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Today in the Legislature

Friday, July 13, 2018 - 01:58 PM

House Judiciary calls former W.Va. Supreme Court employees as witnesses

The House Judiciary Committee continued taking witness testimony in the second day of impeachment proceedings.

Friday morning, Committee Chief Counsel Marsha Kauffman called Scott Harvey, former West Virginia Supreme Court database administrator and former director of technology.

Harvey testified that he and other employees made multiple visits to Justice Allen Loughry’s home to extend internet access between Loughry’s house and the state Supreme Court and to set up two desktop computers—one in the kitchen/family area and one in a room Loughry referred to as an office area.  

Harvey testified one of these desktops served a “shared” computer in which Loughry’s family had access. Harvey said he personally questioned the need for the computer in the family room and allowing family members to use a state computer.

On a fourth visit to Loughry’s house, Harvey said they had to deal with a virus on the family room computer.

“It came to me through the IT chain that there were a lot of games installed on the computer,” Harvey said.

Harvey said other justices had computers in their homes but he had never done a site survey with the other justices to the extent or degree he did with Loughry.

Harvey also testified about a consulting firm hired to program a statewide magistrate court system, which took the entire magistrate court system from paper to electronic.

He said he did not believe was necessary because the court could have done the work with their own employees. Harvey said this was an opportunity for the court to bring in revenue but there was a lack of knowledge about how the payment process should be handled within the state.

He said the court came up with its own way of how they would do it but the state treasurer disagreed with that method.

Harvey said it involved the fee payment processing on the state Supreme Court server instead of the treasurer’s server, which is why the treasurer objected. He said after this document was re-worked that said the treasurer would process the payments, the treasurer signed off on the document.

He said Justice Menis Ketchum threatened him twice, saying if he didn’t get the treasurer to sign off on the document, he would be fired.

Ketchum submitted his letter of retirement/resignation Wednesday so the committee will not consider evidence against him.

The committee later called Paul Fletcher Adkins, assistant to the administrative director of courts, as a witness. Adkins worked at the state Supreme Court for 35 years.

Adkins said he approved the bill for Young’s Moving Service. He said the moving company transported office furniture on West Virginia Day from Loughry’s office into a warehouse during renovations at the court. 

Adkins met the people from Young’s Moving Service at the warehouse to let them in and then locked up the warehouse when he left.

However, before the moving company went to the warehouse, Adkins said the moving company stopped at Loughry’s house and then went to the Capitol to pick up furniture to transport to the warehouse.

When asked what specific items were unloaded into the warehouse, Adkins said nothing stood out to him. He said there was a single item delivered to Dudley Drive, under Loughry’s supervision. However, he did not know what that was.

“If something was delivered to Dudley Drive and under the supervision of a justice, there was nothing I would have to say about it,” he said.

Adkins confirmed Loughry used a Cass Gilbert desk when he served as a law clerk with the court but said he was unsure if he had it in his chamber.

Before recessing, the committee played an audio clip from Loughry’s testimony before the House Finance Committee during session and then a WCHS interview with Loughry.

In the interview, Loughry called the expenses “outrageous and shameful.” He said he had “very little input” into the renovations and furnishings of his office. Loughry said former court administrative director Steve Canterbury was in charge of the expenditures.

The Judiciary Committee will resume work on impeachment proceedings 9 a.m. Thursday, July 19.



Thursday, July 12, 2018 - 08:11 PM

House Judiciary Committee continues impeachment hearing

House Judiciary Committee members continued taking testimony into the evening Thursday as part of impeachment proceedings.

Late last month, the West Virginia Legislature convened its second special session. The West Virginia House of Delegates immediately took up and adopted House Resolution 201, which calls for investigating allegations of impeachable offenses against the Chief Justice and justices of the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals.

The meeting, which began Thursday morning, focused on testimony related to three legislative audit reports on the state’s highest court.

Judiciary Chief Counsel Marsha Kauffman called Justin Robinson, acting director of the Post Audit Division, as the first witness. Robinson testified about the legislative audit reports detailing alleged personal use of state vehicles from justices.  

The first audit found Justice Allen Loughry had frequent use of state vehicles without listing a business purpose. The Legislative Auditor also questioned Loughry’s use of state-paid rental cars during out-of-state trips

The second audit found Justice Robin Davis had seven uses of a court vehicle where a destination was provided but no business purpose was listed.

The audit found no issues regarding vehicle reservations by Chief Justice Margaret Workman or Justice Beth Walker.

Delegate Andrew Robinson, D-Kanawha, made a motion to amend the rules of Judiciary Chairman John Shott, R-Mercer. Shott denied the amendment and Robinson challenged the ruling. However, that motion failed because Shott said there needed to be 10 members of the committee to join Robinson in that motion.

Many of the questions Thursday afternoon centered on out-of-state trips for conferences and the amount of miles from Justice Allen Loughry’s trips that Justin Robinson said exceeded the amount of miles from the hotel to the conference.

Committee Counsel called Legislative Auditor and Legislative Manager Aaron Allred as the second witness.

Many of the questions centered on a Cass Gilbert desk, valued at about $42,000, that the legislative audit report said was moved to Loughry’s house. Allred said the report found in June 2013, a moving company transported furniture to Loughry’s home. However, he could not say for sure what specifically was moved at that time.

