Friday, June 2, 2023

In Case You Missed It… Completed Legislation Part Two

During the first session of the 86th Legislature, 333 bills completed the legislative process. Of the 333 bills, 203 were House Bills and 130 were Senate Bills. Thus far, the Governor has signed 109 bills and 2 became law without signature. For a PDF list of completed legislation, please see Completed Legislation of the 2023 Regular Session.

Here are 70 House Bills, which completed the legislative process:

House Bill 2904, a supplementary appropriation, appropriates $1 million of Surplus funds to the Department of Commerce for its Marketing and Communications Operating Fund.

House Bill 2906, a supplementary appropriation, transfers $21,550,000 of unappropriated Lottery Net Profits to the State General Revenue surplus balance.

House Bill 2907, a supplementary appropriation, allocates $19 million of unappropriated surplus to the Department of Administration – Division of General Services for Capital Outlay, Repairs, and Equipment.

House Bill 2908, a supplementary appropriation, allocates $2 million from the General Revenue surplus to the Department of Commerce – Division of Forestry with $1.2 million going to the current expenses of the Division of Forestry and $800,000 for equipment.

House Bill 2910, a supplementary appropriation, allocates $20 million of the General Revenue surplus to the Public Defenders Services with $18.6 million going to Appointed Counsel Fees and $1.4 million going to Public Defender Corporation.

House Bill 2911, a supplementary appropriation, allocates $9.5 million to the Department of Homeland Security – Victims of Crime Act.

House Bill 2913, a supplementary appropriation, allocates $12,031,796 to the Consolidated Medical Service Fund from the General Revenue surplus.

House Bill 2914, a supplementary appropriation, allocates $85 million to the Civil Contingent Fund from the General Revenue surplus.

House Bill 2915, a supplementary appropriation, allocates $30,500,000 of unappropriated funds from the State Excess Lottery Revenue Fund to the General Revenue surplus.

House Bill 2917 allows retirees of the WV Public Employees Retirement System to re-enter post-retirement employment with the DHHR as child protective services workers and/or adult protective services workers, without suspending those retirees’ retirement annuity and without reentering the retirement system as a contributing member.

House Bill 2928, a supplementary appropriation, allocates $1 million from the General Revenue surplus to the Division of Health – Pregnancy Centers.

House Bill 2955 establishes Regional Water and Wastewater, and Stormwater Authority Act, which enables municipalities and public services districts to collaborate and establish a regional stormwater authority. A regional stormwater authority could operate in combination with water and wastewater authorities. The bill sets membership requirements. The bill also states that rates, fees, and charges are subject to review and approval by the Public Service Commission, although the PSC does not have jurisdiction to regulate the rates charged for storm, flood, and surface water drainage services.

House Bill 2967 provides for the expedited processing of professional or trade license applications for service members, veterans, and their spouses, when the applicant is licensed and in good standing in another jurisdiction.

House Bill 2993 creates a new hospital designation called a “Rural Emergency Hospital” and changes the definition of “Critical Access Hospital.” To become an REH, a hospital will need to be a CAH for one year and continue to be when applying for licensure. The bill requires an REH to (1) provide rural emergency hospital services through a staffed emergency department; (2) not provide acute care inpatient services; (3) treat all patients regardless of insurance status; and (4) have a transfer agreement with a Level I or Level II trauma center.

House Bill 3012 exempts rare earth elements and minerals from the severance tax for a period of nine years. The nine-year timeframe would begin July 1, 2023.

House Bill 3013 allows for a fourth economic opportunity development district in the state. This economic opportunity development district would be in Jefferson County. The bill allows the creation of the district without the specific approval of the Executive Director of the Development Office. The bill also allows the County Commission to determine the base district tax, the base tax revenue amount, the gross annual district tax revenue amount, and the estimated net annual district tax revenue amount instead of these amounts being set by the Development Office. The bill also extends a current economic opportunity development district in Monongalia County.

House Bill 3018 establishes the age of consent to marry at 18 with an allowance of marriage for 16-and-17-year-old with consent from a parent or guardian. The bill does state a 16-year-old or 17-year-old must acknowledge his or her consent to be married and state that he or she is not being coerced or under any duress to marry. A 16- or 17-year-old cannot marry anyone more than four years older than them. The bill also grants that annulment can be sought without consent until the age of 18.

