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Today in the Legislature

Sunday, April 09, 2017 - 09:52 PM

Senate Confirms 81 Nominations, Adjourns Sine Die

The Senate met briefly Sunday evening to confirm 81 of the Governor's 83 Executive nominations.

The Senate has adjourned Sine Die.

›› Completed Legislation

Sunday, April 09, 2017 - 01:24 AM

House of Delegate Passes Budget Bill HB 2018

The House of Delegates met early this morning to discuss House Bill 2018, the Budget Bill.

Delegate Nelson (R-Kanawha) said, “This budget raises no taxes and takes 90 million dollars out of the rainy day fund to replace what would be cut from Medicare.”

Delegate Byrd (D-Kanawha) asked if the budget would restore the courtesy patrol. He was informed the bill to take away the courtesy patrol failed.

Delegate Wilson (R-Berkeley) said, “This budget honors the taxpayers.”

Delegate Zatezalo (R-Hancock) said, “I think this budget is responsible but it is difficult. I say we pass this budget right now and then get to the negotiating table.”

Delegate Sobonya (R-Cabell) said, “When you don’t have the revenue and pass the cuts, this is what you get.”

Delegate Cowles (R-Morgan) said, “This is a bridge to a time where our economy will be doing better. I hope soon we can start spending money on programs but until then we need to live within our means and I urge a green vote.”

The bill passed with 63 yeas and 37 nays.

The legislature has completed the business of the first Regular Session.

The House has adjourned sine die.

›› Completed Legislation

Sunday, April 09, 2017 - 12:25 AM

Senate Passes House Budget Bill

The Senate has completed legislation on 13 more bills by the midnight deadline of the 2017 Regular Session. Those bills will now to be sent to the governor for enaction.

SB 172 would eliminate the salary for members of the West Virginia Water Development Board.

SB 204 would require that persons appointed to fill a vacancy by the Governor have the same qualifications for the vacated office and receive same compensation and expenses for the office otherwise provided by law.

SB 244 would encourage and facilitate the efficient and economic development of oil and gas resources by providing that a lawful use of mineral property that has been consented to by a majority of the ownership interests in the property is permissible, is not waste, and is not a trespass.

SB 554 would create the crime of false swearing in a legislative proceeding and penalties for violators.

HB 2196 would allow for the participation of home schooled students in certain secondary school activities.

HB 2329 would make unlawful the production, manufacture or possession of fentanyl.

HB 2526 would classify additional drugs to Schedules I, II, IV and V of controlled substances.

HB 2561 would create additional flexibility for school systems in the use of school aid funds.

HB 2579 would increase the penalties for transportation of narcotics and certain controlled substances into the state.

HB 2585 would create criminal offenses relating to money laundering.

HB 2587 would clarify that a firearm may be carried for self defense in state parks, state forests and state recreational areas managed by the Division of Natural Resources.

HB 2631 would prevent dismissal of complaints that exceed time standards for disposition when the accused causes delay that results in the time overage.

HB 2711 would abolish Regional Education Service Agencies.

HB 3020 would provide that the penalty for hunting, trapping or fishing on the lands of another, entering upon posted lands, or destroying posted land signs shall be equivalent to the penalty for criminal trespass.

The Senate also amended and passed the House budget bill, HB 2018, to be sent back to the House for further consideration.

Finance Chair Mike Hall, R-Putnam, amended the bill on behalf of the Senate Finance Committee to make several modifications based on previous budget bills and suggestions from the governor.

Committee Meetings Tomorrow

Confirmations: 5 p.m. in 208W

The Senate is adjourned until 6 p.m. tomorrow.

›› Completed Legislation

Saturday, April 08, 2017 - 09:24 PM

Senate Completes Legislation on Coal Mining Safety Bill

The Senate has completed legislation on nine bills now to be sent to the governor for enaction.

SB 40 would require protocols for responding to after-school injuries or emergencies to be included in school crisis response plans.

SB 535 would reorganize the Division of Tourism as the new West Virginia Tourism Office.

SB 687 would relate generally to coal mining, coal mine safety and environmental protection.

HB 2447 would rename the Court of Claims the state Claims Commission and rename judges as commissioners.

HB 2555 would remove the requirement that programs be jointly administered by labor and management trustees in order to qualify for tax credits for apprenticeship training in construction trades.

HB 2721 would eliminate the cap on the size of projects constructed by the Division of Highways.

HB 2722 would remove the financial limitations on how many design build projects may be undertaken by the Division of Highways.

HB 2731 would clarify that only civil actions with controversial amounts exceeding $7,500 must be heard in circuit court, except in actions relating to real estate installment sales contracts or actions confined exclusively by the Constitution to some other tribunal.

HB 2846 would include high school students participating in a competency-base pharmacy technician education and training program, as persons qualifying to be a pharmacy technician trainee.

The Senate also passed eight bills to be sent to the House for concurrence.

HB 2620 would create a central repository of drug overdose information in West Virginia.

The bill was advanced to second reading, where Senator Charles Trump, R-Morgan, amended the bill on behalf of the Senate Judiciary Committee to make provisions related to the creation of the Office of Drug Control Policy in the DHHR, as well as add certain reporting requirements and give the DHHR authority over making necessary rules to implement the bill's provisions.

Members of the Senate voted to override constitutional rules to move the bill to third reading, allowing the bill to then be passed. 

HB 2684 would impose penalties for repeat violations of the prohibition on driving under the influence on a suspended license by persons under the age of twenty-one.

HB 2704 would prohibit persons convicted of sexual offenses against children with whom they hold positions of trust from being employed by any educational, vocational, training, day care, group home, foster care program, or rehabilitation facility in the state.

HB 2781 would amend the effective dates for the voter identification and registration provisions adopted in the 2016 legislative session and to eliminate the requirement that DMV forward information to the Secretary of State for persons who decline to be registered to vote.

HB 2887 would authorize Boards of Governors of institutions of higher education to develop retirement and incentive packages.

HB 2936 would eliminate master contracts that agencies may currently use to purchase certain commodities.

HB 3020 would provide that the penalty for hunting, trapping or fishing on the lands of another, entering upon posted lands or destroying posted land signs shall be equivalent to the penalty for criminal trespass.

The bill had been advanced with the right to amend. Senator Mark Maynard, R-Wayne, amended the bill on behalf of the Senate Natural Resources Committee to add provisions related to wildlife resources and law enforcement measures.

HB 3096 would allow more local review and control over the operation of, and setting rates, fees and charges for, water and sewer utilities that are owned by political sub-divisions of the state.

The bill had been advanced with the right to amend. Senator Craig Blair, R-Berkeley, amended the bill on behalf of the Senate Government Organization Committee to add a new paragraph relating to the process by which a customer may challenging changed rates, as well as clarify new term definitions.

The Senate is in recess until 9:45 p.m. this evening.

›› Completed Legislation

Saturday, April 08, 2017 - 05:55 PM

Senate Completes Legislation on Bill Related to Tanning Bed Usage Restrictions

The Senate has completed legislation on a bill that would prohibit the use of a tanning device by a person under the age of eighteen.

The bill, HB 2520, will now be sent to the governor for enaction.

The Senate passed eight bills to be sent to the House for concurrence.

HB 2109 would include a municipal land bank as an agency within the West Virginia Land Reuse Agency Authorization Act and that a municipal land bank may acquire tax delinquent property.

HB 2359 would align the criminal penalties of practicing osteopathic medicine with those of practicing allopathic medicine.

HB 2552 would increase the pet food registration fee and direct that the additional money to the West Virginia Spay Neuter Assistance Fund.

HB 2637 would extend the date for expiration of provisions related to the employment of a retired teacher as a substitute beyond the post-retirement limit in areas of critical need and shortage to June 30, 2020.

HB 2648 would increase criminal penalties for individuals convicted of manufacturing, delivering, or transporting controlled substances in the presence of a minor.

HB 2674 would provide access to and receipt of certain information regarding protected persons by certain relatives of the protected person.

HB 2675 would designate the placement of nonpartisan judicial offices on the primary election ballot.

HB 2851 would update fee structure provisions for broker-dealers, agents, investment advisers and certain securities offerings and opinions, as well as increase the associated fund cap. 

The bill had been advanced to third reading with the right to amend. Senator Mike Hall, R-Putnam, amended the bill on behalf of the Senate Finance Committee to add certain provisions to a section in the bill relating to the State Auditor's duties.

Of those bills on third reading, HB 2651 was referred to the Senate Rules Committee. The bill would require nationally normed standardized achievement tests to be administered to nonpublic students between the ages of seven and 17.

The Senate amended House amendments to Senate Bills 27, 220, 441 and 630, which will now be sent back to the House for concurrence.

The Senate is in recess until 6 p.m. this evening.

›› Completed Legislation

Saturday, April 08, 2017 - 03:19 PM

Senate Passes Bill to Abolish RESAs

The Senate has passed five bills to be sent to the House for concurrence.

HB 2196 would allow for the participation of home schooled students in certain secondary school activities.

HB 2711 would abolish Regional Education Service Agencies (RESA) and funding by July 1, 2017, and provide authority for county school systems to share services, modify school accreditation and accountability measures, alter school and school system intervention procedures and requirements and reduce statewide student assessment requirements.

HB 2801 would expire $101.7 million to the General Revenue Fund from the Revenue Shortfall Reserve Fund (Rainy Day Fund).

HB 2935 would establish the state Flood Protection Planning Council and a Joint Legislative Committee on Flooding.

HB 3103 would expire $2.7 million to the General Revenue Fund for the Department of Health and Human Resources from the Revenue Shortfall Reserve Fund (Rainy Day Fund).

The Senate also refused to recede their amendments to House Bills 2589, 2631 and 2805, and sent the bills into conference committees to reconcile differences between the Senate and House on the bills.

The Senate is in recess until 3:25 p.m. this afternoon.

›› Completed Legislation

Saturday, April 08, 2017 - 01:53 PM

Senate Completes Legislation on Bill Related to Unfair Labor Practices

The Senate has completed legislation on nine bills now to be sent to the governor for further action.

SB 174 would eliminate the jurisdiction of the Public Service Commission over the transportation of household goods.

SB 239 would protect an employee’s wages or salaries from being withheld or diverted for political activities without the express, written authorization of the employee.

SB 388 would identify additional persons who may possess firearms on school property in parking lots or other traffic areas near the school.

SB 523 would make statutory changes related to converting to a biweekly pay cycle from a monthly or semimonthly cycle for state employees.

SB 547 would modify fees to be paid to the Secretary of State.

SB 622 would require the Tax Commissioner to issue a certificate of release of lien upon the expiration of ten years from the date a tax, additions to the tax, or penalties and interest are due and payable.

SB 656 would allow ACT or the College Board to only receive payment or other consideration for certain information if they secure the affirmative written consent of the parent or student, given in response to clear and conspicuous notice, solely for providing the student access to employment, educational scholarships or financial aid and post-secondary educational opportunities.

SB 686 would exempt facilities providing direct patient care that are managed, directed, controlled and governed by the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Resources. from the otherwise required oversight and review by the Purchasing Division of the Department of Administration, and require the Legislative Auditor to audit purchasing made by such facilities and report the findings to the Joint Committee on Government and Finance.

SB 691 would define "off-highway vehicle" and "off-road vehicle," and create a digital road map that may be searched by road and vehicle type.

The Senate passed a bill that would modify the law requiring parental notification of abortions performed on unemancipated minors.

The bill, HB 2002, had been advanced with the right to amend. Health Chair Tom Takubo, R-Kanawha, amended the bill on behalf of the Senate Health and Human Resources Committee to make changes regarding certain term definitions, the time period for notifications and the waiver process.

Senator Corey Palumbo, D-Kanawha, proposed an amendment to the Health amendment that would restore a "tightened," revised physician waiver option to the bill, rather than only offering a judicial waiver in the bill. The amendment was rejected, since most senators felt it would overcomplicate the waiver procedure. Those who supported the bill said it would simply provide more support and protection for girls who may be better benefitted by a physician's opinion on parental notification.

The Senate refused to concur with House amendments to Senate Bills 202 and 621, which will now be sent back to the House.

The Senate amended House amendments to Senate Bills 116, 134, 333, 441 and 606 and Senate Joint Resolution 6 to be sent back to the House for concurrence.

The Senate refused to recede their amendments to Senate Bills 172, 204, 224 and 554 and House Bills 2329, 2579 and 2585. All bills, except for SB 172, were then referred to conference committees to reconcile differences between the Senate and House on the bills.

The Senate is in recess until 2 p.m. this afternoon.

›› Completed Legislation

Saturday, April 08, 2017 - 12:24 PM

House Passes Bills on Last Day of Regular Session

The House of Delegates convened this morning and passed bills during their final day of the Regular Session.

House Bill 2759 would create a Statewide Interoperable Radio Network. The bill was concurred with and passed.

House Bill 2962 would enlarge the authority of the Tax Commissioner to perform background investigations of employees and contractors. The bill was concurred with and passed.

House Bill 2967 relates generally to administration of estates and trusts. The bill was concurred with and passed.

House Bill 2980 relates to civil filing fees for multiple defendant civil action. The bill was concurred with and passed.

Senate Bill 362 would authorize a redirection of certain amounts to General Revenue Fund.

House Concurrent Resolutions 124, 126 and 128 were adopted.

Senate Bill 25 would create a farm-to-food bank tax credit. The bill was passed.

Senate Bill 219 relates to conspiracy to commit crimes under the Uniform Controlled Substances Act. It would create stricter punishments for those committing conspiracy in regards to harder substances in order to go after kingpins.

Delegate Fast (R-Fayette) attempted to amend the bill on third reading but the movement was rejected with a vote of 11 yeas and 89 nays.

House Bill 2447 would rename the Court of Claims the State Claims Commission. The bill was passed.

The Rules committee meets at 12:45 p.m.

The House is in recess until 1 p.m.

Update:

Upon recommencement the House of Delegates concurred with and passed more bills.

House Bill 2601 relates to municipal policemen’s or municipal firemen’s pension and relief funds.

House Bill 2679 relates to the possession of firearms in parks and park facilities.

House Bill 2683 relates to the West Virginia Insurance Guaranty Association Act.

House Bill 2702 relates to exceed absences for personal illness from school.

House Bill 2720 would allow the School Building Authority to transfer funds allocated into the School Construction Fund.
House Bill 2739 relates to supplemental Medicaid provider reimbursement.

House Bill 2771 relates to temporary teaching certificates for Armed Forces spouses.

House Bill 2815 relates to higher education governance.

House Bill 2857 would create the West Virginia Safer Workplaces Act.

House Bill 2897 would raise the amount required for competitive bidding of construction contracts by the state and its subdivisions.

House Bill 3018 would add the definition of correctional employee to the list of persons against whom an assault is a felony.

House Bill 3093 would establish Broadband Enhancement and Expansion Policies.

Senate Bill 240 would create the crime of nonconsensual distribution of sexual images.

Conference committees were created for House Bill 2329 and House Bill 2579.

The House also listened to intern speeches and gave awards.

The House is in recess until 4 p.m.

Update:

Upon recommencement the House of Delegates concurred with and passed more bills.

House Bill 2002 relates to parental notification of abortions performed on emancipated minors.

House Bill 2711 would abolish regional educational service agencies and provide for the transfer of their property and records.

House Bill 2402 relates to abandoned antique vehicles.

House Bill 2428 would establish additional substance abuse treatment facilities.

House Bill 2479 would create the Uniform Deployed Parents Custody and Visitation Act.

House Bill 2526 would classify additional drugs to Schedules I, II, IV, and V of controlled substances. The bill was amended and returned to the Senate.

House Bill 2589 and House Bill 2631 were appointed to conference committees.

 

The House is in recess until 5:45 p.m.

Update:

Upon recommencement the House of Delegates concurred with and passed more bills.

House Bill 2804 would remove chiropractors from the list of medical professions required to obtain continuing education on mental health conditions common to veterans and family members.

House Bill 2935 relates to state flood protection planning.

House Bill 3080 would require instruction in the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution.

Senate Bill 333 require all DHHR-licensed facilities access the WV Controlled Substances Monitoring Program Database.

Senate Bill 606 relates to minimum wage and maximum hours for employees.

House Bill 2219 would authorize miscellaneous boards and agencies to promulgate legislative rules.

House Bill 2359 relates to offenses and penalties for practicing osteopathic medicine without a license.

House Bill 2520 would prohibit the use of a tanning device by a person under the age of eighteen.

House Bill 2552 would increase the pet food registration fee and directing that the additional money be deposited into the West Virginia Spay Neuter Assistance Fund.

House Bill 2801 would expire funds to the unappropriated balance in the State Fund from the Department of Revenue, Office of the Secretary – Revenue Shortfall Reserve Fund.

House Bill 3030 relates to appeals as a matter of right in the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals.

House Bill 3103 would make a supplementary appropriation to the Department of Health and Human Resources.

Senate Bill 134 would authorize the Bureau of Commerce to promulgate legislative rules.

Senate Bill 441 would establish a Municipal Home Rule Pilot Program.

Senate Joint Resolution 6 would adopt the Roads to Prosperity Amendment of 2017.

House Bill 2721 was sent out of the conference committee and was adopted.

House Bill 2722 was sent out of the conference committee and was adopted.

House Bill 2805 would find and declare certain claims against the state and its agencies to be moral obligations of the state.

House Bill 2109 relates to the West Virginia Land Reuse Agency Authorization Act.

House Bill 2637 relates to employment of retired teachers and prospective employable professional personnel in areas of critical need and shortage.

 

The House is in recess until 9 p.m.

Update:

The House of Delegates recommenced and concurred with and passed more bills.

House Bill 2303 would increase the criminal penalties for littering.

House Bill 2674 relates to access to and receipt of certain information regarding a protected person.

House Bill 2851 would update the fee structure provisions for broker-dealers.

House Bill 3096 relates to the operation and regulation of certain water and sewer utilities owned or operated by political subdivisions of the state.

Senate Bill 116 would authorize MAPS promulgate legislative rules.

Senate Bill 444 would establish the Court Advanced Technology Subscription Fund.

Senate Bill 630 would establish the Accessibility and Equity in Public Education Enhancement Act.

House Bill 2631 relates to time standards for disposition of complaint proceedings.

House Bill 2001 relates to ethics and transparency in government.

House Bill 2196 relates to the secondary schools athletic commission.

House Bill 2684 would impose penalties for repeat violations of the prohibition against driving under the influence on a suspended license.

House Bill 2704 would prohibit persons convicted of sexual offenses against children with whom they hold positions of trust from holding certification or license valid in public schools.

House Bill 2579 was sent out of the conference committee and was adopted. The bill would increase the penalties for transporting controlled substances.

House Bill 2585 was sent out of the conference committee and was adopted. The bill would create a felony crime of conducting financial transactions involving proceeds of criminal activity.

House Bill 2329 was sent out of the conference committee and was adopted. The bill would prohibit the production, manufacture or possession of fentanyl.

House Bill 2589 was sent out of the conference committee and was adopted. The bill would permit students who are homeschooled or attend private schools to enroll and take classes at the county’s vocational school.

 

The House is in recess until 11 p.m. to caucus.

Update:

The House of Delegates recommenced and concurred with and passed more bills.

House Bill 2781 would require a person desiring to vote to present documentation identifying the voter to one of the poll clerks.

House Bill 2648 would increase penalties for the manufacturing or transportation of a controlled substance in the presence of a minor.

House Bill 2620 would create the West Virginia Drug Overdose Monitoring Act.

House Bill 3022 relates to the reporting of fraud, misappropriation of moneys, and other violations of law to the commission on special investigations.

Senate Bill 204 would require persons appointed to fill vacancy by Governor have same qualifications for vacated office and receive same compensation and expenses.

Senate Bill 224 would repeal the requirement for employer's bond for wages and benefits.

Senate Bill 554 relates to false swearing in legislative proceedings.

Senate Bill 172 would eliminate salary for Water Development Authority board members.

Senate Bill 76 would create the WV Second Chance for Employment Act.

 

The House is adjourned until 12:15 a.m. tomorrow.