Allred said it is his understanding Loughry later had court employees come to his house, while they were on the clock, to move the desk to a court warehouse.

 Delegate Mark Zatezalo, R-Hancock, said, “it scares me that a law clerk was using a $42,000 desk,” referencing that Loughry used the desk during his time as a law clerk.

After a 45-minute break, the Judiciary Committee reconvened and called Justin Robinson back as a witness to testify about the third legislative audit report. This report questioned the spend down of the West Virginia Supreme Court’s excess fund balance, which went from $29 million to $333,514 in four years.

Justice Menis Ketchum submitted his letter of retirement/resignation on Wednesday. Judiciary Chair John Shott, R-Mercer, said the committee will not consider evidence against Ketchum because of that resignation.

Shott said because of this, he anticipates the agenda to be shortened by about a day. The committee recessed until 9 a.m. Friday.



Thursday, July 12, 2018 - 02:35 PM

House Judiciary begins impeachment process, calls witness

The House Judiciary Committee began the impeachment process, starting its Thursday morning meeting with an explanation of the proceedings and calling the first witness

Late last month, the West Virginia Legislature convened its second special session. The West Virginia House of Delegates immediately took up and adopted House Resolution 201, which calls for investigating allegations of impeachable offenses against the Chief Justice and justices of the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals.

Justice Menis Ketchum submitted his letter of retirement/resignation on Wednesday. Judiciary Chair John Shott, R-Mercer, said the committee will not consider evidence against Ketchum because of that resignation. Shott said this could shorten proceedings since the committee won’t need that time that would have been dedicated to those findings.

Before calling the first witness, Shott detailed the background and process of impeachment proceedings. The committee can vote to impeach, not to impeach or censure.

“I’ve spent a lot of sleepless nights thinking about what we are about to undertake. … The ultimately result of what we’re doing today is to overturn a duly elected official where tens of thousands voted for Supreme Court justices for 12-year terms and invested in them substantial trust,” Shott said.

“We have an obligation to also hold accountable those public officials who voters can’t hold accountable because of such a lengthy term,” Shott later said.

Shott cautioned members to not liken the proceeding to that of a grand jury or even to a preliminary hearing but to instead consider it a hybrid.

“In a grand jury, it’s intended to create leverage in favor of the state. … A preliminary hearing is the same with a low standard of probable cause,” he said.

Judiciary Chief Counsel Marsha Kauffman called Justin Robinson, acting director of the Post Audit Division, as the first witness. Robinson testified about the legislative audit reports detailing alleged personal use of state vehicles from justices.  

The first audit found Justice Allen Loughry had frequent use of state vehicles without listing a business purpose. The Legislative Auditor also questioned Loughry’s use of state-paid rental cars during out-of-state trips

The second audit found Justice Robin Davis had seven uses of a court vehicle where a destination was provided but no business purpose was listed.

The audit found no issues regarding vehicle reservations by Chief Justice Margaret Workman or Justice Beth Walker.

Delegates also questioned Robinson before breaking for lunch, reconvening at 1:30 p.m. 



Tuesday, June 26, 2018 - 04:14 PM

House Judiciary Committee begins impeachment process

The House Judiciary Committee met shortly following the House of Delegate’s adjournment Tuesday to start the impeachment process.

 

On Tuesday, the West Virginia Legislature convened its second special session. The House immediately took up and adopted House Resolution 201, investigating allegations of impeachable offenses against the Chief Justice and justices of the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals.

 

The House Judiciary Committee is tasked with determining evidence to see if impeachable offenses have occurred.

 

Members heard from committee attorney Brian Casto, who presented a history of the impeachment process and detailed how the process works.

 

Legislators also heard from Marc Harman, who served in the House of Delegates during the 1989 impeachment of A. James Manchin. Harman shared his experience through that process.

 

“What you are about to undertake will not be pleasant but I hope you will rise to the occasion,” Harman told legislators. “What has happened has happened. I think you can define us as a state by how you handle it.”

 

Committee Chair Delegate John Shott, R-Mercer, said the committee will issue a subpoena to the Judicial Investigation Commission. Committee members are also scheduled to meet with the Legislative Auditor’s office.

 

Shott said the committee will meet as early as July 9 but no later than July 16.

 



Tuesday, June 26, 2018 - 04:12 PM

Joint Committee on Flooding

Maj. Gen. James Hoyer addressed the Joint Committee on Flooding Tuesday to give updates on efforts moving forward. Hoyer said he is moving with deliberate speed to address issues.

 

Hoyer said there were 1,200 initial applications, 451 cases that met HUD requirements, and as of Tuesday, 350 have been reviewed.

 

He said 22 structures are on site, some of which families have the keys to and some of them, people are in the process of signing off on finalizing the construction management process.

 

He said by next week, he hopes to draft a document to purchase for the Slum and Blight Removal Program, which involves demolishing structures either flooded or in a flood affected area.

 

“We are trying to focus on pushing that quickly,” he said. “If we remove structures, it helps us to bring property values up in the community as well as moving forward. It’s an important aspect of what we’re doing.”

