The Newsletter of the West Virginia Legislature
Volume XXX, Issue 7 - March 2, 2019


Legislation Stirs Passionate Debate

by Tyler Hilbert

The House of Delegates has heavily debated House Bill 2519 this session, a bill that creates the “Campus Self Defense Act.”

Essentially the bill would allow people with concealed carry permits attending higher education universities to have concealed deadly weapons on campus. There are provisions in the bill where weapons are allowed or restricted as well as provisions limiting the authority that school boards have over regulations on the bill in regard to their campus.

The House has been unpredictable with the legislation throughout its process. It took a circuitous route, through two committees and being on and off and then back on the Special Calendar on the day of passage.

Many democrats were opposed to the bill while many republicans supported it but there were outliers on both sides of the aisles who disagreed with their respective party’s opinions and votes. Debate on the bill was filled with raw emotion as well as logical reasoning and discussion. Both sides presented compelling arguments for and against the bill, which eventually passed the House.

“I think it’s important that the students of West Virginia are able to protect themselves and any office in West Virginia, whether it be state or local, including this Capitol, have metal detectors and guards that ensure our safety. We don’t have that kind of insurance for our students and in this bill any institution can limit or restrict firearms in any building as long as there is a metal detector and a guard there. If there is not that assurance of safety for our students then they have the right to protect themselves and I know that’s what it was about for me,” said Delegate Jason Barrett (D-Berkeley).

“It was an extremely controversial bill. I think there is some overreaction and people really should take a look to the legislation to see what it actually does, but again it was all about student’s safety for me and folks being able to protect themselves. Most of our universities do not have full time campus police, there are a lot of night classes and a lot of female students walking outside from building to building and class. There’s little or no campus police around to protect them so I think that students should be able to protect themselves.”

Nearly every college or university of higher education in the state made it clear to the Legislature that they are strongly opposed to the bill.

“My vote was based on hearing from a variety of people in the community and from around the state. For every person I heard from in support, I heard from at least 20 that were opposed. I think I may have heard from about a dozen in support, and two out of three of West Liberty University’s facilities are in my district. They had concerns and they accounted to over $3.4 million of the fiscal note. The total fiscal note for all the universities, community colleges, and technical colleges in the state was only $11 million so West Liberty obviously had some very strong opinions on it. That’s really why I was concerned about forcing these universities of higher education to have to absorb that additional amount of proposed cost without giving them any additional state monies to handle that burden,” said Delegate Erikka Storch (R-Ohio).

“I’ve had various conversations with individuals from the universities, but not to where I could give them any level of comfort with dealing with it. To be honest I’m all about local control and I think we should let the universities decide what works best for their community. You know maybe you’re in the state and you’re a student who wants to be around guns, or a student who doesn’t want to be around guns, but you should still have the options to choose within your own state. I’ve had some parents say that their student will not go to school in West Virginia if there’s going to be guns on campus. Well why should you be forced to pay out of state tuition just because your parents have a fundamental principle to keep you away from guns for whatever reason? I think it should just be locally controlled.”

Many of those in favor of the bill discussed what this legislation meant regarding upholding the constitution and constitutional rights of students in West Virginia, suggesting that students will be more safe at their school with an option of additional protection if they so choose to utilize it.

“What this bill does is simply establish students second amendment rights. All we’re doing is just making sure that students are safe and have the right to defend themselves,” said Delegate Geoff Foster (R-Putnam).

“For the first time, West Virginia students have the ability to protect themselves, regardless of whether they are on or off their college campus. A student’s second amendment rights should not be infringed upon for choosing to advance their education,” said Majority Whip Kayla Kessinger (R-Fayette).

“The House of Delegates is committed to ensuring that West Virginian’s second amendment rights will never be trampled.”

There were multiple amendments made by the Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, John Shott (R-Mercer) to try and model the law after a Texas version. Only one was adopted, however, to have the schools update the Legislature yearly, but there was support in favor of his may amendments from those who opposed the bill as it is currently written.

“Obviously when the legislative session started I was very pleased to hear the Speaker say that this session is going to be about creating a West Virginia that you want to raise your family in, attract new people, economic development, and when this campus carry bill came up, I just, it made me second look at myself in the mirror. It made me say “is this really happening?” I didn’t think it would help West Virginia and I had so many students and faculty with all of these universities coming to me and saying “we do not want this!” “who wants this bill?” then I would have people say “I am not sending my kid to a college in West Virginia if this bill passes” now it hasn’t passed yet but I think a lot of us know what’s going to happen,” said Delegate Andrew Byrd (D-Kanawha).

“You know, I voted against this because I just didn’t think it was good policy for the state. I mean I understand, I’m a second amendment rights guy, I carry my own guns and conceal carry but there’s sensitive places where guns are not needed. I just thought that colleges and universities were one of them.”

“I was very pleased with Chairman Shott for offering amendments to try and mimic Texas, a state that has gone through this process, found problems, and amended their campus carry. They are a very gun loving state and he produced a number of amendments I voted for, every single one of them, to make it conform to a state that has already gone through this process. It’s just a shame because I think that our universities are our economic drivers right now and I think it’s going to detour economic growth. Hopefully not, but it might detour enrollment at these schools. I pray that it doesn’t and I pray that everyone stays safe when or if this passes.”