›› Completed Legislation

Friday, April 07, 2017 - 07:08 PM

Senate Advances House Budget Bill to Third Reading

The Senate has refused to concur with the House amendments on a bill that would establish a new special revenue fund to collect and remit moneys to the Court Advanced Technology Subscription Fund in the State Treasury for the use of certain advanced technology provided by the judiciary.

The bill, SB 444, will now be sent back to the House with the request that they recede from their amendments, since they were found to have deviated from the bill's original purpose.

Members of the Senate also approved a bill on third reading, HB 3020, to lie over for one day in third reading with the right to amend. The bill would provide that the penalty for hunting, trapping or fishing on the lands of another, entering upon posted lands or destroying posted land signs shall be equivalent to the penalty for criminal trespass.

The Senate has advanced 12 more bills to second reading.

HB 2018 is the House budget bill, which would make more than $50 million in spending cuts and raise nearly $137 million in tax revenues by eliminating certain sales tax exemptions.

Majority Leader Ryan Ferns, R-Ohio, motioned for the bill to be advanced to third reading with the right to amend.

HB 2799 would prohibit the superintendent of schools from requiring a physical examination to be included to the application for a minor’s work permit, unless it is required by the prospective employer, and remove the requirement that the superintendent of schools certify that the minor appeared before him or her.

HB 2801 would expire $101.7 million to the General Revenue Fund from the Revenue Shortfall Reserve Fund (Rainy Day Fund).

Finance Chair Mike Hall, R-Putnam, amended the bill on behalf of the Senate Finance Committee to reconcile the differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill.

HB 2846 would include high school students participating in a competency-base pharmacy technician education and training program, as persons qualifying to be a pharmacy technician trainee.

HB 2851 would update fee structure provisions for broker-dealers, agents, investment advisers and certain securities offerings and opinions, as well as increase the associated fund cap.

Majority Leader Ferns motioned for the bill to be advanced to third reading with the right to amend.

HB 2935 would establish the state Flood Protection Planning Council and a Joint Legislative Committee on Flooding.

Government Organization Chair Craig Blair, R-Berkeley, amended the bill on behalf of the Government Organization Committee to eliminate the proposed State Flood Protection Planning Council, among other modifications.

HB 2936 would eliminate master contracts that agencies may currently use to purchase certain commodities.

Senator Blair amended the bill on behalf of the Government Organization Committee to include the Office of Technology in the bill's provisions and provide language related to reciprocal preference.

HB 3061 would encourage a limited cohort of no more than 20 schools to implement mastery-based education through the federal "Innovation In Education" program.

HB 3095 would allow retired teachers to be employed by a higher education institution, the Higher Education Policy Commission or the Council for Community and Technical College Education without forfeiting their retirement.

HB 3096 would allow more local review and control over the operation of, and setting rates, fees and charges for, water and sewer utilities that are owned by political sub-divisions of the state.

Senator Blair motioned for the bill to be advanced to third reading with the right to amend.

HB 3103 would expire $2.7 million to the General Revenue Fund for the Department of Health and Human Resources from the Revenue Shortfall Reserve Fund (Rainy Day Fund).

Senator Hall amended the bill on behalf of the Senate Finance Committee to make technical corrections.

The Senate Rules Committee will meet immediately following adjournment.

The Senate is adjourned until 11 a.m. tomorrow

›› Senate bills introduced on this date
›› Completed Legislation

Friday, April 07, 2017 - 05:29 PM

Senate Completes Legislation on Bill to Establish Public Health Pilot Project

The Senate has completed legislation on three House bills now to be sent to the governor for enaction.

HB 2724 would establish a community-based pilot project to promote public health through comprehensive community development in communities across West Virginia, and support this project through the Herbert Henderson Office of Minority Affairs.

HB 2850 would limit products liability actions against a seller other than the manufacturer except in limited circumstances.

HB 3064 would permit the Division of Highways to issue annual permits allowing vehicles of a size and weight exceeding certain specifications to operate over specified routes designated by the commissioner.

Of those bills up for completion, the Senate refused the House's amendments to HB 2868 and put the bill into a conference committee to determine how to best amend the bill.

The Senate also passed ten bills to be sent to the House for concurrence.

HB 2702 would limit excused absences for personal illness or injury in the family to those of student’s parent, guardian or custodian and require a confirming statement from a medical provider to be given to the school no later than three days after the absence.

Senator Kenny Mann, R-Monroe, amended the bill to clarify certain language.

HB 2708 would allow persons with developmental disabilities to receive a base hunting license and to satisfy the training requirements through a modified training course, and authorizes those persons to lawfully hunt while accompanied and directly supervised by another hunter.

Natural Resources Chair, Senator Mark Maynard, R-Wayne, amended the bill on behalf of decisions made in the Senate Natural Resources Committee to incorporate the provisions of Senate Bills 325, 474 and 380 into the bill.

HB 2720 would permit the School Building Authority to transfer funds from the School Construction Fund into a special revenue account in the State Treasury.

HB 2804 would remove chiropractic physicians from the list of medical professionals required to complete continuing education in the area of mental health conditions common to veterans and family members of veterans.

HB 2857 would create the West Virginia Safer Workplaces Act to allow employers to test employees and prospective employees for drugs and alcohol.

HB 3018 would add the definition of correctional employee to the list of persons against whom an assault is a felony.

HB 3030 would clarify that appeals to the Supreme Court are a matter of right and that every party has an opportunity to be heard.

HB 3093 would establish Broadband Enhancement and Expansion Policies, move the existing Broadband Enhancement Council into a new chapter and authorize the establishment of cooperative associations for the purpose of obtaining internet services.

Government Organization Chair, Senator Craig Blair, R-Berkeley, amended the bill on behalf of decisions made in the Senate Government Organization Committee.

Senator Blair amended the Government Organization amendment to make technical corrections.

HB 3102 would permit the Secretary of Department of Health and Human Resources to sell Hopemont Hospital and its assets.

Of those bills on third reading, HB 2916 was referred to the Senate Rules Committee. The bill would have authorized supervising entities to authorize reserve deputies, ambulance crew members, firefighters, rescue squad members and emergency service personnel to carry firearms.

The Senate then advanced 16 bills from second reading.

HB 2002 would modify the law requiring parental notification of abortions performed on unemancipated minors.

Majority Leader Ryan Ferns, R-Ohio, motioned for the bill to advance to third reading with the right to amend.

HB 2109 would include a municipal land bank as an agency within the West Virginia Land Reuse Agency Authorization Act and that a municipal land bank may acquire tax delinquent property.

Senator Blair amended the bill on behalf of the Senate Government Organization Committee to add several provisions relating to the acquisition of property, as well as a definition of "municipal land bank."

HB 2196 would allow for the participation of home schooled students in certain secondary school activities.

Senator Mann amended the bill to make technical corrections to an original amendment to the bill from the Senate Education Committee.

Senator Patricia Rucker, R-Jefferson, further amended the bill to make a technical correction.

HB 2359 would align the criminal penalties of practicing osteopathic medicine with those of practicing allopathic medicine.

Judiciary Chair, Senator Charles Trump, R-Morgan, amended the bill on behalf of decisions made in the Senate Judiciary Committee to incorporate the provisions of HB 2630 into the bill.

HB 2520 would prohibit the use of a tanning device by a person under the age of eighteen.

HB 2637 would extend the date for expiration of provisions related to the employment of a retired teacher as a substitute beyond the post-retirement limit in areas of critical need and shortage to June 30, 2020.

Senator Mann amended the bill on behalf of the Senate Education Committee to create a new section related to regular employment status for prospective employable professional personnel.

HB 2648 would increase criminal penalties for individuals convicted of manufacturing, delivering, or transporting controlled substances in the presence of a minor.

Senator Trump amended the bill on behalf of the Senate Judiciary Committee to add a new section specifically addressing situations of child neglect by voluntary intoxication. 

HB 2651 would require nationally normed standardized achievement tests to be administered to nonpublic students between the ages of seven and 17.

HB 2674 would provide access to and receipt of certain information regarding protected persons by certain relatives of the protected person.

HB 2675 would designate the placement of nonpartisan judicial offices on the primary election ballot.

Senator Trump amended the bill on behalf of the Senate Judiciary Committee to add provisions related to the office of county surveyor, as well as add a subsection allowing voters to opt for "None of these candidates," during presidential primary elections.

HB 2684 would impose penalties for repeat violations of the prohibition on driving under the influence on a suspended license by persons under the age of twenty-one.

Senator Trump amended the bill on behalf of the Senate Judiciary Committee to add language relating to second and third offenses.

HB 2694 would develop and implement a program to facilitate commercial sponsorship of rest areas, welcome centers and roads.

Majority Leader Ferns motioned for the bill to advance to third reading with the right to amend.

HB 2704 would prohibit persons convicted of sexual offenses against children with whom they hold positions of trust from being employed by any educational, vocational, training, day care, group home, foster care program, or rehabilitation facility in the state.

Senator Trump amended the bill on behalf of the Senate Judiciary Committee to make technical corrections.

HB 2711 would abolish Regional Education Service Agencies (RESA) and funding by July 1, 2017, and provide authority for county school systems to share services, modify school accreditation and accountability measures, alter school and school system intervention procedures and requirements and reduce statewide student assessment requirements. 

Senator Mann amended the bill on behalf of the Senate Education Committee to make several modifications to the provisions of the bill, including the addition of language prohibiting the adoption of Common Core standards, prohibiting Smarter Balance or PARCC testing and establishing educational services cooperatives.

Senator Mann further amended the bill to make a technical correction.

HB 2745 would add provisions for the testing of applicants for the position of Advanced Care Technician for those municipalities which provide an advance life support ambulance service.

HB 2781 would amend the effective dates for the voter identification and registration provisions adopted in the 2016 legislative session and to eliminate the requirement that DMV forward information to the Secretary of State for persons who decline to be registered to vote.

Senator Trump amended the bill on behalf of the Senate Judiciary Committee to require the Division of Motor Vehicles to report to the Joint Committee on Government and Finance by January 1, 2018 with a full and complete list of all infrastructure they require to achieve the provisions of the bill.

Of those bills on second reading, HB 2620 was referred to the Senate Rules Committee. The bill would have created a central repository of drug overdose information in West Virginia.

The Senate is in recess until 6 p.m. this evening.

›› Senate bills introduced on this date
›› Completed Legislation

Friday, April 07, 2017 - 01:43 PM

Senate Completes Legislation on Sunday Hunting Bill

The Senate has completed legislation on 14 bills and one resolution that will now be sent to the governor for enaction.

SB 187 would provide for confidentiality of medical records for patients’ physical, mental or emotional conditions.

SB 235 would provide that, after its initial registration, the annual registration fees of motorcycles are owed in the same month as the original registration to treat motorcycles the same as other motor vehicles.

SB 255 would reform the procedures for the appointment of county officials in the event of a vacancy.

SB 339 would create a legislative coalition to study and report to the Legislature on chronic pain management in the state.

SB 345 would allow hunting and trapping throughout the state on Sundays.

SB 360 would create a legislative coalition to study and report to the Legislature on diabetes in the state.

SB 402 would generally prohibit covenants from competing between physicians and hospitals.

SB 486 would change the rate of tax on eligible acute care hospitals for the 2018 fiscal year.

SB 490 would clarify the standard of liability for officers of a corporation.

SB 578 would establish a new fee structure for the furnishment of health care records, allow records to be furnished to a patient’s personal representative and establish a limit on the total fee allowable for the furnishment of a patient’s health care record.

SB 602 would create a uniform system of recording and indexing of fictitious names used by sole proprietors in this state.

SB 631 would clarify the process by which municipal governments may abate unsafe, unsanitary or dangerous dilapidated structures that are detrimental to the public safety or welfare.

HB 2619 would adopt the National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ Risk Management and Own Risk Solvency Assessment Model Act for implementation by West Virginia insurers so that they are better equipped to assess their financial condition and remain solvent.

HB 2948 would require certain state agencies to take final action on certain completed permit applications within thirty days if uncontested, or ninety days if contested, unless other timelines exist.

SCR 28 would request the Division of Highways to name a section of road from the Intersection of U. S. Route 219 and WV State Route 15 at Valley Head, West Virginia, south to the Pocahontas County line in Randolph County, the "U. S. Army SPC 4 Randall W. Arbogast Memorial Road."

Of those bills sent back to the Senate for concurrence, the Senate refused the House's amendments to SB 238, HB 2721 and HB 2722 because they interfered with the original intent. Subcommittees were formed to study how House Bills 2721 and 2722 could be better amended. All will be sent back to the House for concurrence.

The Senate also passed six amended bills to be sent back to the House for concurrence.

SB 240 would create the crime of distribution of nude and sexually explicit images when the person depicted has an expectation of privacy.

HB 2366 would require the selling of Jackie Withrow Hospital by the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Resources.

HB 2428 would establish additional substance abuse treatment facilities.

HB 2546 would allow uniform costs to be deducted from an employee’s final paycheck if the uniform is not returned.

Judiciary Chair Charles Trump, R-Morgan, amended the bill on behalf of decisions made by the Senate Judiciary Committee to make several modifications relating to term definitions and provisions for "employer provided property."

HB 2561 would provide flexibility for school systems in the use of school aid funds.

Majority Leader Ryan Ferns, R-Ohio, made a motion that the bill would be effective from passage, but the motion was rejected, since a two-thirds majority vote was not reached.

HB 2601 would provide a mechanism of correcting errors in payments to and from a municipal policemen’s or firemen’s pension fund and to provide a criminal offense for knowingly making a false statement in an attempt to defraud a municipal pension fund.

Of those bills on third reading, SB 476 was committed to the Senate Rules Committee and HB 2552 was laid over for one day.

A bill on second reading, HB 2887, was brought to the floor for amendments after its approval by the Senate Finance Committee this morning.

The bill would authorize Boards of Governors of institutions of higher education to develop retirement and incentive packages.

Finance Chair Mike Hall, R-Putnam, amended the bill on behalf of decisions made in the Senate Finance Committee to require PEIA to report back to the Joint Committee on Pensions and Retirement on the use of certain provisions in the bill.

The Senate is in recess until 2 p.m. this afternoon.

›› Senate bills introduced on this date
›› Completed Legislation

Friday, April 07, 2017 - 01:24 PM

Resolution Honoring WV First Responders is apoted in House

The House of Delegate convened at 9 a.m. today. The Rules Committee moved SB 25, SB 219, SB 412, and SB 687 to the House Calendar. SB 76 was moved to the foot of the agenda. SB 239 was moved to the Special Calendar and to the foot of 3rd reading.

Fifteen resolutions were adopted, of those were HR 13, HCR 18, and HCR 19.

HR 13 urges the United States Congress to keep America’s promise to our retired coal miners and widows and to pass the Miners Protection Act as soon as possible and provide the full measure of benefits these retirees were promised and have earned. The resolution was adopted on a of 99-0 vote.

HR 18 memorializes the life of the Honorable Otis Anderson Leggett, dedicated husband, father, grandfather, educator, administrator, statesman and public servant. The resolution was adopted

HR 19 recognizes and honors the heroic efforts of West Virginia first responders during the state’s unprecedented and historic flooding of June 2016. The resolution was adopted.

The House concurred with the Senate on HB 2839, which would update the schedules for legislative review of state departments and regulatory boards, and to outline the procedures and scope of reviews of departments, regulatory boards, agencies and programs.

On 3rd Reading today, there were several bills and SJR 6.

SJR 6 would prose an amendment to the WV Constitution to authorize the Legislature to issue and sell state bonds not exceeding $1.6 billion to be used for improvement and construction of state roads. The resolution was adopted on a vote of 90-8.

SB 27 would permit certain microprocessed foods to be sold at farmer’s markets. It requires special labels state it was made in a WV Kitchen. There are regulations for being able to sell these foods and how to handle them. The bill passed 95-3.

SB 40 would require protocols for responding to after-school injuries or emergencies to be included in school crisis response plans. It will be made effective August 1, 2017. The bill was passed 98-0.

SB 202 would limit pawnbrokers from purchasing or receiving gift cards as a pawn.

According to Judiciary Chairman John Shott (R-Mercer), cards being pawned are often the resulted of organized shoplifting, where people steal and return the items for in store credit in the form of a gift card and then they pawn the gift card to get cash. This bill limits the amount of a pawned gift card to be $100 or less. The bill passed 69-28.

SB 220 would create a new felony offense for a drug delivery or dispensing that results in the death of another person and providing a felony criminal penalty. The bill creates to offenses; one for intent and one for failure to render assistance.

Delegate Rodney Miller (D-Boone) said he supports the bill because people have been partying and watched their “friends” over dose and die without doing anything to help.

Delegate Mike Pushkin (D-Kanawha) said he doesn’t think this is a great bill; it’s a sad bill. He said it doesn’t make him feel good voting for or against it. He said he doesn’t believe it will deter addicts from using and he believes it will just cause more addicts to be locked up, instead of receiving rehabilitation.

The bill passed the House 95-3.

SB 288 would change the penalties for child abuse or neglect resulting in death. Currently, the penalties are 10 to 40 years. This bill would increase them to 15 years to life, which the requirement of 15 years served. The bill passed 99-0.

SB 388 would allow those who are 21 with a concealed carry permit to have a firearm on school property in parking lots, driveways, and other vehicle areas. The bill passed 94-5.

SB 433 would permit counties to increase the excise tax from $1.10 to $1.65 on the privilege of transferring real property. The bill passed the House 63-37.

Committee Meetings Today

Rules: 1:45 p.m. behind the House Chamber

The House is in recess until 2 p.m.

Update: 

The Rules Committee moved SB 687 back to the Special Calendar.

SB 444 would establish a new special revenue fund to collect and remit moneys to the Court Advanced Technology Subscription Fund in the State Treasury for the use of certain advanced technology provided by the judiciary. The bill passed the House 96-2.

SB 533 would provide that no wine or liquor excise tax will be collected on purchases of wine or intoxicating liquors in the original sealed package for resale, if the final purchase of the wine or intoxicating liquor is subject to the excise tax. The bill passed 95-1.

SB 535 would reorganize the Division of Tourism. The bill would rename the Division of Tourism as the new West Virginia Tourism Office. It would transfer certain powers and duties of the Tourism Commission to the Office. The bill would restructure the Tourism Advertising Partnership Program as a cooperative advertising program administered by the new West Virginia Tourism Office and give the Executive Director all authority for expenditures of funds in the Tourism Promotion Fund. The bill passed 96-4.

SB 547 would modify fees to be paid to the Secretary of State, making fees for Limited Liability Companies to be consistent with Corporations, adding a voluntary fee for businesses to expedite services to be provided by the Secretary of State, providing the Secretary of State may change fees by legislative rule, and removing statutory caps imposed on retaining funds of the office. It would increase the fee to incorporate to $100 and change the election cycle subscription service from $6,000 to $3,000. The bill passed 87-13.

SB 637 would permit certain private club licensees that operate tourist destination and resort facilities to obtain one private resort license for the sale of alcoholic liquors throughout the licensed premises whether inside a building or outside in public view, and further to permit 17-year-old patrons to enter the licensed premises unaccompanied by a parent or legal guardian at private resorts, subject to certain conditions, and certain private clubs with designated non-alcohol areas. The bill passed the House 97-3.

SB 687 would provide that moneys be paid from special reclamation water trust fund to assure a reliable source of capital and operating expenses for the treatment of discharges from forfeited sites. It would modify notification requirements for pre-blast surveys for surface mining operations and certain other blasting activities, as well as minimum bond requirements related to certain reclamation work. It would provide for changes to the method of plugging abandoned gas wells where a coal operator intends to mine through the well. The bill would authorize the elimination of the Board of Miner Training, Education and Certification, the Mine Inspectors’ Examining Board, and the Mine Safety Technology Task Force, and transfers the duties from those boards and task force to the Board of Coal Mine Health and Safety. The bill passed in the House.

SB 691 would define off-highway vehicle and off-road vehicle, and to create a digital road map that may be searched by road and vehicle type. The bill passed 100-0.

SB 239 would protect an employee’s wages or salaries from being withheld or diverted for political activities without the express, written authorization of the employee. The bill would make clear that it is unlawful for any person to coerce or intimidate any employee into making a political contribution or engaging in political activities. The bill would make it an unfair labor practice for any labor organization to use agency shop fees paid for by nonmembers for contributions or expenditures to influence an election without the authorization of the individual.

