insurance Agency.

Ted Chitum, said the board can't change this without the approval of the legislature and if they don't change it, they have to lower employee benefits. This will especially help the board when they aren't fully funded as it is a purely optional provision instead of the current mandated one. 

The bill was reported to the floor with the recommendation that it pass.

House Bill 2366 relates to selling the Jackie Withrow Hospital. The bill was amended and was reported to the floor with the recommendation that it pass.



Monday, March 20, 2017 - 03:12 PM

Senate Banking Approves Bill Related to Affordable Prescription Alternatives

The Senate Banking and Insurance Committee has approved three bills to be reported to the floor with the recommendation that they pass.

SB 507 would allow pharmacists to inform customers about lower cost alternatives to prescribed drugs.

Currently, patients can still opt for generic or cheaper alternatives, but there is no law in place with a provision that would protect pharmacists' capability to suggest those alternatives.

Richard Stevens, executive director of the West Virginia Pharmacists Association, said some pharmacists are prohibited by certain PBM contracts from disclosing more affordable product options.

Stevens said most pharmacists in the state have told him they support the bill's passage.

HB 2619 would adopt the National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ Risk Management and Own Risk Solvency Assessment Model Act for implementation by West Virginia insurers so that they are better equipped to assess their financial condition and remain solvent.

SB 601 would adjust limits on consumer loans in West Virginia for which certain finance charges may be imposed.

All three bills will be referred to Senate Judiciary once reported to the full Senate.



Monday, March 20, 2017 - 12:50 PM

Bill Authorizing Emergency Personnel to Carry Firearms Passed in House

Today in the House of Delegates four bills were passed and nine bills were on 2nd reading.

SB 302 is a supplemental appropriation and it would supplement, amend, and increase appropriation for the Division of Human Service in the Department of Health and Human Resources for the designated spending unit for expenditure during the fiscal year 2017.

HB 2833 would describe specific categories of information that must be included in the annual report of each professional licensing authority established in Chapter 30 of the West Virginia Code.

HB 2898 would authorize the Joint Committee on Government and Finance to request and obtain criminal background information about prospective employees of the Legislature.

HB 2916 would authorize supervising entities to authorize reserve deputies, ambulance crew members, firefighters, rescue squad members and emergency service personnel to carry firearms. It specifies the training required for them to be eligible to carry a firearm and allows them to be reimbursed for the cost of the training.

Bills on second reading include: HB 2402, HB 2471, HB 2637, HB 2738, HB 2767, HB 2797, HB 2798, HB 2828, and HB 3030.

Remarks by members was full of commentary from members.

Delegate Espinosa (R-Jefferson) compared the “dark days” the Legislature is seeing to WVU basketball in 2012-2013. He spoke about how they were victorious this season and if the legislature makes plans to fix the problems and carries them out, they too can be victorious.

Delegate Marcum (D-Mingo) stood to comment on the lack of jobs bills coming through the legislature. He said unemployment is still declining in the state. He stated that his King Coal Highway bill would create jobs. He said the bill “would set a path for Southern West Virginia to prosperity.”

Delegate Hamrick (R-Harrison) stood to point out West Virginia has 13 four-year institutions, a large number in comparison to the state’s population. He states that Virginia only has eight four-year institutions and California only has two four-year institutions, with multiple campuses. He said it’s something no one wants to think about, but the state might want to look into downsizing in the future.

Committee Meetings Today

Judiciary: 12:45 p.m. in 410M

Finance: 2 p.m. in 460M

Education: 2:30 p.m. in 434M

Gov. Org.: 3 p.m. in 215E

Committee Meetings Tomorrow

Judiciary Sub-Committee on 2930: 8 a.m. in 410M

Judiciary: 9 a.m. in 410M

Rules: 10:45 a.m. behind House Chamber

Health and Human Resources: 2 p.m. in 215E

Judiciary Sub-Committee on 2986: 4 p.m. in 410M

The House is adjourned until 11 a.m. tomorrow.

›› House bills introduced on this date
›› Completed Legislation

Monday, March 20, 2017 - 12:38 PM

Bill Allowing Distilleries to Offer Liquor on Sundays Passes in Senate

The Senate has passed two bills that will be sent to the House for further consideration.

SB 290 would allow distillery or mini-distillery operators to offer liquor for purchase and consumption on the premises on Sundays beginning at 1 p.m.

SB 608 would clarify that lawful businesses or business structures operating in this state are unaffected by enactment of prohibitory legislation absent express language in the enactment prohibiting the continued operation of the business or use of a business structure.

Members of the Senate also adopted SR 42 to designate today as International Pageant Day at the Capitol, and SR 43 to recognize Homer Hickam.

Senate Bills 670-684 were introduced. 

Senate Bills 27, 36, 216, 219, 341, 468, 480, 547548 and 564 and House Bills 2300, 2447 and 2766 were advanced from second reading.

Of those bills, amendments were made to House Bills 2447 and 2766. Senator Charles Trump, R-Morgan, proposed a strike-and-insert amendment to make various changes to HB 2447 on behalf of the Judiciary Committee. Senator Mike Hall, R-Putnam, amended HB 2766 to strike out a single word in the bill.

Senator Corey Palumbo, D-Kanawha, proposed an amendment to SB 216 that would limit the amount of cars being sold without a warranty to only 25 percent of the dealership's inventory. Palumbo said the bill would ensure citizens still have plenty of access to safer cars with warranties, but those in opposition felt that the restriction would be unnecessary and too difficult to monitor or enforce regardless. The amendment was rejected.

Committee Meetings Today

Banking and Insurance: 2 p.m. in 451M

Judiciary: 3 p.m. in 208W

Finance: 3 p.m. in 451M

Committee Meetings Tomorrow

Energy, Industry and Mining: 1 p.m. in 208W

Health and Human Resources: 1 p.m. in 451M

Government Organization: 2 p.m. in 208W

Education: 2 p.m. in 451M

Judiciary: 3 p.m. in 208W

Finance: 3 p.m. in 451M

Committee Meetings Wednesday

Agriculture and Rural Development: 2 p.m. in 208W

The Senate is adjourned until 11 a.m. tomorrow.

›› Senate bills introduced on this date
›› Completed Legislation

Monday, March 20, 2017 - 10:53 AM

Subcommittee on SB 335 Refers the Bill Back to the Committee on Finance

The subcommittee on Senate Bill 335, a bill that would create the 2017 Tax Reform Act, met today to discuss the proposed legislation.

Mr. Carl, a special advisor to the Select Committee on Tax Reform, spoke to the committee.

Encouraged by Senator Gaunch (R-Kanawha) to give the highlights, Mr. Carl said the six percent sales tax would be repealed and be replaced with an eight percent consumption tax. Groceries would be taxable under this bill but wouldn't start until January 1st 2018. Construction services would only be taxable for the first $10,000. Existing exemptions that would be continued, are realtor commission, tuition, advertising, data processing, licensed daycare services, aircraft repair services, exempts charities, yard sales, textbook sales and more. Any excess money gained would go into the rainy day fund. And in the future half of the excess money would go into the rainy day fund. There are also Exemptions for all social security income from personal income tax and limit tax of military pay until the tax is phased out completely. The tax rates on the sale of beer, tobacco, and liquor would be increased along with e-cigarette products. 

Senator Palumbo (D-Kanawha) said, "My concern is that this bill will shift the tax burden from higher income people to lower income people. Do we have any data that will show how this will affect them?"

Mr. Carl responded, that they didn't have data in any formal way. However, he said regressiveness is only a concern when one is talking about putting a burden on those who can't get their essential needs. The regressiveness of the bill will be mitigated by tax credits for lower income working class and retired folks to be sure they can get those.

Senator Plymale (D-Wayne), wanted to know what services will be taxed.

Mr. Carl said, "It would be easier to tell you which ones won't be taxed."

Senator Plymale said, "Coming from a border area, I have grave concerns. We have the Huntington Mall in Barboursville and we get a lot of people from Kentucky and Ohio who shop there. With this, have you looked at how these types of areas would be affected?"

Mr. Carl reassured the committee that convenience is a huge force for shoppers and if people are willing to travel all that way to shop, then they will most likely continue to do so despite the two percent increase in sales tax.

The bill was amended to change the decrease on coal severance tax from five percent to two percent from a two-year decrease to three-year increase.

Senator Palumbo stated his concern on the shift of the burden on the lower income households.

Senator Plymale said the bill is a far cry better than the introduced version. The exemptions are much better now but he shares the same concerns

Senator Blair (R-Berkeley) said he shares concerns but the bill is one of the most flexible pieces of legislation. If this passes or not, he is encouraged about the attitude of the legislators regarding the bill.

Senator Boso (R-Nicholas) said, "I recognize that there are issues that are legitimate but I am a man o faith. The legislation is still very flexible so that if we find something wrong with it down the road, we can tweak it a bit. We need to continue to look at it as it certainly isn't perfect, but it is a step in the right direction and I encourage that we pass this on."

The bill was referred to the Committee on Finance with the recommendation that it pass.



Monday, March 20, 2017 - 09:31 AM

Senate Tax Reform Considers FASTR Amendment to Constitution

The Senate Select Committee on Tax Reform is considering a joint resolution that would enact a Fair and Simple Tax Reform (or FASTR) amendment to the state constitution.

The resolution, SJR 8, would enact measures such as repealing the personal property tax, providing limitations on the personal income tax, creating a state infrastructure and equalization fund, providing for block grants to local schools and governments for education and infrastructure and establishing several tax exemptions.

Two-thirds of the members of each house would have to approve the resolution for the constitution to be amended.

Chairman of the committee, Senator Robert Karnes, R-Upshur, said he had not intended for the resolution to be approved in the meeting and only wished to hear discussion on the bill first.

Since no members of the minority party were present at the meeting, Senator Craig Blair, R-Berkeley, Vice Chair, moved that the meeting adjourn to give minority members a chance to contribute to the discussion.

 



Saturday, March 18, 2017 - 02:16 PM

Resolution to Eliminate County Surveyors Originated in Senate Judiciary

The Senate Judiciary Committee has approved four bills to be reported to the floor with the recommendation that they pass.

SB 298 would allow a constitutional officer to waive his or her salary for any calendar year.

Director of Legislative Affairs Joseph Garcia said on behalf of Governor Jim Justice that the governor has no problem with the changes made in the committee substitute for the bill.

SB 628 would provide funding for the Statewide Interoperable Radio Network through additional court costs to be imposed in criminal cases.

Senator Patricia Rucker, R-Jefferson, said the bill would help to keep the network up to standard in case of an emergency where different emergency services would need to efficiently communicate with each other.

SB 572 would require that elections for county surveyors be conducted on a nonpartisan basis and makes provisions for the appointment and election of a new county surveyor if the office is vacated.

Prior to passing the bill, the committee originated a resolution to amend the constitution and eliminate the office of county surveyor, since the office currently has no duties and no salaries.

SB 521 would authorize Public Defender Services to approve vouchers of attorneys who represent indigent criminal defendants, create conflict public defender corporations, contract for legal services and require contemporaneous time records.

The committee also heard presentations on, SB 576, which would provide an exception to waste for certain oil and gas development and encourage the efficient and economic development of oil and gas resources by providing that a lawful use of mineral property that has been consented to by two thirds of the mineral interest owners is permissible, is not waste, and is not a trespass.

Alvin Engelke, a citizen of Wert County, voiced his opposition to the bill and said he would be forced to allow gas companies to take gas from wells on his personal property without providing him any payment for them.

Anne Blankenship, executive director of the West Virginia Oil and Natural Gas Association, said the industry needs the bill to create jobs and allow business investments to more easily enter the state.

Blankenship said West Virginia's current provisions put the state at a "competitive disadvantage" in comparison to other states with a major energy industry.

Local lawyer Scott Windom said the companies are cheating property owners out of revenues from "forced pooling" because of "corporate greed" that takes away property owners' rights.

Jessica Blake Brisendine, legal counsel for EQT Corporation, said the co-tenancy and joint development bill would increase employment and employee salaries in the state at a time where the state needs those jobs and developments most.

"This is a step in the right direction for West Virginia," Brisendine said.

The committee previously heard from three presenters Friday who all spoke against the bill.

All bills except for SB 572 and SB 576 will be referred to Senate Finance once reported out of committee.



Saturday, March 18, 2017 - 11:46 AM

Mandatory Immunizations Exemptions Bill Further Discussed in Senate Education

The Senate Education Committee has put a bill on layover that would provide exemptions from mandatory immunizations for children, students and employees.

The bill, SB 537, would bring West Virginia in line with the 47 other states in the country that allow religious exemptions for vaccinations.

The committee heard from two medical professionals who support passage of the bill.

Dr. Alvin Moss of the WVU Center of Health Ethics and Law said many of the immunizations required for children entering into school contain ingredients that have "worrisome toxic effects" that have shown themselves through negative reactions or injuries due to certain immunizations.

Leading anti-vaccine activist Dr. Suzanne Humphreys said vaccines moreover cause a "false sense of security" for reaping the benefits they are suggested to provide, especially herd immunity.

Humphreys said doctors too often remain naive about the health dangers that mandated vaccines risk potentiating. 

"There is a vast oversimplification among medical professionals about the effects of these vaccinations," Humphreys said.

Both speakers answered several questions from members of the committee following their presentations.

The bill will be referred to Senate Health and Human Resources once reported to the floor.



Saturday, March 18, 2017 - 10:36 AM

Senate Passes Bill Prohibiting Common Core Standards

The Senate has passed nine bills to be sent to the House for further consideration.

SB 16 would repeal a section of the code that provides a tax credit for wind power projects.

SB 308 would define legislatively that the administrative and law enforcement activities of the natural resources police officers of the Division of Natural Resources are directly related to the conservation and management of the state’s fish and wildlife.

SB 500 would add language to the West Virginia Code providing clarity in the representation of cases relating to Medicaid fraud and abuse, as well as continue the fraud control unit in the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit of the Attorney General’s office after July 1, 2017.

SB 524 would prohibit implementation of Common Core academic standards and require adoption and implementation of certain other academic standards for a minimum of five school years after date of implementation.

SB 554 would create the crime of false swearing in a legislative proceeding and penalties for violators.

SB 559 would permit limited video lottery retailers with more than one location to sell one or more of their operations to another person.

SB 581 would make technical corrections to the Uniform Trust Code.

SB 620 would increase penalties for vehicles driving slow in the passing lane or for overtaking a vehicle or turning or making a lane change without giving a signal and clarify that signaling is required when changing lanes.

HB 2028 would allow a pro se plaintiff or petitioner to file a claim or petition against the state, a state officer or state agency in the circuit court of a county in which the plaintiff or petitioner resides or in which a claim arose, instead of only allowing such claims to be heard at the Kanawha County Circuit Court.

Another bill up for passage, SB 443, was recommitted to Senate Finance for more review.

Senate Bills 649-669 were introduced. 

Senate Bills 290 and 608 were advanced from second reading.

Committee Meetings Today

Government Organization: 10:15 a.m. in 208W

Education: 10:15 a.m. in 451M

Judiciary: 11 a.m. in 208W

Finance: 11 a.m. in 451M

Transportation and Infrastructure: 12 p.m. (or after adjournment of Finance and Judiciary) in 451M

Committee Meetings Monday

Tax Reform: 9 a.m. in 451M

Banking and Insurance: 2 p.m. in 451M

The Senate is adjourned until 11 a.m. Monday, March 20.

›› Senate bills introduced on this date
›› Completed Legislation

Friday, March 17, 2017 - 04:44 PM

Senate Judiciary Approves Sexual Assault Survivors' Bill of Rights

The Senate Judiciary Committee has approved four bills to be reported to the floor with the recommendation that they pass.

SB 288 would double the penalties for child abuse offenses.

Senate President Mitch Carmichael spoke in support of the bill and told the story of the "heinous crime" of sexual abuse committed against former 10-month-old Emmaleigh Barringer, for whom the bill is dedicated and named after.

SB 243 would repeal statutory language authorizing a minor over age of fourteen years to nominate a guardian.

Kenneth Ballard, president of the West Virginia Family Court Association, said the association does not take a position on the bill, since it is more of a policy issue best left to the committee.

Lisa Tackett of the West Virginia Supreme Court was available to answer questions from the committee about family court services.

Local lawyer David McMahon spoke against one provision of the bill related to the factor of caretaking in determining custody.

McMahon said how much a guardian provides care to a child both before and after separation with a spouse should be the primary factor looked at before determining others, as it is in current law, rather than just as an equal factor with others as it is presented in the bill.

Orgininating Bill 4 would correct a technical issue in a Code section related to the State Police.

Captain Reginald Patterson of the West Virginia State Police was present to briefly explain the bill's provisions.

SB 69 would create the Sexual Assault Survivors’ Bill of Rights.

The bill would give victims more control over what happens with sexual assault evidence collection kits and ensures that they will actually be tested, rather than just stored.

Senator Patricia Rucker, R-Jefferson, made an amendment that would require restricted deliveries of certified mail notifications related to the progress of the tests and would also make provisions for if the mail is left unclaimed.

Senator Ronald Miller, D-Greenbrier, asked the Chair that the bill's second reference to Senate Finance be requested to be removed, since the fiscal note shows no additional cost to the state for the bill's enaction. His request was accepted.

The committee also looked over another bill that was only up for discussion today and will be decided upon in a future meeting.

The bill on layover, SB 576, would provide an exception to waste for certain oil and gas development and encourage the efficient and economic development of oil and gas resources by providing that a lawful use of mineral property that has been consented to by two thirds of the mineral interest owners is permissible, is not waste, and is not a trespass.



Friday, March 17, 2017 - 04:34 PM

Senate Finance Reports Bill to Transfer Division of Forestry to Dept. of Agriculture

The Senate Committee on Finance reported SB 183 today.

Senate Bill 183 would transfer the Division of Forestry from Department of Commerce to the Department of Agriculture. 

"What other state agencies do we have that aren't protected by civil service?" asked Senator Facemire (D-Braxton). Council responded that there are so it isn't out of the ordinary.

A representative of the Department of Agriculture was there to explain the fiscal note saying that the fiscal note would be the same if the bill were put into law or not as it is the cost of the operation of the service.

Senator Ferns (R-Ohio) asked if the Department of Agriculture was behind the bill. The Department of Agriculture is in favor of the bill because they believe that they can make the Division of Forestry even more effective as a program and to bring economic development to the state.

Senator Prezioso (D-Marion) asked if there would be a problem in enforcement once the transfer is complete. The representative explained that it wouldn't be an issue as they already have enforcement powers themselves.

A representative of the Governor's office explained that the Governor is against this legislation because he believes that the Division of Forestry should stay under commerce. 

Randy Din, the current director of the Division of Forestry, said, "It is thrilling to be wanted. I am also excited about the Governor's enthusiasm for forestry. The Commissioner of the Department of Agriculture has that same enthusiasm. Our employees though, value working under civil service. We of the Division of Forestry have been through a lot this past year, and we need some stability. Let us stabilize, we've been through a lot."

A employee of the Division of Forestry said his main concern, if he were to no longer work under civil service, was wondering what would happen if there were a complaint against them. The division of forestry has the authority to go on property to stop fires and carry out some of their other duties and sometimes complications could ensue. He said he wanted to be sure that he would be protected because he was just doing his job. The division is technically law enforcement and there aren't any other enforcement agencies that are will and pleasure employees.

The bill was reported to the full Senate with the recommendation that it pass.

The committee is now in recess until tomorrow.



Friday, March 17, 2017 - 03:10 PM

Bill to Remove DOH Project Financing Limit Approved in Senate Transportation

The Senate Transportation and Infrastructure Committee has approved two bills to be reported to the full Senate with the recommendation that they pass.

SB 414 would create the Division of Multimodal Transportation under the Secretary of Transportation and combine the employees, equipment, assets, liabilities and duties previously executed by the Public Port Authority, the state Aeronautics Commission and the West Virginia State Rail Authority.

The fiscal note shows the bill would save the state $2,250 annually.

The bill will be referred to Senate Government Organization once reported.

SB 482 would grant authority to the Parkways Authority to issue revenue bonds and refunding bonds for the purpose of financing parkway projects within the state.

Gregory Barr, general manager for the West Virginia Parkways Authority, spoke in support of the bill's passage and answered questions from members.

Bond counsel for the Authority, Brian Helmick explained more about toll road responsibilities related to the bill.

Senator Patricia Rucker, R-Jefferson, made an amendment to the bill to increase the transparency of the discussion topics or actions of the Parkway Authority to the public at least 20 days before meetings.

The bill contains a second reference to Senate Finance once reported.

The committee will meet tomorrow at 1 p.m. in 451M.



Friday, March 17, 2017 - 02:49 PM

The House Passes Bill Regarding Employer Property and Ten Others

The House of Delegates passed 11 bills today on to the Senate.

House Bill 2546 would allow the replacement costs of employer provided property to be deducted from an employee's final paycheck if the property is not returned.

