From The Well

January 20, 2020

West Virginia Capitol Update

Day 13

Recap of Week Two



At the end of the second week of the 2020 legislative session, the Senate has introduced 534 bills and passed seven. The House has introduced 971 bills and passed 11. While there is a general feeling at the capitol that the session is moving at a slower pace, roughly the same number of bills have passed each house compared to this time last year.



Legislature in session on MLK Day 


While much of the state will be off work to honor Martin Luther King Day, the legislature will continue with its schedule of floor sessions and committee meetings.



House Judiciary takes up Foster Care bill, sends it to the full House


Committee Substitute for HB4094, Continuing the Foster Care Ombudsman was taken up in House Judiciary after passing House Health.


On Thursday, the Health Committee increased the reimbursement rate provided by DHHR to foster families and certified kinship caregivers from $600 a month to $900 a month for each child. Child placement agencies currently are required to reimburse foster families between $20 and $22 a day, but Amy Rickman, director of Necco West Virginia, said they reimburse at a higher rate than that to help recruit families. Read Taylor Stuck’s report on the Health committee’s meeting in the Charleston Gazette here.


The bill came before the Judiciary committee because it continues the Ombudsman Program current duties and adds a new article to establish additional duties including investigation responsibilities To assist in the investigation of complaints, the bill also creates access to foster care children and records, adds subpoena powers, and establishes the confidentiality of investigations by the Foster Care Ombudsman Program.


Misdemeanor offenses are created for willful interference with an investigation and retaliation. A proposed amendment referred to taking out reference to the Attorney General’s office because the office of the Ombudsman has an attorney.  “The gentleman’s amendment is not only great, it’s bodaciously great,” said a delegate. The amendment failed, so apparently it was not bodacious enough. The bill passed and will be reported to the floor.



Senate Education adopts bill to give armed services members in-state tuition rates


Last Thursday afternoon, the Senate Education Committee took up SB187, sponsored by Sens. Ryan Weld and Bill Hamilton, which would consider members of the armed forces and national guard stationed in West Virginia as residents and therefore qualifying for in-state tuition rates at the state’s colleges and universities. The bill was reported to the Senate on Friday, but it is not yet on the Senate calendar.



Chapter 30 bill laid over in House Government Organization Committee Friday
HB4011, which reorganizes licensing boards for various trades, occupations and professions was laid over to the next meeting of the House Government Organization Committee. The bill divides Chapter 30 to address medically related boards in the first section, professions that require advanced degrees are placed in chapter 30-A, and professions or trades that do not require at least a four-year degree are placed in 30-B. Staff counsel explained the reason for the proposed new structure is to make bill drafting easier should there be changes in the future. Delegates Caputo and Swartzmiller both asked whether they were missing something and whether there were other reasons for the change. Del. Martin of Upshur County moved to lay the bill over.


Health-related bills


Bill expands Medicaid postpartum care

HB 4416, which originated in the Committee on Prevention and Treatment of Substance Abuse, extends to one year postpartum care covered by Medicaid.  Coverage now ends after 60 days. The bill next goes to the Committee on Finance .


Bill allows licensing boards to promulgate drug continuing education requirements

HB 4417 allows licensing boards to promulgate continuing education requirements dealing with drug diversion and prescribing. The current statute is prescriptive. It requires “completion of drug diversion training, best-practice prescribing of controlled substances training, and training of prescribing and administration of an opioid antagonist.”


Health care professionals complain privately they often take the same continuing education course each year to meet the necessary qualifications. This legislation allows licensing boards to promulgate “other relevant trainings.”


Affected West Virginia licensing boards include:

Dental Examiners

Licensed Practical Nurses

Registered Professional Nurses






The bill is on first reading Monday.


Bill says find money for NAS; orders AG to deposit settlements in Ryan White Fund

HB 4418 requires the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Resources to “identify and allocate funds to health care facilities or offer health services for children under one year of age suffering from Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome.”


The bill requires the attorney general to “deposit any monetary settlement or judgment received from a drug manufacturer, drug distributor or pharmacy to settle a claim instigated by his or her office, after costs of any settlement or judgment have been provided to the effected state agencies, into the Ryan Brown Fund.”


The bill should be on first reading Monday.


Bill removes CON exemption fee, review

Committee Substitute for HB 4108,  which removes the $1,000 fee and the HCA’s authority to review exemption requests, moved to amendment stage in the House of Delegates Friday.  It weakens the state’s certificate of need program. The statute currently contains 27 services that are exempt from certificate of need. Health care entities must file an exemption application and pay a $1,000 fee. The Health Care Authority had 45 days to review the exemption. If the exemption is not reviewed or denied within 45 days, it is considered immediately approved.




Activity Calendar

The following organizations will have displays at the Capitol or events this week.

Mon, Jan. 20: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day / Optometry Day / NFIB

Tue, Jan. 21: WVU Day / Motorola

Wed, Jan. 22: Disability Advocacy Day / Disability Advocacy Rally 9:30 a.m. / Antero

Thur, Jan.23: All Kinds Welcome Here / County Commissioners Association /

WV Crime Victims Compensation Fund / Health Smart / WV Chamber Legislative Reception 4:30 – 6:30 p.m. Cultural Center

Fri, Jan. 24: WV Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation



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

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