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Volume XXVI, Issue 2 - February 6, 2015


Legislature Charts New Course in Education

New education legislation proposes changes for teachers, administrators, and communities.

By: Britanie Morgan
Legislators are looking for more local control over schools this session.

House Education Chair Amanda Pasdon said “Every piece of legislation I look at has to have a flavor of local control to pass.”

The hot topics for education right now are public charter schools and alternative certification for teachers.

House Bill 2014 and Senate Bill 14 both address the creation of public charter schools. West Virginia is one of the last states to approve public charter school legislation. Currently 42 states and the District of Colombia allow for charter schools. Pasdon wants to use other states as models to learn from. These schools would provide teachers with flexibility to design their own education environment and provide a mechanism for discovering successful education practices.

Senate Education Committee Chair Dave Sypolt is optimistic that this legislation will provide a frame work for the creation of new schools.

“It provides a blank canvas for a board of directors to bring forth their view of what a school should be,” Sypolt said.

Sypolt believes that public charter schools could provide communities with the option to keep smaller schools instead of consolidating or allow for specialized schools for the preforming arts, sciences, technology, engineering, mathematics or other specialization fields.

Public charter schools would still be subject to all the same requirements as current public schools, such as; Immunizations, school nutrition, background checks for personnel and special education services.

Pasdon also hopes that these schools will spark competition to improve the current school system. “I’m a believer that competition in a market builds a market,” Pasdon said. “Education is no different.”

Other important pieces of legislation regarding education this session include House Bill 2005 and Senate Bill 5. These “same as” bills would update alternative programming for educating teachers. Pasdon said the passage of this bill in her committee was a top priority.

“Alternative certification was a big feat for us,” Pasdon said.

This bill would remove the limit on program to position in an area of critical need and shortage and remove degree requirements in certain disciplines. Sypolt said this could open the door even more to people who can help these communities that are lacking qualified teachers; be it for lack of funding like in poverty stricken counties or in counties where the cost of living is just too high for teachers.

“I would argue having someone who is an expert in their field even though they weren’t an accomplished teacher is better than having a substitute that doesn’t know anything about the subject,” Sypolt said.

The focus this session is answering teachers’ complaints and helping the system run smoothly according to Sypolt.

“Let’s let the teachers teach instead of tying their hands with all of these requirements that really don’t serve anything but bog down the entire system,” Sypolt said.

Both legislators are hoping to redesign the current education system to better help schools and teachers educate West Virginia students.

 

Senate Bills Passed

Senate Bill 6
Senate Bill 6 would help to control the increase in cost of liability insurance and maintain access to affordable healthcare for residents of West Virginia. It would provide a mechanism to help increase the limitation on civil damages for medical malpractice suits based on inflation. The bill also provides new limitations on the type of evidence that is allowed to be presented as well as requiring appellate courts to review de novo certain decisions made by circuit courts.

Senate Bill 7
Senate Bill 7 would change the requirements of CPR and First Aid training for children in grades six through twelve. This bill would require that care for conscious choking be added to the first aid teaching requirements and after July 1, 2016 that a minimum of thirty minutes of instruction be required prior to graduation. This instruction must be based on guidelines from the American Red Cross or other recognized institute. The instruction may be given by other community organizations aside from the school if desired.

Senate Bill 8
Senate Bill 8 provides for a performance and efficiency audit of the Division of Highways. The audit will help determine areas of inefficiency, better allocation of funds, better practices, method of saving funds, and identify unused funds. The auditing agency’s contract must not exceed $500,000 and must not be performed by an agency that is currently auditing the Division of Highways or up to five years prior to the bidding process.

Senate Bill 106
Senate Bill 106 would provide that a sanitary board is no longer required to have a professional licensed engineer on the board if the board is supervising a project with a contracted engineer involved in the project. The bill aims to no longer have the redundancy of multiple professional engineers when others are present. It also aims to reduce costs by no longer having to pay funds required in the hiring of an engineer by the sanitary board.

Senate Bill 175
Senate Bill 175 would authorize the Department of Health and Human Resources to promulgate a legislative rule relating to public water systems.

