From The Well

Wednesday, March 6, 2019


Day 57



Campus self-defense act voted down in Senate Judiciary


House Bill 2519, the campus self-defense bill was voted down in a vote of 7 to 9 in a late Senate Judiciary committee meeting Tuesday night. Members spent about 20 minutes discussing the bill before voting it down. Two republicans joined Democrats to defeat the bill.


The Dominion Post’s David Beard reported on the bill for WV Metronews. His story can be found at this link.


(Image published in the Herald-Dispatch.)



Senate sends 14 Bills to Governor 


The Senate had an extended floor session that sent 14 bills to the Governor for signature. Among them were:

·    House Bill 2538, the bill that provides banking services under the WV Medical Cannabis Act. The proposed legislation is believed to be the final step into implementing medical cannabis into West Virginia Healthcare.

·    Senate Bill 3, the broadband bill, which establishes a process for small wireless facilities to be deployed, as well as provisions from the House bill that were amended into the bill by the House. The Senate concurred with the changes which include:

·    Providing for mandated salvage valuation for property tax purposes of tangible personal property directly used in certain wireless technology businesses.

·    Would allow for West Virginia to take charge of the regulation of pole attachment.

·    Would empower the conduct of a feasibility study by electrical power providers to determine the likelihood and effectiveness of the installation of broadband fiber within the “hot zone” of the electrical provider.

·    Senate Bill 72 would create the Sexual Assault Victims’ Bill of Rights. Rights provided in the proposed legislation include the following:

·    The right to a personal representative, of the victim’s choosing, to attend police interviews, medical treatment, court proceedings, etc.

·    The right to receive a forensic medical examination

·    The right to have a sexual assault evidence collection kit tested and preserved.

·    The right to be informed of the results of a forensic medical examination, unless such disclosure would compromise or impede an ongoing investigation.

·    The right to receive notification of the evidence no fewer than 60 days prior to the intended destruction of the evidence.

·    The right to have said evidence preserved for an additional period not to exceed 10 years after a written request.

Other bills that completed legislation include:

·    Senate Bill 393: Protecting right to farm

·    Senate Bill 520: Requiring entities report drug overdoses

·    Senate Bill 668: Relating to physician assistants collaborating with physicians in hospitals

·    House Bill 2359: Relating to exemptions to the commercial driver’s license requirements

·    House Bill 2439: Relating to fire service equipment and training funds for volunteer and part-volunteer fire companies

·    House Bill 2547: Relating to the election prohibition zone

·    House Bill 2734: Relating to reduced rates for low-income residential customers of privately owned sewer and combined water and sewer utilities

·    House Bill 3007: Authorizing the Commissioner of Agriculture to require background checks

·    House Bill 3021: Relating to the disposition of permit fees, registration fees and civil penalties imposed against thoroughbred horse racing licensees

·    House Bill 3045: Exempting certain complimentary hotel rooms from hotel occupancy tax

·    House Bill 3095: Establishing a minimum monthly retirement annuity for certain retirants


Governor Justice vetoed Senate Bill 61, which added certain crimes for which prosecutor may apply for wiretap, because the title of the proposed legislation didn’t relate to the contents of the bill. The Senate quickly amended the title, and passed it once again to fix the Governor’s concerns.


The Senate also passed several bills that were on third reading, and will be reported to the House for concurrence. Those bills include:

·    House Bill 2311: Exempting short-term license holders to submit information to the State Tax Commission once the term of the permit has expired

·    House Bill 2405: Imposing a healthcare related provider tax on certain health care organizations

·    House Bill 2509: Clarifying that theft of a controlled substance is a felony

·    House Bill 2525: Tobacco Cessation Therapy Access Act

·    House Bill 2600: Relating to publication of sample ballots

·    House Bill 2958: Authorizing the State Auditor to conduct regular financial examinations or audits of all volunteer fire companies


Senate Finance committee approves foster care bill


Following the evening floor session, the Senate Finance Committee continued a lengthy discussion of House Bill 2010, the foster care bill. Senators questioned WV DHHR deputy director Jeremiah Samples at length about the agency’s position on the bill. The bill will be reported to the Senate for consideration.


House of Delegates passes 20 Senate bills


The House of Delegates passed 20 Senate bills Tuesday. Among them were four rules bundles, Senate Bill 163Senate Bill 175Senate Bill 190, and Senate Bill 223.


Noteworthy bills that were passed include:

·    Senate Bill 316, a bill to amend the provisions of the West Virginia Code relating to the correction of errors in payments to or from a municipal policeman’s or fireman’s pension and relief funds. The bill would authorize a municipality to approve continued overpayments of benefits from pension and relief funds for any retiree who retired prior to the enactment of the current provisions, instead of reducing the benefit payments to the correct amount as would be required under current law.

·    Senate Bill 491, which extends the statutory deadline to implement automatic voter registration in conjunction with certain Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) transactions from July 1, 2019 to July 1, 2021. This bill underwent lengthy discussion that spanned all three days of the bill being read.

·    Senate Bill 624, which would require the State Board of Education to allow county school boards to use an alternative assessment, such as the ACT, as a locally selected assessment option for the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).


On second reading was Senate Bill 1, which increases access to the state’s community and technical schools, and was amended at length. The House unanimously adopted a strike-and-insert amendment from the House Education Committee. That amendment requires the WV Department of Commerce to research and prepare a list of underserved industries in the state to ensure proper programs are facilitated, and adds public baccalaureate institutions that offer associate programs.


Several secondary amendments to the primary amendment were also adopted, including an amendment that would encourage and foster cooperation between apprenticeship programs and community and technical schools.



House Energy advances expedited horizontal well permit bill 


The Energy Committee advanced a bill relating to expedited horizontal oil and gas well permitting fees.

In the last meeting of the regular session, the House Energy Committee advanced Senate Bill 665. This bill amends West Virginia Code by adding new subsections to allow for expedited oil and gas well permitting and expedited permit modifications upon the payment of applicable expedited fees. The bill now heads to the House.


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.



Hartman Harman Cosco, Public Policy Strategists, LLC, (H2C) is a strategically assembled bipartisan lobbying firm comprised of legal, communications and policy professionals. H2C possesses the insight and intuition that only comes from decades of hands on experience leading community and statewide initiatives.


Scott Cosco

Hartman Harman Cosco, LLC | | 800-346-5127



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