The Senate has given little opinion on the bill and remains neutral at this point. There are eight days until the 2019 session is over, so there is time for the bill to be discussed in committee or on the Senate floor. Judiciary Chairman, Charles S. Trump IV (R-Morgan) spoke briefly about his opinion on the bill.

“I will say this, I haven’t been focused on House bills and I actually haven’t had time to see it. There was no similar bill introduced in the Senate so if the bill which is now passed from the House is referred to the Judiciary Committee we will definitely look at it,” said Chairman Trump. Campus Carry is one of the many bills to make headlines during this legislative session. Make sure to follow this bill on the Senate side as it continues through the legislative process.

Senate Legislation (02/25 - 03/01)

As of 4:00 p.m. Friday, February 22, 2019, the 45th day of the first regular session of the 84th Legislature, 670 bills have been introduced to the senate. Of those bills, 153 have passed and have been sent on to the House for further consideration.

SB 105: This bill fulfills two purposes: to create a new criminal offense of endangerment through DUI against persons not in the vehicle. The language of the bill establishes the penalty as $500 - $1,000 and up to one year in jail. The bill also ensures the offence is distinct from DUI charges.

SB 238: This bill increases fines for illegally passing a school bus while also increasing license suspensions if an individual is found guilty of illegally passing a school bus.

SB 248: The bill would create the Prosecuting Attorney’s Detectives Act to bring uniformity to hiring practices for prosecuting attorney investigators.

SB 249: The bill would create a limited letter of administration that may be issued for estates consisting of personal property that does not exceed $2,000.

SB 316: The purpose of this bill is to ensure that changes to code enacted during the 2017 Regular Legislative Session does no reduce previously approved pensions awarded through the Municipal Policemen’s or Municipal Firemen’s Pension and Relief Funds. The bill also adds a subsection to the Code in order to clarify that the statute is not to be interpreted to authorize a reduction in the amount of benefits received by a retirant where the benefit amount was approved prior to the section’s enactment in 2017.

SB 318: The purpose of the bill is to transfer the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit from the Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) to the Office of the Attorney General and continue its operation in the Office of the Attorney General after October 1, 2019.

All employees of the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit will be transferred and become employees of the Office of the Attorney General at their existing hourly rate or salary and with all accrued benefits. The Medicaid Fraud Control Unit’s authorities, powers, and duties will remain unchanged by the transfer.

The bill provides that on or before December 31, 2022, the Legislative Auditor shall study and report to the Joint Committee on Government and Finance regarding the performance of the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit within the Office of the Attorney General during the previous three years in comparison to the performance of the unit while it operated within DHHR.

SB 326: The purpose of this Governor’s Bill is to reorganize state agencies involved in emergency and disaster planning, response, recovery, and resiliency in order to more efficiently and effectively perform such duties.

The Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management and the State Resiliency Office are reorganized and housed now with the newly-created Office of the State Resiliency Officer/Homeland Security Advisor (to be appointed by the Governor). It will be administered by the Office of the Governor and be staffed by the West Virginia Military Authority. The current functions will no longer be housed under the Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety.

SB 329: The bill would encourage school districts and multi-county vocational centers to make available agricultural programs to high school students, including but not limited to programs that would allow for and support the establishment of a local FFA chapter.

SB 348: The purpose of this bill is to increase the legal age for purchasing tobacco products from 18 years of age to 21 years of age.

SB 379: This bill amends and reenacts code relating to permitting the county boards of education to include faith-based electives in classroom drug prevention programs.

SB 396: This bill will add a new section of code dealing with regulated boards. The bill would waive the initial license fees, and only the initial license fees, for any chapter 30 license for low-income individuals and military families. Each of those terms is defined under the section.

SB 400: The purpose of the bill is to permit the WV Board of Dentistry to create specialty licenses. The bill creates new definitions related to the specialty definitions including the following:

The bill provides that the board may issue specialty licenses authorizing a dentist to represent himself or herself as a specialist.

SB 414: This bill relates to The Protect Our Right to Unite Act, the purpose of which is to protect an individual’s right to anonymously support and associate with organizations.

The bill provides that such information is exempt from production under FOIA. The bill also provides that the names, addresses, and other contact information of persons hunting or fishing licenses is exempt from disclosure pursuant to FOIA.

The information may only be released if:

The bill provides a private cause of action to enjoin any violation of this article and to recover actual damages incurred as a result of the violation. If plaintiff prevails, he or she may recover costs and attorneys’ fees. If the violation was intentional, damages may be trebled. The bill also provides that fishing and hunting licensee information submitted to the DNR is exempt from disclosure pursuant to FOIA.

SB 421: The purpose of this bill is to add reporting requirements to the current report form by the Development Office that is due annually to the Joint Commission on Economic Development. The new requirements would include: the identify of each eligible company, whether the eligible company is claiming the development project credit or the development expansion project credit, or both, a description of the project and whether the projects are certified multiple year projects.

SB 432: This bill would add a new article to the public health chapter of the code, enacting the Recognition of Emergency Medical Services Personnel Licensure Interstate Compact (REPLICA). West Virginia would become the 17th state to join the Compact, including Virginia and Tennessee.

The Compact would allow EMS providers to practice in other member states in limited circumstances. The Compact will increase public access to EMS personnel; enhance patient safety; support licensing of military members who are separating from active duty and the licensing of their spouses; facilitate the exchange of information about EMS practitioners among member states as to licensure, adverse action, and investigatory information; and promote compliance with the laws governing EMS personnel practice in each member state.