Shot said if the employer deducts an unauthorized deduction from the wages, the employee can sue for twice the deduction and authorizes fees.

Delegate Chad Lovejoy (D-Cabell) said he’s worried about the unintended consequences of this bill. He said it affects charities even though it isn’t intended.

The bill passed the House 51-49.

The House is in recess until 6:30 p.m. 

Update:

The House reconvened at 6:30 p.m. to accept messages from the Senate.

The House voted to override the Governor’s veto on SB 330.

House concurs with Senate on HB 3048 and SB 28.

SB 76 would create the West Virginia Second Chance for Employment Act. The bill would expand eligibility for criminal expungement to persons convicted of certain nonviolent felonies. It was amended so that you can apply to get a felony reduced to a misdemeanor if you cannot get it expunged. The bill passed and is now sent to the Senate for further consideration.

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

Judiciary will meet at 9 a.m. in 410M

Rules will meet at 9:45 a.m.

›› Completed Legislation

Friday, April 07, 2017 - 09:53 AM

Higher Education Retirement Bill Approved in Senate Finance

The Senate Finance Committee has approved a bill that would authorize Boards of Governors of institutions of higher education to develop retirement and incentive packages.

The bill, HB 2887, was previously reported out of the Senate Education Committee with the recommendation that it pass.

Fiscal notes from PEIA and the Higher Education Policy Commission indicate no costs to the state, but the Consolidated Public Retirement Board (CPRB) shows that costs would raise by $222,000 annually for the commission, forcing them to slightly raise fees for all participating employers.

Jeff Fleck, executive director of the CPRB, said the other fiscal notes do not take into consideration individuals who retire when they are older than 65, which raises costs.

However, Finance Chair Mike Hall, R-Putnam, said not all those eligible for the retirement packages would utilize them past age 65, which would significantly reduce the CPRB's estimated cost.

The bill is on second reading and will be considered for third reading once reported to the full Senate today.

The committee is not expected to meet again this session.



Thursday, April 06, 2017 - 06:13 PM

Senate Passes Statewide Interoperable Radio Network Bill

The Senate has passed a bill that would create the Statewide Interoperable Radio Network.

The bill, HB 2759, was initially on second reading until Majority Leader Ryan Ferns, R-Ohio, motioned for the bill to surpass constitutional provisions and be considered on third reading for passage.

Finance Chair Mike Hall, R-Putnam, had amended the bill in second reading on behalf of the Senate Finance Committee to make technical corrections.

The Senate also reconsidered its actions on two bills now to be sent to the House for further consideration.

SB 28 would create a new system for three or more contiguous counties to create a regional recreation authority for off-highway vehicle trail riding and for other recreational purposes.

The Senate had originally concurred with the House amendments to the bill, but Majority Leader Ferns made amendments to the bill on behalf of the Senate, sending the bill back to the House for concurrence.

HB 2683 would modify the scope and construction of the West Virginia Guaranty Association Act.

The Senate had originally passed the House bill unamended, but Majority Leader Ferns made amendments to the bill on behalf of the Senate, sending the bill back to the House for concurrence.

Earlier in the session, the Senate advanced 19 bills from second reading.

HB 2366 would require the selling of Jackie Withrow Hospital by the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Resources.

Health Chair Tom Takubo, R-Kanawha amended the bill on behalf of the Senate Health and Human Resources Committee to require a new 90-bed facility to be built in place of the hospital.

HB 2428 would establish additional substance abuse treatment facilities.

Senator Takubo amended the bill on behalf of the Senate Health and Human Resources Committee to provide for private insurance and private pay in the facilities.

HB 2546 would allow uniform costs to be deducted from an employee’s final paycheck if the uniform is not returned.

Majority Leader Ferns motioned to advance the bill to third reading with the right to amend.

HB 2552 would increase the pet food registration fee and direct that the additional money to the West Virginia Spay Neuter Assistance Fund.

Agriculture Chair Dave Sypolt, R-Preston, amended the bill on behalf of the Senate Agriculture and Rural Development Committee to reduce the fees by half and expire them after ten years.

HB 2561 would provide flexibility for school systems in the use of school aid funds.

Senator Charles Trump, R-Morgan, amended the bill to make several modifications throughout the bill.

Senator Greg Boso, R-Nicholas, proposed an amendment to Senator Trump's amendment related to changing comprehensive education facility plans, but the amendment to the amendment was rejected when Senate President Mitch Carmichael, R-Jackson, determined it was not germane to the bill.

HB 2601 would provide a mechanism of correcting errors in payments to and from a municipal policemen’s or firemen’s pension fund and to provide a criminal offense for knowingly making a false statement in an attempt to defraud a municipal pension fund.

Pensions Chair Ed Gaunch, R-Kanawha, amended the bill on behalf of the Senate Pensions Committee to change the criminal offense from a felony to a misdemeanor.

Senator Hall further amended the bill to strike language that is inconsistent with other language in the Code.

HB 2708 would allow persons with developmental disabilities to receive a base hunting license and to satisfy the training requirements through a modified training course, and authorizes those persons to lawfully hunt while accompanied and directly supervised by another hunter.

Majority Leader Ferns motioned to advance the bill to third reading with the right to amend.

HB 2720 would permit the School Building Authority to transfer funds from the School Construction Fund into a special revenue account in the State Treasury.

Education Chair Kenny Mann, R-Monroe, amended the bill on behalf of the Senate Education Committee to make technical corrections.

HB 2724 would establish a community-based pilot project to promote public health through comprehensive community development in communities across West Virginia, and support this project through the Herbert Henderson Office of Minority Affairs.

HB 2804 would remove chiropractic physicians from the list of medical professionals required to complete continuing education in the area of mental health conditions common to veterans and family members of veterans.

Military Chair Ryan Weld, R-Brooke, amended the bill on behalf of the Senate Military Committee to clarify certain language.

HB 2850 would limit products liability actions against a seller other than the manufacturer except in limited circumstances.

HB 2857 would create the West Virginia Safer Workplaces Act to allow employers to test employees and prospective employees for drugs and alcohol.

Senator Mike Romano, D-Harrison, amended the bill to prevent observation of an employee's urine sample for drug or alcohol tests by someone of the opposite sex.

HB 2916 would authorize supervising entities to authorize reserve deputies, ambulance crew members, firefighters, rescue squad members and emergency service personnel to carry firearms.

Senator Morgan, Judiciary Chair, amended the bill on behalf of the Senate Judiciary Committee to clarify certain language, as well as adding provisions related to ambulance crews, firefighters and emergency medical service personnel.

Senator Mike Azinger, R-Wood, made an amendment to the Judiciary amendment to add a section allowing the Attorney General’s investigators to carry firearms.

HB 3018 would add the definition of correctional employee to the list of persons against whom an assault is a felony.

Senator Trump amended the bill on behalf of the Senate Judiciary Committee to adjust the definition of a "correctional employee."

Senator Romano made an amendment to the Judiciary amendment to include the Division of Juvenile Services in the bill's provisions.

HB 3020 would provide that the penalty for hunting, trapping or fishing on the lands of another, entering upon posted lands, or destroying posted land signs shall be equivalent to the penalty for criminal trespass.

Majority Leader Ferns motioned to advance the bill to third reading with the right to amend.

HB 3030 would clarify that appeals to the Supreme Court are a matter of right and that every party has an opportunity to be heard.

Senator Trump amended the bill on behalf of the Senate Judiciary Committee to broaden the bill's language and add a new section relating to appeals regarding revoking or suspending the person’s driver’s license

HB 3064 would permit the Division of Highways to issue annual permits allowing vehicles of a size and weight exceeding certain specifications to operate over specified routes designated by the commissioner.

Senator Robert Plymale, D-Wayne, proposed an amendment to the bill to maintain the Legislature's authority over the bill's provisions, instead of delegating them to the commissioner of highways. The amendment was rejected, since some senators felt the Legislature lacks the same knowledge in such processes as the Division of Highways does and that the added Legislative oversight would unnecessarily slow the permit process down.

HB 3093 would establish Broadband Enhancement and Expansion Policies, move the existing Broadband Enhancement Council into a new chapter and authorize the establishment of cooperative associations for the purpose of obtaining internet services.

Majority Leader Ferns motioned to advance the bill to third reading with the right to amend.

HB 3102 would permit the Secretary of Department of Health and Human Resources to sell Hopemont Hospital and its assets.

Senator Takubo amended the bill on behalf of the Senate Health and Human Resources Committee to make provisions related to the selling of Hopemont Hospital.

Of those bills, HB 2801 was requested to lie over in second reading for one day. The bill would expire funds to the unappropriated balance in the General Revenue Fund from the Department of Revenue's Revenue Shortfall Reserve Fund.

All bills on first reading were advanced to second reading.

Committee Meetings Tomorrow

Finance: 9:30 a.m. in 451M

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

›› Senate bills introduced on this date
›› Completed Legislation

Thursday, April 06, 2017 - 04:26 PM

House Amends Bills on Second Reading

The House met this afternoon to amend bills on second reading.

Senate Bill 116 would authorize MAPS to promulgate legislative rules and was amended to include a rule that was previously overlooked.

Senate Bill 174 would exempt the transportation of household goods from PSC jurisdiction and was amended technically.

Senate Bill 187 would provide for confidentiality of patient’s’ medical records and was amended to include certain records. The bill was put on third reading upon the amendment and was passed.

Senate Bill 202 relates to pawnbrokers generally. The bill would prevent those who shoplift and return the items to receive gift cards from pawning gift cards. The bill was amended to make it so that pawnshops can’t receive gift cards over $100 or a total of $300 in the span of a month.

Senate Bill 235 relates to motorcycle registration renewal. The bill was amended and then passed.

Senate Bill 238 would increase the tax credits allowed for rehabilitation of certified historic structures. The bill in its original form would make the credit go from ten percent to twenty-five percent. The bill was amended to make the change incremental and add some other qualifications. Delegate Nelson said many states use this, it has some caps, and could be used across the state. The bill was then put on third reading and was passed.

Senate Bill 233 would require all DHHR-licensed facilities be able to access the WV Controlled Substances Monitoring Program Database. The bill was amended so only relative information would need to be reported in the database.

Senate Bill 388 relates to dangerous weapons on public school property. The bill was amended to be more clear.

Senate Bill 433 would permit counties to increase the excise tax on privilege of transferring real property. Delegate Phillips (I-Logan) moved to amend the bill to make wind power facilities not be eligible for exemptions of the excise tax.

“This would repeal a statute from 2001. If they can’t stay on their own two feet in 16 years, then we can’t be expected to prop them up any longer,” said Delegate Phillips.

The amendment was deemed not germane and was not adopted.

Senate Bill 440 relates to the use of Regional Jail and Correctional Facility Authority funds. The bill was amended.

Senate Bill 444 would establish the Court Advanced Technology Subscription Fund. The bill was amended to make it more clear.

Senate Bill 454 would provide more efficient collection and submission of state moneys received from court transactions or court services. The bill would streamline the collection process. The bill was not amended but was put on third reading and was passed.

Senate Bill 461 would exempt WV State Police from state purchasing requirements. The bill was not amended but put on third reading and passed.

Senate Bill 486 relates to health care provider taxes. The bill would raise additional revenue to provide hospitals with money that would be matched federally. The bill was not amended but was put on third reading and passed.

Senate Bill 523 would convert to a biweekly pay cycle for state employees. The bill was amended to provide more flexibility for the supplementary pay of State Police. The bill was then put on third reading and was passed.

Senate Bill 535 would reorganize the Division of Tourism. The bill was amended to stay in tune with other legislation.

Senate Bill 608 would clarify lawful business structures are unaffected by enactment of prohibitory legislation. The bill was not amended but put on third reading and was passed.

Senate Bill 622 relates generally to tax procedures and administration. The bill was amended to change rules on releases and to keep it consistent with other legislation.

Senate Bill 630 would establish the Accessibility and Equity in Public Education Enhancement Act. There was a strike and insert amendment.

Delegate Westfall (R-Jackson) amended the bill to give the ability so that students may be supervised by those who aren’t teachers during an online course.

Delegate Espinosa (R-Jefferson) said, “This amendment would make certain that a professional supervisor would be in the classroom during online instruction at the school.”

Delegate Moye (D-Raleigh) said, “This amendment would make it so teachers aren’t in the online classes. There needs to be a teacher available so if a student has questions, the teacher is available and can deal with that.”

“You still won’t need a teacher when it is done from home. This just monitors kids in school,” said Delegate Westfall (R-Jackson).

Delegate Wilson (R-Marshall) began speaking Spanish to Delegate Evans. Delegate Wilson then asked, “If you aren’t a Spanish teacher, what does it matter that a teacher is in the classroom instead of another person? It is obvious we don’t already have enough teachers already. Let us allow these other professionals to keep order in the classroom.”

Delegate Thompson (D-Wayne) said, “I take offense to the idea that teachers can’t help with other subjects. Teachers are taught to teach, not to only teach history, or math, or social studies.”

The amendment was adopted with a vote of 57 yeas to 40 nays.

The strike and insert amendment as presented by Delegate Ellington (R-Mercer) was adopted in a vote of 53 yeas and 44 nays.

Senate Bill 656 relates to Student Data Accessibility, Transparency and Accountability Act. The bill was amended for clarifications. The bill was also amended to let 15 year olds participate in sending their scores to colleges, scholarships, and financial aid. The bill was then put on third reading and was passed.

Senate Bill 658 would establish a procedure for retitling mobile and manufactured homes. The bill was not amended but put on third reading and passed.

Senate Bill 667 would limit the authority of the Attorney General to disclose certain information provided by the Tax Commissioner. The bill was not amended but put on third reading and was passed.

Senate Bill 686 would exempt facilities governed by DHHR that provide direct patient care. There was an amendment to keep it in line with other bills. The amendment was adopted.

Senate Bill 687 relates generally to coal mining, safety and environmental protection. The bill was amended to alter some dates to get logistics of the bill corrected.

Delegate Fleischauer (D-Monongalia) moved to amend the bill to keep aquatic monitoring in the bill.

Delegate Pushkin (D-Kanawha) said, “I don’t know a lot about fish and bugs, but once they are already dead before we monitor them, it is too late.”

Delegate Zatezalo (R-Hancock) said it doesn’t change water standards.

Delegate Marcum (D-Mingo) said, “Lets vote to reject the amendment and vote for coal and progress.”

Delegate Phillips (I-Logan) said, “West Virginia is the only state that has this law.”

Delegate Fleischauer (D-Monongalia) said, “This is not random language but has been in effect for several years. If you are in favor of the canaries in the coalmine, vote for this amendment.”

The amendment was rejected with 10 yeas and 88 nays.

Senate Bill 691 relates to off-road vehicles. The bill was amended to sync the bill with another bill for consistency and compatibility.

Senate Bill 27 relates to microprocessor permits. There was a strike and insert amendment to the bill. The amendment would allow processed foods to be sold in farmers markets. The food must be made in West Virginia and there are classes that must be taken to acquire the permit.

There was an amendment to the amendment by Delegate C. Miller (R-Cabell) that returned the bill to its original purpose. The amendment was passed.

There was another amendment that would let the Health department inspect the kitchen once a year.

 

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

Update:

The House of Delegates resumed their agenda of bills on second reading.

Senate Bill 412 relates to the WV Jobs Act reporting requirements.

The Committee on Government Organization moved an amendment.

Delegate G. Foster (R-Putnam) moved to amend the amendment to give construction companies an exemption to the bill so their information on contracts wouldn’t be available publicly.

Delegate Bates (D-Raleigh) said, “I just don’t see what the problem is with us knowing how much we are paying people for the projects the taxpayers of West Virginia are paying. I believe we should reject this amendment and reject the whole bill.”

Delegate Canestraro (D-Marshall) said, “We need to ask ourselves why the government would want to hide what we are paying people. This is shameful. We need to reject this amendment, it is junk.”

Delegate Diserio (D-Brooke) said, “This is another kick in the teeth to working West Virginians.”

Delegate Wilson (R-Berkeley) said, “We are protecting private citizen’s private information that work in private companies.”

Delegate G. Foster (R-Putnam) said, “This is protecting the individuals.”
Delegate Moore (R-Jefferson) said, “This is about personal privacy and I hope that everyone votes for this amendment.”

Delegate Fluharty (D-Ohio) said, “This flies in the face of everything I thought this body stands for as a whole, but especially on that side of the aisle. This is a red vote.”

The amendment failed with 31 yeas and 67 nays.

Delegate Thompson (D-Wayne) moved to amend the amendment. He said that the bill would give preference to those living in West Virginia. The amendment was rejected.

The committee’s amendment was then adopted.

House Bill 2364, House Bill 2446, House Bill 2494, House Bill 2619, House Bill 2839, House Bill 2961, House Bill 3037, Senate Bill 4, and Senate Bill 386 were all concurred with and then passed.

The committee on Rules meets at 8:45 tomorrow.

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

 



Thursday, April 06, 2017 - 02:31 PM

Senate Completes Legislation on Bill to Increase Conservation Officer Salaries

The Senate has completed legislation on a bill that would provide an increase in compensation for conservation officers.

The bill, SB 493, will now be sent to the governor for enaction.

The Senate also passed 36 bills to be sent to the House for further consideration.

SB 4 was sent to the House for concurrence with amendments made by the Senate. The bill would allow certain licensed professionals to donate their time to the care of the indigent and the needy and to allow them to gain credit for their time against continuing education requirements needed to maintain their license.

HB 2129 would state the legal right and authority of state or local law enforcement to enter public areas on or adjacent to any private club, or take other appropriate police action to enforce the underage drinking laws of this state.

HB 2195 would require county boards of education to implement comprehensive drug awareness and prevention programs for all student in grades K through 12.

HB 2348 would eliminate any requirement that class hours of students be consecutive when studying professions regulated by the board of Barbers and Cosmetologists.

HB 2402 would create a special procedure for a person in possession of an abandoned antique vehicle to apply for and receive title to the vehicle

HB 2494 would provide that statewide school report cards are only to be made available to custodial parents and guardians of students upon request instead of automatically being sent to the parents and guardians.

HB 2503 would update the rulemaking authority of the Board of Osteopathic Medicine.

HB 2555 would remove the requirement that programs be jointly administered by labor and management trustees in order to qualify for tax credits for apprenticeship training in construction trades.

HB 2579 would increase the penalties for transportation of narcotics and certain controlled substances into the state.

HB 2585 would create criminal offenses relating to money laundering.

HB 2589 would require county boards of education to permit students who are homeschooled or attend private schools to enroll and take classes at the county’s vocational school.

HB 2603 would allow municipal plans that are funded at 125% or more to stop paying certain costs while it is so funded.

HB 2628 would clarify and strengthen the duties and powers of the Board of Medicine and the Board of Osteopathic Medicine with regard to evidence of serious misconduct by licensees and applicants for license under their respective jurisdictions.

HB 2631 would prevent dismissal of complaints that exceed time standards for disposition when the accused causes delay that results in the time overage.

HB 2646 would terminate the Women’s Commission and discontinue its functions. Senators Patricia Rucker, R-Jefferson, and Sue Cline, R-Wyoming, both spoke in support of the bill's passage.

HB 2691 would allow persons qualified by training to be a barber and a cosmetologist to elect to practice solely as a barber and maintain licensure by taking continuing education solely in subjects related to barbering.

HB 2709 would authorize the City of South Charleston to levy a special district excise tax for the benefit of the South Charleston Park Place Economic Opportunity Development District.

HB 2771 would provide for teaching certificates for teachers whose spouses are married to a member of the Armed Forces who is on active duty stationed in this state.

HB 2792 would require the Library Commission to survey libraries in this state in order to provide a report to the Governor and the Legislature regarding the status of libraries and to propose a ten-year maintenance and construction plan based on the needs of libraries in this state.

HB 2797 would clarify that there is statutory immunity for government agencies and officials from actions of third-parties using documents or records of governmental agencies for unlawful acts.

HB 2805 would declare certain claims against the state to be moral obligations of the state and to authorize payments from certain related funds.