Delegate Shott (R-Mercer) said that the bill puts in to place that an agreement would have to be made between the employer and the employee for the bill to take affect and that this puts forth a process for the receiving of the replacement cost.

Delegate Caputo (D-Marion) asked that if under the current law, if the only way to get that property back would be to sue. Delegate Shott confirmed that was the case.

Delegate Caputo was worried about the burden on the employee of having to replace the equipment. Delegate Shott assured him that it doesn't require someone to replace the equipment, just give it back.

Deleaget G. Foster (R-Putnam), the lead sponsor of the bill, said, "There are 25 states that allow this. All the bill asks is or the property back."

After 45 minutes of discussion, the bill passed 59-40.

House Bill 2555relates to tax credits for apprenticeship training in construction trades.

Delegate G. Foster said, "This encourages apprenticeship in our state and will result in higher quality employees."

The bill passed with a vote of 69-30.

House Bill 2586relates to required minimum distribution of retirement benefits of plans administered by the Consolidated Public Retirement Board.

House Bill 2676 would transfer the security office under the Division of Culture and History to the Division of Protective Services.

House Bill 2694relates to the development and implementation of a program to facilitate commercial sponsorship of rest areas. The contracts would be negotiated by the Department of Highways.

Delegate Boggs (D-Braxton) asked the chair of the Committee on Finance, Delegate Nelson (R-Kanawha), if the money gained would be distributed all across the state and found that it would be.

House Bill 2739relates to supplemental Medicaid provider reimbursement.

House Bill 2766 would establish a new special revenue fund designated the Adult Drug Court Participation Fund. There is no fiscal note on the bill as it would just be a designation of certain funds.

House Bill 2811relates to the definition of above ground storage tanks. 

Delegate Hanshaw (R-Clay) said, "This doesn't change the law, only changes the definition regarding tanks in zones not of critical importance."

Delegate Fleischauer (D-Monongalia) said, "This bill will make it so small tanks are no longer considered as tanks to be registered. The industry isn't worried about the registration of the tanks but rather the upkeep, maintenance, and safety inspections of these tanks. In committee the bill was amended to help protect drinking water and therefore it is a good compromise."

House Bill 2839 would update the procedures for legislative review of departments and licensing boards.

House Bill 2852relates to the preparation of a comprehensive annual financial report.

House Bill 2868 would relate generally to the Uniform Unclaimed Property Act.

On second reading were SB 302, HB 2833, HB 2898, and HB 2916. Delegate Hanshaw had a technical amendment for HB 2916.

Twelve bills were on first reading today.

Delegate A. Evans served as the House Speaker during introduction of guests.

The following committees meet today:

Finance at 2:30 p.m. in 434M.

Judiciary at 3 p.m. in 410M. 

Education at 2:30 p.m. in 434M.

Government Organization at 2:30 p.m. in 215E.

Roads and Transportation at 2:00 p.m. in 215E.

Political Subdivisions at 4 p.m. in 434M.

The following committees meet Monday:

Judiciary at 9:30 a.m. in 410M.

Public Hearing on House Bill 2002 at 8:30 a.m. in the House Chamber.

 

The House of Delegates is adjourned until Monday at 11 a.m.



Friday, March 17, 2017 - 01:57 PM

Senate Completes Legislation on Human Trafficking Bill

The Senate has completed legislation on three bills that will now be sent to the governor for enaction.

SB 330 would provide technical corrections to the definitions of the West Virginia Workplace Freedom Act and repeal provisions relating to the statutory construction of the act.

HB 2318 would generally strengthen and establish criminal offenses relating to human trafficking.

HB 2678 would change the amounts of prejudgment and post-judgment interest in trials to reflect today's economic conditions.

The Senate has also passed three bills to be sent to the House for further consideration.

SB 255 would reform the procedures for the appointment of county officials in the event of a vacancy by requiring that the appointee be of the former official's party affiliation upon resignation.

SB 444 would establish a new special revenue fund to collect and remit moneys to the Court Advanced Technology Subscription Fund in the State Treasury for the use of certain advanced technology provided by the judiciary.

SB 522 would define audit procedures between pharmacy benefits managers and pharmacies.

Members of the Senate also adopted SR 40 to designate today as Corrections Day at the Capitol and SR 41 to recognize Pineville Middle School's Pineville Giving Tree project.

Senate Bills 631-648 were introduced. 

Senate Bills 16, 308, 443, 500, 524, 554, 559, 581 and 620 and House Bill 2028 were advanced from second reading.

Of those bills, amendments were proposed and rejected for Senate Bills 16 and 500.

Senator Robert Karnes, R-Upshur, made an amendment to SB 524 would change the effective date of the bill and allow educators more flexibility in being involved with how the bill is carried out.

An amendment proposed for HB 2028 by Senator Charles Trump, R-Morgan, on behalf of the Judiciary Committee was passed to allow claims against the state to be heard in circuit courts of any county, instead of the bill's provision to only hear claims at the Kanawha County Circuit Court.

Committee Meetings Today

Transportation and Infrastructure: 2 p.m. in 451M

Judiciary: 3 p.m. in 208W

Finance: 3 p.m. in 451M

Committee Meetings Tomorrow

Government Organization: 11 a.m. (or 30 minutes after session adjourns) in 208W

Education: 11 a.m. (or 30 minutes after session adjourns) in 451M

Transportation and Infrastructure: 1 p.m. in 451M

Finance: 2 p.m. (subject to change) in 451M

Committee Meetings Monday

Tax Reform: 9 a.m. in 451M

Banking and Insurance: 2 p.m. in 451M

The Senate is adjourned until 9 a.m. tomorrow.

›› Senate bills introduced on this date
›› Completed Legislation

Friday, March 17, 2017 - 10:49 AM

House Committee on Government Organization Discusses Alcohol Beverage Control Bill

The House Committee on Government Organization met today to discuss two bills.

House Bill 3013 would require an inspection or inspections of any building prior to purchase or major renovation by the state.

Delegate Hamrick (R-Harrison) moved to amend the bill by ensuring that the new buildings would receive adequate parking for the employees inside. Delegate Caputo (D-Marion) confirmed that there is a standard for the word adequate in the amendment.

The bill was referred to the Committee on Finance with the recommendation that it pass.

House Bill 2820 would abolish the Alcohol Beverage Control Commission and would give its duties and powers to the state lottery commission. There was a strike and insert amendment that would give some more specifications to the bill. The ABC is already operating in the state lottery commission building.

Delegate Marcum (D-Mingo) asked about how the state lottery commission could enforce the laws that the ABC currently does. Council confirmed that the powers of the ABC would also transfer to the lottery commission.

Council also explained the state lottery commission will most likely hire many of the old ABC workers however the bill does not specify that.

One of the differences currently in the bill and how things are done now is the lottery commission has hours of operation where ABC does not.

The bill would also eliminate the liquor ware house that the ABC currently controls. This would turn over the distribution of liquor to join beer and wine in the private sector. 

HB 2519 requires the Department of Health and Human Resources to enter into a compact to ensure payment for health care services provided to other states’ Medicaid participants.

The bill was approved by the committee and will be reported to the floor.

HB 3000 creates a State Ombudsman, to investigate complaints against a state agency or spending unit of this state. It authorizes a toll free hot line for complaints, allows investigations and referrals, requires annual reports and includes penalties for obstruction.

The bill was passed by the committee, but will be reported to the floor with the recommendation that it do pass, but first be referred to the Committee on Judiciary.

Originating bill relating to transferring administration of the West Virginia Traumatic Brain and Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation Fund to the Department of Health and Human Resources.

It will be reported to the floor, with the recommendation that it do pass, but first be referred to the Committee on Finance. 



Thursday, March 16, 2017 - 05:45 PM

Bill to Permit "As Is" Car Sales Approved in Senate Judiciary

The Senate Judiciary Committee has approved two bills to be reported to the full Senate with the recommendation that they pass.

SB 548 would provide for the specific escheat of nearly $18 billion in United States savings bonds.

Local lawyer Philip Reale was available to explain the escheatment situation to the committee and answer questions from members.

SB 216 would prohibit the exclusion, modification or limitation of any warranty or remedy in the sale of used motor vehicles, specifically pertaining to the "as is" sale of motor vehicles.

Local lawyer David McMahon spoke against the bill and said "as is" sales trap low income individuals into buying unreliable and, sometimes, dangerous cars.

McMahon said he has been lobbying against such bills since 1987 to protect low income families who can't afford to pay to fix defective "as is" cars that are specifically marketed to them.

Ruth Lemmon, president of the West Virginia Automobile and Truck Dealers Association, advocated for passage of the bill to allow dealers to sell significantly cheaper cars to those who need them.

Lemmon also cited the state's loss of population and economic downturn as a reason for dealers to want to be able to sell more cars to more consumers, instead of having consumers seek cheaper options outside of the state.

"Our current law puts our dealers at an economic disadvantage," Lemmon said. 

 Currently, all surrounding states permit the "as is" sale of motor vehicles, except for West Virginia.

The bill was amended and reported to the floor with the recommendation it do pass. 

The committe also laid over a bill, SB 399, that would prohibit political subdivisions from enacting local ordinances regulating benefits employers provided to their employees.

Lisa Dooley, executive director of the West Virginia Municipal League, spoke in opposition to the bill and said the bill implements unecessary restrictions on cities to solve nonexistent problems.

Dooley said the bill could further threaten businesses' interest in coming into West Virginia cities, hindering much needed economic development.

Patty Hamilton, executive director of the West Virginia Association of Counties, also spoke against the bill's passage, since she said it could harm effective policies for public projects that have long been in place and have been successful.

The bill was previously reported out of Senate Workforce with the recommendation that it pass.

 



Thursday, March 16, 2017 - 04:05 PM

House Health and Human Resources Committee Refers Three Bills to Judiciary

The House of Delegates' Health and Human Resources Committee sent three bills to the respective double referenced committee today.

House Bill 3009 relates to access to the Office of Health Facility Licensure and Certification to the Controlled Substances Monitoring Program database. The office is a sub department of the Department of Health and Human Resources.

HB 3009 was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary with the recommendation that it pass.

House Bill 2498 would create a rebuttable presumption that development of certain cancers by professional or volunteer firefighters arose out of the course of employment. This would mean that a firefighter could come before a worker's comp hearing with cancer and it would be presumed they got it from the job. There are exceptions regarding tobacco use and age however.

HB 2498 was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary with the recommendation that it pass.

House Bill 2002 relates to parental notification of abortions performed on unemancipated minors. The exception for graduates of high school has been removed along with a few others. At least 48 hours must go by after the notice being received by the parents. The waiver may be waived if a parent gives notice that they have been notified. The bill would have physicians be punished by the board of physicians if they didn't take notice of the bill.

HB 2002 was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary with the recommendation that it pass.



Thursday, March 16, 2017 - 03:25 PM

House Energy approves bill to move the Division of Energy

The House Energy Committee met today to discuss two bills.

HB 2948 would require certain state agencies to take final action on certain completed permit applications within thirty days if uncontested, or ninety days if contested, unless other timelines exist.

The bill was approved by the committee and will be reported to the floor, then go to the Judiciary Committee.

HB 3037 would remove the Division of Energy as an independent agency and re-designate the Division of Energy as the Office of Energy within the Development Office of the Department of Commerce, and designate the Secretary of Commerce, or his or her designee, as Chair of the West Virginia Public Energy Authority Board.

The bill will be reported to the floor with recommendation that it do pass, but first be referred to the Committee on Government Organization. 



Thursday, March 16, 2017 - 02:51 PM

Bill to Adjust School Enrollment Dates Passes in Senate

The Senate has passed nine bills to be sent to the House for further consideration.

SB 186 would adjust the date upon which children become eligible for certain school programs and school attendance requirements to prior to July 1 from prior to September 1.

Senator John Unger, D-Berkeley, made a motion to have the bill referred to the Senate Rules Committee to determine the necessity of moving the date in comparison to the possible repercussions of not allowing children from troubled homes to enter the safer environment of school sooner. The motion was rejected.

SB 192 would exempt licensed surveyors from liability for defamation or slander of title when performing their professional duties, except in the case of malicious intent.

SB 413 would limit the number of alternate proposals in bidding for government construction projects and set forth procedures for consideration of alternate bids.

SB 471 would make the definition of wildlife consistent with the existing definition of wildlife contained in WV Code §20-1-2.

SB 474 would exempt the list of names, addresses and contact information for hunting license holders from public disclosure with certain exceptions.

SB 495 would create greater efficiency in the operation of the West Virginia State Athletic Commission and to provide it the flexibility to respond to the needs of the fight industry. The bill updates and clarifies the sections of the code related to licenses of contestants and provides for a yearly fee for amateur contestants.

SB 531 would permit the annual renewal date for apiary certificates of registration to be June 30 beginning in 2018.

SB 536 would authorize the tracking of wounded or injured deer or bear with leashed dogs.

SB 575 would limit nuisance actions against shooting ranges for noises. The bill prohibits ordinances regulating to shooting ranges that are more stringent than such ordinances in effect at the time a shooting range was constructed or planned.

Members of the Senate also adopted SR 38 to recognize Karen Donathan for winning the Award for Teaching Excellence in Computer Science and SR 39 to designate today as Innovation and Entrepreneurship Day at the Capitol.

Senate Bills 621-630 were introduced. 

Senate Bills 255, 444 and 522 and House Bill 2678 were advanced from second reading. Senate Bills 443 and 524 were requested to lie over one day in second reading.

Of those bills advanced, Senator Corey Palumbo, D-Kanawha, proposed an amendment to SB 255 to change the provision stating that one appointed to a vacancy must be of the former legislator's most recent party affiliation to instead require that an appointee be of the former legislator's party affiliation when that legislator was elected to the position. Palumbo said, otherwise, the bill simply "invites corruption" into the legislature in the case that the law were to be abused. His amendment was rejected on a 19-14 vote.

Committee Meetings Today

Health and Human Resources: 1:45 p.m. in 451M

Judiciary: 2:45 p.m. in 208W

Finance: 2:45 p.m. in 451M

Government Organization: 3:30 p.m. (or after Judiciary adjourns) in 208W

Committee Meetings Tomorrow

Transportation and Infrastructure: 2:30 p.m. in 451M

*Education is expected to meet on Saturday at a time yet to be determined.

The Senate is adjourned until 11 a.m. tomorrow and will also convene at 9 a.m. Saturday, March 18.

›› Senate bills introduced on this date
›› Completed Legislation

Thursday, March 16, 2017 - 02:30 PM

Senate Health Approves Bill to Allow Telemedicine Prescriptions

The Senate Health and Human Resources Committee has approved four bills to be reported to the full Senate with the recommendation that they pass.

SB 27 would permit certain microprocessed foods to be sold at farmers markets.

Rachel Kaufman of the West Virginia Health Department said the department has concerns about the sanitation of allowing people to make food in their own kitchens rather than in a separate inspection-certified area.

The bill was previously reported out of Senate Agriculture and Rural Development with the recommendation that it do pass.

HB 2509 would permit a physician to prescribe certain controlled substances when using telemedicine technologies.

Mark Spangler of the West Virginia Board of Medicine was available to answer questions from the committee.

Committee counsel made an amendment to correct an issue in the bill.

The bill will be referred to Senate Judiciary once reported.

SB 36 would allow school nurses to possess and administer opioid antagonists at school.

HB 2300 would regulate the use of step therapy protocols by providing a simple and expeditious process for exceptions to the protocols that the health care provider deems not in the best interests of the patient.

The bill was originally passed last year by the governor but was voided due to technical issues with the bill, which have since been corrected.

George Manahan of the Charles Parkinson's Support Group voiced his support for the bill.

This and the previous bill contain no second references.



Thursday, March 16, 2017 - 02:18 PM

House Concurs with Senate on Human Trafficking Bill; Completes Legislation

Today was a busy day in the House of Delegates. 

The House concurred with the Senate amendments to HB 2318, relating to human trafficking. The bill completes legislation and goes to the Governor for his consideration.

The House did not concur with the Senate's amendments to HB 2099, Erin's Law, because they believed the amendments did not go with the intent of the bill. The bill was sent back to the Senate.


The House also passed 13 bills.

SB 301 is a supplemental appropriation bill to supplement, amend, and increase items in the School Lunch Program account.

SB 330 repeals provisions relating to the statutory construction of the West Virginia Workplace Freedom Act.

HB 2373 would allows school bus drivers to administer the EpiPen when needed and makes them immune from liability unless there is gross negligence or willful misconduct.

HB 2427 would require agencies to provide updated employee information for the online state phone directory, and require that agencies update the information within thirty days of a change, or provide that information to the Office of Technology which shall update the online phone directory information within thirty days of receipt of information from an agency.

HB 2446 would require the executive branch agencies to maintain a website that contains certain information.

HB 2522 would allow the state to inter into an interstate licensure compact for registered nurses, practical nurses, and vocational nurses with 25 other states.

HB 2601 would provide a mechanism of correcting errors in payments to and from a municipal policemen’s or firemen’s pension fund and to provide a criminal offense for knowingly making a false statement in an attempt to defraud a municipal pension fund.

HB 2603 would allow municipal plans that are funded at 125% or more to stop paying certain costs while it is so funded.

HB 2631 would prevent dismissal of complaints that exceed time standards for disposition when the accused causes delay that results in the time overage.

HB 2649 would add additional violations of law, and removes exceptions for certain lesser included crimes, that could cause the forfeiture of a participant’s retirement plan.

HB 2683 would update the West Virginia Guaranty Association Act. The bill provisions concerning effect of paid claims, exhaustion of coverage, prevention of insolvencies and stay of proceedings. 

HB 2792 would require the Library Commission to survey libraries in this state in order to provide a report to the Governor and the Legislature regarding the status of libraries and to propose a ten-year maintenance and construction plan based on the needs of libraries in this state.

HB 2796 would allow the guard to contract for specialized technical services with the federal government, its instrumentalities and agencies, any state, territory or the District of Columbia and its agencies and instrumentalities, municipalities, foreign governments, public bodies, private corporations, partnerships, associations and individuals for specialized technical services to support specific activities related to national security, homeland security and other military-related programs.

Committee Meeting Today

Senior Citizens Issues: 2:30 p.m. in 215E

Health and Human Resources: 3 p.m. in 215E

Energy: 3 p.m. in 410M

Committee Meetings Tomorrow

Judiciary: 8:30 a.m. on HB 3093 in the House Chamber

Gov. Org.: 9 a.m. in 215E

Education: 9:30 a.m. in 434M

Finance: 9:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. in 460M

Rules: 10:45 a.m. behind the Chamber

Roads and Transportation: 1 p.m. in 215E

 

The House is adjourned until 11 a.m. tomorrow. 

›› House bills introduced on this date
›› Completed Legislation

Thursday, March 16, 2017 - 10:50 AM

Bill Related to Tax Rates on Certain Hospitals Passes in Senate Finance

The Senate Finance Committee has approved five bills to be reported to the floor with the recommendation that they pass.

SB 565 would authorize the City of South Charleston to levy a special district excise tax for the benefit of the South Charleston Park Place Economic Opportunity Development District.

Rick Atkinson, city manager of South Charleston, explained particular projects the city would plan to use the new tax revenues for.

SB 362 would permit the redirection of the deposit of revenues collected from certain surcharges and assessments on workers’ compensation insurance policies and derived from net terminal income funds by the Governor through executive order to the General Revenue Fund.

SB 461 would exempt the West Virginia State Police from state purchasing requirements.

Senator Robert Plymale, D-Wayne, proposed an amendment to have the legislative auditor report on the progress or regress of the bill's purchasing provisions after 1 and 2 years of enactment.

SB 486 would change the rate of tax on eligible acute care hospitals for fiscal year 2018. 

Joe Letnaunchyn, president and CEO of the West Virginia Hospital Association, spoke before the committee in support of the bill.

SB 547 would modify fees to be paid to the Secretary of State, making fees for Limited Liability Companies to be consistent with Corporations, adding a voluntary fee for businesses to expedite services to be provided by the Secretary of State, providing the Secretary of State may change fees by legislative rule, and removing statutory caps imposed on retaining funds of the office.

Steve Connolly, Deputy Secretary of State and Chief Legal Counsel, was available to answer questions from the committee.

The committee also laid over one bill that would eliminate taxation on annuity considerations collected and received by a life insurer.

The bill, SB 464, will be laid over for one day until the Treasurer's Office can present on its provisions.

Senator Mike Hall, R-Putnam, Chair, appointed Senators Douglas Facemire, D-Braxton, Greg Boso, R-Nicholas, and Dave Sypolt, R-Preston, to a subcommittee that will report on a meeting with the Court of Claims.

The committee will meet again 3 p.m. today in 451M.



Thursday, March 16, 2017 - 10:31 AM

PEIA Premium Bill Approved by House Banking and Insurance

Two bills were discussed today in the House Banking and Insurance Committee.