SB 441: This bill allows the state’s Governing Boards to appoint “Qualified Individuals” to serve as campus police officers instead of any “Bona Fide Resident of the State,” which is the current requirement under state law.

The bill does not define what a qualified individual is.

SB 467: The purpose of the bill is to clarify public service commission jurisdiction over water and sewer utilities owned by political subdivisions. The bill establishes uniformity in the Class of publications required by municipalities and public service districts for the revision in rates. The bill provides a time period for the filing of, and resolution of, complaints filed at the public service commission regarding actions of municipalities.

SB 472: The bill would exempt the retirement income of members of the uniformed services, including the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, Coast Guard, Public Health Service, National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration, Reserves and National Guard. The exemption applies to benefits paid by the State or the United States.

SB 487: The purpose of the bill is to clarify that meeting minimum staffing requirements in a health care facility includes the provision of adequate supervision. The bill creates a statutory rebuttable presumption for health care facilities or health care providers that appropriate staffing and adequate supervision to prevent accidents were provided if the health care facility or health care provider has demonstrated compliance with the minimum staffing requirements under state law. The bill raises the burden of proof to rebut the presumption to clear and convincing evidence, and the jury is required to receive an appropriate instruction from the circuit court.

SB 489: The bill would provide for licensure of pharmacy benefit managers with the Insurance Commissioner, sets forth minimum reimbursement rates, and requires PBMs report data to PEIA. The House of Delegates passed a strike and insert amendment to page seven subsection k by stating that if information is not provided, then the Office of the Insurance Commission shall discipline the pharmacy benefit manager as provided.

SB 520: The bill would permit the Office of Drug Control Policy to adopt a specific information technology reporting platform for overdose reporting. The committee substitute clarified that all mandatory reporters would be required to submit their report within 48 hours after the provider responds to the incident and via an appropriate technology platform.

SB 522: This bill amends code dealing with severance taxes, creates a new section in the article on the State Road Fund, §17-3-11, that creates the Special Road Repair Fund, and creates a new article that establishes the Enhanced Road Maintenance Program. The purpose of the bill is to create a program to expedite the completion of road maintenance by increasing the use of private vendor contractors to provide maintenance services in districts where there is an established need.

SB 530: This bill amends the article related to state’s employee merit system. The bill is aimed at providing additional efficiency in the Division of Personnel’s processes and procedures so that it is more responsive to the current hiring demands of agencies for positions within the classified service. The bill also conforms the statutes to the current language of the DOP’s Administrative Rule, which was last approved by the Legislature and became effective in 2016, including the definitions in code.

SB 535: This bill would allow the City of Buckhannon to begin collecting municipal sales and service use tax on and after July 1, 2019. The increase was approved by the Municipal Home Rule Board on January 16, 2019, however, the City of Buckhannon was told that for the tax to become effective on July 1, 2019, it would have to have been approved by the Board at their October meeting. Consequently, collection would not be permissible until January 1, 2020.

SB 537: The bill would direct the West Virginia Health Care Authority to form a working group to review hospice services in West Virginia.

SB 538: This bill amends state code relating to the Highway Design-Build Program. The bill changes wording in multiple instances, including from “expend” to “contractually obligate” to reflect that annual spending limitations under the design-build program relate to money that is contractually obligated (and not actually expended) by the Division of Highways (DOH) in a given year.

The committee substitute also moves a current exception, which provides that contractual obligations made for projects that are necessitated by a declared state of emergency within a county that the Governor has included in a declaration of emergency shall not be included in calculating contractual obligation limits, to its own subsection, and it makes such exception applicable to both projects financed with or without bonds.

SB 539: The purpose of this bill is to modify the West Virginia State Police Retirement System Plan B accrued benefit for Plan B members to three percent beginning July 1, 2019. If passed, the bill would increase the annuity multiplier from 2.75% to 3%.

SB 543: This bill would amend code concerning the vehicle inspection program by changing the annual vehicle inspection requirement to require an inspection every two years. It would also double the inspection sticker fee (from $3 to $6) and double the maximum allowable vehicle inspection charge (from max. $14 to $28). The bill further amends current code on registrations for antique motor vehicles to reflect that those vehicles, to be used for general transportation, must pass a safety inspection every two years.

The bill creates a new section in the WV Consumer Credit and Protection Act on general consumer protections. New code Consumer Credit and Protection Act on general consumer protections. New §46A-6-107a would permit “as is” sales for used motor vehicles that are at least one of the following:

  1. The vehicle is inoperable and a total loss; or
  2. The vehicle has been custom built or modified for show purposes or racing; or
  3. The vehicle is all of the following:
    • Sold for less than $2,500;
    • Driven more than 100,000 miles at the time sold; and
    • Seven years of age or older as calculated from January 1 of the designated model year of the vehicle.

SB 544: The purpose of this bill is to grant annual salary adjustments to the West Virginia State Police. The raise would become effective every July 1 for the next three years.

SB 547: The purpose this bill is to modernize the state’s recreational use law, which is contained in Article 25, Chapter 19 of the Code. This article promotes outdoor recreation in the state, by limiting liability of private landowners permitting the public to access their land for recreational purposes free-of-charge. All states in the U.S. have some form of a recreational use statute.

In order to expand the state’s recreational law, the legislation redefines a number of terms which already exists in current code.

