by JULIET THOMAS
On February 11, 2020, the Senate passed SB 131, which creates the Tim Tebow Act, named after the one time pro football player and current outfielder in the New York Mets organization who was a homeschool student. The bill allows homeschooled or students enrolled in a private or parochial institution that does not have membership in the Secondary Schools Activities Commission to participate in athletics and other extracurricular activities in public schools belonging to the commission.
The bill requires that qualifying students, designated Tebow students, are to submit to all of the requirements for student athletes in public schools. These students must pay the same participation and activity fees, if any, that the member school requires its athletes. The students are also required to adhere to the member school's academic standards that are confirmed by documentation given to the member school. The bill defines this documentation and also requires a portfolio of the previous semester's schoolwork for the Tebow student.
Under this bill, any insurance provided by a district school board for individuals partaking in extracurricular activities will cover a Tebow student who qualifies. The Tebow student is required to pay the fee for an additional premium, if one exists. The students are also required to have the same physical examinations and immunizations as public school athletes.
Senator Patricia Puertas-Rucker, R-Jefferson, presented the bill during its third reading and answered questions from the Senate regarding the passage of the bill. Many members voiced their concerns about the unintended consequences of the bill, such as low-performing students leaving public schools but still being permitted to play. Others stated that they feared potential lashes with the SSAC, and potential interference with systems already in place around the state. Others rose in support of the bill, saying that the Tim Tebow Act would be beneficial to student physical, mental and social health.
Rucker closed the debate by explaining that the bill ensures sufficient oversight, and that the homeschooled students would be required to meet the same standards as athletes enrolled in public schools.
The bill passed 24-9 in the Senate on Tuesday, and has advanced to the House of Delegates for further consideration.
There are still concerns within the Senate about the passage of the bill and how it may be changed or improved. Senator Stephen Baldwin, D-Greenbrier, anticipates that the bill will be highly debated in the House and will likely undergo amendments. "This is a highly controversial bill," Baldwin said. "I had trouble deciding which way to vote. In the end, I voted in favor of the bill, on the side of inclusion, but there are still concerns."
During the second reading of the bill, Baldwin proposed three amendments to the Senate, which did not pass. These amendments would count "Tim Tebow" students as quarter-time students for insurance purposes, make the Tim Tebow Act permissive to the decisions of the counties, and create other requirements for good standing for the homeschooled students. Baldwin said that he believes it is a possibility that these amendments will be introduced again in the House, and that delegates may create many amendments of their own.
Senator Rucker believes that the bill will pass in the House. "This bill does not create a right or a guarantee that all homeschooled students will be accepted onto every school team," she said. "The bill simply creates an opportunity for homeschooled students to be more involved. I feel strongly that all West Virginia students can benefit from this legislation."
When asked how she would address those expressing concerns about low-performing students and potential loopholes, Rucker said, "All homeschool students have specific requirements, and requirements for 'Tim Tebow' students are more and tougher in order to create an equal playing field for student athletes."
It has been referred to the House Education Committee where it awaits discussion.
HB 2602 includes the possession of known stolen property in the offense for the transference of stolen property.
HB 2924 allows the West Virginia Tourism Office to contact the Division of Highways to sell advertising space on the WV511 website to raise capital to improve the website and to promote in-state tourism. 50% of the funds from each sale must be deposited in the Tourism Promotion Fund and 50% must be remitted to the Division of Highways.
HB 4129 provides that if a child to be adopted has been removed from an abusive or neglectful home, the petition for adoption can be filed in the same county as the original abuse or neglect proceeding. The bill also requires the Department of Health and Human Resources to pay for adoption services.
HB 4141 requires the Department of Administration to publish a comprehensive annual financial report.
HB 4179 creates the Recognition of Emergency Services Personnel Licensure Interstate Compact. The bill was first recommended by the Joint Committee on Volunteer Fire Departments and Emergency Medical Services for introduction and passage during this year's Regular Session.
As of Friday, February 14th, 2020, 796 bills have been introduced in the Senate. Of those bills, 109 have passed and advanced to the House.