HB 2815 would alter public education higher education governance and change the powers of the Higher Education Policy Commission, Council for Community and Technical College Education and other institutions of higher education.

HB 2833 would describe specific categories of information that must be included in the annual report of each professional licensing authority established in Chapter 30 of the West Virginia Code.

HB 2839 would update the schedules for legislative review of state departments and regulatory boards, and to outline the procedures and scope of reviews of departments, regulatory boards, agencies and programs.

HB 2869 would provide that certain state employees may be granted a leave of absence with pay while providing assistance as an essential member of an emergency aid provider during a declared state of emergency.

HB 2897 would raise the amount required for competitive bidding of construction contracts by the state and its subdivisions, public service districts, and sanitary boards to $50,000, and except public service districts from competitive bidding for emergency repairs.

HB 2941 would make clear that the DOH shall utilize the Attorney General for legal assistance and services.

HB 2961 would amend the procedure by which a charitable gaming licensee may appeal the Tax Commissioner’s sanctions against the licensee for violations of the charitable gaming laws, by allowing the licensee to petition the Office of Tax Appeals for an administrative hearing rather than the Tax Commissioner.

HB 2962 would enlarge the authority of the Tax Commissioner to perform background investigations of employees and contractors to make it possible for the Tax Commissioner to receive federal tax information for the Internal Revenue Service.

HB 2967 would remove the requirements for the State Tax Commissioner to administer the fiduciary supervisor/fiduciary commissioner qualifying test and annual training seminar, and transfer those responsibilities to the respective county commissions.

HB 2980 would add a $10 fee for each additional defendant plead in a civil action.

HB 3022 would require the reporting of fraud and misappropriation of funds to the Legislature’s Commission on Special Investigations.

HB 3037 would remove the Division of Energy as an independent agency and redesignate the Division of Energy as the Office of Energy within the Development Office of the Department of Commerce, and designate the Secretary of Commerce, or his or her designee, as Chair of the West Virginia Public Energy Authority Board.

HB 3048 would increase the cap mandated on the collection of Tier II fees for chemical inventories.

HB 3053 would clarify when a vehicle lighting unit is functional, permit additional lighting to be uncovered if such devices are dimmable and allow two auxiliary lights.

HB 3080 would institute a “Celebrate Freedom Week” for public schools and require the instruction in the study of the Declaration of Independence and other founding American historical documents, including the Bill of Rights, during this week.

Of those bills on third reading, SB 476 and HB 2702 were requested to lie over for one day.

Members of the Senate also adopted SR 71 to congratulate the St. Joseph's Central High School girls' basketball team for winning the 2017 Class A basketball championship, SR 72 to congratulate the Huntington High School girls' basketball team for winning the 2017 Class AAA basketball championship and SR 73 to congratulate the Huntington High School boys' basketball team for winning the 2017 Class AAA basketball championship.

Committee Meetings Today

Transportation and Infrastructure: 3 p.m. in 451M

Finance: 3:30 p.m. in 451M

The Senate is in recess until 4 p.m. this evening.

›› Senate bills introduced on this date
›› Completed Legislation

Thursday, April 06, 2017 - 11:54 AM

House Passes 17 Bills on Third Reading

The House of Delegates met today and passed 17 bills that were on third reading.

Senate Bill 134 would authorize the Bureau of Commerce to promulgate legislative rules.

Senate Bill 240 would create the crime of nonconsensual distribution of sexual images. The first offence would me a misdemeanor and punishable with a fine of up to $5,000 and incarceration. The second offense would be a felony and punishable with a fine of up to $10,000 and incarceration. The telecommunication services of which the images were distributed would be protected.

Senate Bill 255 relates generally to filling vacancies in elected office. The bill would implement that these offices be filled within 15 days.

Senate Bill 299 relates to the supplementing, amending, decreasing and increasing items of appropriations from State Road Fund to DOH. This would make certain that appropriate funds are used to help fix the damage to bridges and roads caused by last summer’s flooding.

Senate Bill 339 would create the Legislative Coalition on Chronic Pain Management.

Senate Bill 345 would allow certain hunting and trapping on private lands on Sundays.

Senate Bill 360 would create the Legislative Coalition on Diabetes Management.

Senate Bill 402 relates to covenants not to compete between physicians and hospitals.

Delegate Shott (R-Mercer) said the bill would make contracts between employers and physicians enforceable.

Senate Bill 441 would establish the Municipal Home Rule Pilot Program.

Senate Bill 490 would clarify the standard of liability for officers of corporation.

Senate Bill 578 relates generally to copies of health care records furnished to patients.

Senate Bill 602 would create a uniform system of recording and indexing fictitious names used by sole proprietors. The bill would standardize business partnership procedure and make it the Secretary of State’s responsibility instead of the county clerk’s.

Senate Bill 606 relates to minimum wage and maximum hours for employees.

Senate Bill 621 would provide certain rules inapplicable after county board of education notifies state board of possible closing or consolidations.

Senate Bill 631 would prosecute violations of municipal building code.

Senate Bill 636 would authorize the State Fire Commission to establish a program to address problems facing Volunteer Fire Departments.

Senate Bill 690 would authorize the WV State Police to impose and collect fees for agencies and entities using their facilities.

The House also passed many concurrent resolutions.

 

The House is in recess until 12:30 p.m.

›› Completed Legislation

Thursday, April 06, 2017 - 11:21 AM

Drug Overdose Database Bill Approved in Senate Judiciary

The Senate Judiciary Committee has approved eight bills and three originating concurrent resolutions to be reported to the full Senate with the recommendation that they pass.

HB 2704 would prohibit persons convicted of sexual offenses against children with whom they hold positions of trust from holding certification or license valid in public schools.

Committee counsel made an amendment to correct technical problems and clarify certain language in the bill.

The bill was previously reported out of Senate Education with the recommendation that it pass.

HB 2781 would require voters to provide a photo identification when voting.

Committee counsel made an amendment to correct technical problems and clarify certain language in the bill.

HB 2684 would impose penalties for repeat violations of the prohibition on driving under the influence on a suspended license by persons under the age of twenty-one.

Committee counsel made an amendment to correct technical problems and clarify certain language in the bill.

HB 2648 would increase the minimum sentence for individuals convicted of manufacturing, delivering or transporting controlled substances in the presence of a minor.

Committee counsel made an amendment to correct technical problems and clarify certain language in the bill.

HB 2675 would designate the placement of nonpartisan judicial offices on the primary election ballot.

Senator Mike Woelfel, D-Cabell, made an amendment to allow members of a party to indicate their preference for none of the presidential candidates in a primary election.

Committee counsel made an amendment to correct technical problems and clarify certain language in the bill.

HB 2674 would provide access to and receipt of certain information regarding protected persons by certain relatives of the protected person.

Committee counsel made an amendment to correct technical problems and clarify certain language in the bill.

HB 2620 would create a central repository of drug overdose information in West Virginia.

DHHR Commissioner Dr. Rahul Gupta was available to answer questions from committee members and said he supported the bill's potential for informing public policy and improving state programs.

"This is the single best thing we can do right now to combat this drug epidemic," said Gupta. "This is an all-hands-on-deck approach."

Committee counsel made an amendment to correct technical problems and clarify certain language in the bill.

HB 2359 would align the criminal penalties of practicing osteopathic medicine with those of practicing allopathic medicine.

Senator Ronald Miller, D-Greenbrier, amended the bill to incorporate the provisions of HB 2630 into the bill.

The bill was previously reported out of Senate Government Organization with the recommendation that it pass.

Originating Concurrent Resolution 4 would request the Joint Committee to study the need for a medical malpractice peer review panel by the Board of Medicine.

Senator Mike Romano, D-Harrison, amended the resolution to require the committee to study the benefits and detriments of a peer review panel and allow parties affected by the panel to be involved in the study process.

Originating Concurrent Resolution 5 would request the Joint Committee to study the need for a Sentencing Commission.

Senator Miller amended the resolution to include a study of incarceration and prison operation costs and to seek outside study from the Council of State Governments.

Originating Concurrent Resolution 2 would request the Joint Committee to study the feasibility and benefits of repealing sections of the WV Constitution relating to property taxes.

At the adjournment of the meeting, Senator Charles Trump, R-Morgan, Chair, thanked the committee members for their dilligent work and said this could possibly be the committee's last meeting for the session.



Wednesday, April 05, 2017 - 08:39 PM

Extended Budget Session Issued by Governor Justice

Governor Jim Justice has issued an extended budget session for the 83rd Legislature to provide one extra day after the completion of the Regular Session for the Legislature to pass a budget.

During that day, April 9, the Legislature is only allowed to consider a budget and no other bills.

The Senate also passed a bill that would increase the penalties for exposing children to methamphetamine manufacturing.

The bill, HB 2083, will now be sent back to the House for concurrence.

The bill was passed earlier today, but the bill was brought back up for reconsideration of the Senate Judiciary Committee's amendment to the bill. Senator Charles Trump, R-Morgan, Judiciary Chair, re-amended the bill with an identical amendment that fixes technical issues present in the original Judiciary amendment.

The Senate then advanced 35 bills from second reading.

HB 2129 would state the legal right and authority of state or local law enforcement to enter public areas on or adjacent to any private club, or take other appropriate police action to enforce the underage drinking laws of this state.

Senator Trump amended the bill on behalf of decisions made in committee by the Senate Judiciary Committee to make several modifications to the bill's provisions.

HB 2195 would require county boards of education to implement comprehensive drug awareness and prevention programs for all student in grades K through 12.

HB 2348 would eliminate any requirement that class hours of students be consecutive when studying professions regulated by the board of Barbers and Cosmetologists.

HB 2402 would create a special procedure for a person in possession of an abandoned antique vehicle to apply for and receive title to the vehicle

Senator Craig Blair, R-Berkeley, amended the bill on behalf of decisions made in committee by the Senate Government Organization Committee, on which he serves as Chair, to conform to the language of SB 382, which has been passed by the Senate.

HB 2494 would provide that statewide school report cards are only to be made available to custodial parents and guardians of students upon request instead of automatically being sent to the parents and guardians.

HB 2503 would update the rulemaking authority of the Board of Osteopathic Medicine.

HB 2555 would remove the requirement that programs be jointly administered by labor and management trustees in order to qualify for tax credits for apprenticeship training in construction trades.

Senator Mike Hall, R-Berkeley, amended the bill on behalf of decisions made in committee by the Senate Finance Committee, on which he serves as Chair, to require that apprentices be legal residents.

Senator Glenn Jeffries, D-Putnam, made an amendment to the bill to keep employers from paying $2 below the state minimum wage for apprentices.

HB 2579 would increase the penalties for transportation of narcotics and certain controlled substances into the state.

Senator Trump amended the bill on behalf of decisions made in committee by the Senate Judiciary Committee to make several modifications.

HB 2585 would create criminal offenses relating to money laundering.

Senator Trump amended the bill on behalf of decisions made in committee by the Senate Judiciary Committee to make several modifications.

HB 2589 would require county boards of education to permit students who are homeschooled or attend private schools to enroll and take classes at the county’s vocational school.

Senator Kenny Mann, R-Monroe, amended the bill on behalf of decisions made in committee by the Senate Education Committee, on which he serves as Chair, relating to county boards of education and a career and technical education pilot program for middle school students.

HB 2603 would allow municipal plans that are funded at 125% or more to stop paying certain costs while it is so funded.

HB 2628 would clarify and strengthen the duties and powers of the Board of Medicine and the Board of Osteopathic Medicine with regard to evidence of serious misconduct by licensees and applicants for license under their respective jurisdictions.

Senator Blair amended the bill on behalf of decisions made in committee by the Senate Government Organization Committee to make technical corrections.

HB 2631 would prevent dismissal of complaints that exceed time standards for disposition when the accused causes delay that results in the time overage.

Senator Tom Takubo, R-Kanawha, made an amendment to the bill related to the time period for final rulings.

HB 2646 would terminate the Women’s Commission and discontinue its functions.

Senator Blair amended the bill on behalf of decisions made in committee by the Senate Government Organization Committee to make technical corrections.

HB 2691 would allow persons qualified by training to be a barber and a cosmetologist to elect to practice solely as a barber and maintain licensure by taking continuing education solely in subjects related to barbering.

HB 2702 would limit excused absences for personal illness or injury in the family to those of student’s parent, guardian or custodian and require a confirming statement from a medical provider to be given to the school no later than three days after the absence.

Senator Mann amended the bill on behalf of decisions made in committee by the Senate Education Committee to clarify certain language in the bill.

HB 2709 would authorize the City of South Charleston to levy a special district excise tax for the benefit of the South Charleston Park Place Economic Opportunity Development District.

HB 2771 would provide for teaching certificates for teachers whose spouses are married to a member of the Armed Forces who is on active duty stationed in this state.

Senator Mann amended the bill on behalf of decisions made in committee by the Senate Education Committee to clarify certain language in the bill.

HB 2792 would require the Library Commission to survey libraries in this state in order to provide a report to the Governor and the Legislature regarding the status of libraries and to propose a ten-year maintenance and construction plan based on the needs of libraries in this state.

HB 2797 would clarify that there is statutory immunity for government agencies and officials from actions of third-parties using documents or records of governmental agencies for unlawful acts.

HB 2805 would declare certain claims against the state to be moral obligations of the state and to authorize payments from certain related funds.

Senator Hall amended the bill on behalf of decisions made in a subcommittee of the Senate Finance Committee to strike three payments to certain claims as detailed in the bill.

HB 2815 would alter public education higher education governance and change the powers of the Higher Education Policy Commission, Council for Community and Technical College Education and other institutions of higher education.

Senator Mann amended the bill on behalf of decisions made in committee by the Senate Education Committee to make several modifications to the bill's provisions and language.

Senator Trump made an amendment to Senator Mann's amendment to rewrite a particular subsection to create a study and request a report from the Higher Education Policy Commission related to General Revenue appropriations.

Senator Ed Gaunch, R-Kanawha, made another amendment to Senator Mann's amendment to include West Virginia State University in certain provisions of the bill.

HB 2833 would describe specific categories of information that must be included in the annual report of each professional licensing authority established in Chapter 30 of the West Virginia Code.

HB 2839 would update the schedules for legislative review of state departments and regulatory boards, and to outline the procedures and scope of reviews of departments, regulatory boards, agencies and programs.

Senator Blair amended the bill to make technical corrections and reorganize a section for clarity.

HB 2869 would provide that certain state employees may be granted a leave of absence with pay while providing assistance as an essential member of an emergency aid provider during a declared state of emergency.

Senator Blair amended the bill on behalf of decisions made in committee by the Senate Government Organization Committee to repeal certain code sections.

HB 2897 would raise the amount required for competitive bidding of construction contracts by the state and its subdivisions, public service districts, and sanitary boards to $50,000, and except public service districts from competitive bidding for emergency repairs.

Senator Blair amended the bill on behalf of decisions made in committee by the Senate Government Organization Committee to add a new subsection the clarifies a certain situation in which a contracting public entity shall not award a contract.

HB 2941 would make clear that the DOH shall utilize the Attorney General for legal assistance and services.

HB 2961 would amend the procedure by which a charitable gaming licensee may appeal the Tax Commissioner’s sanctions against the licensee for violations of the charitable gaming laws, by allowing the licensee to petition the Office of Tax Appeals for an administrative hearing rather than the Tax Commissioner.

HB 2962 would enlarge the authority of the Tax Commissioner to perform background investigations of employees and contractors to make it possible for the Tax Commissioner to receive federal tax information for the Internal Revenue Service.

Senator Blair amended the bill on behalf of decisions made in committee by the Senate Government Organization Committee to make technical corrections.

HB 2967 would remove the requirements for the State Tax Commissioner to administer the fiduciary supervisor/fiduciary commissioner qualifying test and annual training seminar, and transfer those responsibilities to the respective county commissions.

Senator Trump amended the bill to move certain training responsibilities to the State Auditor from the Tax Commissioner and insert the provisions of SB 259 into the bill.

HB 3022 would require the reporting of fraud and misappropriation of funds to the Legislature’s Commission on Special Investigations.

Senator Mike Romano, D-Harrison, amended the bill to require counties and cities to report fraud to their County Prosecutor instead of to the Special Investigations Commission.

HB 3037 would remove the Division of Energy as an independent agency and redesignate the Division of Energy as the Office of Energy within the Development Office of the Department of Commerce, and designate the Secretary of Commerce, or his or her designee, as Chair of the West Virginia Public Energy Authority Board.

Senator Blair amended the bill on behalf of decisions made in committee by the Senate Government Organization Committee to make technical corrections and clarify certain language.

HB 3048 would increase the cap mandated on the collection of Tier II fees for chemical inventories.

HB 3053 would clarify when a vehicle lighting unit is functional, permit additional lighting to be uncovered if such devices are dimmable and allow two auxiliary lights.

HB 3080 would institute a “Celebrate Freedom Week” for public schools and require the instruction in the study of the Declaration of Independence and other founding American historical documents, including the Bill of Rights, during this week.

Senator Mann amended the bill on behalf of decisions made in committee by the Senate Education Committee to remove the three-hour instruction minimum.

Of those bills on second reading, HB 2546 was requested to lie over for one day. This bill would allow uniform costs to be deducted from an employee’s final paycheck if the uniform is not returned.

All bills on first reading were advanced to second reading.

Committee Meetings Tomorrow

Government Organization: 8 a.m. in 208W

Education: 8 a.m. in 451M

Judiciary: 9:30 a.m. in 208W

Finance: 9:30 a.m. in 451M

Transportation and Infrastructure: at the first recess of tomorrow's floor session in 451M

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

›› Senate bills introduced on this date
›› Completed Legislation

Wednesday, April 05, 2017 - 06:43 PM

Bill Related to Parental Notification for Abortions Approved in Senate Health

The Senate Health and Human Resources Committee has approved a bill that would modify the law requiring parental notification of abortions performed on unemancipated minors.

The bill, HB 2002 would more specifically provide a judicial waiver process for bypassing parental notification.

Margaret Chapman Pomponio of WV Free said four women used a physician waiver in 2015. She added that the number of waivers is always low, since this state has one of the highest parental involvement rates in abortions.

Over 30 states require parental involvement in some form.

Senator Patricia Rucker, R-Jefferson, made a strike-and-insert amendment to make several adjustments to the bill to remove maturity evaluation provisions, restore the original notification requirement of within 48 hours from the proposed 24 hours, change the definition of "unempancipated minor," among other modifications.

The bill will be referenced to Senate Judiciary once reported.



Wednesday, April 05, 2017 - 05:58 PM

Modified Hunting License Training Bill Approved in Senate Natural Resources

The Senate Natural Resources Committee has approved two House bills and one House concurrent resolution to be reported to the floor with the recommendation that they pass.

HB 2708 would allow persons with developmental disabilities to receive a base hunting license and to satisfy the training requirements through a modified training course.

This bill also authorizes person with developmental disabilities to lawfully hunt while accompanied and directly supervised by another hunter, and makes criminal penalties for violating those provisions.

The provisions of Senate Bills 325, 474 and 380 were incorporated into the bill.

DNR Law Enforcement Chief Jerry Jenkins said there could be some fiscal cost involved, but he had no objections to the bill itself.

Natural Resources Chair Mark Maynard, R-Wayne, will consult with the Judiciary Chair to request that the bill's second reference to the Senate Judiciary Committee be waived.

HB 3020 would provide that the penalty for hunting, trapping or fishing on the lands of another, entering upon posted lands, or destroying posted land signs shall be equivalent to the penalty for criminal trespass.

The provisions of Senate Bills 471, 472 and 536 were incorporated into the bill.

Gary Foster, assistant chief of game management for the DNR, was available to answer questions from members of the committee related to the inclusion of SB 536's provisions for guided bear hunts and how those hunts could affect elk populations.

HCR 15 would request Congress to fully support the National Park Service’s recommendations to extend the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail to include additional sites along the Expedition’s Eastern Legacy.

The committee also passed four originating resolutions from the committee to be adopted by the Senate.

The first Originating Resolution would relate to the Great Eastern Trail.

The second Originating Resolution would relate to the establishment of a non-employee workforce to improve state parks and forests.

The third Originating Resolution would request a study of the economic impact of bicycle and pedestrian activity programs.