SB 554: This bill eliminates the cap on the salary paid to the WV Rail Authority Director. If passed the Secretary of the DOT would become responsible for setting the salary the consent from the rail authority.

SB 555: This bill would allow the Higher Education policy Commission (HEPC), the Council for Community and Technical College Education and individual governing boards to enter into contracts with affiliated nonprofit corporations, and that those contracts would be deemed or considered “sole source” contracts for purposes of any applicable law or rule relating to expending public funds. As a result, Purchasing Division requirements, such as those set forth in §5A-3-10, and other requirements for competitive bidding would not apply.

The intent of the bill is to allow colleges and other higher educational institutions to deal directly with their own, affiliated foundations in entering into contracts for goods, materials, equipment, services, printing, facilities or financial services.

SB 561: The bill would permit the ABCA to request and obtain the assistance of local law enforcement in enforcing liquor laws, and implement a $100 operations fee for vendors, manufacturers, distributors and retailers.

SB 564: The bill makes findings that public and private insurance mechanisms remain inadequate for middle income worm and children who are among the most likely to be without insurance. The bill provides that DHHR shall extend Medicaid coverage to pregnant women and their newborns to 185 percent of the federal poverty level effective July 1, 2019 or a soon as possible and provide 60 days postpartum care. This is an increase from 150 percent of the FPL. The Children’s Health Insurance Board shall create a benefit plan for comprehensive coverage for pregnant women between 185 percent and 300 percent of the federal poverty level including prenatal care, delivery and 60 days postpartum care authorized under the Children’s Health Insurance Program as funding is available.

SB 566: Under current law, the five members of the State Athletic Commission receive no pay for attending meetings of the commission. The bill would compensate each of the five members $100 for each meeting, including telephonic meetings, in which the commission deliberates toward an official act, and caps the total compensation a member may receive each fiscal year to no more than $1,500.

SB 574: This bill permits member of the hospital medical staff to order an involuntary hospitalization of a person who is present at or presented at the hospital if the physician believes that the individual is addicted or mentally ill and because of the addiction or mental illness is likely to cause serious harm to themselves or to others if allowed to remain at liberty. Within 24 hours, the physician shall certify this finding in the individual’s health record. An individual who is involuntarily committed pursuant to this section shall be released from the hospital within 72 hours, unless further detained under the applicable provisions of this article. The bill provides for payment at the same rate that the provider can negotiate with the individual’s health insurer. The bill provides for a limitation of liability.

SB 592: The purpose of this bill is to clarify that taxes imposed by counties and municipalities as hotel occupancy taxes would be collected for Air BNB’s but in a similar manner as other hotel occupancy taxes. Currently, the taxes are to be collected by the person renting the property.

The bill defines the term “market facilitator” as a person who facilities the sale of goods and services. The bill then clarifies that the responsibility for collection of the tax imposed by a county or municipality would rest with the market facilitator, who is also required to delineate the taxes on the bill or invoice.

SB 596: This bill amends and reenacts state code all relating to allowing retired judicial officers recalled to service to avoid the limit on the temporary employment payments where a circumstance such as a significant illness, suspension, or other long absence of a sitting judicial officer requires a longer period of service by the retired judicial officer than the current cap would allow.

SB 597: The bill conforms West Virginia law regarding appraisal management companies’ (AMC) registration requirements to federal law. The bill broadens who must verify and report certain statements to the Real Estate Appraiser Licensing and Certification Board by requiring that each owner of the appraisal management company must report and meet the standards for registration. The current law, the registration requirement only applies to owners who are employees of or consultants for the AMC.

Currently, an appraiser may be removed from an appraiser panel at any time within the first 60 days of being added to the panel. SB597 eliminates the 60-day initial period for removal, and would require 20 days’ written notice for removal at any time. Finally, under the bill the board must report any final disciplinary action to the Appraisal Subcommittee of the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council within five days of the action being taken.

SB 600: The bill would direct the Secretary of DMAPS to Investigate modes and methods of storing and preserving biological evidence from criminal cases, and directs the Secretary to give the legislature proposals and draft legislation for biological evidence storage and preservation.

SB 605: This bill amends and reenacts code as amended, all relating to providing that schools that do not follow established protocol on concussions and head injuries in interscholastic athletics are subject to disciplinary actions by the Secondary Schools Athletics Commission; and providing that schools that do not follow the requirements of their emergency action plans for athletics are subject to disciplinary actions by the Secondary Schools Athletics Commission.

SB 615: The bill would to provide an ongoing mechanism for consideration and implementation of salary increases for county commissioners and other elected county officials.

SB 603: This bill amends code relating to the Commissioner of Financial Institutions’ regulation of checks and money order sales, money transmission services, currency transportation, and currency exchanges. The section in question currently provides ten exemptions, including for U.S. agencies, the U.S. postal service, the state and its political subdivisions, and persons removing currency from vending machines. This bill would add an eleventh exemption that would exempt the following persons and service providers that can all of which could be categorized as agent of the payee exemptions.