SB 96 prohibits municipalities form limiting an individual's right to purchase, possess, transfer or own deadly weapons or pepper spray. This bill also restricts the award of attorney fees to petitioners seeking redress under this law, but only for those who prevail.
SB 97 adds to the circumstances allowing a senior judge or justice to receive per diem compensation after the judge or justice has already been given the annual salary of a sitting court judge.
SB 131 creates the Tim Tebow Act. This bill allows homeschooled students or students enrolled in a private parochial school that is not a member of the Secondary Schools Activity Commission to participate in sports or other activities in schools belonging to that commission.
SB 163 allows the collection of the hotel occupancy tax by marketplace facilitators.
SB 180 requires that a court's accounting of amounts due for crime victim restitution be identified separately. The bill also provides that court costs collected under the Second Chance Driver's License Program that can be attributed to this restitution are not subject to the 5% offset for use by the Director of Justice Community Services.
SB 195 updates the powers of a personal representative, administrator, trustee or executive of a deceased person's estate.
SB 208 changes the time period for prices of certain necessities is not to be increased during a state of emergency.
SB 230 requires the Board of Education to provide routine education on student suicide prevention to school faculty and staff. This would include teaching the warning signs and resources for suicide prevention.
SB 266 updates and clarifies provisions regarding special license plates for Fairmont State University.
SB 275 would create an Intermediate Court of Appeals.
SB 517 creates the State Parks and recreation Endowment Fund, receiving funding from the leasing of gas, oil and minerals from underneath the Ohio River and its tributaries.
SB 573 amends an item of appropriation and account for the designated spending units and expenditure for the 2020 fiscal year.
SB 575 allows the governing entity of a local fire department to designate its premises as a safe-surrender site that can accept physical custody of a child 30 days old or younger from a person who has legal custody of the child.
SB 576 updates the Records Management and Preservation Act to reflect current and modern practices of storing public records. The bill removes the formal advisory committee and terminates the requirement for an administrator to store agencies' essential records.
SB 600 creates the Military Authority Fund, a special revenue account for the State Treasury. The account will be administered by the Adjunct General for nonfederal government revenues and expenses received by this account.
SB 607 requires that all parties involved in a vehicle crash receive each other's information. The law-enforcement officer who reports the crash must share the owner/operator and insurance information with all involved within 24 hours of the crash.
SB 618 aligns current state law to federal law regarding the requirements for the location of salvage yards within 1,000 feet of an occupied private residence.
SB 641 allows the West Virginia Children's Health Insurance Program to have flexibility in rate setting to save money to help with the budget shortfall and move program from fee-for-service to a managed care benefit. The bill creates a benefit plan for uninsured children in families with an income between 200%-300% of the federal poverty level.
SB 654 allows some sheriffs to transfer from the Public Employees Retirement System to the Deputy Sheriff Retirement System.
SB 657 allows for the designation of tourism development districts in agreement with qualifying tourism development projects in municipalities with less that 2,000 residents. The bill includes oversight of these districts and development office control.
SB 664 adds a physician's assistants, psychologists and advanced practice registered nurses to the list of medical professionals who can determine when a person lacks capacity.
SB 665 requires individuals convicted of certain crimes on or after March 8, 1995 to provide DNA samples.
SB 676 permits fees from the Central Abuse Registry to be used for IT support and infrastructure costs.
SB 678 waives fees and eliminates obstacles for obtaining a driver's license for individuals who complete the GOALS program.
As of Friday, February 14, 2020, there have been 1,509 bills introduced in the House and 117 bills have been passed and now are before the Senate.
House Bill 2527 sets criminal penalties for forgery or other crimes concerning lottery tickets. Those guilty of this felony shall be fined up to $1000 and be imprisoned in a state correctional facility for a sentence of one to five years.
House Bill 4582 provides payments to certain vendors that the state owes money to, because the agency reached its budget limit.
