February 27, 2019
From The Well

Wednesday, February 27, 2019


Day 50



George Washington’s will nearly turns clerk bill upside down

Tuesday in the House Committee on Political Subdivisions a copy of President George Washington’s will was used as the basis for a question about Senate Bill 241. The will of the nation’s first president, which is in Wood County’s possession, was the subject of discussion regarding historical documents and the requirement in the bill to scan documents and destroy paper copies.


The bill allows county clerks to record documents by scanning them in electronic format and no longer maintaining separate indices of those documents. The bill further allows the county commission to authorize the clerk to scan and replace existing books, but requires that the existing books be retained, either on or off site. So George Washington’s will, and other historic documents are safe.



House advances campus self-defense act to third reading


The House of Delegates voted Tuesday to advance House Bill 2519, the Campus Self Defense Act, to third reading with 16 amendments to be considered. The bill will be on third reading today.


In addition, the House passed approximately 44 bills today. Among them, House Bill 2011, which would create a program in the state known as the Road Maintenance Program that would allow for and encourage a program in every district of the state to contract with private contractors to perform road maintenance.


Also passed:

House Bill 2014 which would create the WV Intellectual Property and Trade Secrets Act, strengthening protections for items created of commercial value.

House Bill 2497 was passed unanimously by the House of Delegates. If passed by the Senate, this bill would issue more protections for whistleblowers in the state. It codifies the protection of West Virginia whistleblowers, and mandates that they cannot be passed up for a raise or promotion because of their status as a whistleblower, and they cannot be prohibited from taking part in political or union activities.



Legislation Concerning Recovery Residence Inspections Reported to Senate


A bill which would allow inspections of the state’s recovery residencies was reported to the full Senate during Tuesday’s Senate Health and Human Resources committee.


House Bill 2530, which was drafted through collaboration with the city of Huntington, would seek to address the state’s drug epidemic by allowing for the inspection of recovery residencies.


Huntington City Attorney, Scott Damron, came before members to further explain the intentions of the legislation which arose out of a need to address certain residencies inhabited by those actively recovering from substance dependency. According to Damron, the city of Huntington has around 30 recovery residencies which are typically overpopulated and unable to be inspected under current law.


Damron stated that the city has experienced situations where individuals have bought tax properties to create a recovery residency in order to make large sums of money off of houses that aren’t up to housing standards. If passed, House Bill 2530 would allow for the inspections of these properties in order to gain certification.

Once certification is received through inspection, the properties would be eligible for funding from the state.

Following consideration of the bill, the committee members motioned to report the House Bill to the full Senate with the recommendation of passage.



Senate Concurs with House and Passes SB 489, Sends 19 Bills to the House


The Senate quickly, and unanimously, concurred with the House Amendments to Senate Bill 489, the pharmacy benefit manager bill, Tuesday. The bill now goes to Governor Justice to either sign into law or veto.


The Senate also discussed 22 bills that were on third reading and up for passage, including a campaign finance bill.

Senate Bill 622, which would make numerous changes to the state’s regulation and oversight of campaign finance. Many changes relate to current federal regulation over federal elections. It raises independent expenditures from $1,000 to $5,000. The proposed legislation also raises the following:

·    The bill permits contributions to a candidate in a primary or general election campaign up to $2,800 per election Current code permits contributions up to $1,000.

·    The bill permits contributions to a state party executive committee, or a local subsidiary thereof, or to a caucus campaign committee of up to $10,000 per calendar year. Current code permits contributions up to $1,000 in a calendar year.

·    The bill permits contributions to a PAC, of up to $5,000 per election. Current code permits contributions up to $1,000.


Senate removes preemption language from smoking bill

In a marathon floor session, senators Tuesday removed from Committee Substitute for Committee Substitute for SB 348 preemption language allowing veterans organizations such as the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars to establish smoking and non-smoking sections in their facilities..


The bill’s original purpose was to prevent those under the age of 21 from purchasing tobacco products. The permissive language for veterans’ organizations was added Friday in Senate Judiciary Committee, along with a host of other tobacco-prevention-endorsed measures, including prohibiting smoking in vehicles with under-18 children present.



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

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