SB 622: The bill would make numerous changes to the state’s regulation and oversight of campaign finance. Many changes relate to current federal regulation over federal elections.It raises independent expenditures from $1,000 to $5,000. The proposed legislation also raises the following:

SB 625: This bill intends to clarify and updated the state’s athletic commission authority. If passed, the bill would do the following:

SB 627: This bill amends code by adding a section relating to the termination, expiration, or cancellation of oil or natural gas leases; providing a requirement for a lessee to execute and deliver to the lessor, within a specified time and without cost, a recordable release for terminated, expired, or canceled oil or natural gas leases; providing for a procedure by which a lessor may serve notice to a lessee, if a lessee fails to timely provide the release; providing requirements for the content of the notice; requiring a lessee to timely notify the lessor in writing of a dispute regarding the termination, expiration, or cancellation of the oil and natural gas lease; providing for an affidavit of termination, expiration, or cancellation with specified contents; providing a requirement that county clerks accept and record said affidavit; and providing that with proper notification by the lessor and in the absence of a dispute by the lessee, an affidavit of termination, expiration, or cancellation, upon recordation by a county clerk, creates a rebuttable presumption of termination and cancellation of the oil or natural gas lease for certain interests and renders the recorded oil or natural gas lease as insufficient notice of the recorded lease under the notice statute.

SB 632: If passed, this bill would implement video cameras in self-contained special education classrooms throughout the state. Funding would be provided from the Safe School Fund, established in the bill and funded by the legislature.

SB 633: This bill is intended to provide the Board of Physical Therapy authority to conduct criminal background checks so that it may continue to participate in the Compact.

SB 637: The bill provides that the Tax Commissioner may cancel, revoke, or suspend a business registration certificate at any time during a registration period according to rules established in the bill.

SB 640: The bill would establish the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Prevention Act. The purpose of the proposed Act is to promote education of sudden cardiac arrest to aid in detection and prevention. The bill would provide that the DOE works in conjunction with the State Health Officer to develop educational materials and guidelines, including a warning sign information sheet, regarding sudden cardiac arrest for students of all ages and risks associated with continuing to play or practice after experiencing fainting or seizures during exercise, unexplained shortness of breath, chest pains, racing heart, or extreme fatigue.

SB 642: The bill would provide options in living wills and combined medical powers of attorney and living wills that permit the principal to either be provided with medically-assisted food and fluids or not be provided with medically-assisted food and fluids if the principal is unable to communicate his or her desires.

SB 651: The bill would clarify that the purchasing exemption for the Division of Natural Resources applies to contracts for renovations, repair, and rehabilitation of existing facilities, buildings, amenities, and related infrastructure.

SB 653: The bill permits podiatric physicians and physician assistants to become shareholders in a medical corporation along with physicians.

SB 654: This legislation amends and article of state code containing the WV Safe Mortgage Licensing Act. It amends the definition of “mortgage loan originator” as it relates to exclusions for retailers of manufactured or modular homes.

Under current law, the definition of “mortgage loan originator” has five exceptions, including an exception for a “manufactured or modular home retailer employee who performs purely administrative or clerical tasks and who receives only the customary salary or commission from the employer in connection with the sales transaction.”

The committee substitute would also revise this exception to apply to retailers of manufactured or modular homes and employees of such retailers that:

SB 655: The bill would clarify and codify that the State Conservation Committee has the authority to administer a conservation grant program that provides financial assistance to conservation districts and others for approved conservation projects.

SB 656: This bill raises the tax liability threshold at which taxpayers must file and pay electronically to $50,000. To achieve this purpose, the bill revises state code that states that no person owing less than $50,000 may be required to pay by electronic fund transfer.

SB 657: This bill includes language concerning certain agricultural vehicles in the definition of “motor vehicle” for the purpose of including those vehicles within the coverage of the state’s consumer protections related to express manufacturer warranties.

As a result, consumers of agricultural vehicles would be entitled to numerous protections to ensure that a manufacturer honors any express warranty for the vehicle. Manufacturers would be required to make repairs to the agricultural vehicle when notified of any nonconformity with the warranty during the warranty period or within one year after purchase, whichever period is longer. If the manufacturer, or an authorized dealer, is unable to repair a defect or condition that substantially impairs the use or market value of the vehicle after a reasonable number of attempts, the manufacturer must replace the vehicle.

SB 658: If passed, this bill would eliminate the blanket restriction on issuing a motor vehicle salesperson license to an individual to has previously committed a felony on “any financial matter.” It clarifies now that the restriction would only apply when an applicant has committed a felony involving “a financial transaction involving the sale or purchase of a motor vehicle.”

SB 665: This bill amends the Code of West Virginia, by adding a new subsection to allow for expedited oil and gas well permitting and expedited oil and gas well permit modifications upon the payment of applicable expedited fees, the designation of the proceeds of such expedited fees, and the daily pro rata refund of the expedited fees if the permit or modification is not approved within statutory requirements set forth in the bill.

SB 666: The intention of this bill is to create the WV Motorsports Entertainment Complex Investment Act.

SB 667: The intention of this bill is to create the WV Motorsport Committee in relation to the language set forth in Senate Bill 666.

SB 668: The bill would provide requirements for physician assistants who are collaborating with physicians in hospitals. The bill would require written notice to the appropriate licensing board, required rulemaking, and specifies practice requirements.

SB 669: The bill would authorize the Secretary of State to appoint a person commissioned by the Secretary of State as a notary public to acknowledge signatures outside of state on documents such as deeds, leases and other writings pertaining to West Virginia property for recordation in the State of West Virginia.

SB 670: The bill would expand the use of the College Prepaid Tuition and Savings Program to include private or religious, primary, middle, or secondary schools.

SB 671: The purpose of this bill is to eliminate the State Fire Marshall’s comprehensive report regarding the transfer of authority and responsibility of fire services to the counties.