HB 2851 would update the dee structure provision for broker-dealers, agents, investments advisers and certain securities offering and opinions and to increase the associated fund cap. The bill will now be sent to the floor with the recommendation that it do pass but first be referred to the committee on Finance.

HB 2871 would eliminate the mandatory 80% of the employer, 20% employee cost share on PEIA active employee premiums and to instead set 80% as the maximum employer share and 20% as the minimum employee share. The bill will be sent to the floor with the recommendation that it do pass but first be referred to the committee on Finance. 



Thursday, March 16, 2017 - 09:59 AM

Originating Bill Relating to Fishing approved by House Ag. and Nat. Res.

The Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee met today and discussed a few bills.

HB 3027 would impose a tax on cattle which is to be used to help the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Service Fund to kill coyotes. The bill was sent to the Finance Committee.

HB 3101 is an originating bill relating to fishing within in 200 feet of agency personnel stocking fish in public waters. It creates criminal penalties for the act. This bill was sent to the Judiciary Committee.

3020 provides that the penalty for hunting, trapping, or fishing on the lands of another, enduring upon posted lands, or destroying posted land signs shall be equivalent to the penalty for criminal trespass. This bill was sent to the Judiciary Committee.



Wednesday, March 15, 2017 - 04:37 PM

Senate Judiciary Committee Discussed Four Bills Today

The Senate Judiciary Committee met today to discuss four bills.

House Bill 2447 would rename the Court of Claims the state Claims Commission. The renaming hopes to clarify that the organization is a part of the legislature instead of the judicial branch. The Court of Claims hears those who are trying to sue the legislature and gives the legislature a recommendation on the legitimacy of the claim regarding that. 

Senator Romano (D-Harrison) confirmed that there would be a cost in the change of the name for advertising and stationary and brand changes. 

The clerk of the Court of Claims stated that she believes the naming is unnecessary and the goals of the bill have already been accomplished in relation to the audit the Court of Claims received earlier this year.

The director of the audit commission found that many employees were getting paid for days that aren't working. He said that the renaming and understanding that they are working for the legislature directly will clear up many of the problems in the audit. They found that there was a culture in the Court of Claims that they don't have to answer to anyone else and this would clarify they do.

Senator Romano moved to amend the bill by eliminating language of terminating employees by the President of the Senate or Speaker of the House. The amendment was not adopted.

The bill was reported to the full Senate with recommendation that it pass.

Senate Bill 608 would clarify lawful business structures are unaffected by enactment of prohibitory legislation. The bill was reported to the full Senate with the recommendation that it pass.

Senate Bill 290 would authorize operators of distillery or mini-distillery offer for purchase and consumption of liquor on Sundays beginning at 1 p.m. The bill was reported to the full Senate with recommendation that it pass.

House Bill 2001 would relate to ethics and transparency in government. This bill was referred to a subcommittee in order to take a close look at the bill.



Wednesday, March 15, 2017 - 04:01 PM

Bill Changing number of juror strikes in trials approved by House Judiciary

House Judiciary Committee discusses eight bills today. 

HB 2797 would clarify that there is statutory immunity for government agencies and officials from actions of third-parties using documents or records of governmental agencies for unlawful acts. The bill will be reported to the full house with the recommendation that it do pass.

HB 2798 would clarify provisions relating to candidates unaffiliated with a political part as it relates to certificates of announcement, preventing potential candidates registered as members of a political party from using the provisions of the section to seek candidacy for office. The bill will be reported to the full house with the recommendation that it do pass.

HB 2767 would authorize the Secretary of State to transmit electronic versions of undeliverable mail to the circuit clerks of the state to minimize agency costs and streamline processes for the state. The bill will be reported to the full house with the recommendation that it do pass.

HB 2961 would amend the procedure by which a charitable gaming licensee may appeal the Tax Commissioner’s sanctions against the licensee for violations of the charitable gaming laws, by allowing the licensee to petition the Office of Tax Appeals for an administrative hearing rather than the Tax Commission. The bill will be reported to the floor with the recommendation that it do pass, but first be referred to Finance Committee.

HB 2828 would decrease the number of strikes a defendant has in a criminal proceeding from six to four from a panel of potential jurors. The bill also increases the number of strikes the prosecution has from two to four. The bill will be reported to the full house with the recommendation that it do pass.

HB 2980 would add a $10 fee for each additional defendant plead in a civil action. This is for multiple, two or more, defendant cases. The bill will be reported to the full house with the recommendation that it do pass.

HB 2941 would make clear that the DOH shall utilize the Attorney General for legal assistance and services.

HB 3030 would clarify that appeals to the Supreme Court are a matter of right and that every party has an opportunity to be heard. The bill will be reported to the full house with the recommendation that it do pass.



Wednesday, March 15, 2017 - 03:01 PM

Senate Agriculture Discusses Bill to Transfer Division of Forestry

The Senate Agriculture and Rural Development Committee has laid over a bill that would transfer the Division of Forestry and its authorities, powers and duties from the Department of Commerce to the Department of Agriculture.

The bill, SB 183, would become effective July 1.

Randy Dye, director of the West Virginia Division of Forestry, said the division is opposed to the bill because of the "uncertain future" he feels the bill implies for employees of the division.

Crescent Gallagher of the Department of Agriculture said things would be run more efficiently with the transfer.

The bill will be referred to the Senate Government Organization once reported to the floor.

The committee will recess until at the adjournment of the Senate Economic Development Committee meeting, which will meet at 4:30 p.m. in 208W.



Wednesday, March 15, 2017 - 03:01 PM

Senate Agriculture Discusses Bill to Transfer Division of Forestry

The Senate Agriculture and Rural Development Committee has laid over a bill that would transfer the Division of Forestry and its authorities, powers and duties from the Department of Commerce to the Department of Agriculture.

The bill, SB 183, would become effective July 1.

Randy Dye, director of the West Virginia Division of Forestry, said the division is opposed to the bill because of the "uncertain future" he feels the bill implies for employees of the division.

Crescent Gallagher of the Department of Agriculture said things would be run more efficiently with the transfer.

The bill will be referred to the Senate Government Organization once reported to the floor.

The committee will recess until at the adjournment of the Senate Economic Development Committee meeting, which will meet at 4:30 p.m. in 208W.



Wednesday, March 15, 2017 - 02:04 PM

WV Second Chance Act Approved in Senate Economic Development

The Senate Economic Development Committee has approved two bills to be reported to the full Senate with the recommendation that they pass. 

SB 501 would create a Minority Economic Development Advisory Team to assist the Director of the Economic Development Authority in developing and implementing a procedure to address employment and economic development problems of minority populations of West Virginia.

The governor would have to appoint all members of the team not specifically listed, and all members would serve a five-year term.

Senator Ronald Miller, D-Greenbrier, proposed an amendment to decrease the number of board members, ex-officio? 

The bill contains a second reference to the Senate Government Organization Committee, which Senator Craig Blair, R-Berkeley, moved for the Chair to waive.

SB 76 would create the West Virginia Second Chance for Employment Act to expand eligibility for criminal expungement to persons convicted of certain nonviolent felonies in order to help them receive certain employment opportunities.

The bill passed the Senate unanimously last year as SB 411, which later died in the House.

The Rev. Matthew Watts spoke in support of the bill and said it would contribute to increasing the state's labor force participation rate by eliminating federal charges off of nonviolent felons' records.

"They're being marginalized for employment," Watts said. "They're trapped in the criminal class."

Watts said the majority of these non-violent felons are younger citizens ages 18-30 who cannot get a job simply because of minor mistakes made when they were younger.

"It's a lifetime sentence," Watts said.

Watts informed the committee there will be a rally on the first floor of the Capitol tomorrow, during which the bill will be advocated for.

Several senators voiced their support for the bill's passage to the committee.

Blair moved that the Chair consult the Judiciary Committee Chair to waive the bill's second reference to Senate Judiciary.

The bill will be referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee once reported to the floor.

The committee also laid over a bill that they will take up for more discussion and amendments/motions once they come back from being recessed.

The bill, SB 38, would create a five-year tax credit for new businesses locating on post-mine sites.

The fiscal note for the bill indicates that the credit will possibly cost the state $23,000.

Senator Mike Romano, D-Harrison, said he was concerned about the lack of specification for what business expenditures would qualify for the credit. He said the credit could possibly be abused to cost the state more.

The bill will be referred to the Senate Finance Committee once reported to the floor.

The committee will recess until 4:30 p.m., or after adjournment of the Senate Judiciary meeting, today in 208W.



Wednesday, March 15, 2017 - 02:01 PM

House Veteran's Affairs and Homeland Security Committee Refers Four Bills

The House Veterans Affairs and Homeland Security Committee met today and referred four bills out of the committee.

House Bill 2788 would allow military veterans with certain military ratings to qualify for examinations required of a probationary firefighter. If a veteran who was discharged honorably has the appropriate training they can apply to test to be a probationary firefighter. The bill was referred to the Committee on Government Organization with the recommendation that it pass.

House Bill 2838 would allow military veterans who meet certain qualifications to qualify for examination for license as an emergency medical technician. If a veteran who was discharged honorably has the appropriate training they can apply to test to be an emergency medical technician. The bill was referred to the Committee on Health and Human Resources with the recommendation that it pass.

House Bill 2804 would remove chiropractors from the list of medical professions required to obtain continuing education on mental health conditions common to veterans and family members. Other professions not required to obtain contain education of mental health conditions are dentists and other specific medical professions. The bill was referred to the Committee on Health and Human Resources with the recommendation that it pass. 

House Bill 3034 would exempt military retirement income from personal income tax after a specified date. The bill was put on the agenda by request of the Governor. The bill was referred to the Committee on Finance with the recommendation that it pass.



Wednesday, March 15, 2017 - 12:59 PM

Bill Related to Regional Recreation Authorities Passes in Senate

The Senate has passed seven bills to be sent to the House for further consideration.

SB 28 would create a new system for three or more contiguous counties to create a regional recreation authority for off- highway vehicle trail riding and for other recreational purposes.

SB 187 would provide for confidentiality of medical records for patients’ physical, mental or emotional conditions.

SB 302 would supplement the appropriation of federal funds from the Treasury to the Division of Human Services.

SB 303 would supplement the appropriation of public moneys from the Treasury to the Department of Health and Human Resources.

SB 306 would supplement the appropriation of federal funds from the Treasury to Workforce West Virginia.

SB 454 would eliminate certain fees generated by suggestee executions and to further streamline the collection of state moneys received as a result of certain court transactions or court services through more efficient technology.

SB 497 would modify the liability of a physician offering volunteer care at school sporting events to provide that they may only be held liable for acts of gross negligence or willful misconduct.

Another bill on third reading, SB 466, was referred to the Senate Rules Committee by Senate Majority Leader Ryan Ferns, R-Ohio.

Members of the Senate also adopted SR 37 to designate today as Higher Education Day at the Capitol.

Senate Bills 605-619 were introduced. 

Senate Bills 186, 192, 413, 471, 474, 531, 536 and 575 were advanced from second reading. Senate Bills 255 and 524 were requested to lie over one day in second reading.

Of those bills advanced, SB 413 was amended by Senator Chandler Swope, R-Mercer, to extend the expiration date related to the bill and give owners more time to determine how a construction project is to proceed. 

Also amended was SB 531 by Senator Dave Sypolt, R-Preston, to change the annual renewal date for apiary certificates of registration to June 30 instead of March 31.

Committee Meetings Today

Economic Development: 1 p.m. in 208W

Agriculture and Rural Development: 2 p.m. in 208W

Pensions: 2 p.m. in 451M

Judiciary: 3 p.m. in 208W

Finance: 3 p.m. in 451M

Economic Development: after Judiciary if needed

Committee Meetings Tomorrow

Finance: 9:30 a.m. in 451M

Energy, Industry and Mining: 1 p.m. in 208W

Health and Human Resources: 1 p.m. in 451M

Government Organization: 2 p.m. in 208W

Education: 2 p.m. in 451M

The Senate is adjourned until 11 a.m. tomorrow.

›› Senate bills introduced on this date
›› Completed Legislation

Wednesday, March 15, 2017 - 12:46 PM

House Passes Bill to No Longer Obtain Student BMIs

Today, the House of Delegates concurred with the Senate amendments to HB 2431, HB 2301, HB 2167, and SB 231.

HB 2431 allows influenza immunizations to be offered to patients and residents of specified facilities on a voluntary basis based upon recommendations of the Center for Disease Control.

HB 2301 permits individuals to enter into agreements, for direct primary care with an individual or other legal entity authorized to provide primary care services, outside of an insurance plan or outside of the Medicaid or Medicare program and pay for the care.

HB 2167 creates a Silver Alert program for senior citizens. It establishes criteria to be met before an alert is released.

SB 231 provides that State Board of Education may delegate its Medicaid provider status and subsequent reimbursement to regional education service agencies or county boards subject to the county board determining that there is a net benefit and no detraction from the educational program of the county.

The House also passed HB 2618; it will be sent to the Senate for further consideration.

HB 2618 removes the requirement that students’ body mass index be obtained in schools.

Committee Meetings Today

Veteran Affairs and Homeland Security: 1 p.m. in 434M

Judiciary: 2:30 p.m. in 410M

Education: 2:30 p.m. in 434M

Finance: 3 p.m. in 460M

Committee Meetings Tomorrow

Agriculture and Natural Resources: 9 a.m. in 434M

Banking and Insurance: 10 a.m. in 215E

Rules: 10:45 a.m. behind House Chamber

Senior Citizen Issues: 1 p.m. in 215E

Health and Human Resources: 2 p.m. in 215E

Energy: 2 p.m. in 410M

Friday, March 17, there will be a public hearing at 8:30 a.m. in the House Chamber on HB 3093 (The Broadband Bill).

 

The House is adjourned until 11 a.m. tomorrow.

›› House bills introduced on this date
›› Completed Legislation

Wednesday, March 15, 2017 - 10:14 AM

House Education Committee Reports House Bill 2702

The House Education Committee met today and discussed two bills.

House Bill 2702 would relate to excused absences for personal illness from school. No later than three days from the concurrence. The absences only have to be received by then, not recorded by then. Don't have to send a letter after three unexcused absences, can just get into contact with them. One may also Can no longer deny homeschooling from those with 10 or more absences.

Delegate Moye (D-Raleigh) confirmed that under this bill, parents are allowed to continue to write absence excuses for their children but some counties require a physician’s notice.

Delegate Wilson (R-Berkeley) amended the bill to include personal injury or sickness of the student's immediate family, guardian, or custodian under excusable absences.

Delegate E. Evans (D-McDowell) amended the bill to clarify that excuses are do no later than three instructional days from the concurrence and not calendar days.

The bill was reported to the House Floor with the recommendation that it pass.

House Bill 2569 would relate to employment, promotion and transfer of professional personnel by county boards of education. This bill would make qualifications for the position a larger factor in determination of employment, transfer and promotion in cases of equal seniority instead of a random lottery policy. Seniority would not be the only determining factor in these cases.

The committee is in recess until 2:30 p.m. today.



Tuesday, March 14, 2017 - 04:53 PM

Senate Finance Committee Discusses Discontinuation of Greyhound Breeding Fund

The Senate Finance Committee met today to discuss SB 437.

Senate Bill 437 would discontinue the West Virginia Greyhound Breeding Development Fund.

A representative of the racing commission explained that the elimination of the fund could cause many of the tracks to close down, as some dog breeders are already going out of business.

Senator Gaunch (R-Kanawha) brought to the committees attention that this might be becuase the dogs may just be losing races.

Senator Palumbo (D-Kanawha) said the potential losses of the income from the race track may not be worth the upfront cut of the fund.

After much discussion, the bill was laid over to be discussed at a later meeting of the Finance committee.



Tuesday, March 14, 2017 - 04:41 PM

House Health Discusses 5 Bills; Lays over 2

Several bills were discussed after a public hearing was held in the House Health Committee meeting.

SB 347 would update the practice act for physician assistant. It substitutes “collaborating” for “supervising.” It would alter the make-up of the Board of Medicine to include a second physician assistants to prescribe schedule II and Schedule III drugs in certain circumstances. It eliminates the need for a recertification exam once the physician assistant is board certified. It allows physician assistants to be reimbursed at the same rate as physicians and advance practice registered nurses. This bill will be reported to the floor with recommendation that it do pass but first be referred to the Judiciary Committee.

SB 4 would allow certain licensed professionals to donate their time to the care of the indigent and the needy and to allow them to gain credit for their time against continuing education requirements needed to maintain their license. This bill will be reported to the floor with recommendation that it do pass but first be referred to the Judiciary Committee.

SB 198 would extend eligibility for loans to health care practitioners who practice in areas of the state which have a need for emergency medical providers. This bill will be reported to the floor with recommendation that it do pass but first be referred to the Finance Committee.

HB 2827 would update the provisions of the all payer claims database.

HB 2724 would rename the Herbert Henderson Office of Minority Affairs as the Herbert Henderson Office of Inclusion and would establish a community-based pilot project to promote public health through comprehensive community development in communities across West Virginia, and to support this project through the Herbert Henderson Office of Inclusion.

Two bills were laid over to the next meeting.

HB 2736 would authorize the selling of state-owned long-term care facilities by the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Resources.   

HB 2002 would modify the law requiring parental notification of abortions performed on emancipated minors. 



Tuesday, March 14, 2017 - 04:32 PM

Vaccine Exemptions Bill on Layover in Senate Education

The Senate Education Committee has laid over a bill that would provide exemptions to mandatory immunizations.

The bill, SB 537, would allow exemptions for medical or religious purposes.

Dr. Sherri Young, state immunization officer for West Virginia, said there were 58 exemption requests made last year for medical purposes; 50% of which were permanently granted, 36.6% temporarily granted, 6.7% denied and 6.7% withdrawn.

Aside from West Virginia, Mississippi and California are the only other states that do not allow religious exemptions, and Young said the Department of Health and Human Resources feels the current statute works best for the state.

Overall, new students to private or public schools are required to have seven vaccines before entering school, which has resulted in West Virginia's 97% immunization rate.

Senator Ron Stollings, D-Boone, said without those immunizations having been mandated, the state wouldn't have nearly as many people protected from disease.

"It's a fantastic thing in public health that we've been able to manage this vastly potent immune system," Stollings said.

Young went on to mention that no scientific studies have shown that vaccines are linked to autism causes. She also stated that she did not know of any religious organizations that are against or exempt from vaccines currently.

Dr. Lisa Costello of the West Virginia Academy of Pediatricians said vaccines are the "crown achievements" of public health and should still be mandated for all students, with the exception of those with certain medical constraints.

"Vaccines are safe. Vaccines are effective. And vaccines work," Costello said.

Costello verified that pediatricians and doctors do not recieve any financial incentives to advocate for immunizations. She also said vaccines themselves are "one of the most cost-effective public health methods ever introduced."

Senator Robert Karnes, R-Upshur, said he understood that vaccines are effective, but he still believes citizens should be able to have a choice of whether or not their children will receive certain immunizations.

Stollings and Costello then explained how the immunization of children contributes to a "herding effect" that protects those children who are unable to be vaccinated but are especially vulnerable to the diseases mandated vaccines prevent.

Senator John Unger, D-Berkeley, said the bill would need to have some sort of definition for religious beliefs that qualify for the provisions of the bill.

Shanda Adkins of the West Virginians for Health Freedom grassroots organization spoke in support of the bills passage and said that she and many other West Virginians are concerned about what is actually being put in vaccines.

Adkins said that she personally had been poorly affected by the Hepatitis vaccine, which she said made her go blind in her left eye and caused her to eventually contract multiple sclerosis. 

At this point, Senator Kenny Mann, R-Monroe, Chair decided to lay over due to meeting time constraints.

The committee will next meet 2 p.m. Thursday, March 16, in room 451M.



Tuesday, March 14, 2017 - 02:42 PM

House Political Subdivisions Committee Discusses Six Bills

The House Political Subdivisions Committee met today to discuss six bills.

House Bill 2434 was reported out of subcommittee. The bill would relate to reevaluation of land damaged as a result of natural disaster. The bill was then amended by the committee using the amendment from the subcommittee. The bill was referred to the Committee on Finance as amended with the recommendation that it pass.

House Bill 2515 was reported out of subcommittee as well. The bill would create the West Virginia Monument and Memorial Protection Act of 2017. The bill was amended by the committee using the amendment from the subcommittee. Delegate Foster (R-Putnam) amended the amendment to make sure that memorials could not be replaced, removed, or renamed without approval. The bill was referred to the Committee with the recommendation that it pass with a vote of 13-10.

House Bill 2209 would limit the authority of municipalities to regulate the purchasing, possessing, transferring, owning, carrying, transporting, selling, and storing of knives. This is similar to the code that currently bans regulations of firearms. The bill was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary with the recommendation that it do pass.

House Bill 2444 would require county commissions to maintain websites with specific information. The website doesn't have to be of a great quality, it just has to have the information required by the bill. The bill was defeated in committee.