Senator Robert Beach, D-Monongalia, made an amendment to include the term "recreation commission" into the language of the resolution.

The fourth Originating Resolution would relate to converting idle railway property into Rails to Trails bike trails.

The Senate will resume their session at 6:30 p.m., where the bills and resolutions will be reported.



Wednesday, April 05, 2017 - 04:48 PM

Senate Passes Budget Bill SB 199

The Senate reconvened to pass bills on third reading.

Senate Bill 199 is the Budget Bill.

Senator Hall (R-Putnam) explained some things about the bill. The Governor is allowed to come back and recommend to change it. The legislature is not allowed to build a budget with a deficit. The legislature cannot also raise revenue without consent of the Governor. The bill won’t be acted upon until both houses agree. The Governor raised the liquor tax, school funding changes, and retirement funding changes have all helped get the budget down. Higher Education was cut fifteen percent across the board in the bill and DHHR was also cut. The Promise scholarship, senior services, lunch programs and other important services aren’t cut.

Senator Hall said, “The patient is not quite dead, it is still spending $13,000,000.”

Senator Prezioso (D-Marion) said, “This is not the Senate’s budget, but rather the Senate Majority Leader’s budget. This budget contains $160,000,000 dollars in cuts. Public education with no teacher pay raises, higher education, and 3.68 percent cut from DHHR which is money that is matched with federal dollars. Reductions of the magnitude will hurt this state in the future.”

Senator Hall said, “These are not things that I want to see happen. But we are under the rule of the numbers. You can ask me about any myriad of cuts that we’ve described and I don’t agree with them of all. This is not the final destination and it is not a pretty picture, it is just the numbers.”

Senator Ojeda (D-Logan) said, “We either raise taxes or cut programs, I got that. But when I see this budget, I can’t support it.”

Senator Trump (R-Morgan) said, “Are we to believe that three percent cut will make the sky fall? I get that there is an advocate for every dollar spent in this budget. But we have to live within our means. This bill doesn’t take a dollar from the rainy day from. We aren’t kicking the can down the road.”

Senator Miller (D-Greenbrier) said, “We do need to live within our means. But even today we fail to do that. We are just passing legislation that will bring costs up. When we are blindly making decisions that will affect the future, then we are making a big mistake on the budget.”

Senator Blair (R-Berkeley) said, “I like this budget. We are trying to get the budget done earlier this year than other years. We aren’t following tradition these days. To heck with tradition, we are here to get the job done. We are trying to make West Virginia the most successful state it can be and to live up to its potential. This budget will take us there!”

Senator Palumbo (D-Kanawha) said, “To suggest this budget doesn’t put more burden on our people is a joke.”

Senator Carmichael (R-Jackson) said, “Certainly we could raise more taxes or dip into the rainy day fund, but that is not the right path. We haven’t done things like this in the past. You’re right, we are trying to do things in a different way. What we have done in the past has not worked. The true measure of compassion is not whether we spend more in government but rather if we help people off the welfare and to grow and find success on the economic ladder.”

The bill passed with a vote of 20 yeas and 14 nays.

House Bill 2006 would increase the penalties for violating the Whistle-blower Law. The bill was passed.

House Bill 2083 would increase the felony criminal penalties for exposing children to methamphetamine manufacturing. If a child would suffer a bodily injury in the presence of the manufacturing, then the felony would be punished more. The bill was passed.

House Bill 2119 would repeal the West Virginia Health Benefit Exchange Act. The bill was passed.

House Bill 2219 would authorize miscellaneous boards and agencies to promulgate legislative rules. The bill was passed.

House Bill 2303 would increase the criminal penalty for littering. $2,500 would be the maximum fine for dumping litter not exceeding 100 pounds in weight.

Senator Ojeda (D-Logan) said, “I rise in support of this bill. This bill will help tourism. People don’t want to kayak in our rivers and creeks if they have to dodge tires and garbage. This bill is a good bill that will make West Virginia even more beautiful.”

The bill was passed.

House Bill 2319 relates to candidates or candidate committees for legislative office disclose contributions in a receipt within five business days after a fundraising event. The bill was passed.

House Bill 2367 would establish a criminal offense of organized retail crime. The bill was passed.

House Bill 2373 would authorize school bus drivers trained in administration of epinephrine auto injectors to administer auto-injectors. The bill was passed.

House Bill 2427 would require agencies listed in the online state phone directory to update certain employee information. The bill was passed.

House Bill 2446 relates to the requirement that all executive branch agencies maintain a website that contains specific information. The bill was passed.

House Bill 2453 would expand the list of persons the Commissioner of Agriculture may license to grow or cultivate industrial hemp. The bill was passed.

House Bill 2475 would authorize the Tax Commissioner to collect tax, interest and penalties due and owing from payments to vendors and contractors from the Auditor and other state, county, district or municipal officers and agents. The bill was passed.

House Bill 2548 relates to the use of outside speakers by persons licensed to manufacture, sell, possess for sale, transport or distribute nonintoxicating beer. The bill was passed.

House Bill 2619 would create the Risk Management and Own Risk Solvency Assessment Act. There was a strike and insert amendment. The bill was passed.

House Bill 2676 would transfer the Security office under the Division of Culture and History to the Division of Protective Services. The bill was passed.

House Bill 2683 relates to the West Virginia Insurance Guaranty Association Act. The bill was passed.

House Bill 2726 would authorize home incarceration officers to arrest participants for violating the terms and conditions of his or her supervision with or without court order. The bill was passed.

House Bill 2734 would authorize a method for the collection and remittance of property taxes related to dealers’ heavy equipment inventory. The bill was passed.

House Bill 2767 would authorize the Secretary of State to transmit electronic versions of undeliverable mail to the circuit clerks. The bill was passed.

House Bill 2898 would authorize the Joint Committee on Government and Finance to request and obtain criminal background checks of employees of the legislature. The bill was passed.

House Bill 2939 relates to the sale of items in the State Police Academy post exchange to the public. This would let certain items be sold such as T shirts and ball caps.  Senator Unger (D-Berkeley) asked if the bill would help the budget cut to the police and if bake sales and yard ales were included in the bill too. Senator Smith (R-Tucker) yielded to the question and said it may help and no it does not. The bill was passed.

House Bill 2949 would exempt specified Division of Natural Resources’ contracts for some replacement, repair or design for repairs to facilities from review and approval requirements. The bill was passed.

House Bill 2963 would eliminate the tax lien waiver requirement for estates of nonresidents. The bill was passed.

House Bill 2980 relates to civil lawsuit filing fees for multiple defendant civil action. The bill was passed.

The Senate then refused to concur to the House amendment to SB 221.

Senate Bill 386 was reported back to the Senate and the Senate amended the House amendments. The amendments were technical in nature. The bill was passed as the Senate concurred with the amendment as amended.

Senate Bill 588 was concurred with the House amendments and passed.

The following committees meet:

Natural Resources at 5 p.m. in 208W.

Transportation and Infrastructure at the fist recess of tomorrow's floor session.

 

 

The Senate is in recess until 6:30 p.m. 



Wednesday, April 05, 2017 - 02:25 PM

Bill to Eliminate Tax Exemptions Passes in House

The Rules Committee moved SB 239 and SB 412 to the House Calendar from the Special Calendar.

SB 4 would allow certain licensed professionals to donate their time to the care of the indigent and the needy and to allow them to gain credit for their time against continuing education requirements needed to maintain their license. The bill passed the House 100-0

SB 300, SB 301, and SB 305 are supplemental appropriation.

SB 337 would allow the Division of Corrections to hire a person as a Correctional Officer no matter their placement on the correctional officer register. The bill passed the House 100-0

SB 484 would eliminate the exemption from sales tax for certain sales of materials acquired for use in state highway projects.

Delegate Eric Householder (R-Berkeley) said we’ve been studying this for a couple years not. He said it would tax cell phones, just like 42 other states. He said this bill is broadening the sales tax base and lower the rates. He said this is a plan to save our taxpayers. He said the bill is a well laid out and deliberate means. He believes it will put us back to the path of prosperity.

Delegate Isaac Sponaugle (D-Pendleton) said “This is a tax bill and going to raise $140 million. I guarantee if you do this and go home, you’re going to lose all creditability.”

Delegate Tony Lewis (R-Preston) said, “When I ran I told people, we might have to raise some taxes and do somethings to get out of this hole.” He said this a fair deal.

Majority Leader Daryl Cowles (R-Morgan) said, “It’s tax relief for the people.”

Delegate Larry Rowe (D-Kanawha) said he doesn’t understand why we are just taxing the people, not the businesses. He said, you can call it a tax rate decrease but not a tax break.

Minority Leader Tim Miley (D-Harrison) said he thinks why his side of the isle is confused is because the majority get elected running on not wanting to raise taxes and wanting to live within the state’s means. He said he believes in choice taxes on things that could harm West Virginia, such as cigarette taxes, alcohol tax, and the soda tax. He said these are taxes to help reduce the healthcare cost in the future. He said he doesn’t see anything in the bill that helps the State.

The bill passed the House 72-48.

SB 493 would increase the pay for conservation officers.

The House is in recess until 3:30 p.m.

Update:

The House reconvened at 4:30 p.m. to discuss HB 2018 (the Budget Bill) and finish the agenda.

HB 2018 was amended by Speaker Tim Armstead (R-Kanawha) and Finance Chairman Eric Nelson (R-Kanawha). The amendment took $1 million from the House funds and $1 million from the Senate funds to give to the volunteer fire department funds. The amendment was adopted.

Nelson explained the bill. He said it’s a budget of $4.24 billion general revenue to spend; $105 million less than the Governor’s plan. It continues with the two percent mid-year cuts Toblin had offered in the previous budget. He said our state is lacking economic diversity. He said the largest source of revenue is personal income tax and the second largest source is sales tax. He said it’s a balanced budget and reduces spending from last year by $60 million. He said there’s a little hurt for everyone. There were difficult decisions that had to be made, he said.

Many delegates opposed the budget bill due to higher education cuts and other issues. Delegate Andrew Byrd (D-Kanawha) wanted to send the bill back to finance committee to address the constitutionality of the bill. The motion failed 36-63.

Delegate Rodney Miller (D-Boone) said he feels the bill hits different parts of the state disproportionately. He said, “We can’t cut our way out of this. We can’t tax our way out of this.” He said we’ve got to meet somewhere in the middle.  

The bill passed the House 58-42 and now will go to the Senate for more consideration.

The House is in recess for 15 minutes.

Update:

The House reconvened to amend bills on second reading and hear first reading. 

SB 76, SB 288, SB 220, and SB 694 were read a first time.

Committee Meetings Tomorrow

Rules: 8:45 a.m. behind the Chamber

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

›› Completed Legislation

Wednesday, April 05, 2017 - 01:01 PM

Senate Concurs with 10 House Amendments in Morning Floor Session

The Senate met today and passed 10 House amended Senate bills.

Upon commencement, the Senate concurred and passed the House amendments to SB 28, SB 186, SB 280, SB 321, SB 344, SB 358, SB 362, SB 398, SB 564 and SB 581.

The Senate then received committee reports.

Senate Concurrent Resolution 60 designating 2017 as Robert C. Byrd Centennial Legacy Year was adopted with a vote of 33 yeas and 1 nay.

Senate Resolution 68 was adopted designating April 5, 2017, as Nurses Unity Day.

Senate Resolution 69 was adopted congratulating Mingo Central Miners high school football team for winning the 2016 Class AA football championship.

Senate Resolution 70 was adopted designating April as Autism Awareness Month.

 

The Senate is in recess until 1 p.m.

›› Completed Legislation

Wednesday, April 05, 2017 - 11:04 AM

Senate Government Organization Reports House Bill 3093 Back to the Floor

The Senate Committee on Government Organization be this morning to discuss one bill.

House Bill 3093 would establish Broadband Enhancement and Expansion Policies. The bill was voted to be reconsidered by the committee as there was no abstract attached to the bill at the time of the first vote due to a strike and insert amendment. The bill would allow Internet Service Providers to create co-ops to extend their broadband to rural areas. The co-ops would use their own money to upgrade the services. There were representatives from the telecommunications industry to explain the bill’s relation to the owners of power poles, the upgrading process, and the way lines are put on the poles by different companies.

Senator Boso (R-Nicholas) found in questioning that as long as there was space on the pose there is no reason that the service shouldn’t be provided.

Council informed the committee of the changes in the current bill from the previous version of it.

The strike and insert amendment was adopted.

The bill was reported to the Senate floor with the recommendation that it pass as amended.



Wednesday, April 05, 2017 - 10:23 AM

Study Resolutions Move from House Education

House Education met today and discussed study resolutions, which will be set to the floor for adoption.

HCR Originating is a study resolution to determine operating expenses for the education system.

HCR 31 is a study resolution based off of a bill introduced by Delegate Ron Walters (R-Kanawha) this session. The resolution would study the effects of reducing the number of county boards of educations to a smaller number of district boards of education. It would study the most cost efficient way to fund public education to be consistent across all school districts. This study is a way to sort through the issues of this possibility before consideration of an expensive bill.

 

Walter’s bill, HB 3008, was introduced last month and referred to House Education. The drafted bill is 809 pages long. His bill would eliminate the county educational system and would create a 10 district system all about the size of Kanawha. He said this system would allow money to be appropriated more equally to all districts. The bill did not move in Education; however, the study resolution would explore the possibility of making this change. 



Wednesday, April 05, 2017 - 10:03 AM

Bill to Eliminate RESAs Laid Over in Senate Education

The Senate Education Committee has laid over a bill requested by Governor Justice that would abolish Regional Education Service Agencies (RESA) and funding by July 1, 2017.

The bill, HB 2711, would also provide authority for county school systems to share services, modify school accreditation and accountability measures, alter school and school system intervention procedures and requirements and reduce statewide student assessment requirements. 

Committee counsel said the purpose of the bill is to reduce state bureaucracy and restore local control through increased flexibility in regulations for county school systems.

The original 2 percent pay raise for teachers has since been removed from the bill by the House.

Senator Robert Karnes, R-Upshur, moved to amend the committee's technical strike-and-insert amendment by adding a provision that would require the Legislature to approve of decisions made by the State Board of Education.

Karnes said the amendment would help to slow down the process of studying standards imposed on public education in the state.

Senator Mike Romano, D-Harrison, said he was concerned that doing so would deteriorate progress in the school system further, as well as force the Legislature to go into a Special Session each year while considering and debating each standard suggested by the Board.

State Superintendent of Schools Dr. Steven Paine said the amendment would conflict with the State Board of Education's constitution.

Heather Hutchens, general counsel for the WV Dept. of Education, and Clayton Burch, a chief officer for the WV Dept. of Education, both said they agreed with Dr. Paine's concerns.

Education Chair Kenny Mann, R-Monroe, called for a recess for the Republican party of the committee to caucus in the back of the room. Upon reentry, Mann made a motion to pull the bill from the agenda and adjourned the meeting.



Tuesday, April 04, 2017 - 08:43 PM

Bill to Improve Substance Abuse Treatment Approved in Senate Health

The Senate Health and Human Resources Committee has approved six bills to be reported to the full Senate with the recommendation that they pass.

HB 3102 would permit the Secretary of DHHR to sell Hopemont Hospital and its assets.

Committee counsel made a strike-and-insert amendment to correct technical issues in the bill.

The bill will be referred to Senate Finance once reported to the floor.

HB 2366 would require the selling of Jackie Withrow Hospital by the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Resources.

Committee counsel made a strike-and-insert amendment to correct technical issues in the bill.

The bill will be referred to Senate Finance once reported to the floor.

HB 2520 would prohibit the use of a tanning device by a person under the age of 18.

Lead sponsor of the bill Delegate Amy Summers, R-Taylor, voiced her support for the bill's passage to the committee and shared different statistics about tanning that motivated her to take the lead on the bill.

Summers said many other countries and states have already adopted similar legislation.

A representative from the American Cancer Society discussed the society's support for the bill and answered questions from members of the committee related to scientific studies that prove that tanning beds are more harmful than the sun.

Conrad Lewis spoke against the bill on behalf of the American Suntanning Association and said it could harm small businesses and put many citizens out of jobs.

Lewis said the association is, however, supportive of parental consent and health risk education, and is concerned that many of their customers would resort to tanning at home unsupervised by tanning professionals, causing more health damages.

"This isn't a solution," said Lewis. "This will just increase risk."

Senator Ron Stollings, D-Boone, shared his opposition for the bill and spoke from his personal experiences as a doctor who has dealt with skin cancers and as a person who lost an uncle to melanoma. 

HB 2428 would establish additional substance abuse treatment facilities.

DHHR Secretary Bill Crouch was available to answer questions from members of the committee and said he was concerned with how well facilities would be able to adapt to the bill's requirement for more beds in treatment facilities by the deadline of July 1, 2018.

J.B. Akers, member of a local nonprofit drug treatment facility board in Kanawha County, was available to answer questions from members of the committee.

Senator Ryan Weld, R-Boone, first amended the bill to allow the DHHR secretary to have rule-making authority with the provisions of the bill, including the ability to adjust the deadline date. Weld also included some technical corrections in this amendment.

Senator Corey Palumbo, D-Kanawha, amended the amendment to clarify that the bill would apply only to existing facilities.

Weld made an additional amendment to create a special revenue account to help fund the bill's provisions outside of state appropriations.

The bill will be referred to Senate Finance once reported to the floor.

HB 2745 would add provisions for the testing of applicants for the position of Advanced Care Technician for those municipalities which provide an advance life support ambulance service.

HB 2846 would include high school students participating in a competency-base pharmacy technician education and training program, as persons qualifying to be a pharmacy technician trainee.

The committee also laid over HB 2376, which would reorganize the structure of several state health organizations.

Crouch said the DHHR opposes the bill's passage and does not see how it is feasible for continuing certain administrative functions. 

"This is a terrible bill," Crouch said. "We truly don't know how to do this."

Health Chair Tom Takubo, R-Kanawha, moved to postpone the bill indefinitely. The motion failed, since some senators wished to give the sponsors of the bill a chance to defend their intentions for the bill.

The bill will be referred to Senate Government Organization once reported to the floor.



Tuesday, April 04, 2017 - 07:40 PM

Senate Completes Legislation on Resolutions for Memorial Bridges

The Senate has completed legislation on nine concurrent resolutions related to naming certain bridges.

HCR 13 would name a bridge in Roane County the U.S. Army SSG Brian Curtis Rogers Bridge.

HCR 20 would name a bridge in Logan County the US Army PVT James Earl Pelfrey Memorial Bridge.

HCR 22 would name a bridge in Logan County the U.S. Air Force MSgt Johnny Baxter Clark and U.S. Air Force MSgt Carl Richard (Dick) Clark Memorial Bridge.

HCR 36 would name a bridge in Cabell County the U.S. Army PFC John Ira Pinkerman Memorial Bridge.

HCR 49 would name a bridge in Logan County the U.S. Army PFC Donald Ray Cochran Memorial Bridge.

HCR 51 would name a bridge in Logan County the Toby" Runyon Memorial Bridge.

HCR 54 would name a bridge in Randolph County the U.S. Army PVT Preston D. Vanscoy Memorial Bridge.

HCR 60 would name a bridge in Marion County the William "Bill" R. VanGilder Memorial Bridge.

HCR 82 would name a bridge in Monongalia County the U.S. Marine Sergeant David Paul McCord Memorial Bridge.

Senate Concurrent Resolutions 33, 42 and 49 and House Concurrent Resolutions 8, 10, 24 and 27, were also passed by the Senate for further consideration from the House.

All concurrent resolutions were previously approved in the Senate Transportation and Infrastructure Committee's meeting this morning.

Committee Meetings Today

Health and Human Resources: 7 p.m. in 451M

Committee Meetings Tomorrow

Government Organization: 9 a.m. in 451M

Education: 9 a.m. in 208W

Military: 10 a.m. in 208W

Judiciary: 2 p.m. in 208W

Finance: 2 p.m. in 451M

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

›› Senate bills introduced on this date
›› Completed Legislation

Tuesday, April 04, 2017 - 07:26 PM

Senate Bill 360 is Reported out of House Education

The House Committee on Education reported some bills out of the committee to the House Floor.