 

He said currently, there is $2 million from HUD for the bridge program. However, he said the state needs $3.5 million to complete all the bridges in the system.

 

“Once we get on focus, we can go to HUD to put more money into the bridge program so we can clear out all 133 bridges,” Hoyer said.

 

Two people from the West Virginia Development Office – Mary Jo Thompson and Russell Tarry – were scheduled to speak to the committee.

 

However, a representative from the West Virginia Department of Commerce said they had previously resigned, hours after confirming they would attend Tuesday’s meeting to answer questions related to the RISE program.  

 

Adam Fridley, audit manager with the Legislative Auditor’s office, also addressed legislators Tuesday. Fridley presented an audit examining the Rise program. The audit found the state Development Office likely entered into six illegal contracts with Horne LLP, a Mississippi-based accounting and advisory firm, at a cost of about $18 million.

 

The audit also found the Development Office entered into seven construction contracts, totaling more than $71 million, for home rehabilitation, reconstruction, and replacement services under RISE, which the audit said violated state and federal law.



Tuesday, June 26, 2018 - 02:09 PM

Legislature Convenes Special Session to Consider State Supreme Court Impeachment

The West Virginia Legislature convened the second special session of 2018 on Tuesday afternoon.

The House of Delegates immediately took up and adopted House Resolution 201 , investigating allegations of impeachable offenses against the Chief Justice and justices of the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals.

Delegate Isaac Sponaugle, D-Pendleton, offered an amendment to the resolution dealing with a timeline of making a decision on potential impeachment. Sponaugle referenced an Aug. 14 deadline, which is the deadline to have a decision made to have a special election in November to fill any vacancy created.

Sponaugle’s amendment was rejected on a 32-57 vote.

The House adopted House Resolution 201 on a 89-0 vote.

The House is adjourned until called back into session by Speaker Pro Tempore John Overington, R-Berkeley.

The Senate quickly gaveled in and out, adjourning until the House finishes its impeachment work. The Senate serves as the jury in the trial phase of impeachment proceedings.

The House Judiciary is currently meeting to discuss impeachment proceedings

 

 



Monday, June 25, 2018 - 05:30 PM

Updated - Joint Standing Committee on Judiciary looks into impeachment procedure

 

After the Joint Standing Committee on the Judiciary recessed to address concerns regarding procedure for impeachment proceedings, legislative leaders have requested Gov. Jim Justice to call the Legislature into a special session to allow the House of Delegates to consider potential articles of impeachment against one or more members of the state Supreme Court.

 

Committee Co-Chair Delegate John Shott, R-Mercer, said following the committee’s Monday morning meeting, a conference was held where lawmakers determined the best way to go was to request the governor to call the Legislature into a special session on Tuesday.

 

Senate President Mitch Carmichael, R-Jackson, and House Speaker Pro Tempore John Overington, R-Berkeley, later formally requested the governor to call the Legislature into a special session.

 

“We have met with the governor and the governor is agreeable to that,” Shott said.

 

Earlier Monday, committee members made various motions involving creating two subcommittees, establishing a timeline for meetings and decisions, and discussing procedure for voting on the motion to create the subcommittee.

 

The motion to establish the two subcommittees—one comprised of House Judiciary Committee members and one comprised of Senate Judiciary Committee members—was later withdrawn pending a call into a special session.

 

Members of the committee questioned whether the vote should be split with House members voting to create the House subcommittee and the Senate voting on its portion.

 

Shott mentioned concerns about the process.

 

“This is a serious situation,” Shott said. “it’s extremely important that we have bipartisan support from the get-go.”

 

If articles of impeachment are adopted by the House, it’s then sent to the Senate for an impeachment trial.

 

Shott said the committee is plowing new ground.

 

“We’ve had one impeachment proceeding in the history of the state,” Shott said. “There is not a lot of precedence on how to proceed.”

 

Delegate Mike Pushkin, D-Kanawha, mentioned the Aug. 14 deadline. This is the deadline to have a special election this November to fill any vacancy created.

 

The committee also heard presentations detailing the process and function of several agencies that investigate and discipline public officials and public employees — the Ethics Commission, the Legislative Auditor’s Office, the West Virginia Auditor’s office, Department of Health and Human Resources Medical Fraud Unit, West Virginia Attorney General’s office, Office of Disciplinary Counsel, Consolidated Retirement Board, Commission on Special Investigation, and the Judicial Investigation Commission.



Monday, June 25, 2018 - 05:04 PM

Legislative Auditor report looks into Supreme Court excess fund balance

 

A report from the Legislative Auditor’s office questioned the spend down of the West Virginia Supreme Court’s excess fund balance, which went from $29 million to $333,514 in four years.

 

 

 

Justin Robinson, manager with the Post Audit Division, presented the audit to lawmakers during Sunday’s Post Audits Subcommittee meeting.

 

According to the audit, the state Supreme Court had unused appropriated General Revenue Funds totaling $29 million in the 2012 fiscal year. This balance was reduced to $333,514 by the 2016 fiscal year. The audit said this was attributed to different reasons including renovations to the justice’s chambers and other court facilities.