SB 672: If passed, this bill would allow for the state’s School Building Authority to promulgate legislative rules concerning state schools.

SB 673: This bill would amend, repeal and enact code all relating to public higher education accountability and planning; ensuring efficiency in planning and accountability; modifying the data collection and reporting processes; eliminating the requirement for a statewide master plan for public higher education; eliminating the requirement for state and institutional compacts for public higher education; eliminating the requirement for a human resources report card for public higher education; modifying the reporting methods for certain institutional and statewide reports; modifying the reporting method for the student financial aid report card for public higher education; and continuing the accountability system for public higher education.

SB 674: The bill would take $53.0 million from unappropriated monies in the FY 19 General Revenue fund and re-appropriate them to the Medical Services line item (app. 18900) in the Division of Human Services.

SB 675: This bill is intended to amend code all relating to requiring the Department of Environmental Protection to create and implement an Adopt-A-Stream Program; encouraging the removal of litter along West Virginia’s rivers and streams by volunteers; and allowing the Litter Control Fund to be used to fund the program.

SB 676: If passed, this bill would amend and repeal code all relating to off-road vehicle recreation; creating an Off-Road Vehicle Recreation Fund for development and maintenance of public roads suitable for off-road vehicle recreation; revising digital road map requirements; requiring an inventory and mapping of state forest roads; describing allowable uses of the Off-Road Vehicle Recreation Fund; defining terms; requiring the development of a comprehensive recreation plan and plans for the construction and maintenance of suitable roads; establishing a program of grants and cooperative agreements to develop and maintain suitable roads and access thereto; mandating review of expenditures; providing for appeals of grant or agreement decisions; and requiring the proposal of legislative rules.

HB 2036: This bill amends and reenacts a section of state code related to permitting vehicles displaying disabled veteran’s special registration plates to park in places where individuals with mobility impairments may park.

HB 2193: This bill would create creates an exception to the Uniform Unclaimed Property Act where the State Treasurer obtains title to abandoned U.S. savings bonds, allowing the State Treasurer to redeem the abandoned bonds and disburse the proceeds pursuant to the terms of the Uniform Unclaimed Property Act. If passed, the bill would amend numerous areas of code to change language.

HB 2204: The bill prohibits professional and occupational licensing boards in Chapter 30 from hiring any person whose job functions or obligations include lobbying on behalf of the board. The bill provides that the Chapter 30 licensing board director and appointed board members may lobby on behalf of the board.

HB 2510: The purpose of this bill is to require the Legislative Auditor to conduct review of the fee structure of a specific board of examination or registration when its special fund exceeds twice its annual budget or $10,000, whichever is greater. The bill requires the State Treasurer, after transferring excess funds pursuant to this section, to notify the Legislative Auditor that the transfer has been made. Upon notice, the Legislative Auditor shall conduct a review of the board fees compared to their normal expenses and report to the Joint Standing Committee on Government Organization.

HB 2608: The purpose of this bill is to repeal a section in criminal code that requires checks, drafts, and similar instruments or orders of withdrawal to be printed with certain numbers, representing the date when a consumer deposit account was opened or that the account has been opened for one year or more (“1 Yr. +”).

HB 2690: The bill relates to policyholder notices under the WV Life and Health Insurance Guaranty Association Act. The it would remove the requirement that the commissioner propose rules for legislative approval establishing the form and content of the disclaimer that advises a policy owner. The Senate Committee substitute removed duplicative language.

HB 2737: If passed, this bill would amend existing state code, all relating to training of State Tax Division employees. The bill would add a single section to the code.

HB 2740: The bill would bar a parent from inheriting from or through a child in certain instances. Those instances include:

HB 2743: The bill would amend the provisions of the West Virginia Code relating to restrictions on investments of municipal pension funds. The bill deletes provisions relating to restrictions on policemen and firemen pension and relief funds described in fund. Restrictions on investments in policemen and firemen pension and relief funds are contained in code.

HB 2746: The bill would provide for a procedure to allow the county commission to administratively close dormant estates. If the county commission administratively closes an estate, the personal representative is still liable in a civil action to heirs, beneficiaries, or interested parties for property.

HB 2821: The bill would amend the provisions of the WV Code relating to the command and clerical pay for certain members of the National Guard. If passed, the bill would provide that the “commander” and not the “headquarter” are to receive various sums of pay outlined in the bill; the standard amounts of pay do not change.

It also rewrites the current provisions regarding how the Adjutant General is to determine the amount of any entitlement to pay under the section eliminating limitations and requirements and authorizes the Adjutant General to increase the amount that may be paid beyond the statutory amounts provided out of available funds, if any are available, but for not more than twice the statutory amounts.

HB 2827: The bill would remove a residency requirement for county deputy assessors to reside in the county in which they are appointed to.

HB 2829: The purpose of this bill is to terminate the severance tax on limestone and sandstone. The elimination would be effective on July 1, 2019 and account for estimated loss to the General Revenue Fund of roughly $1.1 million in funding from the loss of Severance Tax on sandstone and limestone mining in FY2020 and $1.2 million for each fiscal year, thereafter.

