From The Well

January 14, 2020

Update from the West Virginia Capitol

Day 7



House and Senate work to reorganize boards and commissions



Two pairs of companion bills were introduced in the House and Senate Monday that would reorganize the various boards and commissions governed by Chapter 30 of state code.


SB313, introduced by Sens. Maynard, Clements, Smith, Sypolt, and Swope, is a 345-page bill that divides Chapter 30 into three different chapters Each chapter is organized according to similar occupations. Its companion, HB4122 was introduced in the House by Delegate Dean Jeffries and nine other delegates.


In addition, Sen. Tarr joined those same senators in introducing SB318, which prohibits counties and cities from enacting local laws to require the registration, certification or licensing of any trade, occupation or profession. The House companion bill, HB 4145 was introduced by eight delegates with Geoff Foster as lead sponsor.



House Judiciary discusses reckless driving, impersonating law enforcement officers, trade secrets and scrap metal dealers 


Currently, there is no specific crime of reckless driving causing death or serious bodily injury. House Judiciary discussed and passed out Committee Substitute for HB3134 that will make both a felony and increase the penalty. Due to increased jail and prison costs, Judiciary is sending most of these bills to Finance before they go to the full House. HB2471 also creates a felony and adds jail time for impersonation of a law enforcement officer.


HB4005 attempts to provide more protection for intellectual property and trade secrets. According to House Council, approximately 15 states have become more stringent than the Uniform Trade Secrets Act, including California and Texas. The bill defines intellectual property which is currently not defined in statute in a broader context than trade secrets are defined. Chairman Shott assigned the bill to subcommittee which includes Delegates Capito, Lovejoy, Foster, Nelson, and Byrd. Stakeholders for the bill will meet Wednesday at 3 p.m.


HB2602, described as a “greatest hit from the past” by House Counsel, adds the word “possess” to current code in order to close a loophole on stolen goods. Concern was expressed by the Recyclers Association that they are sometimes asked by law enforcement to buy known stolen goods in order to give the seller’s information to law enforcement. An amendment passed that will exempt scrap metal dealers and the bill was passed as amended.



Senate advances absentee ballot bill for those with disabilities


Yesterday, the Senate advanced SB94, which extends absentee ballot accessibility for voters with disabilities. It is on second reading today.


Among the bills introduced was SB314, which would require insurance policies to provide certain emergency allergy medicine to persons 18 years or younger. The medication, injectable epinephrine, would come at no cost for the individual as long as the medication has been prescribed. The bill has been referred to the Senate Committee on Banking and Insurance.


Another bill to be considered is SB317, which would create the Board for Professional Geologists. The Board would present rules for legislative approval, representing various geological interests in West Virginia. This bill has been referred to the Senate Government Organization Committee.



Senior citizen advocates look to lawmakers for more funding for in-home care and meals

Those with organizations working to serve West Virginia’s senior citizens are calling on state lawmakers to do more to support the Mountain State’s most elderly residents.


Bill Carpenter, president of the West Virginia Directors of Senior and Community Services, said a good place to start would be an increase this year to reimbursement funding through the Bureau of Senior Services for meal delivery and in-home care provided statewide.


Rest of story



The House advanced five bills to second reading during Monday’s floor session


The House advanced five bills to second reading during Monday’s floor session.


The intention of HB3039 is to remove language from the current state code that limits the priority preference of children to ages 14 and older in family courts. The purpose of this bill is to expand the court’s consideration to children of all ages that meet the maturity requirement.


HB4004 would create the West Virginia Sentencing Commission and specify its powers and duties. The commission would be responsible for fulfilling needs for fair and uniform sentencing, a fair operation of the criminal justice system, established priorities regarding the severity of criminal offenses and the use of limited resources to fulfill the goal of criminal punishment. The purpose of this bill is to promote a better understanding of the state’s criminal justice sentencing system.


HB4007 is known as the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act and was also advanced to the second reading and amendment stage.


HB4022 clarifies the qualifications for the Chancellor of the Higher Education Policy Commission, allowing the position to also serve simultaneously as the Chancellor of the Council for Community and Technical College Education.


HB4103 places the Office of Drug Control Policy under the direction and supervision of the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Resources. Because of a bit of a turf war in 2017 when the Office of Drug Control Policy was created, it was placed under the direction of the Secretary of DHHR but it was under the supervision the State Health Officer. This bill changes the role of the State Health Officer from supervising to assisting with the Office.


In addition to the bills advanced, the House introduced 50 new bills Monday.



Senate Judiciary Committee discusses pepper spray, littering and detectives


The Senate Judiciary met Monday to consider three bills. The first was SB46, which would declassify pepper spray as a deadly weapon and allow all persons over 16 years of age to carry it in the West Virginia Capitol building. An amendment by Senator Rucker that limits the amount of pepper spray allowed in the Capitol to 1 oz. or less was adopted.


The second bill discussed was SB35, which would limit the civil penalty for littering to $2,000 or less. Members discussed whether community service hours could be substituted for those who could not afford the fine, but committee staff explained that while certain exceptions can be made, the purpose of the bill is to pay for the investigation and cleanup of the litter. The bill goes to the full senate for passage.


The final bill, SB207, would create the Prosecuting Attorney’s Detectives Act, allowing prosecuting attorneys to hire detectives, provide compensation for prosecuting attorneys’ detectives, and establish the duties and powers of those detectives. The bill was adopted and goes to the full senate for passage.



Bill requires OHFLAC inspect office-based MAT


HB4100, requires the Office of Health Facility Licensure and certification inspect office-based medication-assisted treatment programs at least every 24 months. The bill originated last week  In the House Committee on Prevention and Treatment of Substance Abuse. It now goes to the House Finance Committee.

Bill clarifies Naloxone prescribing


HB4102 clarifies that a licensed heath care provider acting in good faith and exercising good reasonable care may prescribe Naloxone, a pharmacist may dispense it with a prescription and that an individual may possess Naloxone without a prescription.




Activity Calendar
The following organizations will have displays at the Capitol or events the week of Jan. 13.

Tue, Jan. 14: Mountaineer Food Bank / WV Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

Wed, Jan. 15: Tourism Day / WV Travel and Hospitality Association Legislative Reception

Thur, Jan. 16: WV Aviation Day at the Legislature / WV Auto Show VIP Charity Gala 6-8 p.m. (By Invitation Only)

Fri, Jan. 17: Regional Family Resource Network / U. S. Term Limits



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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