House Bill 2754 would relate to fire fees on nonresidents of a municipality. The bill was referred to the Committee on Finance with the recommendation that it pass.

House Bill 2654 would expand the county commissions' ability to dispose of county or district property. The bill was amended by the committee. The bill was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary with the recommendation that it pass.



Tuesday, March 14, 2017 - 02:07 PM

Senate Completes Legislation on Bill Related to Higher Education

The Senate has completed legislation on three bills today.

HB 2542 will provide more flexibility in human resources and personnel to institutions of higher education.

HB 2590 will update the meaning of "federal taxable income" and certain other terms used in the West Virginia Corporation Net Income Tax Act by bringing them into conformity with their meaning for Internal Revenue Code’s definitions. This bill is effective from passage.

HB 2594 will update the meaning of "federal adjusted gross income" and certain other terms used in the West Virginia Personal Income Tax Act. This bill is effective from passage.

The Senate has also passed seven bills to be sent to the House for further consideration.

SB 25 would establish a credit against personal and corporate income taxes for farmers who donate edible agricultural products to food banks and other nonprofit food programs serving needy persons.

SB 256 would prohibit school personnel who have engaged in sexual misconduct with students or minors from being assisted to find new employment without having that misconduct reported to the appropriate authorities and investigated.

SB 326 would require department of defense family advocacy groups to be notified about any abuse or neglect of a child of a military person.

SB 364 would incorporate changes made to the Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement.

SB 440 would specify where the Regional Jail and Correctional Facility Authority may invest its excess funds.

SB 455 would remove archaic language regarding commitment orders and to require that the sentencing court complete a certified commitment order in the form provided in this section or in a similar form containing the same information. This bill also clarifies that the sentencing court is required to transmit the certified commitment order to the Commissioner of the Division of Corrections.

HB 2167 would add senior citizens to the Silver Alert program.

Members of the Senate also adopted SR 35 to congratulate Wirt High School's wrestling team for winning the Class A state championship and SR 36 to designate today as West Virginia State University Day at the Capitol.

Senate Bills 597-604 were introduced. 

Senate Bills 28, 187, 302, 303, 306, 454, 466 and 497 were advanced from second reading. Senate Bills 255 and 531 were requested to lie over one day in second reading.

Of those bills advanced, SB 28 was amended by Senators Ron Stollings, D-Boone, and Robert Karnes, R-Upshur, to create a pilot program for the trails by limiting the bill to two trails for the next five years to determine their success. Once this amendment passed, Stollings again amended the bill to change the law enforcement authority from deputy sheriffs under county jurisdiction to recreation officers who he said would be able to cross through counties and would be much more knowledgeable in maintaining the trails.

Committee Meetings Today

Energy, Industry and Mining: 1:30 p.m. in 208W

Health and Human Resources: 1:30 p.m. in 451M

Government Organization: 2 p.m. in 208W

Education: 2 p.m. in 451M

Judiciary: 3 p.m. in 208W

Finance: 3 p.m. in 451M

Transportation and Infrastructure: 4:30 p.m. (or once Judiciary and Finance have adjourned) in 208W

Committee Meetings Tomorrow

Economic Development: 1 p.m. in 208W

Agriculture and Rural Development: 2 p.m. in 208W

Pensions: 2 p.m. in 451M

The Senate is adjourned until 11 a.m. tomorrow.

›› Senate bills introduced on this date
›› Completed Legislation

Tuesday, March 14, 2017 - 01:58 PM

Mining and Environmental Safety Bill Approved in Senate Energy

The Senate Energy, Industry and Mining Committee has approved a bill concerning coal mining, coal mining safety and environmental protection.

The bill, SB 582, would address these issues through various measures, including the establishment of a Special Reclamation Water Trust Fund to protect water sources, the formation of a staff of mine rescue teams to assist in emergency situations and the creation of new mine inspection requirements to prevent possible dangers or hazards from bring harm to employees, employers and the surrounding population.

The bill was assigned to a subcommittee for further evaluation. 

Senator Dave Sypolt, R-Preston, will serve as Chair of the committee, and Senators Chandler Swope, R-Mercer, and Glenn Jeffries, D-Putnam, will serve as members.

The bill will be referred to Finance once reported to the floor.



Tuesday, March 14, 2017 - 01:16 PM

House Passes Elimination of Courtesy Patrol

Today, the House of Delegates passed three bills and adopted six resolutions including a bill to eliminate the West Virginia Courtesy Patrol. 

HB 2007 would eliminate the courtesy patrol and sends any of the remaining funds from the program to the State Road Fund.

HB 2119 would repeal the West Virginia Health Benefit Act.

HB 2518 would allow pharmacists or pharmacy interns to administer flu and HPV immunizations.

HCR 5 names a bridge in Grafton, Taylor County the U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Fredrick Burdett Warder Memorial Bridge.

HCR 6 names a portion of County Route 3/5 in Kanawha County the U.S. Army SPC 4 Thurman “Duwayne” Young Memorial Road.

HCR 13 names a bridge over Big Sandy Creek in Newton, Roane County the U.S. Army SSG Brian Curtis Rogers Memorial Bridge.

HCR 36 names a bridge along County Route 35 in Cabell County, locally known as the Green Valley Bridge as the U.S. Army PFC John Ira Pinkerman Memorial Bridge.

HCR 37 names a bridge over the CSX Railroad in Putnam County the U.S. Army SPC 4 William L. Amos Memorial Bridge.

HCR 60 names a bridge over County Route 33 in Marion County the William “Bill” R. VanGider Memorial Bridge.

Committee Meetings March 14:

Political Subdivisions: 1:30 p.m. in 434M

Health and Human Resources: Public Hearing for SB 347 at 2 p.m. in 215E; meeting following the hearing

Industry and Labor: 5:30 in 215E

Committee Meetings March 15:

Finance: 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. in 460M  

Judiciary: 9 a.m. in 410M

Education: 9 a.m. in 434M

Gov. Org.: 9 a.m. in 215E

Rules: 10:45 a.m. in room behind House Chamber

Ag. And Natural Resources: 5 p.m. in 215E

The House is adjourned until 11 a.m. tomorrow.

›› House bills introduced on this date
›› Completed Legislation

Tuesday, March 14, 2017 - 11:00 AM

Senate Transportation Approves Bills Related to DOH and DMV

The Senate Transportation and Infrastructure Committee has approved two bills to be reported to the floor with the recommendation that they pass. 

SB 15 would eliminate the sunset on Division of Highways (DOH) public-private partnership agreements and, therefore, allow the division to enter into comprehensive agreements with developers after June 30, 2017—the current sunset date. 

Mike Clowser, executive director of the Contractors Association of West Virginia, spoke in favor of the bill's passage, saying that the bill would allow the division to "capitalize" on future infrastructure opportunities.

SB 477 would increase the State Road Fund by increasing Division of Motor Vehicle (DMV) administrative fees and motor fuel excise taxes, including titling, registration, driver licensing, identification card issuance and abstract fees. Every five years, the DMV fees will increase based on the U.S. Department of Labor Consumer Price Index.

This bill increases the flat rate component of the motor fuel excise tax from 20.5 cents to 30.5 cents per invoice gallon of motor fuel and upon each gallon equivalent of alternative fuel. The bill also increases the minimum average wholesale sales price of motor fuel from $2.34 to $3.04.  All changes are effective July 1, 2017.

The fiscal note shows the bill would generate $34 million annually for the state.

Senator Robert Beach, D-Monongalia, spoke in support of the bill and said it had been until 2011 since the legislature has brought in as much funding for the DOH as this bill would bring.

Louie Southworth said on behalf of Go Mart gas stations that he was very concerned about raising the price of gas, since all bordering states except for Pennsylvania would have lower gas prices that could draw sales out of the state, particularly in border counties.

Senator Patricia Rucker, R-Jefferson, said she agrees with Southworth, since she lives nearly 2 miles away from Virginia and plans to get gas across the state border to save money for her family.

Clowser voiced his support for the bill and said "we have no choice with no funding coming in" but to raise gas prices in order to raise revenues for the state.

He listed several statistics to show how West Virginia's funding for infrastructure has been steadily declining and how the state could save money by having citizens drive on roads that don't damage their cars, as well as providing thousands of jobs to rebuild those roads.

Both bills approved in this committee meeting will be referred to Senate Finance once reported to the floor.

The committee will recess until 4 p.m. today, or after today's Senate Finance Committee meeting adjourns.



Tuesday, March 14, 2017 - 11:00 AM

House Committee on Industry and Labor Discusses Three Bills

The House Committee on Industry and Labor met today to discuss three bills. The bills were HB 2776, HB 2897, and HB 2857.

House Bill 2776 would create a special revenue funding source for the Division of Labor. This bill was laid over until later after some discussion regarding it.

House Bill 2897 would raise the amount required for competitive bidding of construction contracts by the state and its subdivisions. The bill would also entail that if an emergency is declared, then the bidding requirement can be exempted. The bill was amended by the committee. The bill was referred to the Committee on Government Organization with the recommendation that it pass as amended.

House Bill 2857 would create the West Virginia Safer Workplaces Act.

The committee is in recess until 5:30 p.m.

 



Tuesday, March 14, 2017 - 09:47 AM

Subcommittee on HB 2781 Discusses Voter IDs

The Subcommittee on HB 2781 met today to discuss the proposed Voter ID bill.

House Bill 2781 would require a person desiring to vote to present documentation identifying the voter to one of the poll clerks. The valid IDs would include a West Virginia driver's license, passport, employee ID card produced by the state or institutions of the state, and military ID card. Those failing to provide those forms of identification would be able to vote under a provisional ballot. Those living in a residential care home would be exempt along with those who have a religious objection to photography. The bill would also repeal the automatic voter registration program.

The subcommittee discussed the effectiveness of the provisional ballots today. Council said voters who go to the wrong precinct already fill out a provisional ballot, but under this new law, they can be told where their correct precinct is in order to fill out the correct ballot. When council was questioned about how many provisional ballots may be thrown out they said about 12 in 100. However, whether or not to count provisional ballots is up to the clerks of the county and all or none may also be counted. There is also a higher likelihood of a provisional ballot being thrown out if the person voted in the wrong precinct.

In the next committee meeting, they will be exploring how this bill could affect the Department of Motor Vehicles and the accessibility of photo IDs.

The subcommittee will meet again at 8 a.m. on Thursday, March 16, and hopes to have a recommendation at the end of that meeting.



Tuesday, March 14, 2017 - 09:41 AM

Firearm carry in recreational areas approved by House Ag. and Nat. Resources

The House Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources met today and discussed four bills.

HB 2552 would increase the pet food registration fee and direct that the additional money to the West Virginia Spay and Neuter Fund. The money is paid by the manufacturer when it registers its product to the Department of Agriculture for quality testing. The bill increases the registration fee from $50 to $150 for products over 10lbs. The $50 would continue to cover the cost of testing and additional $100 would then be deposited into the Spay and Neuter Fund. The bill was approved by the committee and will be reported to the floor to be referred the Committee on Finance.

HB 2679 would prohibit county park commissions from prohibiting firearms in their facilities and to clarify that a firearm may be carried by a person for self-defense in state parks, state forests and state recreational areas managed by the Department of Natural Resources. The bill was approved by the committee and will be reported to the floor to be referred to the Committee on Judiciary. Although, request was made to waive the second reference.  

SB 410 would permit the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources identification tag to be used to identify a trap. The bill was approved and will be reported to the floor to be referred to the Judiciary Committee.

HB 2949 would exempt specified Division of Natural Resources’ contracts for some replacement, repair, or design for repairs to facilities from review and approval requirements of the Division of Purchasing. The bill was approved by the committee and will be reported to the floor to be referred to the Committee on Government Organization.

HB 2821 WV Farm-to-Food Bank Tax Credit - This bill would establish a credit against personal and corporate income taxes for farmers who donate edible agricultural products to food banks and other nonprofit food programs serving needy persons. Must submit a tax credit review every two years. Language is almost identical to SB 25 which has passed the Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee and the Senate Finance Committee. Recommended it do pass, but first referred to Finance.

 

 



Monday, March 13, 2017 - 03:33 PM

Legislature Releases Budget Framework

Senate President Carmichael (R-Jackson) and House of Delegates Speaker Armstead (R-Kanawha) released their framework for the legislature's budget bill today.

President Carmichael said the plan would be to spend no more that we have. 

In their proposed framework there would be no tax increases and would limit the budget to $4.055 billion dollars as opposed to Governor Justice's proposed $4.5-Billion-dollar spending limit.

President Carmichael said, "The people of West Virginia can't afford to write that check. We must live within our means."

Speaker Armstead said tax increases to boost the economy has been debunked and the legislature is committed to lessen spending.

President Carmichael then reiterated that he isn't talking about cuts but rather sustaining what they already have. The framework that they are providing would contain government growth and reduce spending in that way.

President Carmichael said he would not support the governor's proposed tax increases but he will support his tax reforms. One such reform would be the bill that would repeal the income tax and replace it with a consumption tax. This bill is currently in the Senate.

When questioned about how the cuts will effect agencies’ current operations President Carmichael said that any cuts will hurt how they currently operate. He wants to see them become more efficient and responsible with the funds they do have. He also said that he is willing to go into those off limits territories when it comes to cutting the budget.

Speaker Armstead said in regards to education, "When we talk about education cuts, we are not talking about cutting in to the classrooms. We are talking about cutting the education bureaucracy on a state level."

When asked about the Governor's reaction President Carmichael said, "James seems as though he will be cooperative and we as a legislature are willing to work with him. But all we can do is control our own behavior."

President Carmichael commented on the state of budgeting practices and said, "We are announcing that we are planning on living within our means and its news."

Although there is no proposed budget bill from the legislature yet, President Carmichael and Speaker Armstead are confident that the budget will be passed by day 60 of the legislature. They explained that the drafting of the actual budget bill won't take long, it is knowing what they want in the bill that takes a while and since they are announcing the framework on day 34, the rest should fall in to place shortly.



Monday, March 13, 2017 - 03:10 PM

Senate Banking and Insurance Approves Bill Related to Pharmacy Audit Procedures

The Senate Banking and Insurance Committee has approved two bills to be reported to the full Senate with the recommendation that they pass.

SB 434 would update the West Virginia Guaranty Association Act.

Brian Helmick, legal counsel to the West Virginia Guaranty Association, addressed concerns from the committee.

Helmick said the Act has not been updated for the past 47 years since it first passed.

The bill will be referred to Senate Judiciary once reported to the floor.

SB 522 would define audit procedures between pharmacy benefits managers and pharmacies.

Matt Walker was available on behalf of the West Virginia Independent Pharmacy Association to answer questions.

 

 



Monday, March 13, 2017 - 03:07 PM

Six bills Discussed by House Judiciary

Today the Judiciary Committee met. The following bills were discussed:

HB 2796 would allow the guard to contract for specialized technical services with the federal government, its instrumentalities and agencies, any state, territory or the District of Columbia and its agencies and instrumentalities, municipalities, foreign governments, public bodies, private corporations, partnerships, associations and individuals for specialized technical services to support specific activities related to national security, homeland security and other military-related programs.

HB 2811 would clarify the tanks discussed in this article have the capacity of 210 barrels or less, containing oil or brine water are not regulated in the article 22-30-3 of West Virginia Code.

HB 2845 would establish that the Division of Corrections is responsible for inmate's housing costs beginning the day after the inmate's conviction. 

HB 2546  would allow uniform costs to be deducted from an employee’s final paycheck if the uniform is not returned.

HB 2676 would authorize the Director of Security and security officers who are employed by the Divisions of Culture and History to carry a firearm or concealed weapon upon the West Virginia Complex and state property for the security and protection of visitors and employees of the Division of Culture and History.

HB 2868 would clarify that presumed abandoned property in the form of amounts owed by an insurer on a life or endowment insurance policy or an annuity that has matured or terminated and obligations related which are guided by policies, requirements, and interpretations of the Insurance Commissioner. 



Monday, March 13, 2017 - 02:10 PM

Resolutions naming Bridges and Highways approved by House Roads and Transportation

The Committee on Roads and Transportation met today and discussed three bills and four resolutions. 

HB 2415 would create a special motor vehicle collector license plate. The bill defines a collector motor vehicle and sets requirements to be met to qualify for the special license plates.  will be reported to floor with the recommendation that they do pass, but first be referred to the finance committee. 

HB 2831 would reconstitute the Driver's Licensing Advisory Board to require that one member of the board to be a licensed neurologist in this state and to require the board to respond to requests of the commissioner when necessary in the discretion of the commissioner. This bill will be reported to floor with the recommendation that they do pass, but first be referred to the committee on government organization. 

SB 164 would change the load limitation of a digger or derrick line truck from forty feet to forty-five feet in length and increase from six to nine feet the distance a load may extend beyond the foremost part of the truck. It also increases from nine to eleven feet the distance a load may extend beyond the rear of the body of the truck. This bill will be reported to floor with the recommendation that they do pass, but first be referred to the judiciary committee. 

HCR 8 names a bridge in Mason County along Route 2 as the Dr. Roy and Marian Eshenaur Bridge.

HCR 35 names a bridge along interstate 77 and 64 near Cabin Creek Arnold Miller Memorial Bridge.

HCR 58 names a stretch of highway along Route 60 the William C. Campbell Memorial Highway. 

HCR 46 names a bridge in McDowell County as the Blue Demon Bridge. 

All resolutions will be reported to floor with the recommendation that they do pass, but first be referred to the rules committee. 



Monday, March 13, 2017 - 01:54 PM

Bill to Permit Bear Hunting Approved in Senate Natural Resources

The Senate Natural Resources Committee has approved two bills to be reported to the floor with the recommendation that they pass.

SB 380 would create a two-year pilot program permitting recreational vehicles on designated roads and trails in Cabwaylingo State Forest after purchase of special permits.  The bill also provides for designation of campgrounds and tent sites to be used by the ATV and ORV users.

Senator Robert Beach, D-Monongalia, proposed an amendment to require the department handling the pilot program to report back to the committee at the end of the two years to determine the success of the program.

An amendment to Beach's amendment was made to allow a legislative auditor to report on the program before the committee after the program concludes.

West Virginia State Parks Chief Sam England was available to answer questions from the committee.

Greg Cook, deputy state forester for the West Virginia Division of Forestry, was also provide the committee information.

The bill will be referred to Senate Government Organization once reported to the floor.

SB 472 would permit bear hunting with guides.

The bill would limit this ability only to areas currently undergoing elk management.



Monday, March 13, 2017 - 01:52 PM

Senate Passes Bill to Eliminate Office of Administrative Hearings

The Senate has passed six bills today to be sent to the House for further consideration.

SB 212 would remove the Division of Motor Vehicles from the administration of license suspension and revocation in cases where an individual is charged with driving under the influence.  Broadly, the bill transfers all decision-making concerning the suspension, revocation and/or reinstatement of an individual’s driver’s license to the courts. The courts then make determinations concerning a driver’s license in accordance with certain procedures, and all within the context of the criminal action.

Senator Charles Trump, R-Morgan, said the bill would also essentially eliminate the Office of Administrative Hearings, since he said the Office has been "inefficient and unnecessary" in handling DMV cases.

Those against the bill suggested that its passage could create more DUI-related deaths and said many sheriffs and prosecutors who are often involved with those cases do not support the bill.

Trump argued the opposite, as those convicted of a DUI would be more quickly penalized and police officers would not have to stay off of the roads to sit in two hearings for the same case.

SB 299 would supplement, amend, decrease and increase items of appropriations from the State Road Fund to the Department of Highways.

SB 300 would supplement appropriations from unappropriated balance in the Treasury to the Division of Personnel.

SB 301 would supplement the appropriation of federal funds from the Treasury to the State Board of Education for the School Lunch Program.

SB 305 would supplement the appropriation of public moneys from the Treasury to the Fire Commission.

SB 344 would eliminate conflicting provisions within current code relating to the application of payments and the assessment of delinquency fees on consumer credit sales and consumer loans. The bill also permits a lender to hold a partial or nonconforming payment in suspense until such time as a full payment can be applied.

Senate Bills 586-596 were introduced. 

Senate Bills 25, 256, 326, 364, 440 and 455 and House Bills 2167, 2542, 2590 and 2594 were advanced from second reading. Senate Bills 28 and 531 were requested to lie over for one day in second reading.

Of those bills advanced, SB 28 was amended by Senator Mark Maynard, R-Wayne, to remove certain restrictions from the bill and HB 2167 was amended by Senator Craig Blair, R-Berkeley, to make technical corrections to the bill.

Committee Meetings Today

Natural Resources: 1 p.m. in 208W

Banking and Insurance: 2 p.m. in 451M

Judiciary: 3:30 p.m. in 208W

Finance: 3:30 p.m. in 451M

Committee Meetings Tomorrow

Transportation and Infrastructure: 10 a.m. in 451M

Energy, Industry and Mining: 1 p.m. in 208W

Health and Human Resources: 1 p.m. in 451M

Government Organization: 2 p.m. in 208W

Education: 2 p.m. in 451M

Committee Meetings Wednesday

Agriculture and Rural Development: 2 p.m. in 208W

The Senate is adjourned until 11 a.m. tomorrow.