HB 2848: The bill would amend provisions of the WV Code relating to savings accounts created pursuant to the “Achieving a Better Life Experience in West Virginia Act” or ABLE accounts. The bill would remove the current provision which allowed moneys in an ABLE account to be subject to a claim by Medicaid after the beneficiary’s death, and instead states that moneys in the account, as well as qualified withdrawals, are to be disregarded for purposes of determining eligibility for public assistance; are not subject to claims by DHHR; and upon the death of the beneficiary, any moneys left in the account shall be transferred to the estate of the beneficiary, unless any of these things are prohibited by federal law.

Lastly, the bill creates a new exemption from federal adjusted gross income for purposes of calculating WV personal income tax equal to the amounts contributed to an ABLE account, but only to the extent the amount is not allowed as a deduction in determining federal adjusted gross income in the first place. Any unused amount may be carried forward to the next 5 tax years. In addition, amounts deposited in an ABLE account which are subsequently withdrawn and not used for a qualified disability expense are to be added to federal adjusted gross income for use in determining WV personal income tax liability.

HB 2854: The bill adds the limitation that the fundraisers last no more than 14 consecutive days and be held not more than 18 times during any 12-month period. This bill was prepared at the request of the State Tax Division. The bill exempts sales by not-for-profit volunteer school support groups from the consumers sales and service tax and use tax when the sale is for the purpose of raising funds for schools, regardless of whether the organization holds, or does not hold, an exemption under the Internal Revenue Code.

HB 3007: This bill adds a new section of code that would authorize the Commissioner of the Department of Agriculture to require federal and state criminal history background checks as a condition of employment, and specifically finds that such background checks are not against public policy.

The results of the background check and related documents would be confidential and would not be considered public records for purposes of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The committee substitute for HB3007 further provides that a criminal conviction that does not bear a rational nexus to the employment category for which the individual is applying may not serve as a basis for disqualification for employment. An individual who has been disqualified may apply again after five years from the date of conviction or release, whichever is later, if he or she has not been convicted of any other crime during that time. Violent or sexual offenses shall subject the individual to a longer period of disqualification, which the commissioner shall determine by rule.

Individuals with a criminal record who have not applied may petition the commissioner at any time for a determination whether the individual’s criminal record will disqualify the individual from obtaining employment. The commissioner must respond with a determination within 60 days.

HB 3093: This bill changes the phrase “residential design standards” to “any ordinance or regulation.” The bill is designed to address the holding in Russell v. Town of Granville in which the WV Supreme Court found that the phrase “residential design standards” was insufficient to prohibit a municipality from enacting ordinances which discriminate against factory-built housing. The language was originally put into code in 2006 by SB 47, the short title of that bill was “Prohibiting local ordinances from discriminating against factory-built housing.”

HB 3140: If passed, this bill would amend state code to clarify the DNR Director’s ability to authorize repair, renovate, and rehabilitate existing facilities, buildings, amenities, and infrastructure.

House Legislation (02/25 - 03/01)

As of 5 p.m. on Friday, March 1, the House of Delegates has introduced 1,142 bills. Of those bills, the House of Delegates has had consideration of and passed 215 bills.

Bills That Have Passed the House This Week:

House Bill 2011 was passed by the House of Delegates after a lengthy discussion regarding the scope of privatization in the implications of the bill. This bill would create a program in the state known as the Road Maintenance Program that would allow for and encourage a program in every district of the state to contract out with private contractors in order to perform road maintenance within that district. The WV Division of Highways and Legislative Auditor would oversee the efficacy of this bill if it were to pass. The Road Maintenance Program would aim to solve for the abundance of road work projects, however, several members were concerned about the amount of contracting the Division of Highways would do out of the state of West Virginia.

House Bill 2014 would create the WV Intellectual Property and Trade Secrets Act, which would strengthen protections for items created of commercial value. The bill would add a formula definition of intellectual property, adds provisions to protect employment nondisclosures, and provides criminal and civil penalties for violations.

House Bill 2049 would provide protections for prime contractors in regards to wages and benefits. If an employee believes that they haven’t been paid the proper amount of wages by the prime contractor, they would have to first notify the prime contractor of the discrepancy and then give them notice and provide them with verifiable proof, such as a check stub. They must also give the contractor time to remedy the lack of payment before taking court action.

House Bill 2378 would allow the revocation of state teaching licenses from individuals who have been convicted of a crime requiring them to register as sex offenders, or individuals who have been convicted of a crime regarding the possession or transfer of a controlled substance.

House Bill 2396 would create the WV Fresh Food Act. This bill would require all state funded institutions to purchase a minimum of 5% of fresh food from West Virginia. The intent of this bill is to stimulate economic growth for the state’s agricultural industry.

House Bill 2497 would issue more protections for whistleblowers in the state of West Virginia. It codifies the protection of West Virginia whistleblowers, and mandates that they cannot be passed up for a raise or promotion because of their status as a whistleblower, and they cannot be prohibited from taking part in political or union activities.

House Bill 2617 would require the Insurance Commissioner to provide for the use of electronic means of delivery and electronic signing of the form for making an offer of optional uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage by insurers.

House Bill 2991 would require the WV Office of Drug Control Policy within the DHHR to conduct an assessment of WV’s system of care for treatment and recovery services for substance use disorder. This assessment will be used to find gaps in the treatment and recovery services for substance use disorders. Money found in these assessments will be allocated to the Ryan Brown Fund.

House Bill 3020 would allow an institutional governing board, the Higher Education Policy Commission or the Community and Technical College Council to enter into a contract for materials, goods, equipment, services, printing, facilities, or financial services with an affiliated nonprofit corporation in the state.