 

“The Legislative Auditor is concerned with the Court’s accumulation of appropriated General Revenue Funds in the majority of the years reviewed, with particular regard to the fact that in five years, they had re-appropriated funds that went from $1.4 million in 2007 to $29 million in 2012,” the report said. “There is also concern over how these funds were subsequently spent down.”

 

The audit detailed the timeline:

 

  • In 2012, judges, justices and magistrates received pay raises, which totaled about $6.1 million. This was absorbed using re-appropriated funds from 2011. The court also decreased its appropriation request by $2 million. It carried over $22.7 million into the 2013 fiscal year.

  • In 2013, the court absorbed some of the previous year’s raises for judges, justices and magistrates from re-appropriated funds, totaling about $4.4 million. The audit said there also were unanticipated construction and furniture purchases for justices’ chambers, the business court, the City Center East server room, the Clerk’s office, and the justice’s conference room. The court also purchased technology, furniture and equipment for new family court spaces in several counties. The court re-appropriated about $15.25 million into the 2014 fiscal year.

  • In 2014, the court returned about $4 million to the General Revenue Fund to help with the budget shortfall and did not seek appropriation for about $10 million in expenditures, the report said.

  • In 2015, the court re-appropriated $333,514 to the 2016 fiscal year.

  • In 2016, the court re-appropriated about $1.2 million to the 2017 fiscal year including $2 million returned to the General Revenue fund for annual Judicial Retirement contributions.

 

 “How or why the court accumulated $29 million in excess General Revenue Funds in 2012 cannot fully be explained,” the audit said.

 

The Post Audit Division will continue to look into the increased spending and reduction of the excess funds.

 

Chief Justice Margaret Workman also addressed the subcommittee. She said some of the expenses involved computerizing court records. She said court computers also need to be updated often.

 

 “It’s a very expensive proposition to take court records from 55 different counties and develop case management systems that are consistent,” Workman said.

 

She also said there was a lot of money spent on renovations. Some of these expenses, she said, included heating, cooling and electric work.



Monday, June 25, 2018 - 02:42 PM

Joint Standing Committee on Judiciary looks into impeachment procedure

The Joint Standing Committee on the Judiciary is looking into procedure for impeachment against any member of the state Supreme Court.

 

After members made various motions involving one creating two subcommittees, establishing a timeline for meetings and decisions, and discussing procedure for voting on the motion to create the subcommittees, the Joint Standing Committee on the Judiciary will stand in recess until 5 p.m. 

 

The main motion, if adopted, will establish two subcommittees—one comprised of House Judiciary Committee members and the other comprised of Senate Judiciary Committee members.

 

The House subcommittee will study whether a recommendation should be made to House Speaker Tim Armstead, R-Kanawha, to require the governor to call the Legislature into session to institute impeachment proceedings.

 

If articles of impeachment are adopted by the House, it’s then sent to the Senate for an impeachment trial.

 

Committee Co-Chair Delegate John Shott, R-Mercer, said the committee is plowing new ground.

 

“We’ve had one impeachment proceeding in the history of the state,” Shott said. “There is not a lot of precedence on how to proceed.”

 

Members of the committee questioned whether the vote should be split with House members voting to create the House subcommittee and the Senate voting on its portion.

 

Delegate Mike Pushkin, D-Kanawha, mentioned the Aug. 14. This is the deadline to have a special election this November to fill any vacancy created.

 

The committee also heard presentations detailing the process and function of several agencies that investigate and discipline public officials and public employees — the Ethics Commission, the Legislative Auditor’s Office, the West Virginia Auditor’s office, Department of Health and Human Resources Medical Fraud Unit, West Virginia Attorney General’s office, Office of Disciplinary Counsel, Consolidated Retirement Board, Commission on Special Investigation, and the Judicial Investigation Commission.

 

The committee will reconvene at 5 p.m. in the House Chamber to take up these motions.



Sunday, June 24, 2018 - 06:50 PM

Legislative Auditor report examines Rise program contracts

 

The state Development Office entered into several illegal contracts under the Rise program and the legislative auditor’s office questioned whether homes have been completed under the program, a report from the Legislative Auditor’s Office found.

 

Adam Fridley, interim director of the Legislative Auditor’s Office presented the audit to lawmakers in Sunday’s Post Audits Subcommittee meeting.

 

The audit looked into contracts entered by the West Virginia Development Office and whether they complied with state and federal laws for using Community Development Block Grant—Disaster Recovery Funds.

 

The audit found two main issues. The first is that the Development Office entered into six illegal contracts with Horne LLP, a Mississippi-based accounting and advisory firm, at a cost of about $18 million, the audit said.

 

The second issue the audit found is that the Development Office entered into seven construction contracts, totaling more than $71 million, for home rehabilitation, reconstruction, and replacement services under Rise, which violated state and federal laws.

 

Fridley said Horne was in charge of developing a state action plan and assess unmet needs. The company was under contract at a total of $900,000 to provide these project management services. However, between May 2017 and February 2018, the Development Office entered into six additional task order agreements, costing about $18 million.

 

Fridley said these contracts should have been subject to competitive bidding requirements because they differed substantially from the original contract. He cited an opinion from Legislative Services that these contracts are void under state code.

 

Fridley told the committee the governor’s office ceased payments to Horne under the additional task orders and a new contract with Horne will be finalized at a cost of $9.4 million.

