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Volume XXVII, Issue 5 - March 3, 2016


Voter ID, DMV Legislation Accelerate Through Legislature

This week in the Legislature, bills regarding elections were passed from each chamber.


The House of Delegates passed House Bill 4013 on Feb. 19. The bill would require a person desiring to vote to present documentation identifying the voter.

Delegate Gary Howell, R-Mineral, said passing the bill could only bring to light the issues and reasons the legislation needed enacted.

“To those that say this may be a voter suppression bill, we may find out they’re right, but the voters suppressed may be the ones that are actually committing the fraud,” Howell said.

Delegate Don Perdue, D-Wayne, said he couldn’t support the bill because absentee ballots were not addressed.

The bill heads to the Senate for consideration.

The Senate, on Feb. 23, passed Senate Bill 591 - relating to voter registration list maintenance and combined voter registration and driver licensing fund. The bill would modify two sections of state code to permit the Secretary of State to enter into an agreement with the Division of Motor Vehicles from the DMV to provide certain information. The information would be used by the SOS “for the purpose of the voter registration list maintenance comparison through an interstate data-sharing agreement,” according to the language of the bill.

Sen. Herb Snyder, D-Jefferson, said his concern was if the bill required a photo identification.

“I just want to make sure the body knows this doesn’t require a (driver’s) license to vote,” Snyder said.

Reassured by Sen. Charles Trump, R-Morgan, explaining the bill, SB 591 passed unanimously. The bill heads to the House of Delegates for consideration.


Other election bills of interest:

HB 4587 - Relating to violations associated with absent voters’ ballots
HB 4676 - Relating to the nonpartisan election of prosecuting attorneys generally
SB 379 - Relating to candidate filing fees
SB 639 - Requiring disclosure of dark money political expenditures

 


Bills Passed from the Senate

As of 4:00 p.m., Friday, February 26th, 2016, the 45th day of the second session of the 82nd Legislature, 705 bills have been introduced in the Senate. Of those, 232 of the bills have passed and have been sent to the House for further consideration.

Senate Bill 252(Amending Wiretapping and Electronic Surveillance Act excluding from protection oral communications) would exclude from protection under the act any oral communication uttered in a child care center where there are notices posted informing persons that their oral communications are being intercepted.

Senate Bill 274 (Relating to increasing civil jurisdictional amount in magistrate courts) would increase the amount that magistrate courts have jurisdiction of not more than $10,000. Circuit courts can send any civil cases where the amount in controversy is $10,000 or less to magistrate courts for trial.

Senate Bill 291 (Law enforcement use of unmanned aircraft system) would require the compliance with federal laws and regulations relating to unmanned aircraft vehicles. Law-enforcement can use the unmanned aircraft system as long as they follow the required provisions.

Senate Bill 339 (Establishing Judicial Compensation Commission) would create the Judicial Compensation Commission. The commission shall be responsible for studying the compensation structures for justices of the Supreme Court of Appeals, circuit court judges, family court judges, magistrates and any other judicial officer subject to election and which office requires the judge to hold a professional license to serve in that position.

Senate Bill 376 (Expanding authority of Secretary of State and State Police) would allow the Secretary of State to request each applicant submit a full set of fingerprints for the purpose of conducting a criminal history record check.

Senate Bill 416 (Allowing terminally ill patients access to investigational products) would give terminally ill patients access to investigational products that have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration that other patients have access to when they participate in clinical trials.

Senate Bill 420 (Increasing tax rate on cigarette and tobacco products) would increase the tax on cigarettes from 55 cents to $1.55 and increase tax product tax to twelve percent of the wholesale value.

Senate Bill 438 (Requiring DHHR be present at judicial proceedings) would require the Department of Health and Human Resources be given notice of the hearing and an opportunity to provide recommendation concerning placement of the defendant with the department. A court of competent jurisdiction will provide the notice if it is determined a hearing is necessary for purposes of adjudicating whether a criminal defendant shall be placed in an inpatient mental health facility operated by the state.

Senate Bill 478 (Authorizing licenses who sell growlers to offer samples) would be allowed to offer samples of non-intoxicating beer or non-intoxicating craft beer. They may be no greater than two ounces per sample per patron and the sampling may not exceed three complimentary two-ounce samples per patron per day.

Senate Bill 481 (Authorizing distillery operators to offer liquor for purchase and consumption of premises) would allow liquor for retail sale to customers to a licensed Class A private club is operating on the premises, in which case the Class A private club may offer liquor for retail sale and consumption on the premises.

Senate Bill 485(Establishing regional recreation authorities and areas) would establish trails for off-highway recreational vehicle use. It would also allow the creation of a regional recreation authority as a joint development entity formed by three or more contiguous counties.

Senate Bill 500 (Authorizing Superintendent of State Police hold training classes to use West Virginia Automated Police Network) would allow the superintendent to hold training classes for certification to access and use the West Virginia Automated Police Network (WEAPON) for a reasonable daily fee per student not to exceed $100.