›› Senate bills introduced on this date
›› Completed Legislation

Monday, March 13, 2017 - 01:09 PM

Three Bills Move to Third Reading Today in the House

The House of Delegates met today and moved three bills from second reading to third reading. These bills were HB 2007, HB 2119, and HB 2518.

House Bill 2007 would eliminate the courtesy patrol program.

House Bill 2119 would repeal the West Virginia Health Benefit Exchange Act.

House Bill 2518 would create a legislative rule to permit a pharmacist or pharmacy intern to administer certain immunizations. Delegate Folk (R-Berkeley) moved to allow himself and the chairs and vice chairs of the Health Committee and Government Organization Committee to amend the bill upon third reading. He explained the purpose of the amendment would be to clear up some of the language of the bill and give notice to parents of the potential risks of the HPV vaccine. The movement was adopted with a vote of 92-7 and the bill will be allowed to be amended upon third reading.

House Bill 2538 would relate to the licensure of physician assistants and was also on second reading, but was laid over for one day.

On first reading today was House Bill 2618 which would relate to body mass index.

Delegate Walters (R-Kanawha) had a remark regarding a bill he is introducing which would reduce the boards of education in the state.

Delegate Rowe (D-Kanawha) had a remark regarding an upcoming bill about Technical Colleges and the Promise Scholarship.

The following committees meet today:

Roads and Transportation at 1 p.m. in 215E.

Finance at 2:30 p.m. in 460M.

Judiciary at 2:30 p.m. in 410M.

Government Organization at 3 p.m. in 215E.

The following committees meet tomorrow:

Agriculture and Natural Resources at 9 a.m. in 215E.

Industry and Labor at 10 a.m. in 215E.

Rules at 10:45 a.m. outside of the House Chamber.

 

The House is adjourned until 11 a.m. tomorrow.

›› House bills introduced on this date


Monday, March 13, 2017 - 10:27 AM

Bill to Repeal Income Tax Reported Out of Senate Tax Reform

The Senate Select Committee on Tax Reform has approved a bill to repeal the personal income tax over the course of four years to be recommended to the floor with the recommendation that it do pass.

The bill, SB 335, would replace income tax revenues with a general consumption tax that broadens the consumer sales tax by an additional two percent and gets rid of most sales tax exemptions.

Senator Craig Blair, R-Berkeley, proposed four changes to the bill as one amendment, which was accepted without further amendments by the committee. 

The first change would increase the soft drink tax from 1 cent to 5 cents, to increase proceeds to the West Virginia University School of Medicine. 

The second would raise the price markup of liquor to 36 percent from 28 percent to bring in nearly $13 million for the state, as opposed to the original $6.5 million.

The third would increase the price of beer barrels to $11 from $5.50 each.

The fourth would exempt social security from taxable income to decrease fiscal burdens on the senior citizen population of the state. Committee counsel suggested the fiscal impact to the state would be around $90 million.

These tax measures would be effective July 1, 2017.

Senator Robert Karnes, R-Upshur, Chair, said the amendment works with the bill's intention to stay revenue-neutral. 

"This stays roughly within that guideline," Karnes said.

The bill will be referred to Senate Finance once reported to the full Senate.



Saturday, March 11, 2017 - 11:27 AM

Senate Completes Action on One Bill, Sends 11 to House

The Senate completed legislative action on one bill and passed 11 others on for consideration in the House of Delegates during a floor session Saturday morning. 

The completed bill, House Bill 2347, will allow schools licensed to provide cosmetology and related training to hold theory classes and clinical classes at different locations.

Much of the morning's floor debate centered around Senate Bill 492, which if completed in the House, would eliminate the requirement of every circuit court in West Virginia to participate in the state's drug court program. Proponents of the bill argued separation of powers, in that the legislative branch should not be able to dictate both funding and method of operation to the judicial branch. Opponents pointed out the success of drug courts around the state state and the need for each citizen to be treated equally and fairly under the law.

It was noted that in counties where successful drug courts are currently operating, they, in conjuction with the State Supreme Court, will be able to continue. The bill simply elliminates the requirement that all counties participate, and will remove the burden in county circuit courts where drug courts have not been successful. The bill passed and now moves on to the House for consideration. 

House Bill 2099, also known as Erin's Law, also advanced in the Senate. This bill defines the act of leaving the scene of a crash involving death or serious bodily injury as a felony. It passed with an amended title and now goes back to the House for concurrence. 

The following committees will meet today:

Government Organization: 11 a.m. in 208W

Education: 11 a.m. in 451M

Natural Resources: Noon in 208W

Transportation and Infrastructure: 1:30 p.m. in 451M

Judiciary: 2 p.m. in 208W

Finance: 2 p.m. in 451M

Select Commitee on Tax Reform: Today at 3 p.m. and Monday at 9 a.m in 451M

The Senate will reconvene Monday, March 13th at 11:00 a.m.

 

›› Senate bills introduced on this date
›› Completed Legislation

Friday, March 10, 2017 - 05:21 PM

Broadband Expansion Bill Approved in Senate Economic Development

The Senate Economic Development Committee has approved a bill that would assist the expansion of broadband service to unserved areas of West Virginia.

The bill, SB 485, would do this by providing loan insurance for commercial loans used for the expansion of broadband service to unserved or underserved areas.

The bill will be referred to Senate Finance once reported to the floor.

Aside from the bill's lead sponsor, Senator Randy Smith, R-Tucker, the bill has 11 co-sponsors including Senators Sue Cline, Ryan Ferns, Kenny Mann, Mark Maynard, Richard Ojeda, Patricia Rucker, Dave Sypolt, Jeff Mullins, Ed Gaunch, Mike Maroney and Robert Plymale. 



Friday, March 10, 2017 - 03:24 PM

House Judiciary Approves HB 2522

House Judiciary met today and discussed several bills. The first was HB 2522, which they held a public hearing on earlier this morning. 

HB 2522 permits the state to enter into an interstate compact to allow registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, and vocational nurses to practice across state lines with the 25 other states in the compact. It passed in committee and will be sent to the House floor.

HB 2631 prevents the dismissal of complaints that exceed time standards for disposition when the accused causes delay that results in the time overage. The bill passed and will be sent to the House floor.

HB 2373 authorizes school bus drivers to administer EpiPens, which they are trained to do, in the case of student or other school personnel having an allergic reaction. It also makes the school bus drivers immune from liability for use of an EpiPen, except in cases of gross negligence or willful misconduct. This bill will be reported to the floor.

HB 2649 adds additional violations of law, and removes exceptions for certain lesser included crimes, that could cause the forfeiture of a participant’s retirement plan. This bill will be reported to the floor.

HB 2898 authorizes the Joint Committee on Government and Finance to request and obtain criminal background information about prospective employees of the Legislature. The bill will be reported to the floor.

HB 2916 authorizes entities to authorize ambulance crew members, firefighters, rescue squad members and emergency service personnel to carry firearms. The bill will be reported to the floor.

HB 2930 allows a Powerball winner to be anonymous if they elect to be anonymous. 



Friday, March 10, 2017 - 03:01 PM

Bill to Reform Appointment Procedures Approved in Senate Judiciary

The Senate Judiciary Committee has approved three bills to be reported to the floor with the recommendation that they pass.

SB 255 would reform the procedures for the appointment of county officials in the event of a vacancy.

The bill was previously amended by Senator Mike Romano, D-Harrison, to restore appointing power to the governor instead of presiding officers in the legislature.

Romano offered another amendment that would require an appointed individual to be affiliated with the prior officeholder's party when elected, instead of at the time of vacancy.

The amendment was rejected.

SB 497 would modify the liability of a physician offering volunteer care at school sporting events to provide that they may only be held liable for acts of gross negligence or willful misconduct.

Chris Marr of the West Virginia Trainers Association was present to answer questions from the committee.

Senator Mark Maynard, R-Wayne, proposed an amendment to included registered and certified individuals with those who are licensed.

The amendment was approved.

SB 207 would establish a Mental Health and Military Service Member Court program within Supreme Court of Appeals. 

The committee has put on bill on layover until a future meeting date. The bill, SB 406, would amend the way savings derived from the filling of generic drugs are distributed.



Friday, March 10, 2017 - 01:13 PM

Bill to Differentiate Autocycles from Motorcycles Passes in Senate

The Senate has passed four bills today to be sent to the House for further consideration.

SB 173 would provide exemptions that would differentiate autocycles from having to adhere to motorcycle requirements.

SB 235 would provide that after its initial registration the annual registration fees of motorcycles are owed in the same month as the original registration. The bill provides that, in that way, motorcycles would be treated the same as other motor vehicles.

SB 259 would require administrators of intestate estates to give bond and take oath.

SB 473 would clarify the circumstances in which naturally shed deer antlers may be lawfully collected, possessed and sold and to clarify that certain wildlife or parts thereof cannot be traded or bartered.

Senate Bills 570-572 were introduced. 

Senate Bills 350, 423, 441, 481, 490, 491, 492, 496 and 505 and House Bills 2099, 2301, 2347 and 2431 were advanced to a second reading.

Of those bills, HB 2099 was amended by Senator Charles Trump, R-Morgan.

The Senate also voted in favor of adding a second reference for SB 219 to the Senate Finance Committee on a movement from Senator Ronald Miller, D-Greenbrier.

Committee Meetings Today

Judiciary: 1:30 p.m. in 208W

Economic Development: after Judiciary adjourns in 208W

Committee Meetings Tomorrow

Government Organization: 11 a.m. (or 30 minutes after session adjourns) in 208W

Education: 11 a.m. (or 30 minutes after session adjourns) in 451M

Natural Resources: 12 p.m. (or one hour after Government Organization begins) in 208W

Transportation and Infrastructure: 1 p.m. (or one hour after Natural Resources begins) in 208W

Judiciary: 2 p.m. (or one hour after Transportation and Infrastructure begins) in 208W

Finance: 2 p.m. in 451M

Tax Reform: 3 p.m. in 451M

Committee Meetings Monday

Banking and Insurance: 2 p.m. in 451M

The Senate is adjourned until 9 a.m. tomorrow.



Friday, March 10, 2017 - 12:39 PM

House Passes Seven Bills Today

Today the House of Delegates passed seven bills today. 

HB 2526 adds drugs to Schedules I, II, IV, and V of controlled substances. 

HB 2554 would transfer the West Virginia Contractor Act from administration and regulation by the Division of Labor to regulation under the provisions of professions and occupations in chapter thirty of code. 

HB 2571 would require the State Department of Education and the Schools for the Deaf and the Blind to jointly select language developmental milestonesfrom existing standardized norms for purposed of developing a resource for use by parents to monitor and track deaf or hard-of-hearing children's expressive and receptive language acquisition and developmental stage towards English literacy. 

HB 2675 designs the placement of nonpartisan judicial offices on the primary election ballot. 

HB 2706 would authorize legislative rules for the Higher Education Policy Commission regarding the West Virginia Higher Education Grant Program, Providing Real Opportunities for Maximizing In-state Student Excellence (PROMISE), Research Trust Fund Program, and Annual Reauthorization of Degree-Granting Institutions and to authorize legislative rules for the Council for Community and Technical College Education regarding the Annual Reauthorization of Degree-Granting Institutions, and Business, Occupational and Trade Schools.

HB 2726 would authorize home incarceration officers to arrest participants for violating the terms and conditions of his or her supervision with or without a court order.

HB 2731 would clarify that only civil actions with controversial amounts exceeding $7,500 must be heard in circuit court, except in actions relating to real estate installment sales contracts or actions confined exclusively by the Constitution to some other tribunal.

Committee Meetings Today

Judiciary: 12:45 p.m. in 410M

Committee Meetings Monday

Judiciary: Public Hearing on 2811 at 8 a.m. in House Chamber; meeting to following in 410M

Finance: Public Hearing at 9 a.m. in House Chamber; meeting at 1 p.m. in 460M

Higher Education Sub Committee: 9:30 a.m. in 434M

Roads and Transportation: 1 p.m. in 215E

Health and Human Resources: Public Hearing at on SB 347 at 2 p.m. in 215E

Education: 2:30 p.m. in 434M

Gov. Org.: 3 p.m. in 215E

The House is adjourned until 11 a.m. Monday. 

›› House bills introduced on this date
›› Completed Legislation

Friday, March 10, 2017 - 10:38 AM

House Government Organization Committee Refers Five Bills Out of Committee

The House Government Organization Committee met today and referred five bills out of the committee.

House Bill 2446 would require state agencies to maintain a website with their contact information, frequently asked questions, office hours, rules that govern the agency, and other information. All of the agencies already have websites and this bill would only require this certain information to be on them and for it to be updated. There was no fiscal note included in the bill. For those agencies that wouldn't comply, they would be audited.

Delegate Hamrick (R-Harrison) said he was in favor of the bill as some of the state agencies haven't updated their websites since 2005.

The bill was reported to the House floor with the recommendation that it pass.

House Bill 2427 would require that the state phone directory be updated with correct contact information. The timeframe for updates would be within 30 days of an employment change. This bill was drafted due to the state phone directory not being updated and having people who had passed away on it and new employees not being updated. 

Delegate Lynch (D-Webster) confirmed that only their office contact information would be included.

The bill was reported to the House floor with the recommendation that it pass.

House Bill 2767 would allow undeliverable mail by the Secretary of State to be able to be emailed to circuit clerks. This bill's purpose is to speed up technical issues regarding lawsuits.

The bill was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary with the recommendation that it pass.

House Bill 2792 would require the Library Commission to do a survey of the libraries in the state and report back to Governor Justice and the Legislature regarding repairs and the status of the libraries, in order to make a plan of updating them. There was no fiscal not attached.

Delegate Caputo (D-Marion) amended the bill to allow the commission more time to do the survey. The amendment was adopted.

The bill was referred to the House floor with the recommendation that it pass.

House Bill 2344 would transfer the assets of the Library Commission relating to the Library Television Network to the Educational Broadcasting Authority. This bill would improve the product of the Library Television Network from standard definition videos, bad quality, and minimal views on the internet to what West Virginia Public Broadcasting can give them. After discussion about the employment of the employees currently working at the Library Television Network the bill was referred to the Committee on Finance with the recommendation that it pass.



Friday, March 10, 2017 - 10:33 AM

"Bruch Bill" for Distilleries Approved in Senate Economic Development

The Senate Economic Development Committee has approved a bill that would authorize operators of a distillery or mini-distillery to offer for purchase and consumption liquor on the premises on Sundays beginning at 10:00 a.m.

Committee counsel Amanda Leslie said the bill, SB 290, is similar to the "Brunch Bill" passed last year.

The bill will be referred to Senate Judiciary once reported to the floor.

The committee also began discussion of SB 485, which would assist the expansion of broadband service to unserved areas of West Virginia by providing loan insurance for commercial loans used for the expansion of broadband service to unserved or underserved areas.

Senator Mike Romano, D-Harrison, said he was concerned about the fact that no one would be able to ensure that money is being spent or used correctly.

The bill would be referred to Senate Finance once reported to the floor.

The committee is recessed until after Judiciary finishes its 1:30 p.m. meeting in 208W.



Friday, March 10, 2017 - 10:12 AM

Senate Judiciary Approves Bill to Address Sexual Misconduct of School Personnel

The Senate Judiciary Committee has approved two bills to be reported to the full Senate 

SB 256 would prohibit school personnel who have engaged in sexual misconduct with students or minors from being assisted to find new employment without having that misconduct reported to the appropriate authorities and investigated.

The bill would bring those sections of the Code into compliance with the federal government.

Heather Hutchens, general counsel for the West Virginia Department of Education, was available to answer questions from the committee.

SB 454 would eliminate certain fees generated by suggestee executions and to further streamline the collection of state moneys received as a result of certain court transactions or court services through more efficient technology.

Committee counsel Jennifer Greenlief said the bill would essentially be "cutting out the middleman."

The committee began discussion and amending of SB 255, which would reform the procedures for the appointment of county officials in the event of a vacancy.

Patty Hamilton of the West Virginia Association of Counties said she believed the bill "vastly improves the current process" of appointing county officials.

"It appears to be a better vacancy appointment law than what is on the books now," Hamilton said.

Senator Mike Romano, D-Harrison, made a first amendment to restore authority to the governor to make appointments instead of presiding officers in the legislature. The amendment was adopted.

Senators Robert Karnes, R-Upshur, and Ronald Miller, D-Greenbrier, spoke in support of the amendment and said the current process has been working much better. Senator Ryan Weld, R-Mercer, opposed the bill, stating that allowing the executive office to choose those who fill legislative positions is questionable.

Romano made a second amendment that would require the governor to make the appointee of a vacancy be from the same party as the initial legislator was when elected. There was not enough time in the meeting to discuss or vote on the amendment.

Senate Bills 406497 and 207 were on the agenda but were not able to be addressed within the timeframe of the meeting.

The committee has recessed until 1:30 p.m.



Thursday, March 09, 2017 - 04:34 PM

Senate Education Committee Reports HB 2542

The Senate Education Committee met today to discuss two bills.

House Bill 2542 would relate to public higher education personnel and was referred out of the committee with the recommendation that it pass.

Senate Bill 312 would establish a four-year pilot program to have social workers in public schools. The bill was referred as a Senate Concurrent Resolution to a Joint Interim Committee on Education in order to determine the intent and study the bill more thoroughly after a motion from the vice chair of the committee, Senator Karnes (R-Upshur). 



Thursday, March 09, 2017 - 04:18 PM

Senate Gov. Org. Approves Bill to Add Senior Citizens to Silver Alert Program

The Senate Government Organization Committee has approved four bills to be reported to the floor with the recommendation that they pass.

HB 2167 would add senior citizens to the Silver Alert program.

HB 2359 would align the criminal penalties of practicing osteopathic medicine with those of practicing allopathic medicine.

The bill will be referred to Senate Judiciary once reported to the floor.

SB 28 would create a new system for three or more contiguous counties to create a regional recreation authority for off-highway vehicle trail riding and for other recreational purposes.

SB 268 would require county commissions to maintain websites with specific information and to provide website information to the Secretary of State. 

Vivian Parsons, executive director of the West Virginia County Commissioners, spoke in opposition to the bill.

Parsons said several counties are unable to comply to the bill's demands, since they might not have adequate access to wifi capabilities or other resources necessary to maintain a website.

Executive Director of the West Virginia Municipal League Lisa Dooley suggested some "cleanup" to make it easier for cities to comply with the bill.

Senator Corey Palumbo (D - Kanawha) made an amendment to meet Dooley's request. The amendment was amended by Senator Ronald Miller (D - Greenbrier) to make an adjustment to certain dates in the amendment.

The bill will be referred to Senate Finance once reported to the floor.



Thursday, March 09, 2017 - 04:17 PM

Bill to Modernize Certificate of Need Discussed in Senate Health

The Senate Health and Human Resources has approved two bills to be reported to the full Senate with the recommendation that they pass.

SB 326 would require Department of Defense family advocacy groups to be notified about any abuse or neglect of a child of a military person.

The bill was previously reported out of Senate Military with the recommendation that it do pass.

SB 428 would provide the conditions under which a pharmacist may partially fill a prescription, and the limitations on subsequently filling the remaining portion of that prescription.

The bill will be referred to Senate Judiciary once reported to the floor.

The committee also discussed HB 2459, which would clarify certain requirements of the certificate of need process.

The bill was up for discussion only.

Christopher Koopman of George Mason University's Mercatus Center recommended to the committee that they repeal West Virginia's certificate of need, rather than simply making small changes to the bill allowing it.

Koopman said his studies have shown that certificate of need has been unsuccessful in providing quality, low-cost care to citizens of this state and throughout the nation in other states that use certificate of need regulations.

"Across the board, CON [certificate of need] programs have failed," Koopman said.

Koopman said his findings show that the restrictions of certificate of need have resulted in fewer rural hospitals, hospital beds and certain types of medical equipment and, thus, has increased total healthcare spending and causes citizens to seek care from neighboring states without strict certificate of need requirements.

He said West Virginia has the sixth most restrictive certificate of need guidelines in the country.

Post Audit Division Manager Adam Fridley said he agreed with Koopman and recommended the termination of the certificate of need program on behalf of the Auditor's Office.

Sonia Chambers, chair of the West Virginia Health Care Authority, voiced her support for the bill and spoke against the complete termination of certificate of need provisions.

"There are strong feelings on both sides of this issue," Chambers said, "But we would agree that it [certificate of need] is very important and has served a vital role in West Virginia."

Chambers said the legislature has already done a good job of "modernizing" the certificate of need bill to save money and reduce some restrictions on health services.