 

Fridley said the Development Office violated federal law with seven construction contracts entered with four different construction companies. These contracts were effective before the Development Office received authority from HUD to use grant funds.

 

The Development Office issued more than $700,000 in payments under these contracts and $400,000 in payments were issued before the office received authorization to use the money, according to the report.

 

The audit also found the Development Office did not comply with purchasing division requirement when it entered into these seven construction contracts.

 

The audit issued five recommendations:

 

  • The Development Office should seek repayment or credit against the new contract for money paid for the task order agreements

  • The Development Office should not issue payments for any work done under the invalid task order agreements

  • The Development Office should cease future payments under current construction contracts for the Rise program

  • The Development Office should terminate existing construction contracts and enter into new contracts that comply with federal and state law

  • The Development Office should work with HUD to resolve issues regarding funds that were spent before the office was authorized to do so.

 

House Speaker Tim Armstead, R-Kanawha, asked Fridley about the status of construction performed under contracts.

 

“Nothing suggests reconstruction or rehabilitation under the program,” Fridley told legislators. “It appears all services rendered thus far were for mobile home replacement units.”

 

Armstead also asked for the status of applicants who either were approved and still do not have homes or applied and don’t know the status of those applications.

 

“For those who have applied and don’t know their status, my understanding in reading the policies and procedures is that this shouldn’t have been the case to begin with,” Fridley said. “Those who have had their applications approved and are waiting on reconstruction, rehabilitation of damaged homes, this could be a multitude of things—environmental reviews, other internal processes. The answer would be on a case-by-case basis.”

 

Senate Minority Leader Roman Prezioso, D-Marion, expressed his concern about the state potentially entering into a new contract with Horne LLP.

 

 

“We are continuing to do business with Horne even though they didn’t complete the requirements under their contract?”

 

House Minority Leader Tim Miley, D-Harrison, asked about the intention of the Development Office entering the six illegal contracts with Horne. Fridley said it appeared to be a lack of awareness of the requirements of state and federal law.

 

Senate President Mitch Carmichael, R-Jackson, asked to hear from a Department of Commerce representative. However, no one was there to speak.

 

“I am disappointed there is not someone here,” Carmichael said. "There will be someone here at the next meeting.”

 

A Commerce representative is scheduled to speak at Tuesday’s Joint Legislative Committee on Flooding meeting, Sen. Ed Gaunch, R-Kanawha, said.

 

Carmichael said he hopes the office will continue looking into the Rise program.

 

“I’m hoping this is a continuing audit under the Rise program and there is more to come,” Carmichael said. “This has been a horribly mismanaged program, in my view. It’s been two years post-flood and we still have all of these issues.”



Sunday, June 24, 2018 - 06:42 PM

PEIA Director updates lawmakers on town halls

 

Public Employees Insurance Agency Director Ted Cheatham updated lawmakers on feedback received from 21 town halls held across the state.

 

Cheatham presented these updates during Sunday’s Joint Committee on PEIA meeting. He said two wellness plans will be launched soon — a weight loss program and a diabetes program.

 

One popular topic in the town halls concerned funding sources for the plan, which needs an additional $50 million a year to remain where it is now.

 

Cheatham said people who spoke at the town halls suggested several options including an additional severance tax, sugar tax, and re-instating the food tax. The cost and revenue subcommittee will address potential revenue sources, which the Legislature will ultimately need to pass to become law, Cheatham said. 

 

He said people also expressed concern about premium increases and getting treatment from bordering out-of-state hospitals.

 

Cheatham also updated lawmakers about the recent tier changes to prevent about 14,000 people who would be moved to an increased tier from the 5 percent pay raise. 

 

The Public outreach subcommittee will meet Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. in the Governor’s Cabinet Conference Room in Charleston to recap the statewide listening tour.



Monday, May 21, 2018 - 04:39 PM

Legislature Completes 1st Special Session of 2018

The Legislature moved quickly to complete action on eight items put forth by the Governor during the first Special Session of 2018.

House Bill 101 reestablishes the Division of Culture and History as the Department of Arts, Culture and History. Under the legislation that passed Tuesday, the current commissioner of culture and history will become the curator of arts, culture and history. The curator will report directly to the governor.

The Legislature also completed action on House Bill 102, which deals with death benefits for families of firefighters killed in the line of duty. This bill makes a larger death benefit retroactively effective to Jan. 1, to aid the families of Pratt volunteer firefighters who passed away in a crash as they were responding to a fatal accident on the West Virginia Turnpike in March.

The other six items completed today were a combination of supplemental appropriations and bills to provide technical cleanup for recently-passed bills from the 2018 Regular Session.



Sunday, May 20, 2018 - 07:06 PM

Legislature Convenes 1st Special Session of 2018

Both the House and the Senate met briefly Sunday evening to convene the First Extraordinary Session of 2018.

Both bodies introduced and read eight bills a first time. Senate Bill 1002 would amend the West Virginia Fire, EMS, and Law-Enforcement Officer Survivor Benefit Act as modified by Enrolled Committee Substitute for Senate Bill 625 to allow for a retroactive effective date of January 1, 2018.

House Bill 104 would modify the type of businesses and establishments required to post human trafficking assistance notice.