Senate Bill 505 (Exempting certain uses of field gas from motor fuel excise taxes) would exempt certain field gases from motor fuel excise taxes. Field gas means “natural gas” or any derived thereof, extracted from a production well, storage well, gathering system, pipeline, main or transmission line that is used as fuel to power field equipment.

Senate Bill 508 (Relating to civil claims for private nuisance) would require the persons filing a claim for private nuisance in any court of competent jurisdiction to provide notice to all defendants of intent to bring a claim for private nuisance. The notice must specify the conditions forming the basis of the claim for private nuisance in sufficient detail and must also advise the defendants of the opportunity to participate in mediation within sixty days of the notice.

Senate Bill 520 (Allowing PEIA ability to recover benefits or claims obtained through fraud) would have any person who violated any of the foregoing provisions in the bill to be civilly liable for the amount of benefits, overpayment or other sums improperly received in addition to any other relief available in a court of competent jurisdiction.

Senate Bill 581 (Eliminating sunset provision terminating pilot domestic violence court program) would prevent the termination of the pilot domestic violence court program. The program was originally written to be terminated on December 31, 2016.

Senate Bill 591 (Relating to voter registration list maintenance and combined voter registration and driver licensing fund) would authorize Secretary of State to enter into an agreement with the Division of Motor Vehicles for Division of Motor Vehicles to provide certain information. The Secretary of State would be able to use information for voter registration list maintenance comparison through interstate data-sharing agreement as designated by Secretary of State.

Senate Bill 592 (Relating to pipeline safety) would relate to calculating the amount of special license fees paid by pipeline companies to the Public Service Commission.

Senate Bill 621 (Exempting taxicab companies with independent contract drivers from providing workers’ compensation coverage) would not require a taxicab company to provide workers’ compensation coverage to a driver who provides taxicab service pursuant to a written or electronic agreement that identifies the taxicab driver as an independent contractor.




Bills Passed from the House

Wrap-Up As of 4:00 p.m., Friday, February 26, 2016, the 45th day of the second session of the 82nd Legislature, 1182 bills have been introduced in the House. Of those, 122 have passed and have been sent to the Senate for further consideration, and 11 have completed legislation. Among those:

House Bill 4310 (Relating to the West Virginia University Institute of Technology) would work to help ensure the continuing viability and vitality of West Virginia University Institute of Technology by providing flexibility to West Virginia University and the West Virginia University Institute of Technology to relocate the West Virginia Institute of Technology, and to facilitate collaboration between four-year institutions serving southern West Virginia. The West Virginia Institute of Technology will be relocated from Montgomery, West Virginia to Beckley, West Virginia. The bill will now be sent to the Senate for further consideration.

House Bill 2605 (Removing the limitation on actions against the perpetrator of sexual assault or sexual abuse upon a minor) would work to remove the time limitation for a plaintiff to bring a suit or personal action against a defendant who committed sexual assault or sexual abuse on the plaintiff when the plaintiff was a minor. House Bill 2605 has been communicated to the Senate for their consideration.

House Bill 4157 (Supplementing, amending, and increasing items of the existing appropriations from the State Road Fund to the Department of Transportation, Division of Highways) would work to supplement, amend, and increase items of appropriation from the State Road Fund to the Department of Transportation, Division of Highways, fund 9017 for expenditure during fiscal year 2016. This bill will now be sent to the Senate for further consideration.

House Bill 4197 (Allowing required HIV and hepatitis testing for the protection of law-enforcement officers who may have been exposed) would work to allow required HIV and hepatitis testing for the protection of law-enforcement officers who may have been exposed to the infection during the performance of their duties and others. Passage has been communicated to the Senate.

House Bill 4322 (Expanding the Learn and Earn Program) would work to change the Learn and Earn Program to allow more students to participate in the program by eliminating the authorization to use program funding for equipment purchases and eliminating the exception to dollar-to-dollar matching requirement that would allow and employer to participate by matching one dollar for every three dollars of state grant funding. The House action of passage will now be sent to the Senate.

House Bill 4489 (Relating Generally to human trafficking) would work to eliminate criminal offense and penalties for human trafficking. The bill creates felony offenses and penalties for trafficking an individual. This bill works to create felony offenses penalties for using an individual in forced labor. The bill is now being communicated to the senate.

House Bill 4001 (Relating to candidates or candidate committees for legislative office disclosing contributions) would work to require members of the Legislature to disclose contributions and fund-raising events while the Legislature is in session. The bill requires the information to be provided within 5 days of the event or receipt of contribution, and requires the Secretary of State to publish such information on the Secretary of State’s website within 1 day.