Senate Bill 40 would require the inclusion of protocols for response to after-school emergencies in school crisis response plans. The bill was reported to the floor of the House with the recommendation that it pass.

Senate Bill 630 would establish the Accessibility and Equity in Public Education Enhancement Act.

Seth McKenzie with K-12 Incorporated said the program could work similarly to Omaha, Nebraska. They opened up the Omaha Virtual School which is a blended model. The district wanted to serve the students that they were losing to the outlying districts. Within a span of about three weeks the school had almost 200 students enrolled in the school. Counties could decide if they needed to have a few face to face meetings or a fully virtual options. About 60 percent of those enrolled at this certain school are homeschooled currently. There is an alignment team that would make sure that the curriculum would be adherent to the testing standards of the state. Those who have satellite internet is where there isn’t a regulatory standard currently and would be a policy question.

Delegate Hornbuckle (D-Cabell), Delegate Moye (D-Raleigh) and Delegate Folk (R-Berkeley) wanted to know how much it cost. Mr. McKenzie said the contract in Nebraska was just over $600,000.

Delegate Dean (R-Mingo) moved to amend the bill to make it so if a student transferred to or from the school they must go by the current transfer rules. The amendment was adopted.

Delegate Moye moved to amend the bill to so that online teachers in a public school classroom would be sure that a certified teacher would be in the classrooms. The amendment was adopted.

The bill was reported to the House floor with the recommendation that it pass as amended.

Senate Bill 401 would allow the county board of education base employment decisions on individual's qualifications. This would let them turn seniority to the wayside in the hiring process.

Delegate Cooper (R-Summers) said, “This bill’s intent is to give counties the ability to hire how they see fit.”

There were two amendments from the committee. One was a technical amendment and was adopted, the other was rejected.

Delegate Wilson (R-Berkeley) moved to amend the bill so that teachers could access their personnel file in cases of a teacher transfer. The amendment was withdrawn.

Delegate Wilson spoke in support of the bill and Delegate Cooper spoke against it.

The bill was rejected.



Tuesday, April 04, 2017 - 06:23 PM

Innovation in Education Bill Approved in Senate Education

The Senate Education Committee has approved one concurrent resolution and one bill to be reported to the floor with the recommendation that they pass.

HCR 66 would request the Joint Committee on Government and Finance to study the sustainability of the state’s current system of higher education and how the state can better support the public institutions of higher education.

HB 3061 would encourage a limited cohort of no more than 20 schools to implement mastery-based education through the federal "Innovation In Education" program.

The schools with the program would move from the current time-based model toward a mastery-based model of education that allows for more personalized and differentiated learning, creates a focus on explicit, measurable, transferable learning objectives and empowers students to progress to higher levels as they demonstrate mastery with additional focus on those who have not.

Michelle Blatt of the WV Dept. of Education was available to answer questions from members of the committee regarding funding for the program.

The committee also began discussion on HB 2711, which would promote an efficient and effective public education system by reducing state bureaucracy, restoring local control through increased flexibility in regulations for county school systems and providing supports for classroom teachers throughout the state.

The bill more specifically abolishes Regional Education Service Agencies (RESA) and funding by July 1, 2017, eliminates the office of Education Performance Audits and establishes the County Superintendents’ Advisory Council.

Joey Garcia of the Governor's Office addressed questions related to grant funding.

The bill will be referred to Senate Finance once reported to the floor.

The committee will meet 9 a.m. tomorrow in 451M.



Tuesday, April 04, 2017 - 05:19 PM

Resolution Urging to Keep Promises Passes House Energy

The House Energy Committee met this afternoon to discuss SB 687 and HR 13.

SB 687 would eliminate the Board of Miner Training, Education and Certification, the Mine Inspectors’ Examining Board, and the Mine Safety Technology Task Force, and the transfer of duties from those boards and task force to the Board of Coal Mine Health and Safety. It would provide that moneys be paid from special reclamation water trust fund to assure a reliable source of capital and operating expenses for the treatment of discharges from forfeited sites. It would modify modifies notification requirements for pre-blast surveys for surface mining operations and certain other blasting activities, as well as minimum bond requirements related to certain reclamation work.

HR 13 would urge the United States Congress to keep America’s promise to our retired coal miners and widows and to pass the Miners Protection Act as soon as possible and provide the full measure of benefits these retirees were promised and have earned. The resolution passed unanimously out of the Energy Committee and will be reported to the full floor.



Tuesday, April 04, 2017 - 05:06 PM

WV Safer Workplaces Act Approved in Senate Judiciary

The Senate Judiciary Committee has approved five bills and one originating concurrent resolution to be reported to the full Senate with the recommendation that they pass.

HB 2857 would create the West Virginia Safer Workplaces Act to permit employers to test employees and prospective employees for drugs and alcohol.

Senator Mike Romano, D-Harrison, proposed an amendment that would prohibit the direct observation of a sample collection for drug and/or alcohol testing to protect certain employees from being abused under provisions of the bill. The amendment was rejected, as the majority of senators felt the provision was unnecessary.

"This is a silly bill that has gone too far with no protections for employees' privacy," said Romano.

Romano said he would save the rest of his amendments for when the bill is brought to the floor, so that they can be heard and debated in public with the full Senate.

Senator Randy Smith, R-Tucker, said he is drug tested as a miner in front of supervisors all the time and believes the bill is "a good bill" that protects workplaces from the dangers associated with employees who might be under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

HB 2916 would authorize supervising entities to authorize ambulance crew members, firefighters, rescue squad members and emergency service personnel to carry firearms.

The committee made a strike-and-insert amendment to correct technical issues in the bill.

HB 3018 would add the definition of correctional employee to the list of persons against whom an assault is a felony.

The committee made a strike-and-insert amendment to correct technical issues in the bill.

HB 2930 would allow a Powerball winner to be anonymous if they elect to be anonymous.

The bill was vetoed by the governor last year for policy concerns and technical issues.

Danielle Boyd, managing general counsel of the WV Lottery Commission, said the bill "poses several issues" to the commission related to fraud and security, transparency with public monies and other concerns.

Boyd said the commission also takes care of the winners and ensures their protection, and the commission has never had complaints in that regard.

Out of 43 state lotteries, Boyd said only six allow anonymous lottery winners.

Those who supported passage of the bill said they wanted to help protect lottery winners who, despite the Lottery Commission's protections, are still manipulated or threatened into giving money to friends, family members and even strangers.

Senators who opposed the bill said its passage could harm the reputation of transparency in West Virginia.

The bill will be referred to Senate Finance once reported to the floor.

HB 2850 would limit products liability actions against a seller other than the manufacturer except in limited circumstances and to define terms.

Senator Mike Romano, D-Harrison, proposed an amendment to ensure the seller has some responsibility for possibly harmful situations or designs they "should have" known about. The amendment was rejected.

Romano proposed a second amendment to add language that would give a seller responsibility if a foreign manufacturer does not respond in a lawsuit. The amendment was rejected.

Originating Concurrent Resolution 3 would request the Joint Committee to study the feasibility and benefits of replacing the state’s civil service system. 

The committee is in recess until after the Senate floor session, which begins at 6 p.m. this evening.



Tuesday, April 04, 2017 - 03:52 PM

Senate Finance Reports HB 2759 Creating the Statewide Interoperable Radio Network

The Senate Finance Committee met today to discuss one bill.

HB 2759 would create the Statewide Interoperable Radio Network. It would also create an account for the network. The network would tie every 911 call center, police dispatch center, and other communications together state wide and with other state’s bordering counties. This would let natural disaster relief much easier to do. The program has grown from a few counties to be shown how the infrastructure could be built. It would help when there is no cell service available. Other states are looking at the system in West Virginia due to its efficiency and effectiveness. This will also help with regional jail transportation.

Council had an amendment to make technical changes in the bill. The amendment was adopted.

The bill was reported to the full Senate with the recommendation that it pass as amended.



Tuesday, April 04, 2017 - 03:05 PM

Bills Related to Retired Teachers Approved in Senate Education

The Senate Education Committee has approved six bills to be reported to the full Senate with the recommendation that they pass.

HB 2637 would extend the date for expiration of provisions related to the employment of a retired teacher as a substitute beyond the post-retirement limit in areas of critical need and shortage to June 30, 2020.

Committee counsel amended the bill to clarify language related to additional faculty senate involvement.

HB 2651 would require nationally normed standardized achievement tests to be administered to nonpublic students between the ages of seven and 17.

HB 2799 would prohibit a superintendent of schools from requiring a physical examination to be included to the application for a minor’s work permit, unless it is required by the prospective employer.

HB 2887 would authorize Boards of Governors of institutions of higher education to develop retirement and incentive packages.

The bill will be referred to Senate Finance once reported to the floor.

HB 3095 would allow retired teachers to be employed by a higher education institution, the Higher Education Policy Commission or the Council for Community and Technical College Education without forfeiting their retirement.

HB 2571 would require the State Department of Education and the Schools for the Deaf and the Blind to jointly select language developmental milestones from existing standardized norms for purposes of developing a resource for use by parents to monitor and track deaf and hard-of-hearing children’s expressive and receptive language acquisition and developmental stages toward English literacy.

Dr. Jodi Cottrell of the Marshall University College of Health Professions said the bill also needs to include the assessment of Listening and Spoken Language, which she said is a viable English literacy option that is used by many deaf children.

A representative of the DHHR said the department was concerned that there were no data-collection measures in the bill and no provisions for what will be done if a child fails an assessment. 

Antonia Vaughan, a professional educational interpreter for Kanawha County schools, said Listening and Spoken Language provisions are included in language that involves speaking and understanding English. 

Vaughan also said there are provisions in the bill for data collection.

Dr. Rikki Lowe, director of special education for Lincoln County schools, said the bill shows a good collaboration to help improve IEPs and should be passed.

"Parents have a choice, and we need to support this choice," Lowe said.

Senator Robert Karnes, R-Upshur, requested committee counsel to draft the bill into a concurrent resolution for further study of the bill's provisions. The committee approved the motion.

The committee is in recess until 5 p.m. this evening.



Tuesday, April 04, 2017 - 03:01 PM

House Passes WV Medical Cannabis Act Senate Bill 386

The House of Delegates met today to pass 25 bills.

Senate Bill 28 would create a new system for certain contiguous counties to establish regional recreation authorities.

Senate Bill 169 would repeal an article providing assistance to Korea and Vietnam veterans exposed to certain chemical defoliants. The article being repealed was never taken into effect due to the Federal government taking care of those services.

Senate Bill 170 would repeal the state hemophilia program. The article being repealed was never taken into effect due to the Federal government taking care of those services.

Senate Bill 171 would repeal programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly. The article being repealed was never taken into effect due to the Federal government taking care of those services.

Senate Bill 180 relates to PSC jurisdiction over certain telephone company and internet services.

Senate Bill 186 would adjust the date when children become eligible for certain school programs and school attendance requirements.

Delegate Espinosa (R-Jefferson) said the bill would be a county by county process.

Delegate Rohrbach (R-Cabell) said the bill would also sync up with schools starting earlier in the year.

Senate Bill 198 would expand Health Sciences Programs to allow certain medical practitioners in underserved areas. The bill would give monetary incentives for students to complete their residency in underserved parts of the state.

Senate Bill 221 relates to the composition of the PEIA Finance Board.

Senate Bill 280 would move the administration of Civil Air Patrol to Adjutant General.

Senate Bill 321 would report requirements of employee information to CPRB.

Senate Bill 344 relates to applications of payments on consumer credit sale and loans.

Senate Bill 350 would allow licensed professional counselors to be issued a temporary permit.

Senate Bill 358 relates generally to trustee sales of timeshare estates.

Senate Bill 364 would incorporate changes to Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement.

Senate Bill 365 would maintain solvency of Unemployment Compensation Fund.

Senate Bill 386 would create the WV Medical Cannabis Act.

Delegate Shott (R-Mercer) said the bill implements protections in pricing, won’t be implemented fully in two years, and provides adequate flexibility for changes.

Delegate Fast (R-Fayette) said, “This bill goes against Federal Law. Are we a nation of laws or of mob rule?”

Delgate Lane (R-Kanawha) said, “I just want to thank the Judiciary Chair for all the work you have done. I don’t think anyone is 100 percent happy with the bill but this is a lot further than we thought we’d get this session. We can’t wait for the Feds while people die. We are here to help people. Let’s hope the federal government follows our lead.”

Delagate Cooper (R-Summers) said, “In a few years we will be trying to put the toothpaste back in the tube or the bullet back in the gun. The best way to stop that is with a no vote on this bill.”

Delegate Pushkin (D-Kanawha) said, “No other states who have completed similar legislation have gone back. Even though I supported a different amendment last night, I wholeheartedly support this bill now. And we aren’t bringing cannabis to West Virginia. It is already here. We are just brinigng some of it out of the shadows.”

Delegate Howell (R-Mineral) said he supported the bill after speaking with his constituents.

Delegate Ambler (R-Greenbrier) said, “This bill is a step towards being more compassionate so I support the bill.”

The bill passed with a vote of 76 yeas and 24 nays.

Senate Bill 392 relates to Municpal Police Officers and Firefighters Retirement Sustem.

Senate Bill 398 would create the Emergency Volunteer Health Practitioners Act.

Senate Bill 495 relates to regulation of events by the State Athletic Commission.

Senate Bill 505 would provide a five-year reclamation period following the completion of well pads for horizontal wells.

Senate Bill 564 relates to the Statewide Independent Livin Council.

Senate Bill 566 would pay the claims angainst the state.

Senate Bill 581 would relate generally to the administration of trusts.

Senate Bill 588 relates to reproduction, distribution and sale of tax maps.

Senate Bill 671 relates to the WV Anatomical Board.

There were 12 bills on second reading today.

The following committees meet today:

Finance at 4 p.m.

Judiciary at 4 p.m.

Education at 4 p.m. and 9:30 tomorrow.

Energy at 4 p.m. in the Government Organization room.

 

The House is in recess until 7 p.m.

Update:

The House moved to concur with the Senate amendments to the bills that were passed earlier today.

The House then received reports from committees.

On second reading was bill Senate Bill 484. The bill's amendment would eliminate sales tax exemptions such as digital downloads, services, transportation and other various services. There would be a light reduction in the sales tax as well.

Delegate Boggs (D-Braxton) wondered how the General Revenue fund would be impacted if this amendment was adopted. He was informed that $107,000,000 would be expected to be gained from the amendment. Towards the end of the amendments implementation however, the state would lose $15,000,000.

Delegate Householder (R-Berkeley) said financially they cannot predict how the sales tax lowering would help consumers spend more and bring in more revenue from that.

Delegate Sponaugle (D-Pendleton) said, "There are a lot of simple things that we can do to raise revenue that aren't this. I urge rejection."

Delegate Folk (R-Berkeley) said, "After natural disasters, we are going to tax people for the service to fix their roof if they are hiring someone else to do the work. They can spin it any way they want it, this is a tax increase. I'll have no part of it."

Delegate Howell (R-Mineral) said, "This would be a tax decrease in the span of two years."

Delegate Cowles (R-Morgan) said, "The idea of broadening the base and lowering the rate is a great idea. Otherwise, only certain groups of people are paying more than what they should and others aren't paying enough. I feel that this is good economic policy and good tax policy. This is fairer for everybody. This could also give us a competitive advantage against other border states."

Delegate Miley (D-Harrison) said that businesses should help to pull the rope more and for that reason he was against it.

The amendment was adopted with a vote of 53 yeas and 46 nays.

The House then received more committee reports.

Committee meetings:

Finance at 10 a.m.

Rules at 10:45 a.m.

 

The House is adjourned until 11 a.m. tomorrow.



Tuesday, April 04, 2017 - 02:21 PM

Senate Completes Legislation Allowing Police Officers to Conceal Carry Nationwide

The Senate has completed legislation on four bills that will now be sent to the governor for approval or rejection.

SB 173 would create an autocycle exemption from motorcycle examination, licensing and endorsement requirements.

SB 230 would require all law-enforcement agencies in this state to certify qualified law-enforcement officers, retired law-enforcement officers, prosecuting attorneys and assistant prosecuting attorneys to carry concealed firearms nationwide as provided by the federal Law-Enforcement Officers Safety Act.

SB 522 would define audit procedures between pharmacy benefits managers and pharmacies.

SB 575 would limit nuisance actions against shooting ranges for noises.

Of the bills up for completion, the Senate rejected the House amendments for Senate Bills 172, 204, 224 and 554, and sent one amended bill to the House for concurrence.

The one bill sent back for concurrence for an amended title, SB 125, would authorize the Health Care Authority to promulgate a legislative rule relating to the Hospital Assistance Grant Program.

The Senate also passed 19 bills to be sent to the House for consideration.

SB 304 would appropriate $2,700,000 from the General Revenue Fund to the Division of Health within the Department of Health and Human Resources.

SB 694 would appropriate $3,300,000 from the General Revenue Fund to the Department of Administration.

HB 2188 would extend the length of time for the special Community-Based Pilot Demonstration Project to Improve Outcomes for At-Risk Youth.

HB 2364 would prohibit electioneering during early voting periods in and around early voting locations to the same extent as is currently prohibited at polling places on election day.

HB 2404 would bar persons who are convicted of certain criminal offenses from acquiring property from their victims through joint tenancy or inheritance.

HB 2479 would adopt and implement the provisions of the Uniform Deployed Parents Custody and Visitation Act in West Virginia to set standard procedures for resolution and determination of custody and visitation issues when a parent is deployed in the military or other national service.

HB 2509 would permit a physician to prescribe certain controlled substances when using telemedicine technologies.

HB 2518 would permit a pharmacist or pharmacy intern to administer HPV vaccines for adults as well flu and HPV vaccines for children 12-15 with a prescription. 

HB 2519 would require the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Resources to enter into a compact to ensure payment for health care services provided to other states’ Medicaid participants.

HB 2522 would allow the state to enter into an interstate licensure compact for registered nurses, practical nurses and vocational nurses with 25 other states.

HB 2526 would classify additional drugs to Schedules I, II, IV and V of controlled substances.

HB 2586 would update the required minimum distribution laws to be in compliance with federal Internal Revenue Code requirements.

HB 2653 would extend the multistate real-time tracking system to June 30, 2023.

HB 2706 would authorize legislative rules related to higher education, involving the West Virginia Higher Education Grant Program, the PROMISE scholarship, the Research Trust Fund Program and the Annual Reauthorization of Degree-Granting Institutions, among others.

HB 2731 would clarify that only civil actions with controversial amounts exceeding $7,500 must be heard in circuit court, except in actions relating to real estate installment sales contracts or actions confined exclusively by the Constitution to some other tribunal.

HB 2739 would provide that an eligible provider may receive supplemental Medicaid reimbursement, in addition to the rate of payment that the provider would otherwise receive, for Medicaid ground emergency medical transportation services, and that the supplemental reimbursement shall be equal to the amount of federal financial participation the department receives as a result of claims submitted for expenditures for services.

HB 2796 would allow the West Virginia National Guard to contract for specialized technical services with the federal government for specialized technical services to support specific activities related to national security, homeland security and other military-related programs.

HB 2856 would generally declare public policy and legislative intent for improving the marketing, quality and frequency of passenger rail service of the Cardinal Passenger Train.

HB 2948 would require certain state agencies to take final action on certain completed permit applications within thirty days if uncontested, or ninety days if contested, unless other timelines exist.

Of the bills on third reading, SB 476 was requested to lie over for one day. The bill would expire funds in the amount of $101,700,000 from the Revenue Shortfall Reserve Fund to the General Revenue Fund.

Members of the Senate also adopted SR 67 to declare January 26th of each year as "Danny Heater Day."

Senate Bill 199 and House Bills 2006, 2083, 2119, 2219, 2303, 2319, 2367, 2373, 2427, 2446, 2453, 2475, 2548, 2619, 2676, 2683, 2726, 2734, 2767, 2898, 2939, 2949, 2963 and 2980 were advanced from second reading.

Of those, amendments were made to 11 bills.

House Bills 208322192303236723732619 and 2980 were amended by Senator Charles Trump, R-Morgan, on behalf of decisions made by the Senate Judiciary Committee, on which he serves as Chair.