Chambers also addressed the claims of increases in healthcare spending and said those costs are due to the nature of prevalent health issues in West Virginia, rather than due to certificate of need requirements.

Joe Letnaunchyn, president and CEO of the West Virginia Hospital Association, agreed with Chambers and said the best course of action would be to "make the CON more user friendly" instead of eliminating it entirely.

Letnauchyn also said the studies Koopman and Fridley based their research on were created in 2015 before the certificate of need bill had first been modernized, making their claims inaccurate.

Committee counsel said SB 31, SB 389 and SB 457 are pending before the committee and would impact certificate of need as well.



Thursday, March 09, 2017 - 03:01 PM

House Debates Medical Marijuana and Passes Three Bills

Today in the House three bills passed and seven were on second reading. Bills that passed the House include HB 2503, HB 2540, and HB 2628.

HB 2503 would update the rulemaking authority of the Board of Osteopathic Medicine.

HB 2540 would permit a person to practice his or her profession for seven days for a charitable function

HB 2628 would clarify and strengthen the duties and powers of the Board of Medicine and the Board of Medicine with regard to evidence of serious misconduct by licensees and applicants for license under their respective jurisdictions. 

Of the seven on second reading, one was HB 2526, which would add drugs to the classifications of Schedules I, II, IV, and V of controlled substances. Delegates Fluharty (D-Ohio) and Sponaugle (D-Pendleton) attempted to amend the bill by adding that medical marijuana be moved from Schedule I to Schedule IV to allow doctors to prescribe it. After hours of debate from members on both sides for and against, the amendment failed 35-64. 

Committee Meetings Today

Senior Citizen Issues: after session in 215E

Energy: 3 p.m. in 410M

Health and Human Resources: 3:30 p.m. in 215E

Banking and Insurance: 5 p.m. in 215E

Committee Meeting Tomorrow

Judiciary: 8:30 a.m. Pubic Hearing on HB 2522 in House Chamber; meeting to following 410M

Finance: 9 a.m. in 460M

Education: 9 a.m. in 434M; K-12 Sub-Committee to follow meeting

Gov. Org.: 9 a.m. in 215E

The House is adjourned until 11 a.m. tomorrow.

›› House bills introduced on this date
›› Completed Legislation

Thursday, March 09, 2017 - 02:27 PM

Senate Passes Bill to Create Felony Offenses for Drug Delivery

The Senate has passed four bills today to be sent to the House for further consideration.

SB 185 would allow spending units to designate the fund which the proceeds from the sale of surplus property must be deposited when the fund that was used to purchase the property is no longer in existence.

SB 206 would expand the definition of kidnapping to including taking or gaining custody of, confining or concealing another person by force or threat of force or by duress, fraud, deceit misrepresentation or enticement.

SB 220 would create a new felony offense for a drug delivery that results in the death of another person and providing a felony criminal penalty.

SB 365 would maintain the solvency of the Unemployment Compensation Fund and extend the time period for borrowing funds from the Revenue Shortfall Reserve Fund for the Unemployment Compensation Fund to September 1, 2018.

Members of the Senate also adopted SR 34 to memorialize the life and accomplishments of Frank Cuomo, Jr.

Senate Bills 564-569 were introduced. 

Senate Bills 173, 235, 259 and 473 were advanced to a second reading.

Of those bills, SB 173 was amended by Senator Ron Stollings, D-Boone, to eliminate a provision of the bill that enables those over the age of 18 to choose not to wear a helmet when using a motorcycle.

The Senate also approved two special orders of business to confirm the nomination of those candidates approved by the Senate Confirmations Committee to hold certain executive offices.

Committee Meetings Today

Health and Human Resources: 2:15 p.m. in 451M

Energy, Industry and Mining: 2:15 p.m. in 208W

Education: 3:15 p.m. in 451M

Government Organization: 3:15 p.m. in 208W

Judiciary: 4:15 p.m. in 208W 

Education: 6:15 p.m. in 451M (if needed)

Committee Meetings Tomorrow

Judiciary: 9 a.m. in 208W

Finance: 9:30 a.m. in 451M

Economic Development: 10 a.m. in 208W

The Senate has announced it will convene Saturday at 9 a.m. 

The Senate is adjourned until 11 a.m. tomorrow.

›› Senate bills introduced on this date
›› Completed Legislation

Thursday, March 09, 2017 - 09:52 AM

Farm-to-Food Bank Tax Credit Approved in Senate Finance

The Senate Finance Committee has approved five bills to be reported to the full Senate with the recommendation that they pass.

SB 364 would incorporate changes made to the Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement and specify effective dates.

SB 440 would specify where the Regional Jail and Correctional Facility Authority may invest its excess funds.

SB 25 would establish a credit against personal and corporate income taxes for farmers who donate edible agricultural products to food banks and other nonprofit food programs serving needy persons.

Chad Morrison, executive director of the Mountaineer Food Bank, was available to answer questions from the committee.

The bill was previously reported out of the Senate Agriculture and Rural Development Committee with the recommendation that it do pass.

HB 2590 would update the meaning of “federal taxable income” and certain other terms used in the West Virginia Corporation Net Income Tax Act by bringing them into conformity with their meaning for Internal Revenue Code’s definitions and specify effective dates.

HB 2594 would update the meaning of federal adjusted gross income and certain other terms used in the West Virginia Personal Income Tax Act and specify effective dates.

Senate Finance will meet again later today at 3 p.m. in 451M.



Thursday, March 09, 2017 - 09:48 AM

The House Small Business and Economic Development Committee Reports HB 2591

The House Small Business Entrepreneurship and Economic Development Committee met today to discuss HB 2591.

House Bill 2591 would create a new article in the West Virginia Code. This article would create a tax credit for companies that have underneath 25 employees. The credit would be in the amount of $100,000 or under. The credit would be calculated by matching 50% of whatever the small business spends on advertising, marketing, and branding, up to the maximum amount. In order to be eligible, the business must also have its corporate headquarters in West Virginia. The bill would take effect after Dec. 31st, 2017 and is for any small businesses regardless of age. There is a fiscal note on the bill of $2,000 per year.  A small business could also only take advantage of this tax credit for five consecutive years.

The bill was moved to be amended by Delegate Atkinson (R-Roane). The amendment would add some definitions and provisions into the bill. The amendment was adopted.

There was an amendment to the amendment by Delegate Marcum (D-Mingo) to double the tax credit on a post-mine site. The reasoning for the amendment is to take the land in the mining towns and revitalize it in order to diversify the economy. The amendment to the amendment was adopted after some deliberation.

The bill was reported to the floor with the recommendation that it do pass as amended but first be referred to the Committee on Finance.



Wednesday, March 08, 2017 - 04:54 PM

Senate Judiciary Approves Bill Related to DUI Charges

The Senate Judiciary Committee has approved two bills to be reported to the full Senate with the recommendation that they pass.

SB 344 would eliminate conflicting provisions within current code relating to the application of payments and the assessment of delinquency fees on consumer credit sales and consumer loans. The bill also permits a lender to hold a partial or nonconforming payment in suspense until such time as a full payment can be applied.

Loren Allen, general counsel for the West Virginia Bankers Association, was available to answer questions for the committee.

Senator Robert Karnes (R - Upshur) proposed an amendment on the accumulation of funds that could cover 75% of suspended payments. The amendment was approved.

SB 212 would allow magistrates to make determinations concerning a driver’s license in accordance with certain procedures, and all within the context of the criminal action.

The bill was being considered again as a new committee substitute that makes important clarifications to processes outlined in the bill.

Patty Hamilton of the West Virginia Association of Counties said prosecutors, sheriffs and the Association of Counties do not support the bill, since they say the system works now as it is.

She said they believe the bill would move the process "backwards" toward times when the magistrate courts still handled those DUI issues instead of the DMV in the early 1980s.

Asst. General Counsel for the DMV, Adam Holley also opposed the bill and said the current license revocation system has caused a significant drop in the number of individuals who are killed by drunk driving from about 243 in 1982 and 63 in 2016.

Holley said about 10,000 licenses are revoked each year.

Senator Charles Clements (R - Wetzel) said he has often heard of issues with the timeliness of the process for revoking a license and convicting an individual.

Holley replied that long lengths of time in such cases are "not the norm," unless a request for a hearing is involved.

The committee also considered SB 255 and SB 219 in the meeting.



Wednesday, March 08, 2017 - 03:43 PM

Gov. Org. Send three bills to House floor

The Committee on Government Organization met today and discussed HB 2773, HB 2518, and HB 2538.

HB 2773 would eliminate the requirement that state agencies purchase certain products from prison industries. This bill will be reported to the floor with the recommendation that it do pass, but first be referred to the Finance committee.

HB 2518 would give the Board of Pharmacy rule-making authority to permit a pharmacist or pharmacy intern to administer HPV vaccines for adults as well flu and HPV vaccines for children 12-15 with a prescription. The bill will be reported to the floor. 

HB 2538 would remove the requirement that a physician have a certification from the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants. The bill will be reported to the floor.



Wednesday, March 08, 2017 - 03:39 PM

Senate Finance Reports Four Bills

The Senate Finance Committee reported four bills to the Senate floor.

Senate Bill 299 would supplement, amend, decrease and increase items of appropriations from the State Road Fund to the Department of Highways. The bill was reported to the floor with the recommendation that it pass.

Senate Bill 300 would relate to supplemental appropriation from unappropriated balance in the Treasury to the Division of Personnel. The bill was reported to the floor with the recommendation that it pass.

Senate Bill 301 would relate to a supplemental appropriation of federal funds from the Treasury to the State Board of Education for use to fund the School Lunch Program The bill was reported to the floor with the recommendation that it pass.

Senate Bill 305 would relate to supplemental appropriation of public moneys from the Treasury to the Fire Commission to fund their training and update and replace their radios. The bill was reported to the floor with the recommendation that it pass.

There was then a speaker from the West Virginia Consumer Advocate division, Jackie Roberts. She discussed the division's budget.

The next speaker was from the Commission’s Fiscal Year, Mike Alberts. He discussed the commission’s budget. 



Wednesday, March 08, 2017 - 03:08 PM

Bill to Transfer Division of Forestry on Layover in Senate Agriculture

The Senate Agriculture and Rural Development Committee has decided to postpone their decision on SB 183, which would transfer the Division of Forestry and its authorities, powers and duties from the Department of Commerce to the Department of Agriculture.

Crescent Gallagher, communications director for the Department of Agriculture, said the department "has been in preparation" for the change.

Division of Forestry worker Charlie Spencer said he is still concerned as to whether or not employees will be treated in the same way under a different department, especially due to the nature of forestry jobs.

Since many workers sometimes have to wake people up at night to ask about a nearby fire, among other issues, Spencer said he and his workers receive many complaints.

He said he worries about how those complaints will be handled or processed under new authority.

"We do things that most agencies do not," Spencer said. "My biggest concern is not getting fired for doing my job."

Members assured him that they believed his position would not be compromised due to a complaint, but they still agreed to look further into the provisions of the bill.

The committee also considered two other bills, SB 283 and SB 531.

SB 283 was assigned to a subcommittee consisting of Senators Patricia Rucker (R - Jefferson), Charles Clements (R - Wetzel) and Ronald Miller (D - Greenbrier) for review.

The bill would create The Food Production Act, which would make the Department of Agriculture responsible for all food production within the state. 

It also has a double reference to the Senate Judiciary Committee once reported to the floor.

SB 531 would permit the annual renewal date for apiary certificates of registration to be June 30 beginning in 2018. It has a double reference to Senate Government Organization.

The committee voted in favor of amending the bill to change the renewal date to March 31, instead of June 30.

A committee substitute is being created with the amended change. 

The bill has a double reference to the Senate Committee on Government Organization once reported to the floor.



Wednesday, March 08, 2017 - 02:46 PM

Senate Pensions Committee Reports Bill on Municipal Pensions

The Senate Pensions Committee met today to discuss SB 393.

Senate Bill 393 would relate to the administration of municipal pensions. The goal of the bill is to correct the errors that have been found in the Policeman's Pension and Relief Fund.

Senator Plymale (D-Wayne) said he thinks this bill is very good and he is glad that they found the errors.

Senator Romano (D-Harrison) wondered that if no one would will tell them of an error then how will they know how to correct it. Senator Plymale assured him that there was a system in place that would keep that from happening.

The bill was reported with the recommendation that it pass with first being referred to the Committee on Finance.



Wednesday, March 08, 2017 - 01:19 PM

House Veterans Affairs Approve Bill to help Military Spouses who teach

The House Committee on Veterans Affairs and Homeland Security approved HB 2771.

HB 2771 permits the state superintendent to issue temporary certificates to out of state teachers who are the spouses of members of the Armed Forces who are on active duty stationed in the state. The license would be a one-year license, which would be renewable each year. 

The bill will be reported to the floor with recommendation that it do pass, but first be referred to the Education Committee. 



Wednesday, March 08, 2017 - 12:43 PM

Bill Related to Medical Professional Liability Passes in Senate

The Senate has passed four bills today to be sent to the House for further consideration.

SB 198 would extend eligibility for loans to health care practitioners who practice in areas of the state which have a need for emergency medical providers.

SB 280 would move the association of the Civil Air Patrol from the Aeronautics Commission and realign it under the Military Forces of the state because one of the Civil Air Patrol’s primary missions is the provision of emergency services, including aerial and ground search and rescue operations, homeland security operations and disaster relief operations.

SB 338 would amend the Medical Professional Liability Act by adding a definition for “occurrence,” providing for a preference of venue, establishing an attorney’s fees schedule based upon the amount recovered, establishing the effective date and providing for severability.

SB 358 would permit a timeshare managing entity to foreclose upon its statutory lien for assessments in the manner of sales under trust deeds. The bill further provides for the naming of a trustee by the managing entity to carry out the sale and require notice.

Members of the Senate also adopted SR 33, which designated today as Disability Advocacy Day at the Capitol.

Senate Bills 537-563 were introduced. 

Senate Bills 173, 185, 206, 220 and 365 were advanced to a second reading.

Committee Meetings Today

Confirmations: immediately following session in 208W

Agriculture and Rural Development: 2 p.m. in 208W

Pensions: 2 p.m. in 451M

Judiciary: 3 p.m. in 208W

Finance: 3 p.m. in 451M

Committee Meetings Tomorrow

Finance: 9:30 a.m. in 451M

Energy, Industry and Mining: 1 p.m. in 208W

Health and Human Resources: 1 p.m. in 451M

Government Organization: 2 p.m. in 208W

Education: 2 p.m. in 451M

Judiciary: 3 p.m. in 208W

Finance: 3 p.m. in 451M

The Senate is adjourned until 11 a.m. tomorrow.

›› Senate bills introduced on this date
›› Completed Legislation

Wednesday, March 08, 2017 - 12:32 PM

Two Bills Complete Legislative Process

Today, SB 176 and SB 188 were passed by the House of Delegates. 

SB 176 repeals an outdated article of the code. It was recommended in the 2017 Regular Session of the Legislature by the Legislative Oversight Committee on Health and Human Resource Accountability. 

SB 188 corrects the definition of telehealth in the medication assisted treatment portion of the code. 

Committee Meetings Today

Veterans Affairs and Homeland Security: 1 p.m. in 434M

Judiciary: 1:30 p.m. in 410M

Finance: 2 p.m. in 460M

Education: 2:30 p.m. in 434M

Gov. Org.: 3 p.m. in 215E

Committee Meetings Tomorrow

Small Business, Entrepreneurship, and Economic Development: 9 a.m. in 434M

Banking and Insurance: 10 a.m. in 215E

Senior Issues: 1 p.m. in 215E

Energy: 2 p.m. in 410M

Health and Human Resources: 2 p.m. in 215E

Committee Meetings Friday

Judiciary Public Hearing on HB 2522 at 8:30 a.m. in House Chamber

Judiciary: 9 a.m. in 410

Gov. Org. 9 a.m. in 215E

The House is adjourned until 11 a.m. tomorrow. 

›› House bills introduced on this date
›› Completed Legislation

Wednesday, March 08, 2017 - 11:00 AM

Bill to Regulate Local Minimum Wage Approved in Senate Workforce

The Senate Workforce Committee has approved a bill that would prohibit political subdivisions from making local ordinances that regulate the benefits employers provide to their employees.

The bill, SB 399, would be known as the Employer Benefits Requirements Uniformity Act.

Senator Richard Ojeda (D - Logan) said he was concerned about the bill's ability to prevent economically growing cities and towns from being able to raise minimum wage for their employees.

"This kind of seems to be tying the hands of local government," Ojeda said.

President of the West Virginia Retailers Association, Bridget Lambert spoke against the bill and said it would be a burden on those who are trying to expand their businesses across different municipalities.

"This would be harmful to a lot of businesses," Lambert said.

Senator Ron Stollings (D - Boone) made a motion to have the bill put on layover until a member of the Municipal League was available to speak to the bill. 

The motion was rejected.

Senator Randy Smith (R - Tucker) said that it is clear that the provisions of the bill are "not a big issue" to the Municipal League, since they were not present at the meeting.

Stollings said he still believes the bill has possible implications that need to be discussed further, as no one has yet spoken in favor of the bill.

Senator Glenn Jeffries (D - Putnam) said the committee would be denying cities and local leaders from being able to address the bill by reporting it out of committee without giving them a chance to defend the needed "flexibility" of local wage rates.

The bill will be referred to Senate Judiciary once reported to the full Senate.



Wednesday, March 08, 2017 - 10:55 AM

House Judiciary Discusses Sexual Predators in Schools and Voter IDs

The House Judiciary Committee met today to discuss House Bill 2704, House Bill 2781, and SB 330.

House Bill 2704 would prohibit persons convicted of sexual offenses against children with whom they hold positions of trust from holding certification or license valid in public schools. The bill was amended previously by the education committee to only revoke the license but would not add fines or imprisonment.

Heather Hutchins, a representative of the Department of Education, answered technical questions about the bill. She said there is no legal requirement that teachers at private schools be licensed through the super intendent. Delegate Lane (R-Kanawha) asked if someone is convicted of a sex crime if they would be allowed to return to teaching. Hutchins said explained there is no code stopping that and the current process puts more burden on the victim due to the investigative process to keep the sexual offender from teaching. The department of Education is only allowed to background check nationally upon licensing but after that only within the state criminal record checks. Their current investigation methods are much more resource intensive and difficult. Delegate Sobonya (R-Cabell) asked if the bill included sexting as one of the sexually offensive acts. Council said they would retrieve that information

Delegate Fast (R-Fayette) amended the committee substitute of the bill to include anyone employed by a contractor for one of the facilities. The amendment was reformed to have the bill apply to contractors only when children are present. The amendment was adopted.

The bill was appointed to a subcommittee to discuss the other punishments of the bill amended by the education committee and will report back to the committee once that has been addressed.

House Bill 2781 would require a person desiring to vote to present documentation identifying the voter to one of the poll clerks. The valid IDs would include a West Virginia driver's license, passport, employee ID card produced by the state or institutions of the state, and military ID card. Those failing to provide those forms of identification would be able to vote under a provisional ballot. Those living in a residential care home would be exempt along with those who have a religious objection to photography. The bill would also repeal the automatic voter registration program. A fiscal note was requested in order to find out the cost of the free identification cards the DMV would be producing underneath the bill. 

The committee was in recess until an hour after the floor session ends.

Upon coming back after the floor session, the bill was referred to a subcommittee in order to more thoroughly examine the bill.

Senate Bill 330 would relate to the WV Workplace Freedom Act. It makes some stylistic changes and makes some technical changes in a few areas. It removes a definition and provision and helps to clarify those portions of the code.

There was a strike and insert amendment presented by council that was adopted.

The bill was reported out of the committee to the full house with the recommendation that it pass.



Wednesday, March 08, 2017 - 09:36 AM

House Education Approves Bill to Create CTE Pilot Program in Middle Schools

House bill met today and discussed HB 2574, HB 2618, and HB 2720 .

HB 2574 would create a special pilot program to introduce seventh and eighth grade students to career and technical education opportunities in the State of West Virginia. The program is designed to better prepare students for post-secondary education and participate in the workforce. The bill will be reported to the floor with the recommendations that it do pass.

HB 2618 would remove the requirement that a student's body mass index be obtained in schools, which is done in physical education classes in public schools. This bill will be reported to the floor with the recommendations that it do pass, but first be referred to the Committee on Health and Human Resources. 

HB 2720 would permit the School Building Authority to transfer funds from the School Construction Fund into a special revenue account in the State Treasury. The bill will be reported to the floor with the recommentation that it do pass but first be sent to the committee on Finance. 



Tuesday, March 07, 2017 - 04:36 PM

Concurrent Resolution and One Bill Reported from Senate Judiciary

The Senate Judiciary Committee has approved one concurrent resolution and one bill to be reported to the full Senate with the recommendation that they pass.

The concurrent resolution, SCR 3, would urge Congress to call a convention of states to impose fiscal restraints on federal government.