House Bill 4175 (Relating generally to home schooling) work to clarify that a student who is home schooled may not be classified as habitually absent. The bill changes the annual requirement that a parent of a child who is to be home schooled notify the county superintendent of intent to home school to a one time notification. The bill removes the requirement that the person providing the home schooling instruction have a high school diploma. The bill removes the requirement that the person providing the home schooling instruction have an outline of a plan for the home schooling instruction for the ensuing year. The bill removes the requirement that a county superintendent be given two weeks’ notice before a student enrolled in a public school may receive home instruction. The bill permits a parent to administer the required nationally normed standardized test. The bill provides that a student has made acceptable academic progress if it is within or above the fourth stanine, or if below that stanine then the student must show improvement from the previous year. The bill requires a certified teacher to review a student’s progress and submit a written narrative. The bill requires academic assessments be kept for three years. The bill provides that a county board of education may only provide information about the availability of special education services only if the parent requests it. This bill has completed legislation.

House Bill 2794 (Making changes to the definition of contractor for purposes of the West Virginia Contractor Licensing Act) would work to raise the threshold amount required for a construction job to be performed by someone with a contractor’s license from $2,500 to $4,000.

House Bill 4388 (Relating to stroke centers) would require the Bureau of Public Health to designate certain hospitals as stroke centers and require the Office of Emergency Medical Services to establish protocols to treat and transport stroke patients. This bill is now awaiting Senate action.

House Bill 4145 (Relating to carry or use of a handgun or deadly weapon) would allow West Virginia citizens over the age of 21 to conceal a handgun or deadly weapon. Additionally, citizens age 18 to 20 would be permitted to obtain a concealed carry permit. The bill would also provide a $50 tax credit for those that choose to obtain a permit or participate in concealed weapon safety training. This bill completed legislation on Wednesday and now awaits a response from Governor Tomblin.

House Bill 2823 (Eliminating the street and interurban and electric railways tax) relates to eliminating a tax on persons engaging or continuing within the state in the service or business of street and interurban and electric railways. The Senate Finance is currently considering the bill.

House Bill 2897 (Young Entrepreneur Reinvestment Act) would waive certain fees for individuals under thirty creating certain business organizations and expire the waiver of those fees. The Senate Economic Development Committee is currently considering the bill.

House Bill 4171 (Relating to the public school calendar) would ensure that school instructional terms for students begin no earlier than the day after Labor Day and end no later than the second Friday in June. The bill would provide that in the event instructional days need to be cancelled the county boards of education must provide for ten technology days whereby assigned classwork may be completed. The Senate Education Committee is currently considering the bill.

House Bill 4295 (Relating to the School Innovation Zones Act) relates to Innovation in Education Schools and Innovation Zone; terminating funding for Innovation Zones and Local Solution Dropout Prevention and Recovery Innovation Zones; defining innovation in education school. The bill would authorize soliciting, accepting and expending gifts, donations and grants with certain limits to remain for use in school accounts. The bill would create the Innovation in Education Fund; authorize expenditures from Innovation in Education Fund; and authorize investment of Innovation in Education Fund moneys. The Senate Education Committee is currently considering the bill.

House Bill 4365 (Relating to the certificate of need process) would provide a process for updating the certificate of need process as well as a rulemaking authority. The bill would also provide health services that require a certificate of need as well as provide exemptions to the certificate of need requirement. The bill is currently under consideration by the Senate Health and Human Resources Committee.

House Bill 4572 (Excepting specialized contract instructors from the definition of teacher) would except specialized contract instructors from the definition of teacher; and defining that term. The Senate Education Committee is considering the bill.

House Bill 4594 (Relating to predoctoral psychology internship qualifications) would make a requirement that to be eligible for a license to engage in the practice of psychology, an applicant with a doctor of philosophy degree or its equivalent must have at least one thousand eight hundred hours from a doctoral internship. The Senate Health and Human Resources Committee is currently considering the bill.

House Bill 4617 (Authorizing legislative rules of the Higher Education Policy Commission regarding the Underwood-Smith Teacher Scholarship Program and Nursing Scholarship Program) would authorize legislative rules of the Higher Education Policy Commission regarding the Underwood-Smith Teacher Scholarship Program and Nursing Scholarship Program.

House Bill 4651 (Relating to professional examination requirements for hearing-aid dealers and fitters) require applicants for professional licensure to pass the International Licensing Examination for Hearing Healthcare Professionals or an equivalent examination; to require applicants for professional licensure to pass a nationally recognized practical examination, or a practical examination designed by the West Virginia Board of Hearing-Aid Dealers to test certain demonstrated skills and techniques; to require applicants to pass an examination, designed by the board, to test knowledge of certain local laws and practices; to eliminate the requirement that the board provide applicants with certain details pertaining to an applicant’s failure of an examination; and to authorize emergency and legislative rulemaking.


Cline
West Virginia Youth in Government
Zane Lewis, Senate President and Issac Liu, Speaker of the House for West Virginia Youth in Government and both from Capital High School took part in the opening of the House session last week. Speaker Tim Armstead looks on.
PHOTO: Perry Bennett
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