February 5, 2019
From The Well

Tuesday, February 5, 2019


Day 28



House of Delegates passes bills that revise nursing home licensure and reports on water protection


The House of Delegates today passed House Bill 2607, a bill that would make certain technical changes to existing code regarding the licensure of nursing homes. It would change the language to revise the reportage requirements for licensed nursing homes in the state. The strike-and-insert legislation cleans up some language in the previous code in order to better specify the Secretary of DHHR’s administrative responsibilities, as well as specify the requirements of licensed state nursing homes as far as reportage goes.


House Bill 2612 would authorize the Secretary of the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources to update rules regarding the source water protection plans throughout the state. Currently, each public water utility is mandated to report the status of their water and a water protection plan to the state commission every three years. This bill would allow the timeframe of this reportage to be more flexible in order to give these water utilities more time to review the status of their water protection.



Oil and Gas Reclamation Fund


On first reading today was House Bill 2779, which addresses the handling of unclaimed funds from certain oil and natural gas wells. The bill provides that funds from certain oil and natural gas wells and interests that are kept in special funds because the names or addresses of the owners are unknown or unable to be located, shall be transferred to the Oil and Gas Reclamation Fund and used to plug orphaned and abandoned oil and natural gas wells. The provision applies to funds that go unclaimed for seven years or more. The bill will be on second reading Tuesday.



House Government Organization


The House Government Organization Committee advanced four bills Monday.

House Bill 2528 would authorize the West Virginia Commissioner of Agriculture to employ a general counsel that would be necessary to perform the duties of the office.

House Bill 2696 would create a naming convention to record lands owned by the state in an index system for easy cross-reference to county indexes. This new series of books would mostly serve to provide easily accessed information regarding state agencies whose names have changed. The bill was approved.

House Bill 2601 was also advanced to the House floor. This bill would ensure the review and approval of state property leases by requiring two signatures and the review and approval of leasing of state property to nongovernment entities.

House Bill 2392, a bill that would allow 1-day licenses to be issued by the Alcoholic Beverages Commission for charitable events was also advanced to the House floor.



Senate passes Education and 11 other bills Monday


After a  marathon Monday session where most senators spoke passionately—out of their own convictions and for those watching the legislative live stream—the Senate passed 18-16 the comprehensive education reform bill, SB 451, The bill now goes to the House of Delegates.


The 140-page bill introduces public charter schools, education savings accounts (ESA), a $250 tax credit for teachers buying supplies, 5 percent pay increase to teachers and service personnel, and a $500 bonus for teachers who miss less than 10 days during an academic year.


The charter schools could be open in any school district, and is an op-in. Students and their families would have to apply for admission into a charter school, and would be first-come first-serve.


Education savings accounts would be open for 2,500 students who attend public charter schools in the state at any one time. Funds in the account can also roll over year to year. If a student enrolls in public school, then their ESA account would result in immediate suspension. Language that expanded class size was amended out of the bill.

The Senate also passed 11 other bills, which include:


·    SB 100 Increasing court fees to fund law-enforcement standards training and expenses

·    SB 342 Exempting Social Security and tier one railroad retirement benefits from personal income tax

·    SB 357 consolidates the functions of the Division of Justice and Community Services with the Division of Administrative Services of the Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety.

·    SB 358 Exempting Purchasing Division purchases for equipment to maintain security at state facilities

·    SB 361 Relating to Public Defender Services

·    SB 369 Relating to generic drug products

·    SB 373 Deducts any attorney fees, child support or other obligations from awards granted to inmates through civil actins

·    SB 377 Excludes seasonal amusement park workers from the definition of “employee” for the purposes of maximum hours standards

·    SB 389 Allowing developmentally disabled person purchase base hunting license

·    SB 398 and SB 399 Both relating to compensation for senior judges

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