Senate Bill 237
Senate Bill 237 is the Captive Cervids Farming Act. This would allow a legal agricultural industry regarding the farming of deer, elk, moose, caribou, reindeer and other members of the Cervidae family of mammals. This would allow cervidae to be treated like other livestock and face similar licensing and regulation. Such livestock would be able to be sold commercially for their meat and other uses. The bill gives the Department of Agriculture the power to assess such facilities, provides for an application process, and ability to address noncompliance with criminal penalties.

Senate Bill 284
Senate Bill 284 relates to chief law-enforcement officer’s requirement to certify transfer or making of certain firearms. The bill states the procedure for when an officer is required to certify the transfer and making of firearms. The bill includes definitions and right of appeal if a request for certification of the transfer or making of certain firearms is denied. This facilitates gun rights as a whole.

Senate Bill 249
Senate Bill 249 would prevent voting by straight party ticket. In all public elections, voters would be prevented from just choosing a party and having their votes go towards all members of that party. The bill would not prevent people from choosing each individual candidate of the same party. They would just no longer have the ability to voter for a party and not chose for each individual public office that was on the ballot.

Senate Bill 312
Senate Bill 312 relates to the disqualification of general election candidates in regards to failing to file campaign finance statements. The bill would set a deadline by which candidates must file their finance statements or be disqualified. Such a statement must be filed prior to eighty-four days before a primary election. Failure to do by such a deadline or someone who files intentionally or grossly incomplete paperwork may possibly face a fine or jail time.

Senate Bill 318
Senate Bill 318 would amend the Wage Payment and Collection Act relating to the number of pay periods required per month. This would require businesses, firms, and other employment bodies to pay employees at least twice per month unless there is a special agreement. This changes from the previous standard of only paying employees once every two weeks. The bill is aimed at creating a more stabilized paying period so that employees can make better financial decisions.

Senate Bill 322
Senate Bill 322 would get rid of the requirement of an electronic recount of ballots in recounts. The bill is aimed at getting rid of an unnecessary practice as recounts are already done multiple times by hand. This is aimed at saving the state money as well as cutting electronic recounts would be less expensive.

Senate Bill 323
Senate Bill 323 would extend municipal home rule to Class I, II, III, and allow Class IV municipalities to participate. Each class municipality would have the ability to participate in Municipal Home Rule Pilot Program. This would West Virginia to use home rule on any of the municipalities for the state.

Senate Bill 326
Senate Bill 326 would eliminate the campaign finance reporting requirement for candidates for delegate to a national convention. Members of the political parties would no longer be required to report finances when they run to represent West Virginia in the national party conventions. Those who run to represent West Virginia in national party conventions would not be required to report the funding for campaigns.

Senate Bill 335
Senate Bill 335 would allow initial responders to an opiate-related overdose to administer opioid antagonists and treat them. This bill would also ensure that antagonists are available to those who are at risk of overdose. Friends and family members of those at risk would also be able to own antagonists and be able to report cases of overdose without penalty in certain situations. The bill would establish responsibilities for licensed health care providers who provide such antagonists.

Senate Bill 341
Senate Bill 341 would grant the Commissioner of the Department of Agriculture to approve and submit all rules submitted by the Livestock Care Standards Board. The board has the ability to create rules establishing standards of care for livestock, maintain food safety, encourage locally grown and raised food, and protect West Virginia farms and families. This bill would give the commissioner the ultimate authority to approve any of these rules and submit them.



House Bills Passed

House Bill 2053
House Bill 2053 would amend West Virginia Code §38-1-2 that provides the forms required to obtain a trust deed and permits the recording of a memorandum of a trust deed with the County Clerk’s office in lieu of the trust deed. The amendment also outlines the minimum required information that must be contained within the memorandum of deed of trust.

House Bill 2114
House Bill 2114 would update the meaning of “federal adjusted gross income” and certain other terms used in the West Virginia Personal Income Tax Act. This piece of legislation will establish more in depth meanings of terms addressed in this act. Personal income tax will now have the same meaning as the federal statutes that were amended during 2014. This bill will also aid in determining liability tax.

House Bill 2115
House Bill 2115 would update the meaning of “net income.” This legislation is the annual corporate net income tax update bill that consists of changes in federal tax law that was enacted between December 31, 2013 through January 1, 2015, into the state corporate net income tax statutes for purposes of determining tax liability for the tax year.