For the resolution to be accepted at the federal level, 33 other states would have to pass a similar resolution.

Any amendments to the U.S. Constitution suggested in the convention would have to be approved by 38 states.

West Virginia has two pending resolutions for a convention of states that have yet to be taken up by Congress.

Former U.S. Senator for Oklahoma Dr. Tom Coburn spoke in support of the resolution.

Coburn said the Founding Fathers intended for states to be extensively involved with the federal level of government, and he said the federal bureaucracy has not followed through with this expectation.

Senator Mike Romano (D - Harrison) said the resolution would make the U.S. Constitution vulnerable to potentially irrational amendments by the states that would not help the country overall.

Senator Patricia Rucker (R - Jefferson) said, however, the resolution would wake up the federal government to issues that multiple states are willing to agree on. 

Senator Charles Clements (R - Wetzel) said passage of the resolution would "rattle the cage" and help bring change to the state.

The committee then voted in favor of HB 2099, which would define the act of leaving the scene of a crash involving death or serious bodily injury as a felony.

The bill also establishes the act of leaving the scene of a crash that does not proximately cause death or injury as a misdemeanor and defines bodily injury and serious bodily injury.

Senate Bills 219396, 490, 492 and 496 were on the agenda, but the committee was unable to address them within the meeting time constraints and will look over them later this evening.

The committee will meet again tonight at 6 p.m. in 208W.



Tuesday, March 07, 2017 - 03:35 PM

House Political Subdivisions Committee Reports Four Bills

The House Political Subdivisions Committee met today and referred four bills out of the committee.

House Bill 2709 would authorize the City of South Charleston to levy a district excise tax. The bill was referred to the Committee on Finance with the recommendation to pass.

House Bill 2208 would authorize counties and municipalities to establish a joint airport hazard comprehensive plan. The bill was referred to the Committee on Government Organization with the recommendation to pass.

House Bill 2724 would change the name of the Herbert Henderson Office of Minority Affairs to the Herbert Henderson Office of Inclusion and relate to the responsibilities and functions of the office. The bill would create a pilot program to assist the West Side of Charleston and grow across the states. The bill was referred to the Committee on Health and Human Resources with the recommendation that it pass.

House Bill 2744 would create the Local Energy Efficiency Partnership Act. The act would give local governments the power to give businesses incentives for being energy efficient. The bill was referred out of the committee with recommendation that it pass.

 



Tuesday, March 07, 2017 - 02:38 PM

Five Bills Approved, One Postponed in Senate Government Organization

The Senate Committee on Government Organization has approved five bills to be reported to the full Senate with the recommendation that they pass.

SB 441 would establish the municipal home rule pilot program as a permanent program, allow all municipalities to participate in the program and allow municipalities who institute a sales and use tax pursuant to the program to administer and collect the tax through their own municipal collector’s offices.

SB 481 would remove required ninety-day waiting periods for municipal court notifications to the Division of Motor Vehicles.

Executive Director of the West Virginia Municipal League, Lisa Dooley spoke in support of the bill.

SB 350 would allow certain licensed professional counselor and marriage and family therapist applicants to be issued a temporary permit so the applicant can practice during the application and testing process.

SB 491 would allow litter control officers who are trained and certified as law-enforcement officers and whose certification is active to have the same authority as any other law-enforcement officers to enforce all litter laws.

HB 2347 would allow schools licensed to provide barber, cosmetology and related training to hold theory classes and clinical classes at different locations.

The committee voted in favor of putting HB 2348 on layover until a future meeting, since many members said they felt that there were important details left out of the bill that needed to be addressed.

The bill would eliminate any requirement that class hours of students be consecutive when studying professions regulated by the board of Barbers and Cosmetologists.

WV Board of Barbers and Cosmetologists Executive Director Charlie Persinger voiced his support for the bill's passage.

The committee is expected to meet next on Thursday, March 9 at 2 p.m. in 208W.



Tuesday, March 07, 2017 - 02:28 PM

Senate Health Approves Five Bills

The Senate Committee on Health and Human Resources has approved five bills to be reported to the full Senate with the recommendation that they pass.

SB 398 would create The Emergency Volunteer Health Practitioners Act to allow volunteer health practitioners from other states to practice in West Virginia during an emergency.

The bill will be referred to Senate Government Organization.

SB 423 would allow group homes in West Virginia with greater than four members to continue to offer services to up to eight current residents by seeking either a waiver to allow these services or a state plan amendment.

Senator Rob Stollings (D - Boone) made an amendment to allow the committee counsel to make any technical corrections necessary, since the counsel was unable to make a committee substitute of the bill in time for the meeting. The amendment was approved.

SB 333 would require all facilities licensed under the provisions of chapter sixteen to access the controlled substances monitoring database.

The committee also approved an amendment by Stollings to ensure that employers do not have access to the database.

The bill will be referred to Senate Judiciary.

HB 2301 would permit individuals to enter into agreements, for direct primary care with an individual or other legal entity authorized to provide primary care services, outside of an insurance plan or outside of the Medicaid or Medicare program and pay for the care.

HB 2431 would allow influenza immunizations to be offered to patients and residents of specified facilities on a voluntary basis based upon recommendations of the Center for Disease Control.

The committee is expected to meet next on Thursday, March 9 at 1 p.m. in 451M.



Tuesday, March 07, 2017 - 02:11 PM

House Passes Six Bills to the Senate Today

The House of Delegates met today and passed six bills on to the Senate. These bills were HB 2367, HB 2579, HB 2674, HB 2678, HB 2691, and HB 2725.

House Bill 2367 would establish a criminal offense of organized retail crime.

House Bill 2579 would increase the penalties for transporting controlled substances.

House Bill 2674 would relate to access to and receipt of certain information regarding a Protected Person.

House Bill 2678 would change the amounts of prejudgment and post-judgement interest to reflect today's economic conditions.

House Bill 2691 would allow a person who is qualified by training to be a barber and a cosmetologist to elect to practice solely as a barber.

House Bill 2725 would restrict the authority of the Board of Barbers and Cosmetologists to regulate the use of commonly available retail beauty products.

House Bills 2808-2817 were introduced today.

Bills on second reading were SB 176 and SB 188.

The following committees meet at these times:

Finance at 9 a.m. tomorrow in 460M.

Health at 3 p.m. in 215E.

Political Subdivisions at 2 p.m. in 434M.

Judiciary at 9 a.m. tomorrow in 410M.

Education at 9 a.m. tomorrow in 434M.

Government Organization at 9 a.m. tomorrow in 215E.

Pensions and Retirement at 4 p.m. in 460M.

 

The House is adjourned until 11 a.m. tomorrow.

›› House bills introduced on this date


Tuesday, March 07, 2017 - 01:49 PM

Senate Passes House Bill to Strengthen Human Trafficking Charges

The Senate has passed seven bills today that will be sent to the House for further consideration.

SB 236 would establish limits applicable to the award of damages for medical monitoring.

SB 239 would protect an employee’s wages or salaries from being withheld or diverted for political activities without the express, written authorization of the employee.

SB 392 would add a definition for “vested” to Municipal Police and Fire Retirement System and clarify duty/nonduty disability.

SB 442 would modify the definitions of “assault” and "battery", and “domestic assault” and "domestic battery" to conform with federal laws relating to firearms possession criminal offenses.

SB 456 would correct a technical error in an original clause related to standards for termination of parental rights in child abuse and neglect cases.

HB 2318 would strengthen and establish criminal offenses relating to human trafficking.

The senate also completed legislation on HB 2740, which will now be sent to Governor Jim Justice for enaction. This bill would expire funds to the surplus balance of General Revenue and supplement, amend, add, and increase any items of appropriation in the aforesaid accounts for the designated spending units for expenditure during the fiscal year 2017.

Members of the Senate also adopted SR 32, which designated today as West Virginia Alzheimer's Association Day at the Capitol.

Senate Bills 526-537 were introduced. 

Senate Bills 198, 280, 338 and 358 were advanced to a second reading.

Committee Meetings Today

Energy, Industry and Mining: 1:30 p.m. in 208W

Health and Human Resources: 1:30 p.m. in 451M

Government Organization: 2 p.m. in 208W

Education: 2 p.m. in 451M

Judiciary: 3 p.m. in 208W

Finance: 3 p.m. in 451M

Committee Meetings Tomorrow

Workforce: 10 a.m. in 208W

Interstate Cooperation: 10 a.m. in 451M

Confirmations: immediately following session in 208W

Agriculture and Rural Development: 2 p.m. in 208W

The Senate is adjourned until 11 a.m. tomorrow.

›› Senate bills introduced on this date
›› Completed Legislation

Tuesday, March 07, 2017 - 10:28 AM

House Bill 2546 Reported Out of House Committee on Industry and Labor

The Committee on Industry and Labor met today to discuss HB 2546.

House Bill 2546 would allow uniform costs to be deducted from a terminated employee's final paycheck if the uniform is not returned. The bill was amended so the employer would have to make the employee aware of the fee and give the employee one day to return the uniform. Alternatively, the employee can keep the uniform and pay the fee.

Delegate Shott (R-Mercer) and Delegate Foster (R-Putnam) amended the bill further to require a written agreement between the employee and employer discussing the uniform and the expectations of the employer in regards to the uniform such as replacement cost.

The bill as amended was reported to the House with the recommendation that it pass but first be referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.



Tuesday, March 07, 2017 - 09:52 AM

House Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources Reports Eight Bills

The House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee met today and referred eight bills out of the committee.

House Bill 2566 would create the WV Fresh Food Act. This act would require state institutions to buy at least 20% of their food from local producers. The bill was amended by the committee requiring 5% at first but adding 5% each year. The amendment also gives the Department of Agriculture rulemaking authority on the act. The bill was referred to the Committee on Finance with the recommendation that it pass.

House Bill 2553 would relate to an exemption from the consumer’s sales and service tax and use tax for sales of services and tangible personal property related to the activities of raising and training livestock. This bill was also amended to clear up some technical issues. The bill was referred to the Committee on Finance with the recommendation that it pass.

House Bill 2752 would relate to abuse and neglect of livestock. This would help to give more funds to take care of livestock seized from an abusive or neglectful owner. The bill was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary with the recommendation that it pass.

House Bill 2693 would relate to state ownership of wildlife. It cleans up code relating to the definition of wildlife in the West Virginia code. It was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary with the recommendation that it pass.

House Bill 2696 would relate to crossbow hunting. It cleans up code and is a mostly a technical bill. The bill was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary with the recommendation that it pass.

House Bill 2699 would make information about the Division of Natural Resources licensees exempt from the provision of the Freedom of Information Act. This would not exempt the information from law enforcement access. The bill was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary with the recommendation that it pass.

House Bill 2707 would relate to the collection, possession and sale of naturally shed deer antlers. This would allow this activity on privately owned land, public land, or private land with the owner's written consent. The bill was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary with the recommendation that it pass.

House Bill 2708 would relate to a lawful method for a developmentally disabled person to purchase a base hunting license. They must attend an on-site hunter training course and if unable to take a written test, they must pass all other parts of the test in order to receive their license. They must also be shown to not be a danger to others or themselves by using a firearm. Hunting on private property still would not require a license. The committee amended the bill to correct some technical issues. Delegate Summers (R-Taylor) amended the bill so that the Secretary of DHHR would not have to get involved in the hunting process and only require a physician's approval. The bill was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary with the recommendation that it pass.



Monday, March 06, 2017 - 04:28 PM

Senate Judiciary Rejects Bill to Repeal Campaign Financing Program

The Senate Judiciary Committee has rejected a bill that would repeal and otherwise eliminate the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals Public Campaign Financing Program.

The bill, SB 463, will be referred to the Senate Finance Committee after it is reported to the full Senate with the recommendation that it do not pass.

Julie Archer of the West Virginia Citizen Action Group said passage of the bill would be regressive toward efforts in the state to prevent scandal and dark monies from corrupting in Supreme Court of Appeals campaigns, as they have been in the past.

Archer said continuing the program will ultimately help to "restore some confidence in the judiciary."

Senator Robert Beach (D - Monongalia) said the legislature should keep the program running in order to avoid having to experience another "wake-up call" because of a preventable campaign scandal.

Beach said the program would be very difficult to bring back at a later time if eliminated now.

The bill was originally introduced to try and save the state money that would have been used to help candidates run for the Supreme Court of Appeals.

Following the bill's rejection, the committee voted to approve SB 259, which would require administrators of intestate estates to give bond and take oath.

HB 2099 and SB 219 were taken off of the agenda to be discussed in a future meeting.



Monday, March 06, 2017 - 03:47 PM

Senate Committee on Banking and Insurance Reports Volunteer Fire Department Bill

The Senate Committee on Banking and Insurance met today to discuss SB 168.

Senate Bill 168 would relate to the surcharge on fire and casualty insurance policies to fund volunteer fire departments. The increase would be from .55% to 1%. The fiscal note on the bill suggests that the bill would mean an increase in revenue for the volunteer fire departments of 10.9 million dollars.

Jill Rice, the President of the West Virginia Insurance Association, said that West Virginia has one of the highest percentage of surcharge in the nation. She also said that she couldn't predict the impact that the bill would have.

Rice said, "This bill won't solve the problem. This is a tax on our policy holders that won't solve the problem."

Sam Love, representative of the West Virginia Fire Fighters Association said that the insurance industry would like all the volunteer fire fighters out of business so they can raise their rates. He also discussed about the expenses of volunteer fire departments such as training, pump trucks, and gear. He also explained that other funding sources are not enough as some counties can't afford to fund them, and fundraising with the boot is not enough. The bill may offset the increase in worker’s compensation rates.

The bill was referred to the committee on Finance with a recommendation that it do pass.

Senate Bill 434 was on the agenda but was carried over until the next meeting.



Monday, March 06, 2017 - 03:30 PM

Gov. Org. approves WV Contractor Act

The Committee on Government Organization approved HB 2554. I will transfer the West Virginia Contractor Act from administration and regulation by the Division of Labor to regulation under the provisions of professions and occupations in chapter thirty of code. The bill continues the West Virginia Contactor Licensing Board with administrative duties of board and legislative rules without the Division of Labor. The bill keeps the necessity for contractor license and exemptions, procedure for licensing, expiration date, fees and renewal of license.  It continues procedure for revocation for unlawful use, assignment or transfer of license. Also the prerequisites to obtaining building permit and mandatory written contracts. Specific administrative duties of board and record keeping by the board are provided without the Division of Labor.  The board is authorized to grant reciprocity and to provide training to students who desire to obtain a West Virginia contractor license.  Misdemeanor criminal penalties for violations of article are retained.



Monday, March 06, 2017 - 02:52 PM

Senate Natural Resources Approves Four Bills Related to Hunting and Wildlife

The Senate Committee on Natural Resources has approved four bills to be reported to the full Senate with the recommendation that they pass.

SB 469 would prohibit the wanton waste of game animals, game birds or game fish.

SB 471 would make the definition of wildlife consistent with the existing definition of wildlife contained in WV Code §20-1-2.

SB 473 would clarify the circumstances in which naturally shed deer antlers may be lawfully collected, possessed and sold. The bill also clarifies that certain wildlife or parts thereof cannot be traded or bartered.

SB 474 would exempt the list of names, addresses and contact information for hunting license holders from public disclosure with certain exceptions.

All bills approved except for SB 473 will be referred to Senate Judiciary once reported to the floor.



Monday, March 06, 2017 - 02:22 PM

Bill to better Treatment through TeleHealth passes in House

Five bills passed today in the House of Delegates; they will now be sent to the Senate for further consideration. 

HB 2459 would update regulations relating to health care, define terms, and add/clarify exemptions.

HB 2509 would permit a physician to prescribe certain controlled substances when using telemedicine technologies. This would allow people who live a distance from doctor to receive treatment. 

HB 2590 would update the meaning of "federal taxable income" and certain other terms used in the West Virginia Corporation Net Income Tax Act by bringing them into conformity with their meaning for Internal Revenue Code's definitions and specifying effective dates.

HB 2594 would update the meaning of "federal adjusted gross income" and certain other terms used in the West Virginia Personal Income Tax Act and specify effective dates. 

HB 2653 would extend the multistate real-time tracking system ro June 30, 2023.

Committee Meetings Today

Roads and Transportation: 1:45 p.m. in 215E

Finance: 2:15 p.m. in 460M

Judiciary: 2:45 p.m. in 410M

Education: 2:45 p.m. in 434M

Gov. Org.: 3 p.m. in 215E

Committee Meetings Tomorrow

Agriculture and Natural Resources: 9 a.m. in 215E

Industry and Labor: 10 a.m. in 215E

Political Subdivisions: 1 p.m. in 434M

Health and Human Resources: 2 p.m. om 215E

Pensions and Retirement: 4 p.m. in 460M

The House is adjourned until 11 a.m. tomorrow.

›› House bills introduced on this date


Monday, March 06, 2017 - 01:15 PM

Nine Bills Pass the Senate Today

The Senate met today and passed nine bills. These bills were SB 190, SB 209, SB 221, SB 224, SB 263, SB 400, SB 429, SB 436, and SB 445.

Senate Bill 190 would eliminate bidding preferences for vendors bidding on state contracts for commodities or printing.

Senate Bill 209 would define the term "veteran" as it relates to veteran-owned businesses.

Senate Bill 221 would relate to the composition of the PEIA Finance Board.

Senate Bill 224 would repeal the requirement for employer's bonds for wages and benefits.

Senate Bill 263 would create an exemption from certain contract and common carrier laws for vehicles used exclusively for transportation.

Senate Bill 400 would regard to appointments to West Virginia Infrastructure and Jobs Development Council.

Senate Bill 429 would relate to monitoring inmate communications.

Senate Bill 436 would permit investigators from the Attorney General's Office to carry firearms during the carrying out of their duties after an exam.

Senate Bill 445 would amend the definition of "abused child."

Bills on second reading were SB 239, SB 392, SB 442, SB 456, and HB 2318. Senate Bill 239 and House Bill 2318 were both amended.

Senate Bills 517-525 were introduced.

Senate Resolution 30 was adopted today which designated the month of March as American Red Cross Month.

Senate Resolution 31 was also adopted which recognized the contributions of southern West Virginia to the entire state and the United States of America.

The following committees meet today:

Finance at 3 p.m. in 451M.

Judiciary at 3 p.m. in 208W.

Banking and Insurance at 2 p.m. in 451M.

Natural Resources will meet at 1:15 p.m. in 208W.

Finance Subcommittee on DHHR will meet at 4 p.m. in 451M.

Transportation and Infrastructure will meet tomorrow at 10 a.m. in 451M.

Military will meet tomorrow at 10 a.m. in 208W.

 

The Senate is adjourned until 11 a.m. tomorrow.

›› Senate bills introduced on this date


Friday, March 03, 2017 - 02:34 PM

Bills Related to Kidnapping and Drug Violations Approved by Senate Judiciary

The Senate Judiciary Committee has approved three bills to be reported to the floor with the recommendation that they pass.

SB 206 would expand the definition of kidnapping to including taking or gaining custody of, confining or concealing another person by force or threat of force; or by duress, fraud, deceit misrepresentation or enticement.

Lead sponsor for the bill Senator Ryan Weld (R - Brooke) said there was too much "wiggle room" in the language of the original definition that would not adequately protect those threatened with kidnapping.

SB 220 would create a new felony offense for a drug delivery that results in the death of another person and providing a felony criminal penalty.

Senator Robert Karnes (R - Upshur) said he was concerned that the bill might interfere with a current law enacted in 2015 from SB 523 that grants limited immunity from prosecution for certain misdemeanor offenses for a person who seeks emergency medical assistance for someone who is experiencing a drug or alcohol overdose.

Committee counsel Tom Smith ensured the bill would not conflict with the current rule.

Senator Charles Trump (R - Morgan), Chair, took SB 219 off of the agenda at the start of the meeting to be discussed at a future date.

The next meeting for the Judiciary was not announced.



Friday, March 03, 2017 - 01:39 PM

House Passes Bill to Increase Penalties relating to Controlled Substances

Today in the House passed six bills, which will now go to the Senate for further consideration and sent one bill back to committee for further evaluation. 

HB 2364 prohibits electioneering during early voting periods in and around early voting locations to the same extent as is currently prohibited at polling places on election day. 

HB 2619 adopts the National Association of Insurance Commissioners' Risk Management and Own Risk Solvency Assessment Model Act for implementation by West Virginia insurers so that they are better equipped to assess their financial condition and remain solvent. 

HB 2630 authorizes the Board of Medicine and the Board of Osteopathic Medicine to share stag when efficient and practical to do so.

HB 2648 increases the minimum sentence by three years for individuals convicted of manufacturing, delivering, or transporting controlled substances in the presence of a minor.

HB 2651 requires nationally normed standardized achievement tests to be administered to nonpublic students the ages of seven and seventeen. It also requires that the test administrated be published or normed within ten years from the date of administration.