The House has adjourned until tomorrow at 11 a.m.

The Senate has adjourned until tomorrow at Noon.

A Senate subcommittee on confirmations will meet at 11:30 a.m. in 208W.

 

›› All bills introduced on this date


Friday, March 30, 2018 - 06:20 PM

Sharon Lewis Malcolm Sworn In to House of Delegates

Surrounded by friends and family and standing with her son, Dr. John H. Lewis, D.O, his wife Tammy and their kids Matthew H., and Emily Grace, Sharon Lewis Malcolm took the oath of office as administered by Speaker of the House Tim Armstead. House Clerk Steve Harrison presided over the ceremony.

Delegate Malcolm represnts the 39th Delegate District and was appointed to the position this week by Governor Justice following the resignation of Ron Walters during the last week of the 2018 Regular Session.



Saturday, March 10, 2018 - 10:01 PM

SB 152 Passes House Unanimously, Adjourns Sine Die

The House convened today at 10 a.m. during the final day of the Second Regular Session of the 8rd Legislature.

The House unanimously passed Senate Bill 152 - Budget Bill.

The House passed the following bills:

The House refused to concur with the Senate on the following bills:

The House concurred with the Senate and completed the following legislation:

Senate Bill 392 was sent to conference committee.

The House is in recess until 4 p.m.

Update 9:00 p.m.

Bills sent to conference committee: 

Concurred and passed:

Bills completed:

Bills passed:

Concurred and adopted:

The House is in recess until 9:30 p.m.

Concurred and completed:

Concurred and passed:

Rejected:

The House is adjourned sine die.

›› Completed Legislation

Saturday, March 10, 2018 - 05:30 PM

S. B. 152, The Budget Bill Passed, Senate Adjourned Sine Die

The Senate convened today at 11 a.m.

The Senate concurred with the House's amendments to S. B. 152, the Budget Bill. The bill was passed unanimously and is now awaiting action by the Governor. With the passage of the bill on day 60, the last day of the legislative session, the session will not need to extend to finish the budget, provided what action the governor takes.

This year the budget was able to pass without first needing to go through a conference committee which comes about from disagreements between the House and Senate.

The body amended the House amendments to the following bills and concured and passed as amended:

The Senate concured with the House and passed the following bills which are now awaiting action by the Governor:

The Senate adopted and passed the following Conference Committee Reports:

The Senate filed the Conference Committee reports for S. B. 282.

The Senate appointed conferees to the following Conference Committees

S. B. 392

H. B. 4001

H. B. 4447

H. B. 4629

H. B 4626 was taken up for immediate consideration and read three times. It passed 33-0 with one member absent and is now awaiting action by the Governor.

The Senate is in recess until 5 p.m.

Committees meeting today:

Judiciary at 3:50 208W

Transportation and Infrastructure immediately following the floor session in the back of the chamber.

 

Update Sunday, March 11 at 12: 33 a.m.

The Senate reconvened at 5 p.m. and met peridocially throughout the night.

The body confirmed all nominations in Executive Message 5.

S. B. 288 was referred to the Rules Committee.

The Senate adopted S. J. R. 3

The Senate Passed:

H. B. 4607

H. B. 4345

H. B. 4465

S. B. 392

The Senate concured and passed:

S. B. 468

S. B. 633

H. B. 4009

H. B. 4156

H. B. 4338

H. B. 4392

H. B. 4603

H. B. 4001

 H. B. 4488

H. B. 4320

The Senate amended and passed:

S. B. 625

S. B. 92

The Senate receded its amendments and passed:

S. B. 282

H. B. 2869

Refused to concur with the House's amendments:

H. B. 4428

H. B. 4431

The Senate is adjourned sine die.

›› Completed Legislation

Friday, March 09, 2018 - 07:48 PM

Senate H. B. 4006

The Senate convened at 11 a.m.

The body agreed to a conference committee for the following bills:

S. B. 51

S. B. 282

S. B. 545

S. B. 582

The Senate recieved Conference Committee reports for S. B. 46, and H. B. 4186.

The Senate refused to concur to the House's amendments for S. B. 392.

The Senate concured with the House's amendments to S. B. 273S. B. 506, S. B. 585 and H. B. 4522.

The Senate amended the House's amendments to S. B. 261S. B. 275, S. B. 463, S. B. 525 and S. B. 548 and concured with the amended version.

Bills on Third Reading:

S. B. 635 - Relating to 2019 salary adjustment for employees of DHHR - was passes unanimously and sent to the House for further consideration.

H. B. 2008 - Relating to the Dealer Recovery Program - was passed unanimously and is now awaiting action by the Governor.

H. B. 2655 - Defining and establishing the crime of cyberbullying - was passed unanimously and sent to the House to concur.

H. B. 2799 - Prohibiting the superintendent of schools from requiring a physical examination to be included to the application for a minor’s work permit - was passed unanimously and sent to the House to concur.

H. B. 2869 - Providing for paid leave for certain state officers and employees during a declared state of emergency - was passed unanimously and sent to the House to concur.

H. B. 2982 - Relating to allowing draw games winners to remain anonymous - was passed unanimously and sent to the House to concur.