House Bill 2128
House Bill 2128 would allow a person who has been issued a concealed weapons permit to keep a firearm in his or her motor vehicle on the state Capitol Complex grounds if the vehicle is locked and the weapon is out of normal view.

House Bill 2138
House Bill 2138 would add aircraft operations on private airstrips and farms to the definition of "recreational purpose" for the purpose of limiting the liability of landowners. The purpose of this bill is to limit the liability of landowners who decide to make their personal land available for the use of aircraft or ultralight aircrafts operations.

House Bill 2200
House Bill 2200 would re-arrange all of the existing child welfare laws in the state of West Virginia. This bill essentially functions as a restructuring of the old juvenile justice and welfare law. It regroups the sections of the bill intro seven articles that all feature related content, instead of various sections being spread across the bill. It creates a General Provisions article, an article concerning the responsibilities of the executive branch agencies, an article regarding special programs such as disabilities, an article regarding court actions, a record keeping article, an article about missing children, and an article about interstate cooperation.

House Bill 2217
House Bill 2217 would grant the Governor the ability to appoint the state Commissioner of Labor with the advice and consent of the Senate. The person must be a competent person, who is identified with the labor interests of the state. They must also have knowledge and experience in employee issues and employee-employer relations in West Virginia. The Commissioner of Labor in office on the effective date of this section will continue to serve until his or her term expires and a new commissioner has been appointed and has qualified.

House Bill 2227
House Bill 2227 would expand the number of member counties in the National Coal Heritage Area Authority. It increases the number of members involved and provides for appointments by the county commissioners instead of the Governor. This bill also provides a chairperson appointed by Secretary of Education and the Arts rather than the Governor, creates a standing committee and the responsibilities the committee would possess. All assets and responsibilities of the Coal Heritage Highway Authority is transferred to the National Coal Heritage Area will this bill.

House Bill 2234
House Bill 2234 would require a court to permit a party in a divorce proceeding to resume using the name he or she used prior to the marriage. The current law requires that both parties maintain their legal last name throughout the divorce proceedings. The bill would ensure courts allow either party to use their original legal name during the course of the proceedings. This would help expedite the process for parties wishing to change their name and ensure they are called by their desired name.

Meeting
Charter School Debate
On January 28th, a packed House Chamber heard from opponents and proponents of charter schools as they debate the issue in the respective Education Committees.
PHOTO: Perry Bennett
Wrap-up, 2017 Edition:
Vol. XXVIII, Issue 7 (04/01/17) - Web Version
Vol. XXVIII, Issue 6 (03/27/17) - Web Version
Vol. XXVIII, Issue 5 (03/17/17) - Web Version
Vol. XXVIII, Issue 4 (03/10/17) - Web Version
Vol. XXVIII, Issue 3 (03/06/17) - Web Version
Vol. XXVIII, Issue 2 (02/24/17) - Web Version
Vol. XXVIII, Issue 1 (02/17/17) - Web Version

Wrap-up, 2016 Edition:
Vol. XXVII, Issue 6 (03/07/16) - Web Version
Vol. XXVII, Issue 5 (03/03/16) - Web Version
Vol. XXVII, Issue 4 (02/23/16) - Web Version
Vol. XXVII, Issue 3 (02/12/16) - Web Version
Vol. XXVII, Issue 2 (02/05/16) - Web Version
Vol. XXVII, Issue 1 (01/29/16) - Web Version

Wrap-up, 2015 Edition:
Vol. XXVI, Final Issue (June 2015) - Web Version
Vol. XXVI, Issue 6 (03/06/15) - Web Version
Vol. XXVI, Issue 5 (02/27/15) - Web Version
Vol. XXVI, Issue 4 (02/20/15) - Web Version
Vol. XXVI, Issue 3 (02/13/15) - Web Version
Vol. XXVI, Issue 2 (02/06/15) - Web Version
Vol. XXVI, Issue 1 (01/28/15) - Web Version