HB2684 imposes penalties for repeat violations of the prohibition on driving under the influence on a suspended license by persons under the age of 21. 

HB 2502 was referred to the Judiciary Committee. This bill would permit a licensed professional in another state to apply for licensure in West Virginia, if certain conditions are met.

Committee Meetings Today

 Judiciary: 2:15 p.m. in 410M

Committee Meetings Monday, March 6

Judiciary: 9 a.m. in 410M

Sub-Committee on Higher Education: 9:30 a.m. in 434M

Roads and Transportation: 1 p.m. in 215E

Finance: 2 p.m. in 460M

Education: 2:30 p.m. in 434M

Gov. Org.: 3 p.m. in 215E

›› House bills introduced on this date


Friday, March 03, 2017 - 01:03 PM

Senate Passed Three Bills Today

The Senate passed three bills today. The bills were SB 4, SB 410, and SB 439.

Senate Bill 4 would allow licensed professionals donate time to care of indigent and needy in a clinical setting. It was amended by Senator Takubo (R - Kanawha) on third reading and then passed as amended.

Senate Bill 410 would relate to marking traps with a DNR identification tag.

Senate Bill 439 would relate to venue for civil and criminal actions at Salem Correctional Center.

Bills on second reading were SB 209, SB 221, SB 224, SB 263, SB 400, SB 429, SB 436, and SB 445.

Senate Bill 224 was attempted to be amended by Senator Jeffries (D - Putnam). The amendment was not adopted after much discussion between Senator Trump (R - Morgan), Senator Ojeda (D - Logan), Senator Facemire (D - Braxton), and Senator Romano (D - Harrison).

Senate Bills 501-516 were introduced as well.

The following committees meet at the following times:

Judiciary at 1 p.m. in 208W.

Select Committee on Tax Reform at 9 a.m. in 451M on Monday.

Confirmations at 10 a.m. in 208W on Monday.

 

The Senate is adjourned until 11 a.m. on Monday.

›› Senate bills introduced on this date


Friday, March 03, 2017 - 10:56 AM

Senate Confirmations Hear from Former First Lady Manchin

The Senate Confirmations Committee has heard from former first lady Gayle C. Manchin in a hearing relating to her appointment to serve as Secretary of the Department of Education and the Arts.

Manchin said she is ready to "streamline" the Department in order to meet budget demands by combining offices and reducing the number of employee positions.

She said she believes the Department plays a significant role in serving the citizens of the state by giving them a chance to engage in lifelong learning.

"I believe government is all about public service," Machin said, "And providing them [citizens] the very best opportunities from birth to death."

Manchin also said the arts should not be defunded in the proposed budget bill because they contribute to the economic growth of the state by encouraging its citizens to confront complex issues in creative ways, which she said the state needs now more than ever.

Manchin was First Lady from 2005 to 2010 during her husband's first term as governor. Her husband is current U.S. Senator Joe Manchin.

The committee also heard from Cheryl Schreiber on her appointment to serve as a member on the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine Board of Governors for a term ending on June 30, 2020.

Confirmations will meet Friday, March 10 at 10 a.m.



Friday, March 03, 2017 - 10:55 AM

House Gov. Org. Discussed Six Bills

Today, House Gov. Org. met and discussed six bills. They included HB 2690, HB 2631, HB 2503, HB 2628, HB 2540, and HB 2554.

HB 2690 would terminate the West Virginia Board of Registration of Foresters while preserving essential protections against misrepresentations by unqualified persons in the commercial practice of forestry. Originally the bill stated that unexpended funds would be transferred to the General Revenue Fund, but there was an amendment that would transfer the funds into the State Road Funds in an effort to better West Virginia Roads.

HB 2631 would prevent dismissal of complaints that exceed time standards for disposition when then accused causes delay that results in the time overage. 

HB 2503 would update the rulemaking authority of the Board of Osteopathic Medicine.

HB 2628 would clarify and strengthen the duties and powers of the Board of Medicine and the Board of Osteopathic Medicine with regard to evidence of serious misconduct by licensees and applicants for license under their respective jurisdictions.

HB 2540 would permit a person to practice his or her profession for seven days for a charitable function. There would be a special license given to the person if certain qualifications were met. 

HB 2554 would transfer the West Virginia Contractor Act from administration and regulation by the Division of Labor to regulation under the provisions of professions and occupations in chapter 30 of code. 



Friday, March 03, 2017 - 09:50 AM

Senate Finance Approves Two Bills

The Senate Finance Committee has approved two bills to be reported to the floor with the recommendation that they pass.

SB 185 would allow spending units to designate the fund which the proceeds from the sale of surplus property must be deposited when the fund that was used to purchase the property is no longer in existence.

The bill was first reported from Senate Government Organization with the recommendation that it pass.

SB 365 would maintain the solvency of the Unemployment Compensation Fund and extend the time period for borrowing funds from the Revenue Shortfall Reserve Fund for the Unemployment Compensation Fund to September 1, 2018.

The committee's next meeting has not yet been announced.



Thursday, March 02, 2017 - 04:28 PM

Senate Judiciary Approves Three Bills

The Senate Judiciary Committee has approved three bills to be reported to the full Senate with the recommendation that they pass.

SB 358 would permit a timeshare managing entity to foreclose upon its statutory lien for assessments in the manner of sales under trust deeds. It provides for the naming of a trustee by the managing entity to carry out the sale and require notice.

Tom O'Neill spoke on behalf of the Land of Canaan Vacation Resort in favor the bill's passage.

SB 338 would amend the Medical Professional Liability Act by adding a definition for “occurrence,” provide for a preference of venue, establish an attorney’s fees schedule based upon the amount recovered, establish the effective date and provide for severability.

President of the West Virginia Association for Justice Jane Peak was present to answer questions from the committee.

SB 173 would provide exemptions that would differentiate autocycles from having to adhere to motorcycle requirements.

Senator Robert Karnes (R-Upshur) proposed an amendment to only apply certain requirements to those under the age of 18, which the committee adopted with 11 yeas and 4 nays.

DMV Director of Vehicle Services Michael Maggard was present to answer questions from members.

The bill was reported out of Senate Transportation and Infrastructure prior to appearing before the committee.



Thursday, March 02, 2017 - 03:23 PM

Five Bills passed in House today, one postponed one day

Today, the House of Delegates passed five bills and postpone one for a day. Bills passed were HB 2740, SB 231, HB 2329, HB2620, and HB 2646. HB 2648 was postponed until tomorrow. 

HB 2740 is a supplemental appropriation bill; it draws funds from the surplus balance of the General Revenue to supplement funding for public defenders.

SB 231 provides that State Board of Education may delegate its Medicaid provider status and subsequent reimbursement to regional education service agencies or county boards subject to the county board determining that there is a net benefit and no detraction from the educational program of the county. 

HB 2329 makes it unlawful to produce, manufacture, or possess fentanyl. 

HB 2620 creates a central repository of drug overdose information in West Virginia; it establishes the reporting system requirements.

HB 2646 terminates the Women's Commission and discontinues its functions. 

HB 2648 would increase the minimum sentence by three years for individuals convicted of manufacturing, delivering, or transporting controlled substances in the presence of a minor. 

Committee Meetings Today

Senior Citizens Issues: Right after session in 215E

Health and Human Resources: 3:30 p.m. in 215E

Prevention and Treatment: 4:30 p.m. in 215E

Committee Meetings Tomorrow

Judiciary: 8:30 a.m. in 410M

Finance: 9 a.m. in 460M

Sub-Committee on K-12: 9 a.m. in 434M

Gov. Org.: 9 a.m. in 215E

The House is adjourned until 11 a.m. tomorrow.

›› House bills introduced on this date


Thursday, March 02, 2017 - 03:10 PM

Senate Government Organization Puts Three Bills on Layover, Passes One

The Senate Committee on Government Organization has put three bills on layover until a future meeting and has approved one bill to be reported to the full Senate with the recommendation that it pass.

The passed bill, SB 280, would move the association of the Civil Air Patrol from the Aeronautics Commission and realign it under the Military Forces of the state, because one of the Civil Air Patrol’s primary missions is the provision of emergency services, including aerial and ground search and rescue operations, homeland security operations and disaster relief operations.

The Senate Committees on Military and Judiciary have already approved the bill for passage.

The three bills put on layover are SB 350, SB 253 and SB 441.

SB 350 would allow certain licensed professional counselor and marriage and family therapist applicants to be issued a temporary permit for six months so the applicant can practice during the application and testing process.

According to counsel, the bill was created to help solve the state's "shortage" of licensed counselors and therapists.

Those who came to voice their support for the bill included Marshall University Counseling Board Chairwoman Lori Ellison, NECCO Executive Director Amy Rickman and Executive Director of the West Virginia Board of Examiners in Counseling Roxanne Clay.

The bill was put on layover for counsel to solve issues with the language of the bill and give time for senators to draft amendments.

SB 253 would clarify the English language requirement used when evaluating an individual applicant for medical licensing in the state.

SB 441 would establish the municipal home rule pilot program as a permanent program, allow all municipalities to participate in the program, and allow municipalities who institute a sales and use tax pursuant to the program to administer and collect the tax through their own municipal collector’s offices.

Both SB 253 and SB 441 were not able to be discussed within the timeframe of the meeting.



Thursday, March 02, 2017 - 01:56 PM

Senate Health and Human Resources Committee Refers Five Bills

The Senate Health and Human Resources Committee referred five bills out of the committee today. The bills were SB 486, SB 198, SB 339, SB 360, and SB 193.

Senate Bill 486 would relate to health care provider tax increases. This tax would be paid by the hospitals and matched by the federal government in order to gain more federal funding via a three to one match. The bill was then reported with the recommendation that it pass but first referred to the Committee on Finance.

Senate Bill 198 would expand the Health Sciences Program to allow certain medical practitioners in underserved areas, in particular those who specialize in emergency care. The bill was reported to the full Senate with a recommendation to pass.

Senate Bill 339 would create a legislative coalition on chronic pain management. It also sets forth the duties and organization of the coalition. The bill would cease effect in 2020. Senator Plymale (D-Wayne) amended the bill to secure representation from all of the state's congressional districts. The bill was referred to the Committee on Government Organization with the recommendation that it pass.

Senate Bill 360 would create a legislative coalition on Diabetes Management. Senator Plymale (D-Wayne) amended this bill also to secure representation from all of the state's congressional districts. Senator Stollings (D-Boone) amended the bill to have a Pharmacist certified in Diabetic Management added to the coalition. The bill was referred to the Committee on Government Organization with the recommendation that it pass.

Senate Bill 193 would prohibit smoking of tobacco products in motor vehicles when a person 16 years old or younger is present. This would be a secondary offense and add a fine of up to $250 to the original charge. Senator Palumbo (D-Kanawha) amended the bill to make it clear that there is not a separate charge by how many children are in the car. Senator Stollings (D-Boone) amended the bill to drop the fine down to $25. The bill was referred to the Committee on Judiciary with the recommendation that it pass. 



Thursday, March 02, 2017 - 12:05 PM

Senate Moves Three Bills to Third Reading

Today the Senate met and moved three bills to third reading. These bills were SB 190, SB 410, and SB 439.

Senate Bill 190 would eliminate preferences for vendors bidding on state contracts for commodities or printing.

Senate Bill 410 would relate to marking traps with a DNR identification tag.

Senate Bill 439 would relate to venue for civil and criminal actions at Salem Correctional Center.

Senate bills 495-500 were introduced today.

Senate Resolution 28 was adopted designating March 2, 2017 as All Kinds Are Welcome Here Day at the capital.

Senate Resolution 29 was adopted as well recognizing West Virginia Association of Retired School Employees for their dedicated public service.

The following committees meet today:

Finance at 3 p.m. in 451M and at 9:30 a.m. tomorrow.

Judiciary at 3 p.m. in 208W.

Education at 2 p.m. in 451M.

Government Organization at 2 p.m. in 208W.

Health and Human Resources at 1 p.m. in 451M.

Confirmations will meet tomorrow at 10 a.m. in 208W.

 

The Senate is adjourned until 11 a.m. tomorrow.

›› Senate bills introduced on this date


Thursday, March 02, 2017 - 09:58 AM

House Small Business Committee Refers Two Bills

The House Small Business Entrepreneurship and Economic Development Committee met today and referred two bills. the bills were HB 2375 and HB 2548.

House Bill 2375 would establish a Small Business Empowerment and Economic Expansion Program providing tax relief to newly-established small businesses. This bill was amended to prevent people from dismantling their business and then reapplying for the grant with a new similar business to the one that was dismantled. This halts people from abusing the tax program.

The bill was referred to the Committee on Finance with the recommendation that it pass.

House Bill 2548 would relate to the use of outside speakers by persons licensed to manufacture, sale, possess for sale, transport or distribute non-intoxicating beer.

The bill was referred to the Committee on Judiciary with the recommendation that it pass but with one committee member voting nay.



Wednesday, March 01, 2017 - 05:41 PM

Senate Judiciary Reports Four Bills

The Senate Judiciary Committee has approved four bills to be reported to the full Senate with the recommendation that they pass.

HB 2318 would strengthen and establish criminal offenses relating to human trafficking.

An identical bill was passed in the House last year, but did not make it to the Senate for a vote in time for the midnight deadline of session.

The human trafficking task force would be funded by grants.

SB 442 would modify definitions of “assault” and "battery," and “domestic assault” and "domestic battery" to conform with federal laws relating to firearms possession criminal offenses.

SB 456 would correct a technical error in an original clause related to standards for termination of parental rights in child abuse and neglect cases.

SB 239 would protect an employee’s wages or salaries from being withheld or diverted for political activities without the express, written authorization of the employee.

The bill was first approved in the Senate Workforce Committee. 

SB 411 was taken off the agenda for today.



Wednesday, March 01, 2017 - 03:59 PM

House Gov. Org. Discusses Bills relating to Cosmetology

Today in House Gov. Org. discussed HB 2961, HB 2725, and SB 116.

HB 2961 would allow persons qualified by training to be a barber and a cosmetologist to elect to practice solely as a barber and maintain licensure by taking continuing education solely in subjects related to barbering. 

HB 2725 would prevent the Board of Barbers and Cosmetologists from regulating the use of hair, nail, skin, and other beauty products that are commonly available as retail, consumer products. 

SB 116 would allow he Governor's Committee on Crime, Delinquency and Corrections to issue a legislative rule relating to Law-Enforcement Training and Certification Standards. 



Wednesday, March 01, 2017 - 03:24 PM

Senate Agriculture and Rural Development Committee Refers SB 27

The Senate Agriculture and Rural Development Committee met today and referred Senate Bill 27 to the Committee on Health and Human Resources.

Senate Bill 27 would permit the sale of home-based, micro-processed foods at farmers markets. One of the presenters said that this bill would help farmers markets to continue to be small business incubators and help give rural communities access to farm fresh foods.

Senator Ojeda (D-Logan) wanted to be sure it was part of the committee substitute of the bill was that one must get certified in a canning class in order to be allowed to sell their micro-processed foods. Council assured the committee this was the case.

Senator Clements (R-Wetzel) asked how many farmers take advantage of this and what kind of products would they be. Council told him that at least 10 different farmers were interested however once the bill is passed marketing will ensue. The main products would be fruits, veggies, salsas and sauces.

Senator Miller (D-Greenbrier) questioned about what recall plans that the bill had in place for those home-based businesses and was assured they would be stated in the rules.

The bill was amended by Senator Rucker (R-Jefferson) to alter some of the language of the bill, and was amended by Senator Maynard (R-Wayne) to allow commercial kitchens to also produce these home based foods.

The bill was referred to the Committee on Health and Human Resources with the recommendation that it pass.

Senate Bill 283 was also discussed. SB 283 would transfers the production of food inspection from the Department of Health and Human Resources to the Department of Agriculture.



Wednesday, March 01, 2017 - 02:09 PM

Bill to allow overlapping mixing zones passes in House

Today, in the House of Delegates, Committee Substitute for HB 2506 passed. Committee Substitute for HB 2420 was tabled due to a similar bill, SB 231 which will be on 3rd reading in the House tomorrow. 

Committee Substitute for HB 2506 allows permit limits to be calculated using design flows recommended by the United States Environmental Protection Act for human health; specifically, the use of the harmonic mean flow. It also allows for mixing zone overlapping while retaining the application of water quality criteria that are developed for protection of drinking water. The bill will be sent to the Senate for further consideration. 

Bills on second reading included SB 231 and HB 2646. 

SB 231 would provide that the State Board of Education may delegate its Medicaid provider status and subsequent reimbursement to regional education service agencies or county boards subject to the county board determining that there is a net benefit and no detraction from the educational program of the county. 

Committee Substitute for HB 2646 would terminate the Women's Commission and discontine its functions. 

Committee Meetings Today

Veterans' Affairs and Homeland Security: 15 min after session adjourned in 434M

Finance: 2:30 p.m. in 460M

Judiciary: 2:45 p.m. in 410M

Education: 2:45 p.m. in 434M

Gov. Org.: 3 p.m. in 215E

Committee Meetings Tomorrow

Small Business, Entrepreneurship and Economic Development: 9 a.m. in 434M

Banking and Insurance: 10 a.m. in 410M

Senior Issues: 1 p.m. in 215E

Energy: 2 p.m. in 410M

Health and Human Resources: 2 p.m. in 215E

Committee on Prevention and Treatment of Substance Abuse: 3:30 p.m. in 215E

Committee Meetings on Friday

Sub-Committee on K-12: 9 a.m. in 434M

The House is adjourned until 11 a.m. tomorrow.

›› House bills introduced on this date


Wednesday, March 01, 2017 - 01:49 PM

Tax Exemptions for Aircraft Maintenance Approved in Senate Economic Development

The Senate Committee on Economic Development has approved a bill that would provide tax exemptions for certain services and property sold for the repair, remodeling and maintenance of aircraft operated under a fractional ownership program.

The bill, SB 61, would cause a $1,500 tax impact to the state during fiscal year 2018, with no expenses in fiscal years thereafter.

Lead sponsor for the bill, Senator Mike Romano (D-Harrison) said the bill would help to diversify the state's economy and provide job opportunities in growing north-central airports.

Romano said the bill would also "get us in line with the rest of the country," since all other states have provisions for the proposed tax exemptions.

Chris Hall of the West Virginia Airspace Alliance spoke in support of the opportunities presented by the bill.

"This is an important jobs bill," Hall said, "And it's at a minimum cost to the state."

Senator Chandler Swope (R-Mercer) also voiced his support for the bill, since he said he is a pilot himself who understands the potential of the bill for the state.

An identical bill passed the Senate 34-0 last year but was voted down in the House.

The bill will be referred to Senate Finance once reported to the floor.



Wednesday, March 01, 2017 - 01:35 PM

The Senate Passed Nine Bills Today to the House

The Senate met today and passed nine bills. These bills were SB 5, SB 9, SB 180, SB 225, SB 261, SB 337, SB 345, SB 346, and SB 347.

Senate Bill 5 would disqualify CDL for DUI conviction in certain cases.

Senate Bill 9 would regulate unmanned aircraft systems.

Senate Bill 180 would relate to PSC jurisdiction over certain telephone company and internet services.

Senate Bill 225 would allow magistrates to conduct proceedings for temporary emergency protective order dealing with temporary custody by family court.

Senate Bill 261 would relate to increasing salary or wages of judgement debtor.

Senate Bill 337 would allow hiring correctional officers without regard to placement on the correctional officer register.

Senate Bill 345 would allow hunting and trapping on private property Sundays in the regular hunting season.

Senate Bill 346 would relate generally to jurisdiction of PSC over motor carriers.

Senate Bill 347 would relate to the modernization of Physician Assistant Practice Act.

Senate Bills 485-494 were introduced.

Senate Resolution 26 was adopted recognizing Holly Boggs on winning the 2016 Earle S. Dillard Insurance Agent of the Year Award.

Senate Resolution 27 was also adopted designating March 1, 2017 as Cancer Survivorship Day in West Virginia.

The following committees meet today:

Finance at 3 p.m. in 451M and tomorrow at 9:30 a.m.

Judiciary at 3 p.m. in 208W.

Agriculture at 2 p.m. in 208W.

Pensions at 2 p.m. in 451M.

Economic Development at 1:15 p.m. in 208W.

 

The Senate is adjourned until 11 a.m. tomorrow.

›› Senate bills introduced on this date


Wednesday, March 01, 2017 - 09:31 AM

House Finance Committee Meets Briefly to Report Two Bills

This morning the House Finance Committee met very briefly to report two bills that update language in some tax acts. The Bills were HB 2590 and HB 2594.

House Bill 2590 would update the meaning of federal taxable income and certain other terms used in the West Virginia Corporation Net Income Tax Act.

House Bill 2594 would update the meaning of federal adjusted gross income and certain other terms used in the West Virginia Personal Income Tax Act.

The House Finance Committee will meet again today following a 3 p.m. budget hearing.




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