Senator resigns from all committees


Senate President Craig Blair, R-Berkley, announced on the Senate Floor today that Senator Robert Karnes, R-Upshur, has resigned as the Chair of the Committee on Interstate Cooperation, as Vice Chair of the Committee on Education and from all other committees to which he was assigned.


In a letter to President Blair, Karnes states that his company has a major project underway that will require his time and attention over the coming weeks.


As a result of his resignation, the following committee assignments were announced.


Senator Roberts has been appointed the vice chair of the Committee on Education

Senator Woodrum has been appointed chair of the Committee on Interstate Cooperation.

Senator Sypolt has been appointed to the Committee on Banking and Insurance

Senator Weld has been appointed to the Committee on Education

Senator Martin has been appointed to the Committee on Interstate Cooperation.

President Blair has been appointed to the Committee on the Judiciary

Senator Swope has been appointed to the Committee on Pensions

Senator Woodrum has been appointed to the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure


West Virginia Public Broadcasting reported the news here.




Physical Therapists added to care arrangements, evaluating child welfare and establishing rules for dog-friendly restaurants


House Health & Human Resources Committee passed HB2877, which would expand direct primary care arrangements to include other medical services. Specifically, the bill adds the Board of Physical Therapy to the bill. Delegate Bates, a physical therapist, said this bill would be helpful and fixes an oversight from previously passed legislation.

They then quickly passed an originating concurrent resolution asking DHHR to continuously evaluate the child welfare system, including constantly monitoring foster care reforms.

House Government Organization passed HB2705, authorizing DHHR to promulgate rules related to “dog friendly” food establishments. Rules are to include such items as an exterior play area for dogs, dog friendly food available, and dogs cannot enter food preparation areas.


Meanwhile, after much debate in the Senate, the members passed a bill that would place certain restrictions on syringe exchange programs throughout the state.


Senate Bill 334 establishes a licensing process for harm reduction programs operating syringe exchanges. The legislation would require majority approval from county commissions to establish a program, as well as a mandatory a one-to-one exchange of needles. The bill also establishes procedures for license revocation should a program not meet these requirements.


The bill was amended by Sen. Eric Tarr, R-Putnam, to require the sheriff of a county establishing a syringe exchange program to provide a letter of support, with proponents believing that provision would create more buy-in and participation from law enforcement.


An amendment by Senator Ron Stollings, D-Boone, who is a physician, was rejected.


Supporters of the bill said the goal is to keep all of the public health benefits of these programs, such as a reduction in Hepatitis C and HIV cases, while reducing needle litter and any crime element that could become a part of the program.


Opponents believe these restrictions are too stringent and that no reasonable program could comply with these obligations. In effect, they believe the true goal is to end needle exchange programs in West Virginia.


The legislation now heads to the House of Delegates for consideration.


Chapter 30 Boards


House Government Organization originated a bill creating an Occupational Licensing Legal Fund for all Chapter 30 Boards. The boards will use an attorney from the Attorney General’s office. Counsel explained that this doesn’t take away the boards’ individual funds but rather creates an umbrella fund for legal expenses. The bill passed the committee with an effective date of July 1, 2022.




The Senate passed Engrossed Committee Substitute for SB370 which requires certain documents that contain wage records be considered confidential.


Senator Glenn Jeffries, D-Putnam, spoke in opposition to the bill stating he has concerns that the bill will make it easier for contractors performing state projects to cheat in the payment of taxes.


Senator Rollan Roberts, R-Raleigh, chairman of the Workforce Committee countered that the information is available to the Department of Labor, just not to the public.


Senator Mike Romano, D-Harrison, and Senator Mike Caputo, D-Marion also expressed concerns over the lack of transparency and inability of citizens to identify companies cheating the system.


The bill passed with a vote of 21-12 with one member absent.


Legislators take action


More than 80 lawmakers call for Capitol to be open to the public


Delegate Evan Worrell, R-Cabell, rounded up more than 80 signatures over two and a half days, calling to the Capitol to be opened up to the public.


“This isn’t a publicity stunt by any means whatsoever,” Worrell told WV Metronews. “I’ve had constituents who have tried to come here to see me and have not been allowed in the Capitol.”


Read the WV Metronews story here.


Sine Die