House Bill 4611 relates generally to fireworks; reducing certification fees for both temporary and permanent retail sales locations for fireworks and requiring the State Fire Marshal to establish a procedure that allows a fireworks retailer to combine and pay all applicable fees in a single payment.
House Bill 4618 allows for the public display of deadly weapons for sale, for example in a window of a shop for advertising purposes. The bill includes any deadly weapon, machine gun, fully automatic weapon, rifle, shotgun or ammunition for sale.
House Bill 4661 permits a natural gas utility to make a proposal to the Public Service Commission for incentivized gas drilling where dependable, lower-priced supplies of natural gas are not readily available. The bill permits a natural gas utility to recover the cost reasonably necessary to convert a customer to an alternate fuel source when gas service to that customer has been abandoned. The bill permits natural gas utilities to recover those conversion costs.
House Bill 4691 creates greater provisions for school systems to recruit and employ newly graduated and substitute teachers in areas of critical need. The bill extends the date upon provisions relating to the employment of retired teachers for areas in critical need until June 2025.
House Bill 4069 creates the West Virginia Student Religious Liberties Act. This bill provides that public school districts cannot discriminate against student's religious beliefs. Students may express their religious views in schoolwork and pray during the school day without being penalized or rewarded. The bill also sets parameters for speakers at non-graduation and graduation events. This legislation cooperates with standards set forward by the federal government and the United States Constitution.
House Bill 4178 requires that calls for emergency service which are recorded be maintained for a period of five years.
House Bill 4478 bars a commercial driver who has been convicted of a felony involving "severe forms of trafficking in persons" from holding a commercial driver's license for life.
House Bill 4544 makes the provisions of the current law applicable to persons 18 years of age or older who are convicted of distribution of a controlled substance within 200 feet of public library in this state.
House Bill 4551 defines criteria for continuing to receive an adoption subsidy when the adopted child is placed out of the home. The bill establishes an enhanced definition of the "support" requirement codified in the Federal Social Security Act. The bill also provides mechanisms for reducing the subsidy for families with children in long-term residential placement.
House Bill 4576 establishes a procedure for correcting obvious errors in deeds, deeds of trust, and mortgages, and establishing a format for the corrective affidavit and notice of an intent to correct an obvious description error.
Senate Bill 16 create the Protect Our Right to Unite Act. The bill relates generally to protecting an individual's constitutional right to privacy in association.
Senate Bill 35 limits the civil penalties for littering to $2,000 and sets a minimum fine to $200.
Senate Bill 46 defines "pepper spray" and exempts pepper spray from the definition of "deadly weapons" where it used to be classified as.
Senate Bill 300 updates the meaning of federal taxable income and certain other terms used in the West Virginia Corporation Net Income Tax Act.
Senate Bill 310 updates the meaning of federal adjusted gross income and certain other terms used in the West Virginia Personal Income Tax Act.
Senate Bill 321 creates uniformity relating to the collection of taxes, the priority of distribution of an estate, and to limit the liability of a fiduciary charged with distribution of the estate.
Senate Bill 449 authorizes certain agencies of the Department of Commerce to promulgate legislative rules.
Senate Bill 470 specifies rules and measurements for crossbow hunters. The crossbow must have a minimum draw weight of 125 pounds, have a working safety, and must be used with bolts and arrows at least 16 inches in length.
Senate Bill 487 creates an exception to the requirement that Division of Natural Resources payments be deposited in bank within 24 hours.
Senate Bill 500 removes the requirement for applicants for a Class Y special crossbow to provide written release authorizing examination of all medical records regarding qualifying disability.
Senate Bill 501 adds protection for the operation of North Bend Rail Trail, Greenbrier River Trail, and Elk River Trail to Parks and Recreation Section of the Department of Natural Resources.
Senate Bill 532 provides for the distribution of the assets remaining in a municipal policemen's or firemen's pension and relief fund upon the death the last remaining retiree or beneficiary receiving benefits under the fund.
Senate Bill 676 permits fees from the Central Abuse Registry to be used for costs relating to information technology support and infrastructure. The bill permits the term "criminal recording keeping" to include data creation.