House Bill 3035, the Third Grade Success Act, provides a statewide multi-tiered system of support and intervention of grade-level literacy and numeracy in grades K through 3. The bill requires the state board of education to develop a list of appropriate screeners, early assessments, and professional development that ensures that all students receive the necessary and appropriate screenings, evaluations, and early assessments for specific learning disabilities, including dyslexia and dyscalculia. The bill also amends the teacher-to-pupil ratio and service personnel-to-student ratio.

House Bill 3036 expands the BUILD WV Act by eliminating any caps on the number of certified BUILD WV districts and leaving this to the discretion of the Secretaries of Commerce, Economic Development, and Tourism. The total approved costs would be increased from $40,000,000 to $150,000,000.

House Bill 3039, a supplementary appropriation, allocates $1 million from the General Revenue surplus to the Adjutant General Armory Board.

House Bill 3040, a supplementary appropriation, allocates $26 million from the General Revenue surplus to the Department of Administration Consolidated Public Retirement to provide bonus payments and raise the benefit floor.

House Bill 3042 provides a legal standard in court for people who believe the government has infringed on their religious beliefs. The bill does not create a cause of action by an employee against a non-governmental employer nor does it create a defense to an action for failure to provide medical treatment as required by the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act. The bill also states that this law shall not be used as a defense to protect actions to end the life of a born or unborn person.

House Bill 3044 reduces the annual fee per video lottery terminal from $1,000 to $500 except for those video lottery terminals that utilized the 10 percent lowest performing software versions, measured by daily net terminal income. The fee is due May 1, 2023, and each May 1 until 2030.

House Bill 3055 requires all public school curricula to provide a technical transition math class geared towards students interested in careers in the trades. The course will offer a math curriculum in the fields of fractions, conversion from fractions to decimals, application of measurement, reading blueprints, geometry pertaining to workforce math, and other math skills needed to succeed in the trade.

House Bill 3061 expands the authority of the Foster Care Ombudsman. The bill prohibits the ombudsman or staff from being compelled to identify individuals providing information as part of an investigation. All memoranda, work notes, and case files are confidential and cannot be subpoenaed, and are not admissible in court.

House Bill 3065, a supplementary appropriation, increases funding for the Aeronautics Commission by $200,000 for current expenses. The increases will come from the General Revenue unappropriated balance.

House Bill 3066, a supplementary appropriation, reduces the total of the State Aid to Schools by $4,559,900.

House Bill 3067, a supplementary appropriation, increases the current expenses of the Division of Public Transit by $1 million.

House Bill 3073, a supplementary appropriation, allocates $100,000 to the Adjutant General for the Civil Air Patrol.

House Bill 3074, a supplementary appropriation, creates a new line item, the Division of Multimodal Transportation Facilities within the DOT. The bill allocates $700,000 to the division.

House Bill 3077 repeals a section of code, which would expire the Multi-State Real-Time Tracking System. The system provided by the national association of drug diversion investigators at no cost to states is used to electronically monitor the purchases of over-the-counter cold and allergy medication containing precursors to methamphetamine. The system was set to expire on June 30, 2023. Repealing this section allows for the use of the system to continue.

House Bill 3084 makes changes to education statutes to include charter schools. The bill adds charter schools to the list of recipients for the Safe Schools Fund. The funds will now be distributed on a need basis. Modifications made to school buildings are only allowed on county-owned buildings. A preference is provided for the placement of video cameras in special education classrooms, which do not have one yet. The funds may be expended on safe school entryways. The bill includes public charter schools in the school aid formula.

House Bill 3092 establishes intra-state reciprocity for mobile food establishments. A mobile food establishment vendor that has a mobile food establishment permit in his or her County of residence may be issued a permit by reciprocity by the local or county health department. The reciprocal permit is valid for the same period as the initial permit. The health department issuing a permit by reciprocity may place conditions on the permit to ensure compliance with its own rules and standards for that type of permit but may not charge an additional fee for it. The vendor seeking the reciprocal permit must apply at least 14 days before operating in the reciprocal county and must post the permit visibly.

House Bill 3108, a supplementary appropriation, allocates $1.1 million to the State Rail Authority.

House Bill 3109, a supplementary appropriation, allocates $1.3 million to the State Board of Education for Equipment and $281,766 to the State Board of Education for Extraordinary Sustained Growth.

House Bill 3110 adds new revenue streams to fund the DEP’s Office of Oil and Gas to provide more revenue and the ability to hire more inspectors. The bill ensures that the WVDEP Office of Oil and Gas has sufficient money to inspect the oil and gas wells of the State of West Virginia in an efficacious and diligent manner that protects the people and environment of the State from degradation related to violations of the West Virginia oil and gas production laws

House Bill 3113 requires beginning with the class of students entering 9th grade in the 2024-2025 school year and thereafter, each high school student shall complete a one-half credit course of study in personal finance during their 11th or 12th-grade year as a requirement for high school graduation.

