From The Well

January 30, 2020

West Virginia Capitol Update

Day 23



House Transportation & Infrastructure passes bill to allow debit and credit cards at toll booths


Of interest to everyone who might find themselves on the WV Turnpike with no cash and no EZ Pass, the House Technology & Infrastructure discussed HB 4083, requiring the West Virginia Parkways Authority to accept the use of credit and debit cards for paying tolls on the West Virginia Turnpike.


A committee amendment was proposed to alleviate concerns from the Parkway Authority that they couldn’t meet the deadline set forth in the original bill (2021). It also addressed the Authority’s concerns that an additional fee to cover costs for use of credit cards could not be imposed without public hearings and could also potentially violate the road bond trust agreement. The amendment eliminated any additional toll cost to cover the fees and extends the implementation date to 2025 to allow time to get the system upgraded.


Delegate Staggers emphasized the necessity of this bill, stating “Nobody carries cash anymore.”  Parkways Authority General Manager Greg Barr answered questions but the gist of questions seemed to be that this has to happen however they can make it work. When asked what they do when someone has no cash and no EZ Pass, Barr answered that they have the individual fill out a form and can pay within 15 days online. It becomes a violation after 15 days. Barr said the Authority receives payment from approximately 60 percent of the individuals who go through the toll booth and cannot pay. The amended bill passed and will go to Government Organization for further review.



Protections for incapacitated adults and financial exploitation of seniors pass in committees


The House Committee on Senior, Children, and Family Issues met on “Seniors Day” at the Capitol and discussed HB 4362, establishing penalties for emotional abuse of an incapacitated adult; to establish penalties for abuse, neglect or emotional abuse of a nonverbal special needs child; and to establish penalties for causing death of a nonverbal special needs child. This bill arose from a specific incident at a school regarding a nonverbal special needs child. Del. Canestraro, an assistant prosecutor, questioned whether a new law outside of child abuse statute was needed. Del. Bibbee from Berkeley County, where the incident occurred, answered questions about the incident (widely shown around the state in a video) and why the law was needed. The bill passed but will also go to House Judiciary.


HB 4377 adds a new article creating The Protection of Vulnerable Adults from Financial Exploitation Act. The bill defines “financial exploitation” and “eligible adult”; and details the obligations and duties of broker-dealers or investment advisers to notify certain agencies of potential financial exploitation of vulnerable adults. The bill passed and is second-referenced to House Judiciary.


The Senate Judiciary Committee also passed a similar bill, SB308 which states that any person who violates a temporary or final financial exploitation protective order for an elderly person or an incapacitate adult would be guilty of a misdemeanor and would be fined $1,000 or jailed up to 90 days for a first offense. A second offense would result in a $2,500 fine or up to one year in jail.



House Democrats backing bill to legalize cannabis

A group of House Democrats is backing a bill that would legalize cannabis use for anyone over the age of 21. Still, other bills would decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana for personal use. Many supporters believe West Virginia is missing out on a huge source of revenue.



Senate Judiciary adopts Preserving the Separation of Powers resolution


The Senate Judiciary Committee discussed SJR 7 offers voters the “Preserving the Separation of Powers” amendment. This would be a constitutional amendment that clarifies that courts are not to interfere with the legislative process. This resolution was debated among members of the committee, some expressing concern that the legislature would interfere with checks and balances. The resolution was adopted, and referred to the Senate Finance Committee.



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


Thur. Jan 30

·     Marshall University Day

·     CORPE Breakfast Capitol Cafeteria

Fri. Jan 31

·     Agriculture and Conservation Day



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