February 22, 2019
From The Well

Friday, February 22, 2019


Day 45



Campus self defense act passed by House Finance Committee, protested by WVU faculty
House Judiciary Chairman John Shott appealed to the House to reconsider its action to waive the second reference sending the campus self defense act to House Finance for consideration. The bill has a fiscal note of more than $11 million in costs for the state’s colleges and universities to implement the provisions of the bill should it become law.


Majority Leader Amy Summers, who made the motion to waive the second reference, agreed with reconsidering the billalong with Eric Householder, chairman of the House Finance Committee spoke in support of Shott’s motion.


While the motion passed, and the bill was taken up by the Finance committee Thursday evening, it returns to the House floor with the same language it had prior to going to the committee.


None of the state’s colleges or universities are in favor of the bill, and WVU faculty members walked out of their classrooms in protest.




Photo from Metronews Website.
WVU faculty hold walkout protest of campus carry bill
By MetroNews in News | February 21, 2019 at 4:57PM


MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Several members of WVU’s faculty left their jobs for a few hours on Thursday to protest the campus carry bill (HB 2519) working its way through the West Virginia Legislature.The bill would allow people with a concealed carry permit to bring guns on campus, with some exceptions.


Link to full story here.



State 911 centers garnering attention



There are several bills moving through the legislature that aim to enhance 911 services in the state.


H.B 2830 establishes a Commission to Advance Next Generation (NG) 911. The committee will have representatives from the PSC, counties, a local exchange carrier, a wireless carrier, the state office of information technology, the Senate, the House and others. The committee is charged with studying best practices, policies and procedures for implementing Next Generation 911 services, as well as collect information on any existing efforts to implement the service in the state. It is to file a report to the Joint Committee on Government and Finance by Dec. 31, 2019.


H.B. 2542 permits directors of county emergency phone systems to obtain mobile-phone emergency lines and enter into service provider contracts to serve as back up when disruptions to existing land-line based systems occur. The bill also provides for the contracts with the wireless providers to be paid from the 911 fees remitted to the counties by the Public Service Commission.


S.B.519 calls for 911 operators to be trained in providing guidance for CPR over the phone. The bill passed the full Senate and will come before the House.



Originating bill in House Finance reduces severance tax on steam and thermal coal
A bill originated in House Finance Committee Friday morning reduces the severance tax on steam and thermal coal from 5 percent to 2.65 percent. Counties will continue to receive .35 percent as they have been receiving, so coal producing counties will continue to receive funds as if there is no reduction.


However, the reduction to 2.65 percent equates to roughly $60 – $70 million in revenue for the state.



Bureau of Senior Services hoping for additional funding in budget



West Virginia Public Broadcasting’s Legislature Today featured a story on the issue of funding for senior service centers.


The centers are facing a budget crisis with increasing costs each year while reimbursement levels have not been increased in years.


Currently, the meal reimbursement rates are below the cost of a Big Mac meal at McDonalds. The lack of funding equates to some centers having to make difficult decisions over which services to offer.



Several health and hospital-related bills moving in Senate


Medical malpractice expert requirements tightened

The Senate Thursday approved 27-6 a bill tightening the requirements for an expert witness issuing a certificate of merit in a malpractice suit. Engrossed Committee Substitute for Committee Substitute for SB 510 requires an expert signing a certificate of merit be qualified as an expert according to the Rules of Evidence.


The expert must have devoted 60 percent of his or her time to teaching or clinical practice in the cited area of expertise. The expert must include with the certificate of merit all documents reviewed in formulating a decision. The bill now goes to the House.


Busy day for physician assistants

The Senate Committee on Health and Human Resources Thursday approved two bills changing how physician assistants do business.


An originating bill allows hospital-based physician assistants to practice without a collaborating relationship with a single physician, as is currently the requirement. Physician assistants practicing in a hospital must file practice agreements with the Board of Medicine and may collaborate with more than one physician. Collaborating physicians are not required to be identified in the practice agreement. No copy of the originating bill is available, yet.


SB 653  allows physician assistants and podiatric physicians to be partners in medical corporations. Membership is currently restricted to physicians.


Bill speeds up overdose reporting

Mandatory reporters would be required within 72 hours to report drug overdoses to the Office of Drug Control Policy,  according to the provisions of SB 520. Quarterly reports are currently required. The original bill lowered the threshold to 48 hours, but an amendment increased that to 72 hours to bring the requirements more in line with current requirements of emergency service providers. Pharmacies and prosecuting attorneys are exempted from reporting.


ODCP Director Bob Hansen said the shortened requirements bring the information available to officials closer to real-time reporting. The bill goes to the Senate.


Involuntary commitment bill delayed

SB 574, permitting a physician to involuntarily hospitalize a mentally ill or addicted patient if the physician feels the patient is a danger to himself or herself or others, was laid over Thursday after Lisa Tackett, director of mental hygiene services for the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals, questioned if the bill offers due process.


Brendan Hatfield, a representative of the West Virginia Hospital Association, said hospital officials must release individuals they feel may endanger themselves or others when mental hygiene commissioners or designated magistrates cannot be contacted for hearings. Tackett said a system is in place to accommodate such situations and said hospitals may not be familiar with the process.




Inspection sticker bill passes Senate Transportation

The Senate Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure met Thursday and passed Senate Bill 543, the Inspection Sticker Bill. Prior to the start of the legislative session, Senator Craig Blair, chairman of the Finance Committee, shared with the Business and Industry Council that this legislation was a priority for him.


The proposed legislation changes mandatory motor vehicle inspections from yearly to every two years. The bill also allows used motor vehicles to be sold “as is” under certain circumstances. The used motor vehicle must follow guidelines which include:

·    Custom modified vehicle

·    Used motor vehicle is:

·    Seven years or older from the model date

·    Has over 100,000 miles

·    Must be sold at $2,500 or less

The bill also states that that an “as is” sale of a used motor vehicle waives implied warranties but does not waive any express warranties.


WV Legislature


Legislature Live
Meeting Notices


Proposed Rules
Legislative Wrap-up


Some information in this update is collected from the WV Legislature’s Daily/Weekly Blogs.

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