100th Anniversary of American Physical Therapy Association


Roger Hanshaw, Speaker of the House, recognized the West Virginia Physical Therapy Association with a Legislative Citation honoring the 100th Anniversary of the American Physical Therapy Association.Del. Mick Bates announced the signing ceremony for the citation and invited delegates who have PT schools in their districts to participate. He also took shot at a fellow delegate saying, “I want to assure the gentleman from Putnam that despite his best efforts to de-regulate the health professions, we intend to be around another hundred years.”


Technology & Infrastructure


HB2488, relating to an occupational limited license was considered by the House Technology and Infrastructure Committee. The bill provides for an occupational limited driver’s license when a person’s drivers’ license has been suspended to allow them to drive to work.The committee reported an amended bill to the full House with a recommendation that the bill pass but that it first be referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.

HB2923, relating to social media privacy and educational institutions was also taken up. The bill establishes social media privacy for content not publicly available on the internet for current and prospective students or employees of public higher education institutions operating in West Virginia.

The committee reports an amended bill to the full House with a recommendation that the bill pass but that it first be referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.


Cities and Counties


A bill prohibiting and preempting all political subdivisions, including counties and municipalities, SB303, passed the Senate today. Chairman Trump explained the bill, stating that “some cities around the country” are attempting to do what this bill strictly prohibits, giving the example that Seattle passed a higher minimum wage for the city.The bill contains eight specific prohibitions, all of which are preemptive because no political subdivision in the state is currently doing any of these. They include measures that related to work stoppages, educational apprenticeships, wages, hours, employee leave, and licensing.

In addition to concerns over the wage and leave issues, critics of the bill said it could interfere with local clean indoor air ordinances and usurps local control. Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles Trump assured members the bill does not infringe upon existing clean indoor air ordinances, although he said an earlier version of the bill could have done so.

“Here we go again,” said Senator Stollings, “imposing the state’s will on local folks.” The bill passed the Senate 20-13 Wednesday and now goes to the House for concurrence in the Senate amendments.




The HOPE Scholarship established in Engrossed Committee Substitute for HB2013, was approved by the Senate on Wednesday by a vote of 20-13. The bill allows certain public school students or those entering kindergarten to take $4,600 a year from local school boards and use the money to pay for some type of alternative education—usually private schools, but there are other alternatives. The money would be administered through a third-party company.Those favoring the bill said it offers a unique opportunity for niche children to receive special instruction that may be unavailable in public schools. Opponents say it funnels public funds to facilities that may not be ADA or otherwise compliant and reduces the amount of money going to local school boards.


Public Safety


House Committee on Fire Departments & Emergency Medical Services took up three bills on “minor committee day” on St. Patrick’s Day. They quickly passed HB 3045, deleting the July 1, 2023 sunset provision that would end a rebuttable presumption for a workers’ compensation benefits claim that a professional firefighter developed leukemia, lymphoma, or multiple myeloma arising out of and in the course of employment as a firefighter as a rebuttable presumption. Speaking in favor of the bill, Delegate Lovejoy provided an example of a firefighter from Huntington who was diagnosed with lymphoma and the existence of the current law was very helpful. The bill will go to House Judiciary for further review.HB 3107 would allow workers’ compensation benefits for first responders diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder resulting from an event or events that occurred during their employment;. Diagnosis and treatment can be conducted by other licensed mental health professionals once the initial diagnosis has been made by a psychiatrist. Benefits and employer immunity are contingent on employers adding PTSD to their scope of workers’ compensation coverage. Asked how volunteers garner compensation, counsel responded that their Fire Dept. would have to elect to provide that coverage. Fire departments must opt-in affirmatively to provide workers compensation coverage. The bill passed and will go to House Judiciary.

SB 396 provides limitations on nuisance actions against fire department or emergency medical services fixed sirens. The bill as passed by the Senate immunizes municipalities against all nuisance claims, including fixed sirens.

“This may be the most controversial bill we will discuss this morning,” said counsel.

Last year, the House passed a bill limited to fixed sirens but the House and Senate could not agree on language and the bill died. Counsel explained that the strike & insert amendment before the committee is a resurrection of last year’s House bill, clarifying that it is not broad immunity. “A classic example of a nuisance claim is noise,” explained counsel. The siren addressed in the bill is in a fixed place. The bill provides a 2-year statute of limitations if a person lived in an area before a siren is installed, but if a person moves there after it’s installed, “That’s on you,” explained counsel. Del. Lovejoy said, “All lawsuits are not about money,” stating an example of a family farm with cattle who are disrupted by a siren. “That person is not seeking money, they are seeking balance,” Lovejoy said, and “they should have the opportunity to ask the court to strike a balance.” The bill passed but will also go to House Judiciary.




Committee Substitute for SB565, an elections omnibus bill, passed Senate Judiciary after nearly two hours of discussion.The bill makes several changes & clarifications to election law, including:

·    making it clear that online registration is available until 11:59 pm on the final day to register;

·    questions for registering at DMV under the motor-voter law,

·    special circumstances for allowing absentee ballots for first responders,

·    changing the deadline for mailing an absentee ballot application to USPS guidelines of 11 days prior to the election,

·    shifting back the days for early voting so there is more time to prepare for Election Day,

·    providing for a form from the Secretary of State to be completed by the Board of Canvassers,

·    having election contests go to circuit court rather than county commissioners, requiring disclosures for political phone calls and push polls,

·    and adding additional protection & prohibitions for obstruction or intimidation on way to early voting or election day polls.

Early voting would still be a 10-day period and include two Saturdays, but the period would end seven days prior to Election Day as opposed to the Saturday before. This allows County Clerks more time to prepare for Election Day as current law gives them only Sunday & Monday. Several County Clerks appeared virtually to answer questions and provide information, particularly about the change to early voting. Michelle Holly, Fayette County Clerk, said “County Clerks will get the job done no matter what but we want to make sure it’s done correctly.”


Beyond the Dome


Local Govts will spend stimulus relief in different waysBroadband and vaccine distribution will be the big winners

With the passage of the American Rescue Plan (ARP), states and localities will once again receive billions of dollars to reduce the financial losses caused by the coronavirus pandemic. But this time local government spending of those funds will look different from before.

Read Governing Magazine’s article here.


Sine Die