House Bill 3131 would give the Department of Health and Human Resources the authority to use existing funds to make salary adjustments and increase the salary ranges for certain employees, such as CPS workers.

House Bill 2079 would increase the maximum number of cannabis grower, processor and dispensary permits. The bill would also remove the requirements that licenses be limited in regions of the state. It would increase the increase the maximum number of cannabis dispensers to 165 in the state. Additionally, the bill would allow for vertical integration due to an amendment that was passed yesterday that allows one entity to own ten dispensaries in the state.

House Bill 3142 would reduce the severance tax on thermal or steam coal to two percent cumulatively over the course of two fiscal years and eliminate some of the restrictions on counties and municipalities expending and reporting the expenditure of the county and municipality portion of the severance tax.

House Bill 2941 is an altered version of the film investment tax credit that was repealed by the Legislature last year. This bill would create a refundable tax credit for direct production expenditures and post production expenditures incurred in West Virginia that are directly attributable to the production in West Virginia of a feature length theatrical or direct-to-video motion picture, a made-for-television motion picture, a commercial, music video or television show.

House Bill 2519 is the Campus Self-Defense Act. This bill would allow a person who holds a current and valid license to carry a concealed deadly weapon to carry such a weapon on the campus and in the buildings of a state institution of higher education.

Senate Bill 440 would update the definition of hazing to include any organization whose members include students at any state public or private institution of higher learning. The bill also creates a misdemeanor criminal penalty for this updated provision.

Senate Bill 453 would give the Division of Financial Institutions more flexibility to accept alternative forms of valid background checks. The passage of the bill would provide that the Commissioner may use alternate acceptable forms of international information for background checks for potential employees who are not residents of the United States.

Senate Bill 510 would amend the WV Medical Professional Liability Act. It would mandate that a medical malpractice case cannot be pursued in WV courts until a proper claim is issued that formally advises the medical provider being accused of the liability and the evidence upon which the accusation is based.

Noteworthy Bills Being Considered in the House:

Senate Bill 3 would establish the West Virginia Small Wireless Facilities Deployment Act and provide for access to public rights-of-way for the collocation of small wireless facilities. Senate Bill 3 would also provide for the collection of fees and also sets the amount of fees. The bill also lays out requirements for how the state can regulate pole attachments.

Senate Bill 10 is a bill that would mandate that court-ordered restitution to victims of a crime is not subject to the administrative cost off-set provision of the Second Chance Driver’s License Act. The Second Chance Driver’s License Act is a state program that allows for the temporary reinstatement of an individual’s driver’s license that has been suspended or revoked due to failure to pay court restitution as a result of a motor vehicle violation or has failed to appear in court when charged with a criminal offense. This bill would eliminate the administrative overhead cost associated with the program.

Senate Bill 153 is a bill to provide greater flexibility for making infrastructure project grants. The bill would increase the maximum amount of grant funding from 20 percent to 25 percent. Additionally, the bill would increase the maximum amount of aggregate state funding from $100,000 to $500,000 annually. This money, which comes from the WV Lottery, would be intended to provide more flexibility and more time efficiency for state infrastructure projects.

Senate Bill 190 was another bill advanced during today’s Technology and Infrastructure meeting. This bill would update the Division of Highways payment plan and amends their employment procedures pursuant to the new payment plan.

Senate Bill 297 would extend expiration of military members’ spouses’ driver’s licenses for six months after active military duty. Currently, military members are able to extend the expiration of their driver’s licenses for six extra months after they are finished with their active duty activities. This bill would extend that provision to their spouses, allowing them to do the same thing.

Senate Bill 542 would permit an applicant who qualifies for both a military-related exempt and non-exempt vehicle plate, to choose one non-exempt plate instead of one exempt plate without having to pay registration fees. This would allow qualifying individuals to choose to have a plate exemptible that is usually not exemptible.

Senate Bill 30 is a bill that would eliminate the 1% tax on the annuity that is currently collected by life insurers in the state of West Virginia. A committee amendment adopted at the beginning of the meeting would make the passage of this bill effective in the fiscal year of 2020, so the proposed budget would not have to allocate for the fiscal impact in this year’s budget.

Senate Bill 340 would repeal part of the Insurance Code referring to the WV Physicians Mutual Insurance Company that is no longer needed. The bill would repeal Article 20E in the code, which is deemed obsolete. Article 20E, enacted in and unchanged since 2001, created a mechanism to provide medical professional liability insurance to health care providers who are unable to secure such coverage at approved rates through the voluntary market.

Senate Bill 318 would move West Virginia’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit from the Office of the Inspector General to the Attorney General’s Office.

Senate Bill 520 would require the timely reportage of drug overdoses in the state within 72 hours of the overdose happening. This bill would require first responders and emergency medical service personnel to report drug overdoses after responding to them, so that the DHHR may gather accurate data and help citizens receive help. The current rule mandates quarterly reportage, this would update that to 72 hours.

Senate Bill 668 would to provide requirements for physician assistants who are collaborating with physicians in hospitals. The bill requires written notice to the appropriate licensing board, requires rulemaking, and specifies practice requirements.

Del. Storch
Campus Carry Debate
Delegate Erikka Storch, R-Ohio, addresses the House floor regarding her concerns surrounding HB2519, the Campus Self Defense Act.
PHOTO: Perry Bennett, WVLOR&I
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