House Bill 3114 prohibits severance pay for probationary DOT employees who are terminated for failing or refusing to submit to drug and alcohol screens.

House Bill 3122 allows any person lawfully entitled to hunt with a rifle to use an encapsulated propellant charge that loads from the breech, with the projectile loaded from the muzzle, during any muzzleloader season except during the Mountaineer Heritage season.

House Bill 3135 modifies the salaries of the Governor and Constitutional Officers beginning January 1, 2025. The bill sets the salaries at the amount paid to certain federal employees pursuant to two different federal employee pay schedules beginning in 2025. The Governor would be paid the rate of Grade 15, Step 10 federal employee. The 2023 salary rate is $177,978. The Constitutional Officers would be paid the rate of Grade 15, Step 4 federal employees. The 2023 salary rate is $129,269. Both salaries are set under the Salary Table For Locality Pay Area of the Rest of the US as published by the US Office of Personnel Management. Salaries cannot change during official terms; therefore, salaries will be reevaluated every four years.

House Bill 3141 updates the code relating to dentistry to include dental anesthesiology, oral medicine, and orofacial pain specialties.

House Bill 3146, the Public Meetings Suring Emergency Act, allows virtual public meetings.

House Bill 3147 expands the Mountaineer Trail Network and creates the Upper Ohio Valley Trail Network Recreational Authority. The bill establishes the recreation area as all Northern Panhandle counties – Hancock, Brooke, Ohio, and Marshall as well as Ohio Valley Counties – Wetzel, Tyler, Pleasants, Wood, Jackson, Mason, and Cabell. Recreational activities at these locations include hunting, fishing, swimming, boating, camping, hiking, and more. The bill does provide protections for landowners.

House Bill 3148 amends provisions of the Code relating to municipal firemen’s and policemen’s pension and relief funds. The bill provides a fifth method of funding – Optional II – which would require contributions sufficient to meet the normal cost of the fund and amortize any actuarial deficiency over a period of not more than 40 years beginning July 1, 2023. The bill authorizes a municipality using the Conservation method of funding, to convert to either the Optional or Optional II method of funding, beginning July 1, 2023. The bill eliminates the ability of any municipality using the Alternative method of funding to choose to use the Conservation method of funding, as of July 1, 2023.

House Bill 3156 increases the compensation rate of panel attorneys from $3,000 to $4,500. The bill provides for payment for representation in expungement proceedings when cases have been dismissed.

House Bill 3164 extends the termination date of the West Virginia Advisory Council on Rare Diseases due to a delay in beginning its duties from January 1, 2023, to June 30, 2025.

House Bill 3166 permits a hospital to hold a patient experiencing a psychiatric emergency for up to 72 hours.

House Bill 3168 amends the Tourism Development Act to allow the acquisition and the equipping of a tourism development project or a tourism development expansion as newly approved costs of architectural and engineering services for the project.

House Bill 3189 creates the PFAS Protection Act. The bill requires the DEP to identify and address PFAS sources impacting public water by July 1, 2024. The bill also requires that facilities that have used PFA chemicals recently report their use to the DEP. It’s required that permits be updated to monitor PFAS chemical facilities to report their use. The bill also requires the DEP to propose rules to adopt water quality criteria for certain PFAS chemicals after they are finalized by the USEPA.

House Bill 3190 amends the definition of “minor” to “a person younger than 18 years of age or a person that is representing himself to herself to be a minor.” This is solely for the purposes of law-enforcement operations.

House Bill 3191 requires that state health facilities obtain a license.

House Bill 3199 removes the requirement that an ectopic pregnancy termination be reported to the state Vital Registration Office

House Bill 3203 updates West Virginia Real Estate License Act. The bill clarifies that a West Virginia license is required to practice real estate brokerage in the state, even if licensed in another state. It requires that money received by the commission be deposited daily and not once a month. The bill amends the experience requirement for licensure as a broker, adopting a requirement of involvement in a specific number of closed transactions instead of a two-year apprenticeship.

House Bill 3210 restricts the use of, refilling of, or working upon a liquefied petroleum gas container without the consent of the tank owner.

House Bill 3211 provides optional retirement service credit for municipal police and firefighters via accrued annual or sick leave days. Upon retirement, a member of the Municipal Police Officer and Firefighter Retirement System can convert any accrued leave (annual or sick leave) into days of service on a 2:1 basis. A month of service equals 20 workdays. If the remainder after the application is more than 10, another month is added, and anything fewer is dropped.