Senator Randy Smith, R-Tucker, amended the Judiciary amendment to HB 2303 to increase fines for those who litter in waterways and prohibiting magistrate or municipal judges from dismissing a related action without notifying the prosecuting attorney of that county.

Senator Craig Blair, R-Berkeley, made amendments to House Bills 2446 and 2767 on behalf of decisions made by the Senate Government Organization Committee, on which he serves as Chair.

Senator Mike Hall, R-Putnam, amended HB 2734 on behalf of decisions made by the Senate Finance Committee, on which he serves as Chair. Hall also made an additional amendment to make minor technical corrections to the bill.

Senator Roman Prezioso, D-Marion, proposed an amendment to HB 2319 related to campaign contributions and lobbyists' expenditures, but the amendment was rejected after Senate President Mitch Carmichael, R-Jackson, determined that the amendment was not germane to the bill.

Of the bills on second reading, HB 2555 was requested to lie over for one day.

All bills on first reading were advanced to second reading.

Committee Meetings Today

Government Organization: 2 p.m. in 208W

Education: 2 p.m. in 451M

Judiciary: 3 p.m. in 208W

Finance: 3 p.m. in 451M

Committee Meetings Tomorrow

Judiciary: 9:30 a.m. in 208W

Military: 10 a.m. in 208W

Health and Human Resources: 10 a.m. in 451M

The Senate is in recess until 6 p.m. this evening.

›› Senate bills introduced on this date
›› Completed Legislation

Tuesday, April 04, 2017 - 11:01 AM

House Education Committee Reports SB 656

The House Education Committee met today to discuss two bills.

Senate Bill 656 relates to Student Data Accessibility, Transparency and Accountability Act.

Jason Webb a representative of the ACT, said the bill would allow another box to be checked that a student’s information may be shared to any college that may want to look at their non-confidential information for scholarship or recruitment purposes. This would be in addition to those whom they would already send it to by the test taker’s request.

There were two amendments by council that were adopted to alter some of the language in the bill.

Delegate Westfall (R-Jackson) moved to amend the bill to make it so that 15 year olds could also receive information by checking the box.

Delegate Higginbotham (R-Putnam) said, “I support the gentleman’s amendment and getting the parent’s permission would be an additional hassle.”

The bill was reported to the full House with the recommendation that it pass.

Senate Bill 630 would establish Accessibility and Equity in Public Education Enhancement Act. The bill would allow for schools to contract with virtual school providers. It allows students an online pathway to get a high school diploma. The students would be counted in enrollment when it comes to receiving state aid. The students would also have to test at the same standards. The students would be allowed to participate in extracurricular activities but have to comply with the activities other eligibility requirements. Students enrolled in these classes would only be allowed to participate in sports from their district. The online teachers are not required to be in the county.

Delegate Moye (D-Raleigh) wanted to be sure that students would have to be enrolled in order to take those classes. He also questioned council confirming the bill could open up curriculums that aren’t currently offered at some schools.

Dr. Ron During, the superintendent of Kanawha County Schools, said the bill would provide that rural counties who may not have access to certain classes can get that online from other counties that would participate.

Delegate Cooper (R-Summers) said, “Not everyone wants to go to college and some students get kicked out. Could those who get kicked out be able to take these classes?”

Dr. During responded that could be a real possibility.

The bill was laid over until the next meeting.



Tuesday, April 04, 2017 - 10:51 AM

House Finance Discusses Tourism and Advertising

The House Finance Committee met at 9 a.m.

SB 433 would permit counties to increase the excise tax on the privilege of transferring real property. The bill will be reported to the floor with recommendation it do pass.

SB 595 would allow portions of otherwise exempt property that are being used for nonexempt purposes to be separately assessed and taxed for property tax purposes. The bill will be reported to the floor with recommendation it do pass.

SB 461 would exempt the West Virginia State Police from state purchasing requirements. The bill will be reported to the floor with recommendation it do pass.

SB 686 would exempt facilities providing direct patient care that are managed, directed, controlled and governed by the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Resources. from the otherwise required oversight and review by the Purchasing Division of the Department of Administration. The bill will be reported to the floor with recommendation it do pass.

SB 533 would provide that no wine or liquor excise tax will be collected on purchases of wine or intoxicating liquors in the original sealed package for the purpose of resale, if the final purchase of the wine or intoxicating liquor is subject to the excise tax. The bill will be reported to the floor with recommendation it do pass.

SB 486 would change the rate of tax on eligible acute care hospitals for fiscal year 2018; specify purposes for which funds may be collected, provide for distribution of remaining funds at the end of fiscal year and extend the expiration date for the tax. The bill will be reported to the floor with recommendation it do pass.

 

SB 535 would reorganize the Division of Tourism as the new West Virginia Tourism Office. It would transfer certain powers and duties of the Tourism Commission to the new West Virginia Tourism Office, and sets a requirement for quarterly meetings. The bill would restructure the Tourism Advertising Partnership Program as a cooperative advertising program administered by the new West Virginia Tourism Office and would give power to the Executive Director all authority for expenditures of funds in the Tourism Promotion Fund.



Tuesday, April 04, 2017 - 10:22 AM

Names for 17 Bridges Approved in Senate Transportation

The Senate Transportation and Infrastructure Committee has approved 18 concurrent resolutions and two House bills to be reported to the floor with the recommendation that they pass.

SCR 33 would name a bridge in Kanawha County the US Army Ranger SGT Richard E. Arden Memorial Bridge.

SCR 42 would name a bridge in Grant County the Five Champ Brothers Bridge.

SCR 49 would erect signs in Kanawha County declaring Home of Ralph Maddox 1980 NHPA Hall of Fame.

HCR 13 would name a bridge in Roane County the U.S. Army SSG Brian Curtis Rogers Bridge.

HCR 20 would name a bridge in Logan County the US Army PVT James Earl Pelfrey Memorial Bridge.

HCR 22 would name a bridge in Logan County the U.S. Air Force MSgt Johnny Baxter Clark and U.S. Air Force MSgt Carl Richard (Dick) Clark Memorial Bridge.

HCR 36 would name a bridge in Cabell County the U.S. Army PFC John Ira Pinkerman Memorial Bridge.

HCR 49 would name a bridge in Logan County the U.S. Army PFC Donald Ray Cochran Memorial Bridge.

HCR 51 would name a bridge in Logan County the Toby" Runyon Memorial Bridge.

HCR 54 would name a bridge in Randolph County the U.S. Army PVT Preston D. Vanscoy Memorial Bridge.

HCR 60 would name a bridge in Marion County the William "Bill" R. VanGilder Memorial Bridge.

HCR 82 would name a bridge in Monongalia County the U.S. Marine Sergeant David Paul McCord Memorial Bridge.

HCR 5 would name a bridge in Taylor County the U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Frederick Burdett Warder Memorial Bridge.

HCR 8 would name a bridge in Mason County the Dr. Roy and Marian Eshenaur Memorial Bridge.

HCR 10 would name a bridge in Greenbrier County the John Cameron Brown Memorial Bridge.

HCR 24 would name a bridge in Upshur County the U.S. Army SGT. Eugene Arbogast Memorial Bridge.

HCR 27 would name a bridge in Logan County the U.S. Army 1LT Patricia Simon Memorial Bridge.

HB 2694 would develop and implement a program to facilitate commercial sponsorship of rest areas, welcome centers and roads.

The fiscal note from the Division of Highways (DOH) indicates the bill could raise around $450,000 annually for the state.

The bill will be referred to Senate Finance once reported to the full Senate.

HB 3064 would permit the DOH to issue annual permits allowing vehicles of a size and weight exceeding certain specifications to operate over specified routes designated by the commissioner.

The maximum gross vehicle weight permitted under the bill is 120,000 pounds.

The fiscal note from the DOH indicates the bill could cost the state $8,000 each year in DOH engineering evaluations and raise $40,000 for the state in annual permit fees.

DOH Highway Maintenance Director Kyle Stollings was available to answer questions from committee members about how the DOH would handle the bill.

Jason Wazelle of Norfolk Southern said he was concerned about the lack of provisions in the bill for funding repairs if there is damage done to a road due to extensive wear from heavier vehicles using the road.

Rachael Kaufman of Toyota Motor Manufacturing in West Virginia said they had asked for the bill to be drafted since it would help to address road regulations in the state that hamper their productivity. 

Kaufman said Toyota and the Chamber of Commerce see the bill as "an economic driver for business."

Senator Mark Maynard, R-Wayne, proposed an amendment to the bill to allow Toyota to determine the specific routes that need deregulation with the Legislature, rather than specifically having the DOH determine the routes.

The amendment was rejected, since many senators felt that the DOH would be able to better meet the needs of both the roads and vehicle manufacturers than the Legislature.



Tuesday, April 04, 2017 - 09:56 AM

House Health Committee Reports SB 27 to House Floor

The House Health Committee met today to discuss one bill.

Senate Bill 27 relates to microprocessor permits and would permit the sale of home-based, micro-processed foods at farmers markets. The bill would help farmers markets to continue to be small business incubators and help give rural communities access to farm fresh foods.

Delegate Cooper (R-Summers) said, “I am against this bill. I think if we adopt this bill then we will be stepping backward in terms of safety.”

Delegate Fleischauer (D-Monongalia) said, “I intend to vote yes on this bill but I am concerned about the lack of inspections.”

Delegate Sobonya (R-Cabell) said, “I urge adoption of this legislation. There would be a label on the can that says the food was processed in West Virginia without inspection. The people will know the process of the food’s production and this bill could really help farmers markets.”

The bill was reported to the floor of the House with the recommendation that it pass.



Tuesday, April 04, 2017 - 09:44 AM

Increased Pet Food Registration Fee Approved in Senate Finance

The Senate Finance Committee has approved two bills to be reported to the floor with the recommendation that they pass.

HB 2552 would increase the pet food registration fee and direct that the additional money to the West Virginia Spay Neuter Assistance Fund.

The bill was previously amended and reported out of Senate Agriculture and Rural Development with the recommendation that it pass.

HB 2720 would permit the School Building Authority to transfer funds from the School Construction Fund into a special revenue account in the State Treasury.

The bill was previously amended and reported out of Senate Education with the recommendation that it pass.

The committee will meet again 3 p.m. today in 208W.



Monday, April 03, 2017 - 08:54 PM

Medical Marijuana Bill Amended in House Evening Session

The House reconvened at 3:45 p.m. to discuss SB 386 (Creating WV Medical Cannabis Act). Two amendments were proposed. One by Delegates Shott and Zatezalo and one by Delegates Pushkin, Hornbuckle, Byrd, Hill, McGeehan, Lane, and Robinson. Both amendments were explaned, first Shott’s then Pushin’s. If the body voted for Shott’s amendment, then Pushkin’s amendment wouldn’t be up for adoption. Amendments to the amendment adopted shall happen after one is chosen.  

Chairman Jon Shott (R-Mercer) explained his amendment saying it was modeled after Pennsylvania. It would be structured under the Bureau of Health and have an advisory board for safe guards. A physician would issue a certification to a patient for a dosage amount. The physician must have training and certification for the new law. The physician must be a certified practicing West Virginia licensed physician; practicing in his/her area of expertise.

In this amendment the medical cannabis could not be purchased edible or smoked in this bill. Only oil, pills, topical forms (gels, creams, ointments), medical evaporations or nebulization, tincture, liquid, and dermal patch can be used according to this bill.

ID cards will be required for certification; there will be a $50 fee per year for the ID. Under this amendment will only be five permits for growers and 15 permits for dispensaries.

Fees in the Shott amendment include:

For a Grower/Processor:

·          Initial Application Fee: $10,000 (nonrefundable)

·          Permit fee: $100,000

·          Renewal fee: $10,000 yearly

For a Dispensary:

·          Initial Application Fee: $5,000 (nonrefundable)

·          Permit Fee: $25,000

·          Renewal fee: $5,000 yearly

·          Relocation Fee: $250

There is no sales tax for patients. There is a 10 percent tax on grower or processer to dispensary. The taxes will go to the Medical Cannabis Program Fund, which will be divided as follows: 55 percent to bureau costs and the of the remaining 45 percent: 50 percent to the Fight Substance Abuse Fund, 40 percent to the Division of Justice and Community Services, and 10 percent to law enforcement professional training and professional development programs.

The dispensary must monitor distribution and report to Board of Pharmacy. The cannabis must be sold in a sealed safety package with clear labels and warnings.

The bill provides for criminal offenses for altering cannabis, having more cannabis than allowed, creating false ID cards, and more.

Part of the bill are made effective from passage, such as the set up. The criminal penalties are 90 days from passage. The industry would be fully operational by July 1, 2019.

Delegate Mike Pushkin (D-Kanawha) explained his amendment saying it has many of the safeguards that the Chairman’s has. There are more similarities than differences. He said instead of an advisory board, his amendment sets up a Commission to enact policy, with an executive director. It would still require legislative rule making, so there would still be legislative oversight.

He said his amendment allows for edibles and smoking of the cannabis, because he said, patients prefer these forms. He said there is also better control with the amount used by smoking it. The commission would set up limitation for edibles, such as items shouldn’t look like something else that kids would want. He said his amendment would also allow for those certified to have medical marijuana to have two flowering plants and two non-flowering plants to grow themselves if they cannot afford the cost of the cannabis.

His amendment allows the commission to come up with the number of licenses for growers, processors, dispensaries, and independent labs for testing. Pushkin said that in his amendment 10 percent of the licenses go to veterans. It also allows municipalities to enact ordinances prohibiting or limiting the number and type of cannabis dispensaries permitted within the municipality. He said the fees and limits would be set up by the commission.

Pushkin said that the industry is already in West Virginia. It’s the ranked 7th in the nation. He noted that the state doesn’t see a dime of the profits of this industry. He said “our bill brings everyone out of the shadows, allows them to produce legally, and taxes them.”

He said there’s an eight percent tax to processers and dispensaries. The taxes would be distributed as follows: 50 percent to the Fight Substance Abuse Fund, 40 percent to the Division of Justice and Community Services, and 10 percent for law enforcement professional development. In this amendment, there would also be a sales tax on all medical cannabis products sold by a dispensary, which would go to the general revenue fund.

He said his amendment includes the treatment of opioid abuse as a medical reason for use.

He said it’s important to note that this amendment has bi-partisan support and that the people who voted to push this legislation forward stand behind this amendment. He said his bill allows for reciprocity with other states, if the commission makes it a rule. Pushkin stated that if a person has been convicted of a felony, then he/she couldn’t work at a dispensary. He also said that his amendment allows for outdoor growing to help the Southern part of the state grow on reclaimed mine sites. He said, “we are the ones who actually believe in this.”

Delegate Larry Rowe (D-Kanawha) said that “I think the difference between the amendments is that one maintains the opioid monopoly. By charging $100,000 to growers and $25,000 for dispensaries, the Chairman’s amendment is restricting assess. He said the bill allows for “manufactured marijuana” such as pills, lotions, and patches. He stated that these are people that take over 20 medications and aren’t looking for more pills to take. He asked, why turn this over to the pharmacy manufactures? He said the Chairman’s amendment did nothing to benefit WV businesses or the budget.

Delegate Shawn Fluharty (D-Ohio) asked the Chairman to yield. He asked the statement “the government does not restrict the number of pharmacies” was correct. Shott said that was correct. He asked if it was correct that only four of 28 state that have medical marijuana do not allow smoking? Shott said that is correct. He spoke to the amendment saying that the black market for smoking will still exist. Not allowing smoking won’t stop smoking. He said, “Let’s not let big government ruin this opportunity.”

Delegate Geoff Foster (R-Putnam) said he would be voting for the Chairman’s amendment. He said he has issues with the Pushkin amendment. One being that it doesn’t say that the caregiver must grow the plant for the child. He said he doesn’t like that physicians can receive compensation. He reminded the body that “what we are doing is contradicting to federal law.” He said that the other amendment states that the state would have to cover lawsuits with the federal government, if it came to that.

Delegate John O’Neal (R-Raleigh) spoke in favor of the Shott amendment. He gave the example of a guy in California who had cancer and grew his own marijuana to smoke to help with the effect of the chemo. He said the plan the man had developed some fungi and the man died from smoking it.

Majority Leader Daryl Cowles (R-Morgan) said, “My concern is the availability and access to marijuana for explicit use.” He said the Shott amendment is the reasonable one, which “meets halfway.” He said the Chairman calls the other amendment the “Wild, Wild West.”

Minority Whip Mike Caputo (D-Marion) said we are only talking about four plants and now we are the wild, wild, West? He said “I’m not sure how many opioids you can have at a time, but I’m sure you can look at anyone’s medicine cabinet to find out.” He said he never thought he’d be around to see this debate. He said he’s proud that it is happening. He said it was very bold and brave for those who voted against their party to get this bill on the agenda.

Delegate Jordan Hill (R-Nicholas) said he rejects the Chairman’s amendment because he believes in free markets. “If we are going to ensure medical marijuana will be affordable for WV, we have to reject the Chairman’s amend.”

The Shott amendment passed 51-48. Other amendments are to come.

The House is in recess until 8 p.m. 

Update:

Additional amendments can be found here. Six were rejected and nine adopted. 

 

HB 2018 (the budget bill) was also received from committeed and read for a first time. There will be amendments allowed on 3rd reading for the bill. 

›› Completed Legislation

Monday, April 03, 2017 - 05:51 PM

Senate Amends House Amendments to SB 256

The Senate has amended the House amendment to a bill that would prohibit school personnel who have engaged in sexual misconduct with students or minors from being assisted to find new employment without having that misconduct reported to the appropriate authorities and investigated.

The House amendment to the bill, SB 256, would have added a new section to the bill relating to prohibiting aiding and abetting of sexual abuse by school personnel.

Senate Majority Leader Ryan Ferns, R-Ohio, said the new section made by the House Judiciary Committee deviated away from the bill's original intent.

The bill will now be sent to the House for concurrence.

Committee Meetings Tomorrow

Finance: 9 a.m. in 451M

Transportation and Infrastructure: 10 a.m. in 208W

Government Organization: 2 p.m. in 208W

Education: 2 p.m. in 451M

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

›› House bills introduced on this date
›› Completed Legislation

Monday, April 03, 2017 - 05:07 PM

Senate Finance Approves Governor Justice's Budget Bill

The Senate Finance Committee has approved the committee substitute for Governor Justice's proposed budget bill to go to the floor with the recommendation that it pass.

The bill, SB 199, passed with a vote of 9-7 split across the party line.

The first version of the bill originally would have made around $26.6 million in cuts to ten state agencies, create about $450 million in tax increases and raise teacher's salaries by 2 percent.

Republican leadership in the Senate worked alongside Senate Finance Committee counsel to create a committee substitute for the bill that incorporates the provisions of passed Senate Bills 362, 437 and 484

The resulting committee substitute most notably removes the 2 percent pay raise for teachers, makes an additional, across-the-board 15.1% cut to higher education institutions, eliminates $43.8 million worth of certain DHHR programs, removes the funding increase for the Division of Tourism, eliminates $60.8 million from the State Road Fund and removes the $105.5 million "Save Our State" appropriation to the West Virginia Development Office, among other revisions.

As of now, Governor Justice and the House have not seen the committee substitute for the governor's budget.

Budget policy analyst Michael Cook presented the committee substitute.

"The bill had to be tailored to the actual revenues we have to work with," Cook said.

DHHR Deputy Secretary Jeremiah Samples said he was not pleased with the cuts made, but would have to confer with governor's office before taking any official position on the bill or making any recommendations.

Matt Turner, executive vice chancellor of the Higher Education Policy Commission, said the HEPC has a "significant concern" with cuts to colleges and universities and said those institutions would most likely have to resort to cutting certain online services.

Senator Corey Palumbo, D-Kanawha, said cuts to both health programs and higher education would ultimately prove to be "a tremendous burden on the people of our state."

Senator John Unger, D-Berkeley, was concerned that most of the subcommittee recommendations were not included in the bill, but Finance Chair Mike Hall, R-Putnam, said the bill was essentially consisting half of subcommittee recommendations and half of decisions made by the Republican caucus in the Senate.

Hall said the House is working on their budget suggestions in a similar way.

Unger said he believed the committee was simply ignoring the minority's vote and input on the bill.