H. B. 3089 - Relating to the adoption of instructional resources for use in the public schools - was passed 31-2 with one member absent and is now awaiting action by the Governor.

H. B. 4001 - Relating to eligibility and fraud requirements for public assistance - was passed 27-9 with one member absent and sent to the House to concur.

H. B. 4002 - Providing that all delegates shall be elected from one hundred single districts following the United States Census in 2020 was passes 30-3 with one member absent and sent to the House to concur.

H. B. 4006 - Revising the processes through which professional development is delivered for those who provide public education - was passed 18-15 and sent to the House to concur.

H. B. 4009 - State Settlement and Recovered Funds Accountability Act -  was passed 22-11 with one member absent and sent to the House to concur.

H. B. 4036 - Increasing the maximum salaries of family case coordinators and secretary-clerks -  was passed unanimously and is now awaiting action by the Governor.

H. B. 4150 - Prohibiting telecommunications and IP-enabled voice services from displaying the name or telephone number of the recipient - was passed unanimously and sent to the House to concur.

H. B. 4156 - Establishing the qualifications of full and part time nursing school faculty members - was passed unanimously and sent to the House to concur.

H. B. 4157 - Eliminating the refundable exemption for road construction contractors - was passed unanimously and is now awaiting action by the Governor.

H. B. 4166 - Establishing a special revenue fund to be known as the "Capital Improvements Fund - Department of Agriculture Facilities" - was passed unanimously and is now awaiting action by the Governor.

H. B. 4187 - Business Liability Protection Act - was passed 32-1 with one member absent and sent to the House to concur.

H. B. 4217 - Permitting an attending physician to obtain a patient’s autopsy report - was passed unanimously and sent to the House to concur.

H. B. 4233 - Relating generally to fraudulent transfers - was passed unanimously and sent to the House to concur.

H. B. 4251 - Permitting employees of baccalaureate institutions and universities outside of this state to be appointed to board of governors - was passed unanimously and sent to the House to concur.

H. B. 4270 - Providing for the timely payment of moneys owed from oil and natural gas production - was passed unanimously and sent to the House to concur.

H. B. 4320 - Limiting the ability of an agent under a power of attorney to take self-benefiting actions - was passed unanimously and sent to the House to concur.

H. B. 4324 - Relating to the employment of individuals by municipal paid fire departments under civil service - was passed unanimously and sent to the House to concur.

H. B. 4338 - Relating to the powers and authority of the Divisions of Administrative Services, and Corrections and Rehabilitation of the Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety - was passed 32-1 with one member absent and sent to the House to concur.

H. B. 4345 - Relating to limitations on permits for growers, processors and dispensaries of medical cannabis - was laid over for one day.

H. B. 4350 - Eliminating the regulation of upholstery - was passed unanimously and sent to the House to concur.

H. B. 4389 - Expiring funds to the Enterprise Resource Planning System Fund - was passed unanimously and sent to the House to concur.

H. B. 4392 - Relating to Medicaid subrogation liens of the Department of Health and Human Resources - was passed unanimously and sent to the House to concur.

H. B. 4394 - Relating to forest fires - was passed unanimously and sent to the House to concur.

H. B. 4424 - Providing that the Ethics Act applies to certain persons providing services without pay to state elected officials - was passed unanimously and sent to the House to concur.

H. B. 4428 - Allowing training hours earned through public school education or apprenticeship to count towards an applicant’s occupational certification - was passed unanimously and sent to the House to concur.

H. B. 4431 - Establishing the Mountaineer Trail Network Recreation Authority - was passed unanimously and sent to the House to concur.

H. B. 4447 - Providing for a uniform and efficient system of broadband conduit installation - was passed unanimously and sent to the House to concur.

H. B. 4465 - Authorizing the acupuncture board to issue certificates to perform auricular acudetox therapy - was laid over for one day.

H. B. 4486 - Relating to persons required to obtain a license to engage in the business of currency exchange - was passed unanimously and is now awaiting action by the Governor.

H. B. 4488 - Relating to the Hatfield-McCoy Recreation Authority - was passed 31-1 with two members absnet and sent to the House to concur.

H. B. 4524 - Establishing guidelines for the substitution of certain biological pharmaceuticals - was passed unanimously and sent to the House to concur.

H. B. 4558 - Establishing the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Investment Fund in the West Virginia Development Office - was passed unanimously and is now awaiting action by the Governor.

H. B. 4603 - Providing immunity from civil liability to facilities and employees providing crisis stabilization - was passed unanimously and sent to the House to concur.

H. B. 4628 - Relating to authorizing the redirection of amounts collected from certain surcharges and assessments on workers' compensation insurance policies for periods prior to January 1, 2019 - was passed unanimously and is now awaiting action by the Governor.

H. B. 4629 - Relating to broadband enhancement and expansion policies generally - was passed unanimously and sent to the House to concur.

Bills on Second Reading:

H. B. 4607 was amended on the floor.

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

Committees meeting today:

Pensions directly following the floor session in the back of the Senate Chambers

The Conference Committee for S. B. 51 will meet at 6 pm. in 208W

The Conference Committee for S. B. 545 will meet at 7 p.m. in 208W

 

Update 8:24 p.m.