House Bill 3214 creates the Road Optimization and Assessment Data (ROAD) Pilot Program in Monongalia and Preston counties, which is to be implemented by the Commissioner of Highways. Advanced methods of assessing the condition and maintenance needs of West Virginia roads will be used at least twice over five years to compare the changes in road conditions. At the conclusion of year two, year four, and the termination of the pilot program, the Division of Highways would be required to report to the Joint Legislative Oversight Commission on Department of Transportation Accountability. The report must include an identification of the technologies used and any improvements in road maintenance and pavement management processes that may be realized.

House Bill 3215 provides flexibility in timelines to allow planning commissions to promptly address applications. The bill addresses difficulties with finding qualified members for public boards and modifies the frequency of planning commission meetings. The bill addresses the jurisdiction of the planning commission and provides for flexibility in qualifications for county boards of zoning appeals and modifies the frequency of board of zoning appeals meetings.

House Bill 3218 requires all public schools serving grades 6-12 and public or private institutions of higher learning that issue identification cards to print on either side of the identification cards the information for the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline and the Crisis Text line.

House Bill 3224 adds WV Junior College to the list of eligible institutions that may accept the PROMISE Scholarship.

House Bill 3233 increases the officer uniform allowance from $100 to $750 and creates an allowance for maternity and specialty uniform allowance. An officer requiring a maternity or specialty uniform may request an allowance for or reimbursement of the cost of the uniform. Maternity uniform allowances may be requested once in a 36-month period.

House Bill 3244 requires the municipal pensions oversight board to create legislative rules for certain municipalities to issue pension funding revenue bonds.

House Bill 3261 states that provisional social workers who are laid off or ill during the four-year provisional licensure period may request the West Virginia Board of Social Work allow a reasonable interruption in service and allow additional time to complete the licensure requirements.

House Bill 3265 mandates that a county office shall owe the respective fee for service to the law enforcement agency that carried out the service of process.

House Bill 3270 limits non-economic damages to whichever is higher: $500,000 per person or two times the economic damages in a case. Claims for lung damage in workplace settings have a higher burden of proof applied.

House Bill 3271 mandates audio recordings in bathrooms adjacent to special education classrooms.

House Bill 3272, the Private Trust Company Act, allows for the formation and operation of licensed and unlicensed private trust companies under West Virginia law. The bill states the State Auditor would ensure that an unlicensed private trust company only engages in fiduciary services with family trusts, not the public. If the private trust is licensed, then the State Auditor would be responsible for regulating, supervising, and examining the company.

House Bill 3286 provides for an additional modification decreasing federal taxable income and net liability under apportionment. The bill would allow additional modifications decreasing federal taxable income for Corporation Net Income tax purposes to publicly traded companies. The decreasing modification would be spread out over 10 years.

House Bill 3299 allows the board of the Natural Resource Police Officer Retirement System to receive gifts and additional contributions to supplement the plan. The remainder of the bill relates to members of the NRPORS. DNR Officers rehired between January 2, 2021 and June 30, 2026, may request in writing within two years of first becoming a member of NRPORS to transfer all their PERS service to NRPORS regardless of whether the service was earned as a DNR officer in PERS. Certified law enforcement officers in PERS that become employed as a DNR officer between January 2, 2021, and June 30, 2026, may request in writing within two years of first becoming a member of NRPORS to transfer up to three years of PERS service to NRPORS, provided the service is as a certified law enforcement officer in PERS. A DNR officer employed prior to January 2, 2021 and rehired as a DNR officer on or after July 1, 2026 may request in writing within one year of first becoming a member of NRPORS to transfer all PERS service as a DNR officer to NRPORS.

House Bill 3302, Liam’s Law, clarifies that an embryo or fetus is a distinct unborn victim of DUI causing death and serious bodily injury. The bill sets penalties: (1) causing the death of any person including embryo or fetus – felony, 3 to 15 years imprisoned, fined $1,000 to $5,000, and license revoked and (2) causing serious injury to any person including embryo or fetus – felony, 2 to 10 years imprisoned, fined $1,000 to $3,000, and license revoked.

House Bill 3303 requires the Governor to appoint and set the salary for the director of the Office of Coalfield Community Development. The initial appointment will be made by July 1, 2026. Appropriations will be made by the legislature to the Office. The bill requires the director to report to the Legislative Energy and Finance Committees.

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