Senator Ron Stollings, D-Boone, said the proposed budget would add cost to next year's budget, because of the damage it could do to citizens who rely on certain government programs to survive that are being cut.

Stollings said tax increases are the only way to truly guarantee a more balanced budget for the coming years, instead of one-time and continuous cuts.

Senate Majority Leader Ryan Ferns, R-Ohio, said the citizens of West Virginia "cannot bear any more taxes," which he said are a large part of the reason the state has been losing population.

Senator Robert Plymale, D-Wayne, said the budget would do nothing to help the real problem the state has with providing jobs and economic development.

"This is the worst budget I will ever vote on," Plymale said.

Senate Minority Leader Roman Prezioso, D-Marion, said he agreed with his minority party's sentiments and that he is "disheartened" by the actions of the committee in ignoring the inevitable consequences of the bill.

"This is probably the most cruel budget I've ever seen," said Prezioso. "This is just abominable." 

Ferns, however, said the committee was simply doing its duty to the citizens of the state who "demand it from us to show fiscal restraint in our budget."

"This is hands-down one of the most difficult decisions we'll ever face," said Ferns, "But this is the most difficult budget situation our state has ever faced."

The committee is expected to meet tomorrow at 3 p.m. in room 451M.



Monday, April 03, 2017 - 05:02 PM

Senate Judiciary Committee Reports House Bill 2546

The Senate Committee on Judiciary met today to discuss five House bills.

House Bill 2585 would creating a felony crime of conducting financial transactions involving proceeds of criminal activity. The punishments for these crimes would be tiered monetarily and each transaction would be deemed a separate offense. There was a strike and insert amendment.

Senator Miller (D-Greenbrier) once again warned the committee of adding jail time offenses because West Virginia will soon have to build new jails.

The bill was reported to the Senate with the recommendation that it pass as amended.

House Bill 2675 relates to primary elections and nominating procedures. By changing a number of sections of code, ballot races would be reordered so that nonpartisan races and partisan races would be reorganized. This would make it so that county surveyors and those in non-partisan elections in the judicial branch would have their races with others in their county.

Senator Woelfel (D-Cabell) moved to amend the bill so that a “none of these candidates” option is available for the Presidential election on the ballot so that voters can express their distaste for either candidate.

Senator Smith (R-Tucker) questioned council about what would happen if someone changed their name to “none of these candidates”. They said it has happened before in Indiana but there are contingencies in place to prevent too much confusion.

Council cited that in 1901 there was a case that declared it unlawful to cast a vote for someone who wasn’t a qualified candidate but could not confirm that the decision was grounded in the constitution or the way that code read at the time.

The bill was laid over to tomorrow’s agenda after the germaneness of the amendment was in question.

House Bill 3030 relates to appeals as a matter of right in the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals. The bill would make sure that all appeals would be granted the right to hearing by the Judicial branch. There was a strike and insert amendment. The bill was reported to the Senate with the recommendation that it pass.

House Bill 2546 would allow replacement costs of employer provided property to be deducted from an employee’s final paycheck if the property is not returned. The purpose of this bill is to address employees that gain employer provided property and don’t return it. This would make an agreement between the employer and the employee so that the employer can have their things returned to them otherwise they will receive a reimbursement taken out from the employee’s final pay check. The employer would only receive the amount of money for the item’s current value and not value at the time the property was given.

Senator Romano (D-Harrison) moved to amend the amendment to make it more clear how the depreciation of the item’s value would work under the bill. The amendment to the amendment was adopted. The amendment was also adopted.

The bill was reported to the Senate with the recommendation that it pass as amended.

House Bill 2857 would create the West Virginia Safer Workplaces Act. The article created would be limited to the private sector. The bill would allow employers to test employees for drugs and alcohol, says how samples should be collected, provides that employers pay for the tests and transportation to the tests, it must be carried out through a written policy, and discipline from the findings of the test. 

Senator Romano moved to amend the bill so no employee can be fired from taking legally prescribed drugs so long as the employee is using it as prescribed. The amendment was rejected.

The bill was laid over until the next meeting with amendments pending.



Monday, April 03, 2017 - 02:33 PM

South Charleston Development Bill Approved in Senate Finance

The Senate Finance Committee has approved two bills to be reported to the floor with the recommendation that they pass.

HB 2709 would authorize the City of South Charleston to levy a special district excise tax for the benefit of the South Charleston Park Place Economic Opportunity Development District.

The bill had been laid over from the committee's 9:30 a.m. meeting.

South Charleston City Manager Rick Atkinson was available to answer questions from the committee about the city's pending economic development projects.

HB 2601 would provide a mechanism of correcting errors in payments to and from a municipal policemen’s or firemen’s pension fund and to provide a criminal offense for knowingly making a false statement in an attempt to defraud a municipal pension fund.

The bill was previously reported out of Senate Pensions with an amendment and the recommendation that it pass.

The committee will recess until 3 p.m., where they will consider Governor Justice's budget bill, SB 199.



Monday, April 03, 2017 - 02:19 PM

Medical Marijuana Bill to be Discussed in House Afternoon Floor Session

The House of Delegates Convened today.

Majority Leader Daryl Cowles (R-Morgan) addressed the House to explain what would be happening today regarding SB 386. He explained that the bill would be moved to the foot of the calendar and the House would recess at that time and Caucus. He said there are two strike and inserts, which would be explained when House reconvened.

He also moved to advance HB 2801 and HB 3103 to be read for the first time. Then moved to suspend the rules to read a second time and take them up for passage. They both passed.

HB 2801 is a supplemental appropriation bill to expire funds from the Revenue Shortfall Reserve Funds to balance FY17.

HB 3103 would a supplemental appropriation bill to expire funds from the Revenue Shortfall Reserve Funds to balance FY17 for the Department of Health and Human Resources.

There were 12 bills on third reading; 11 passed and action was postponed one day on SB 239.

SB 172 would eliminate the salary for members of the West Virginia Water Development Board. The bill passed 96-3.

SB 173 would create a new category in code under vehicles for autocycles. It sets exemptions for them. Autocycles only require a valid driver’s license to operate. Safety equipment is different for autocycles; no helmet is required because it would be more dangerous to have a helmet on in the enclosed vehicle. The bill passed 94-5.

SB 230 would require all law-enforcement agencies in this state to certify qualified law-enforcement officers to carry concealed firearms nationwide as provided by the federal Law-Enforcement Officers Safety Act; It would also provide authority necessary to give prosecuting attorneys and assistant prosecuting attorneys the option to carry firearms for self-defense pursuant to that federal act upon completion of required training and annual background check and to require law-enforcement agencies to provide qualified retired law-enforcement officers the opportunity to be certified to carry concealed firearms nationwide. The bill passed 98-1.

SB 554 would create the crime of false swearing in a legislative proceeding and penalties for violators. It would make it a misdemeanor with a fine no more than $1,000 and no more than one year in jail.

There were 30 bills on second reading and action was delayed on SB 4, SB 412, SB 499, and SB 561.

SB 186 would change date upon which children become eligible for certain school programs and school attendance requirements. It changes the requirement for Kindergarten to age five prior to July 1. It changes requirement for Pre-K to age four before July 1. It changes the age for compulsory attendance begins to those who are six before July 1, of each year.  

SB 588 would create a stable funding source for each county assessor to maintain and update paper and digital tax maps and would promote the sale and distribution of the paper and digital tax maps for the benefit of the public.

Committee Meetings Today

Finance: 15 minutes after evening floor session in 460M

Judiciary: 15 minutes after evening floor session in 410M

Education: 15 minutes after evening floor session in 434M

Roads and Transportation: Cancelled for now, time TBD

Committee Meetings Tomorrow

Health and Human Resources: 9 a.m. in 215E

Education: 9:30 a.m. in 434M

Judiciary: 10 a.m. in 410M

Energy: 2 p.m. in 410M

The House is in recess until 3 p.m.

›› Completed Legislation

Monday, April 03, 2017 - 01:46 PM

Senate Government Organization Committee Reports Four Bills to Senate Floor

The Senate Committee on Government Organization met today to report four bills to the full Senate.

House Bill 2691 would allow a person who is qualified by training to be a barber and a cosmetologist to elect to practice solely as a barber. The bill would let barber’s continuing education to only take recertification classes to be a barber and not also cosmetology. This would make it so that those who have a license for both being a barber and a cosmetologist can forgo the cosmetology part of their license and become solely a barber.

A representative from the Board of Barbers explained that after 20 years, barbers continuing education becomes less strenuous. Cosmetologists have a more strenuous continuing education however and those who only practice being a barber won’t want to take more of the continuing education classes.

The bill was reported to the full Senate with the recommendation that it pass.

House Bill 2725 would restrict the authority of the Board of Barbers and Cosmetologists to regulate the use of commonly available, retail beauty products. The bill was rejected.

House Bill 2348 would eliminate any requirement that class hours of students be consecutive. This would allow schools that don’t have a block schedule have more flexibility for students to take their training and not earn double credits.

Senator Palumbo (D-Kanawha) said the bill had ambiguous language and the bill may not even be needed since the problem the bill was meant to address has already been solved in the rules.

The bill was reported to the full Senate with the recommendation that it pass.

House Bill 2631 relates to time standards for disposition of complaint proceedings. A status report must be sent within 6 months and the complaint must be addressed within a year of the notification. The bill was reported to the full Senate with the recommendation that it pass.

House Bill 2833 would specify the contents and categories of information for inclusion in annual reports. The purpose of the bill is to add specific categories of information to be reported by Chapter 30 boards to the Governor. The bill was reported to the full Senate with the recommendation that it pass.

House Bill 2515 would create the West Virginia Monument and Memorial Protection Act of 2017. The bill was laid over until another meeting but first sent to a subcommittee chaired by Senator Sypolt (R-Preston). The subcommittee also includes Senator Boso (R-Nicholas) and Senator Woelfel (D-Cabell).



Monday, April 03, 2017 - 01:31 PM

Senate Completes Legislation on Unemployment Benefits Disqualifications Bill

The Senate has completed legislation on seven bills that will now be sent to the governor for approval.

SB 206 would expand the definition of kidnapping to including taking or gaining custody of, confining or concealing another person by force or threat of force; or by duress, fraud, deceit misrepresentation or enticement.

SB 214 would adopt the Uniform Electronic Legal Material Act to preserve and protect certain legal material in official electronic records that may be unavailable in physical form.

SB 222 would disqualify an individual from receiving benefits for any week, or portion of a week, in which he or she left or lost his or her job as a result of a strike.

SB 225 would permit magistrates to conduct a proceeding for a temporary emergency protective order dealing with a temporary custody order entered by a family court.

SB 261 would increase the salary or wages of a judgment debtor, that may be exempt from execution by a judgment creditor, who is an employee of state, a state agency, or any political subdivision of the state, from 30 to 50 times the federal minimum hourly wage (then in effect).

SB 445 would include children conceived as a result of a sexual assault in the definition of “abused child.”

SB 634 would create an exemption for the Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) from having to go through the requirements of the Division of Purchasing when entering into agreements with West Virginia University or Marshall University for the provision of services, to encourage collaboration and cost-saving between the Universities and the DHHR.

Of those bills sent from the House to the Senate for concurrence, Majority Leader Ryan Ferns, R-Ohio, made a title amendment to SB 151 and sent the bill back to the House for concurrence, the House amendments to SB 419 were rejected and sent back to the House and HB 2447 was referred to a sub-committee to for review before concurrence or rejection of the House amendments.

The Senate also passed a bill that would authorize the issuance of special "In God We Trust" motor vehicle registration plates.

The bill, HB 2180, will now be sent to the House for consideration.

Members of the Senate also adopted HCR 26 to urge Congress to name the NASA IV & V Facility in Fairmont after West Virginia mathematician Katherine Coleman Johnson, HCR 94 to make August 26th of each year "Katherine Johnson Day" and SR 66 to honor Katherine Johnson for receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Senate Bills 304, 476 and 694 and House Bills 2188, 2364, 2404, 2479, 2509, 2518, 2519, 2522, 2526, 2586, 2653, 2706, 2731, 2739, 2796, 2856 and 2948 were advanced from second reading.

Of those bills, eight were amended.

Senator Charles Trump, R-Morgan, amended HB 2364 to make minor language changes.

Senator Trump also made amendments to House Bills 2404, 2479, 2509, 2526 and 2731 on behalf of decisions made by members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, for which he serves as Chair.

Senator Tom Takubo, R-Kanawha, made an amendment to HB 2739 related to allowing the DHHR to maximize the number of qualified group emergency medical transportation service providers eligible to receive a certain supplemental reimbursement.

Senator Craig Blair, R-Berkeley, amended HB 2948 to incorporate the provisions of related bill SB 419 into the bill.

All bills on first reading were unanimously advanced to second reading.

Committee Meetings Today

Government Organization: 1 p.m. in 208W

Finance: 2 p.m. in 451M

Judiciary: 2:30 p.m. in 208W

Committee Meetings Tomorrow

Transportation and Infrastructure: 10 a.m. in 208W

Government Organization: 2 p.m. in 208W

Education: 2 p.m. in 451M

The Senate is in recess until 4 p.m. this evening.

›› Senate bills introduced on this date
›› Completed Legislation

Monday, April 03, 2017 - 10:16 AM

Senate Finance Reports Court of Claims Bill This Morning

The Senate Finance Committee met this morning to report four bills.

House Bill 2603 relates to municipal policemen or firemen pension and relief funds that are funded at one hundred and twenty-five percent or more. The bill was reported to the floor with the recommendation that it pass.

House Bill 2805 would find and declare certain claims against the state and its agencies to be moral obligations of the state. $1,885,000 was found by the subcommittee on the bill to be the moral obligation of the State to pay to the certain cases that the Court of Claims found to be legitimate. The bill was reported to the floor as amended with the recommendation that it pass.

House Bill 2961 relates generally to charitable bingo games and charitable raffles. The bill was reported to the floor with the recommendation that it pass.

House Bill 3048 relates to the collection of Tier II fees for chemical inventories. The bill was reported to the floor with the recommendation that it pass.

House Bill 2709 would authorize the City of South Charleston to levy a special district excise tax. The bill was moved to the beginning of the agenda in the meeting this afternoon.



Saturday, April 01, 2017 - 01:54 PM

House Passes Bill to End WV Greyhound Breading Development Fund 56-44

The House of Delegates convened at 9 a.m. and passed 12 bills today.

Com. Sub. for H. B. 2447 would rename the Court of Claims as the state Claims Commission and rename the judges as commissioners. It would provide authority to the Joint Committee on Government and Finance for the hiring of a clerk, chief deputy clerk, and deputy clerks; and establish a shortened procedure for certain road condition claims. The House concurred with the Senate amendments and passed the bill 63-36.

Com. Sub. for S. B. 206 would expand the definition of kidnapping to including taking or gaining custody of, confining or concealing another person by force or threat of force. The bill passed 99-0.

S. B. 222  would provide that an individual is disqualified for benefits for any week, or portion of a week, in which he or she left or lost his or her job as a result of a strike. The bill would clarify that a lockout is not a strike and it would establish the circumstances when a worker is determined to leave or lose employment by reason of a lockout. The bill provides that contractor employees who perform the work of a striking worker is not to be determined to have permanently replaced a striking worker. The bill passed 57-42.

S. B. 256 would prohibit school personnel who have engaged in sexual misconduct with students or minors from being assisted to find new employment without having that misconduct reported to the appropriate authorities and investigated. This bill would punish those helping to cover up these acts. The bill passed 99-0.

Com. Sub. for S. B. 437 would discontinue the West Virginia Racing Commission special account known as the West Virginia Greyhound Breeding Development Fund. It would transfer and redirect all moneys from this fund to the Excess Lottery Revenue Fund. This legislation provoked a long discussion, especially from those in the Northern Panhandle.

Finance Chair Eric Nelson (R-Kanawha) gave some background on the industry. He said that Dog Racing was authorized in West Virginia in 1975; first in Wheeling and then in Cross Lanes. Dog Racing declined in the late 1980s and early 1990s. In 1994, the legislature passed legislation to allow for video lottery at the race tracks. He said in the past few years there has been a decline again. He stated that 39 states have banned racing.

Delegate Joe Canestraro (D-Marshall) said he’s heard over and over how they have to “right-sized government. He said, “All this body has done is cut the low hanging fruit.” He said passage of this legislation will effect police and firemen pension funding. He stated that this fund is not a subsidy. “Tax money does not go into this fund, its funded by the gamblers,” he said. He reminded everyone that 1700 people would lose their jobs with the passage of this legislation.

Delegate Phillip Diserio (D-Brooke) said he doesn’t have a race track in his district, but he’s always considered himself lucky because he has one to the North and one to the South of him. He said when the steel jobs left his district, the people of his district at least had job opportunity at the race tracks in the surrounding counties. He named several dog kennels and farms in the area. He said “These are jobs for these people. I’ve heard a lot about living within your means. Let’s let these people live within their means. Let’s not throw them into the ranks of unemployment and welfare.”

Delegate Erikka Storch (R-Ohio) stood to oppose the bill, because her district will be directly affected by the passage. She wanted to point out how other districts could be affected, so she listed the location of several dog kennels throughout the state. There are kennels and breeders in many counties. She stated that Wheeling Gaming is the 5th largest employer in Ohio County and they will be affected by this passage. She reminded everyone that West Virginia does gambling differently than most states because breeders had a distrust for the Charleston Owner and the state had to get involved. After that, the state treated all the racetracks the same.

Nelson yielded to questions from Delegate Pat McGeehan (R-Hancock). McGeehan asked how much money would go from this special revenue to the general revenue. Nelson answered $13.6 million. McGeehan asked how much Wheeling Island pays in taxes a year. Nelson said he didn’t know and McGeehan stated it was just over $50 million.

The bill passed the House 56-44.

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

At 2 p.m., the House convened briefly to receive committee reports, amend legislation on 2nd reading and read bills for first time.

Committee Meetings Today

Finance: 30 minutes after session in 460M

Judiciary: 3 p.m. in 410M

Health and Human Resources: immediately after session 215E

Committee Meetings Monday April 3

Judiciary: 9 a.m. in 410M

Finance: 10 a.m. in 460M

Rules: 10:45 a.m. behind House Chamber

Roads and Transportation: 1 p.m. in 215E

Education: 2:30 p.m. in 434M

Monday there will be three public hearings. At 8 a.m., there will be a public hearing in the House Chamber on SB 637. At 9 a.m., there will be a public hearing in the House Chamber on SB 576. At 10 a.m., there will be a public hearing on SB 60.

The House is adjourned until 11 a.m. on Monday. 

›› Completed Legislation

Saturday, April 01, 2017 - 10:42 AM

Senate Passes Bill to Prohibit Production, Manufacture or Possession of Fentanyl

The Senate met today and passed nine bills.

House Bill 2329 would prohibit the production, manufacture or possession of fentanyl.

Senator Trump (R-Morgan) said the bill would in no way alter how physicians would currently administer the drug. He also stated that the Judiciary Committee’s amendment would make it so physicians cannot misrepresent schedule one drugs in their prescription of them.

Senator Miller (D-Greenbrier) said, “I am in favor of the bill, but we need to take a look at the criminal penalties we have been passing, otherwise we will be building new jails and that will cost the state a lot of money.”

House Bill 2679 relates to the possession of firearms in parks and park facilities.

Senator Trump said the bill makes it clear that county parks have no right to infringe on constitutional rights.

House Bill 2878 would increase the amount of authorized Federal Grant Anticipation Notes for which the Division of Highways may apply for.

The Senate concurred with House amendments to SB 36, SB 233, SB 247, SB 248, SB 347 and SB 455.

On second reading was House Bill 2180, a bill to authorize the issuance of special “In God We Trust” motor vehicle registration plates.

On first reading were 37 bills.

Senate Concurrent Resolution 39 was adopted naming the US Army PFC Kelva H. Justice Memorial Road.

The following committees meet:

Education at 10:45 a.m. in 451M.

Government Organization at 10:45 a.m. in 208W.

Finance on Monday at 9:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. in 451M.

Judiciary on Monday at 9:30 a.m. in 208W.

 

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

›› Completed Legislation


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