The Senate reconvened at 8 p.m.

The Senate concured with the amendments to H. B. 4401.

The Senate filed the conference committee reports for S. B. 51 and S. B. 545.

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

Committees meeting tomorrow:

Conference Committee S. B. 282 9 a.m. 410M

 

›› Completed Legislation

Friday, March 09, 2018 - 12:30 PM

House Completes Bills

The House convened today at 11 a.m. during the fifty-ninth day of session.

The House concurred with the Senate and completed the following legislation:

The following bills will be sent to conference committee:

The House passed the following Senate bills:

  • Com. Sub. for S. J. R. 3 - Judicial Budget Oversight Amendment.

  • Com. Sub. for S. B. 10 - Relating generally to PSC jurisdiction.

  • Com. Sub. for S. B. 82 - Including rebuttable presumptions in certain cases for firefighters with regard to workers' compensation.

  • Com. Sub. for S. B. 141 - Expanding county assessment and collection of head tax on breeding cows.

  • Com. Sub. for S. B. 230 - Authorizing Department of Commerce promulgate legislative rules.

  • Com. Sub. for S. B. 244 - Specifying conditions for unlawful possession of firearm at school-sponsored activities.

  • Com. Sub. for S. B. 271 - Creating centralized Shared Services Section of Department of Administration.

  • Com. Sub. for S. B. 283 - Relating generally to procurement by state agencies.

  • Com. Sub. for S. B. 288 - Regulating cremation, embalming and directing of funeral service.

  • Com. Sub. for S. B. 313 - Waiving occupational fees and licensing requirements for certain low-income individuals, military families, and young workers.

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

Committee on Rules will meet at 1:15 p.m. behind the chamber.

Update 3:54 p.m.

The House worked on and passed the following bills:

  • S. B. 339 - Relating to WV Retirement Health Benefit Trust Fund within PEIA.
  • Com. Sub. for S. B. 355 - Dissolving IS&C Division under Office of Technology.
  • Com. Sub. for S. B. 375 - Relating to farmers markets.
  • Com. Sub. for S. B. 401 - Requiring specified coverage in health benefit plans for treatment of substance abuse disorders.
  • S. B. 406 - Clarifying that ground emergency medical transportation is eligible for Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement.
  • S. B. 407 - Licensing and approval of child care programs.
  • Com. Sub. for S. B. 408 - Licensing of nursing homes and assisted living residences.
  • S. B. 425 - Removing sunset dates which members of policemen's or firemen's pension fund elect to participate in deferred retirement option plan.
  • Com. Sub. for S. B. 434 - Specifying documents not subject to discovery in certain proceedings.
  • Com. Sub. for S. B. 438 - Relating to debt service on bonds secured by State Excess Lottery Revenue Fund.
  • Com. Sub. for S. B. 442 - Establishing universal forms and deadlines when submitting prior authorization electronically.
  • Com. Sub. for S. B. 443 - Terminating parental rights when certain conditions are met.
  • Com. Sub. for S. B. 445 - Allowing DOH acquire real or personal property for utility accommodation.
  • Com. Sub. for S. B. 446 - Creating Agritourism Responsibility Act.
  • S. B. 468 - Changing date and recipients for submission of Auditor's annual report.
  • Com. Sub. for S. B. 469 - Converting Addiction Treatment Pilot Program to permanent program.
  • Com. Sub. for S. B. 495 - Designating specific insurance coverages exempt from rate filing requirements
  • Com. Sub. for S. B. 501 - Relating to accrued benefit of retirees in Deputy Sheriff Retirement System.
  • Com. Sub. for S. B. 521 - Requiring chief executive of municipal law-enforcement agency be certified law-enforcement officer.
  • Com. Sub. for S. B. 528 - Providing additional circuit judge for nineteenth judicial circuit.
  • S. B. 551 - Relating to failure of employers to make contributions on behalf of employees to retirement plan administered by CPRB.
  • Com. Sub. for S. B. 556 - Creating small business and minority populations economic and workforce development taskforce to assist Economic Development Authority.
  • S. B. 592 - Adding examination of advanced care technician for firefighter paramedic.
  • S. B. 612 - Relating to sale of municipal property.
  • Com. Sub. for S. B. 625 - Creating WV Volunteer Fire and Rescue Act of 2018.

The House is in recess until 4:30 p.m.

Committee on Rules will meet at 4:15 p.m.

Update 7:27 p.m.

The House concurred with the Senate and completed the following legislation:

Bills passed:

Bills on second reading:

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

›› Completed Legislation

Thursday, March 08, 2018 - 11:06 PM

House Passes Budget Bill

After several hours of debate, the House of Delegates unaimously passed its version of the Budget Bill.

House Bill 4019 was discussed and 13 amendments to the amendment offered during a debate that lasted until about 11 p.m. Thursday. All amendments were rejected except one, which was offered by Del. Eric Nelson and adopted.

The strike and insert amendment offered by Del. Eric Nelson was also adopted.

The House attempted to suspend rules for the Senate's budget bill, Senate Bill 152, but voted the constitutional rule suspension down.

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



Thursday, March 08, 2018 - 07:03 PM

House Concurs with Senate, Passes Bills, In Recess
›› Completed Legislation


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