Wrap-up, 2014 Edition:
Vol. XXV, Issue 9 (03/19/14) - Download  |  Web Version
Vol. XXV, Issue 8 (03/07/14) - Download  |  Web Version
Vol. XXV, Issue 7 (02/28/14) - Download  |  Web Version
Vol. XXV, Issue 6 (02/21/14) - Download  |  Web Version
Vol. XXV, Issue 5 (02/14/14) - Download  |  Web Version
Vol. XXV, Issue 4 (02/07/14) - Download  |  Web Version
Vol. XXV, Issue 3 (01/31/14) - Download  |  Web Version
Vol. XXV, Issue 2 (01/24/14) - Download  |  Web Version
Vol. XXV, Issue 1 (01/17/14) - Download  |  Web Version

Wrap-up, 2013 Edition:
Vol. XXIV, Final Issue (07/25/13) - Download
Vol. XXIV, Issue 8 (04/19/13) - Download  |  Web Version
Vol. XXIV, Issue 7 (04/12/13) - Download  |  Web Version
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Wrap-up, 2012 Edition:
Vol. XXIII, Final Issue (04/24/12) - Download
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Wrap-up, 2011 Edition:
Vol. XXII, Redistricting Issue (09/13/11) - Download
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Wrap-up, 2010 Edition:
Vol. XXI, Final Issue (04/07/10) - Download
Vol. XXI, Issue 8 (03/10/10) - Download  |  Web Version
Vol. XXI, Issue 7 (03/03/10) - Download  |  Web Version
Vol. XXI, Issue 6 (02/24/10) - Download  |  Web Version
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Vol. XXI, Issue 2 (01/27/10) - Download  |  Web Version
Vol. XXI, Issue 1 (01/20/10) - Download  |  Web Version

Wrap-up, 2009 Editions:
Vol. XX, Final Issue Addendum (06/11/09) - Download
Vol. XX, Final Issue (05/18/09) - Download
Vol. XX, Issue 8 (04/08/09) - Download  |  Web Version
Vol. XX, Issue 7 (04/01/09) - Download  |  Web Version
Vol. XX, Issue 6 (03/25/09) - Download  |  Web Version
Vol. XX, Issue 5 (03/18/09) - Download  |  Web Version
Vol. XX, Issue 4 (03/11/09) - Download  |  Web Version
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Wrap-up, 2008 Editions:
Vol. XIX, Final Issue (04/14/08) - Download
Vol. XIX, Issue 8 (03/05/08) - Download  |  Web Version
Vol. XIX, Issue 7 (02/27/08) - Download  |  Web Version
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Wrap-up, 2007 Editions:
Vol. XVIII, Final Issue (04/16/07) - Download
Vol. XVIII, Issue 8 (03/07/07) - Download  |  Web Version
Vol. XVIII, Issue 7 (02/28/07) - Download  |  Web Version
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Wrap-up, 2006 Editions:
Vol. XVII, Final Issue (05/18/06) - Download
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Wrap-up, 2005 Editions:
Vol. XVI, 4th Special (09/30/05) - Download  |  Web Version
Vol. XVI, Final (05/17/05) - Download
Vol. XVI, Issue 9 (04/21/05) - Download  |  Web Version
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Vol. XVI, Issue 7 (03/31/05) - Download  |  Web Version
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Vol. XVI, Issue 1 (02/17/05) - Download  |  Web Version
Vol. XVI, Special (02/03/05) - Download

Download Wrap-up, 2004 Editions:
Vol. XV, Final - 05/04
Vol. XV, Issue 8 - 03/10/04
Vol. XV, Issue 7 - 03/03/04
Vol. XV, Issue 6 - 02/25/04
Vol. XV, Issue 5 - 02/18/04
Vol. XV, Issue 4 - 02/11/04
Vol. XV, Issue 3 - 02/04/04
Vol. XV, Issue 2 - 01/28/04
Vol. XV, Issue 1 - 01/21/04

Download Wrap-up, 2003 Editions:
Vol. XIV, Final - 03/17/03
Vol. XIV, Issue 8 - 03/05/03
Vol. XIV, Issue 7 - 02/26/03
Vol. XIV, Issue 6 - 02/19/03
Vol. XIV, Issue 5 - 02/12/03
Vol. XIV, Issue 4 - 02/05/03
Vol. XIV, Issue 3 - 01/29/03
Vol. XIV, Issue 2 - 01/22/03
Vol. XIV, Issue 1 - 01/16/03
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