Tuesday, April 23, 2024
Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Fifty-Five Bills Pass out of House on Day 58

It was a busy day in the House today. With only a brief recess after third reading, the House of Delegates passed 41 bills, completing legislative action on 25 of those bills. Additionally, the House concurred with the Senate to complete nine bills.

Senate Bill 173 alters provisions relating to auto manufacturers and new vehicle dealers’ agreements. The bill clarifies dealer billing for manufacturer paid for vehicle work may include time including time communicating with manufacturer’s personnel. The bill creates a presumption of reasonableness when dealing with modifications of time allowances. The bill prohibits a successor dealer from being required to undertake major modifications within 15 years of when the predecessor made such changes. The bill prohibits the manufacturer from making unilateral changes to the manufacturer-dealer contracts. The bill also prohibits the manufacturers from skirting a franchise agreement with new lines of vehicles. The bill restricts the manufacture’s right of first refusal upon sale of the dealership. The bill also prohibits manufacturers from selling directly to customers.

Senate Bill 530 removes the requirement for a county to draft and adopt comprehensive zoning ordinances.

Senate Bill 687 clarifies that the Legislative Auditor’s powers are directed by the Speaker of the House or the President of the Senate. The Legislative Auditor has the authority to inspect properties, equipment, facilities, and records of the various spending units of a person holding office in the state government or employed by the state. Once audits are presented to the Legislature, the audit shall be published on the website. The bill removes the current audit schedule for state agencies. The amended bill adds the Joint Standing Committee on Government Organization which can request audits on state agencies.

Senate Bill 690 creates the WV Agritourism Commission. The bill states the commission will consist of 11 members including, the Commissioner of Agriculture and 10 citizen members with experience in agritourism and representing the following sectors: economic development, tourism, agriculture extension services, farm distilleries, vineyards, wineries, small farms, the Farm Bureau, equestrianism, and Farm-to-Table.

Senate Bill 732 facilitates the sharing of information relating to military members who may be the victims of crimes or potential perpetrators of crimes. The bill allows the prosecuting attorney or assistant prosecuting attorney to provide information to designated military staff upon a written request. The bill also expands the information that may be provided by military staff to include information and records about offenses that are generally confidential under state law. The bill places responsibility on law enforcement, and requests for information pertaining to an alleged offender or victim who is a member of (1) the National Guard or (2) an armed forces service component located in our state.

Several bills were amended today on second reading. The rules were suspended on five of the bills on second reading today. After being amended on second, the rules were suspended, and the bills were taken up for immediate consideration for passage.

Senate Bill 217 allows governmental entities bidding out a construction project to establish a maximum budgeted amount for the project. If all bids exceed that amount, the state entity may negotiate a contract with the lowest responsive and responsible bidder based on the original purpose of the solicitation. Any negotiated award must be made within 30 calendar days after the bid opening. The amended bill extends the sunset date by one year, to December 31, 2029.

Senate Bill 681 changes the service requirement that members of the National Guard who receive payment for a Doctor of Medicine or a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine remain a member of the National Guard. Instead of practicing medicine in West Virginia for a minimum of 10 years, members are required they remain a member of the National Guard for a mandatory service obligation for a minimum of six years.

Senate Bill 751 allows public service and charitable organizations to hold online raffles. The bill also eliminates a section relating to county election options and adds sections requiring the use of geofencing to ensure that raffles are conducted within West Virginia.

Senate Bill 791 renames the Medical Services Fund Advisory Council to the Medicaid Advisory Committee. The bill’s purpose is to ensure its continuation as an advisory body to ensure the long-term financial stability of the state Medicaid program. The bill modifies the membership of the committee to include the Secretary of the Department of Human Services, the chairs of the finance committees for the House and Senate, the co-chairs and minority committee member from each of the House and Senate of the Legislative Oversight Commission on Health and Human Resources Accountability, the Commissioner of the Bureau of Medical Services, the state health officer, three members of the public form beneficiary advocacy organizations or associations, and one public member who is a health care actuary or CPA.

Senate Bill 874 establishes a process for political subdivisions and joint ventures of political subdivisions, private industry, and bordering states to apply to the Division of Multimodal Transportation Facilities for authorization to establish a local port authority district. The bill also appoints a board of directors to administer the district.

The House is adjourned until tomorrow, March 8, 2024, at 9:30 a.m.

Committee Meetings today, March 7
The Rules Committee will meet at 9:15 a.m. behind the House Chamber.

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