Last day to introduce bill in Senate


Monday is the last day to introduce bills in the Senate. The next deadline is for bills to complete the committee process in the house in which the bill was introduced. That must be completed by Sunday, March 28. There are 20 days left in the regular session.


Committee chairman diagnosed with Covid


Brandon Steel, R-Raleigh, was diagnosed with Covid-19 Saturday. He is chairman of the House Committee on Government Organization. According to a report by WV MetroNews, it is not clear how the Delegate’s diagnosis will affect the committee’s activity.“I’m not dying. I’m not in the hospital,” he told MetroNews. “It’s a real thing. You can get it. Any one of us can get it. It’s not the end of the world. You take your pills. You quarantine. You go on being an American and kicking ass.”

Read Brad McElhinny’s story here.


Professions & Occupations


On Friday, Senate Government Organization resumed its discussion of a strike & insert for the controversial HB2007, which deals with occupational licensing. After many questions and lengthy discussion Tuesday, the committee counsel reworked the bill to address concerns. The “three legs of the stool” of licensing – education, experience, and examination have been added to each chapter addressed in the bill. Changes clarify that the board of the profession has discretion whether to accept the license from another state. In addition to two years’ experience, other criteria are described and, once again, accepting experience is at the discretion of the licensing board. The board also has discretion regarding whether the standards for licensing in another state are substantially similar to those in WV.The bill applies to trades as well as professions that have less reciprocity.

Leslie Tabor, Executive Director for the Professional Board of Engineers, said the bill sounds much better, but she had not had an opportunity to read it.

Mike Clowser spoke for Business and Industry Council, expressing support for opportunities that bring people into the state, but BIC wants to make sure West Virginians are treated fairly. While the bill does not address reciprocity, these changes seem to help ensure everyone is on a level playing field, explained Clowser.

Senator Mike Caputo, D-Marion, asked why medical professions were taken out of the bill to which Chairman Maynard explained, “It made the bill more palatable.”

Senator Woelfel expressed concerns that social workers and dieticians, which are also medical professionals, are still in the bill. The bill passed the committee and now goes to Senate Judiciary.


Second Amendment


Com Sub for HB 2694, creating the “Second Amendment Preservation Act,” was discussed at length and passed in House Judiciary. It would prohibit WV agencies or political subdivisions to use that agency or its resources to aid a federal agency for federal law enforcement purposes for firearms violations.Questions were asked about collaborative drug task forces who often work on “guns for drugs” cases with federal and local law enforcement working together. If the primary purpose of the task force is to enforce federal firearms law, a city, county, or state law enforcement officer cannot participate. There are times that federal law enforcement ask local or state law enforcement to help with an investigation or arrest and that could be prohibited under this bill, counsel responded in answer to a question. “Would this make WV a safe haven for criminals?” asked a Delegate, noting that extraditions are handled by local law enforcement.

Counsel agreed that local law enforcement couldn’t help unless one of the exceptions apply. The exceptions include ability to work with a task force as long as its primary purpose is not federal firearms enforcement. “If the primary purpose is drug enforcement, the prohibitions in this bill do not apply,” counsel agreed. It was noted that running guns often goes along with drugs but if the primary purpose is drug law enforcement, WV law enforcement are not prohibited, counsel explained.

Detective Adam Crawford, a deputy Sheriff in Kanawha County and representative of the Fraternal Order of Police, responded to a question about task forces, saying there are several issues. “We use these federal firearm laws to put violent criminals away,” he explained, and there is a relationship among drugs, guns, and violent crimes. “What I fear is, the way this bill is written, it’s going to let violent criminals walk,” Crawford said. He explained that any time a violent crime is being investigated, firearms are almost always involved, adding, “It’s hard enough to prove violent crimes as it is and build these cases.” Another concern Crawford expressed is that the more resources we have, the better, and we will lose federal cooperation and possibly federal funds.




House Judiciary recommitted HB3134 to the committee and the chairman put it into subcommittee. During the floor sessions, several concerns were raised about this bill that would create a new criminal offense prohibiting public disclosure of restricted information.




House Judiciary originated and passed a bill referred to as the Unemployment Insurance Integrity Act, generally requiring more oversight and flexibility on unemployment insurance. A representative from WorkForce WV responded to questions and explained that the federal government offers an implementation fund to help offset additional costs incurred from the legislation that would require additional staffing to meet obligations under the bill to employers and recipients.




Committee Substitute for HB3231 passed House Judiciary and would

provide that public utilities would not be required to pay interest on security deposits held for up to five years.


Resolution to save jobs and facility


On Friday, Senator Mike Caputo, D-Marion, introduced Senate Resolution 22, which calls on the Governor to work with the state’s congressional delegation to save jobs and repurpose the former Mylan Plant in Morgantown.Last last year, Mylan Pharmaceuticals and Upjohn announced a merger that creates a new company called Viatris. As part of the merger, it was announced that the Morgantown facility would close in July, affecting 1,500 jobs.


Week in Review – House


by Ann AliCommunications Director

WV House of Delegates

As of Friday, 1290 bills have been introduced to the House of Delegates. Of those bills, 97 have passed and advanced to the Senate. With about three weeks left in the regular legislative session, more collaboration with the Senate is taking place to complete legislation that makes West Virginia the easy choice for families and businesses to relocate and remain.

Leadership in the House of Delegates expects to originate an Alternative Personal Income Tax Reduction Plan in the Finance Committee in the coming week.

The first bill to be introduced in the House of Delegates has become law. House Bill 2001, which creates the country’s first Jumpstart Savings Plan, was designed by West Virginia Treasurer Riley Moore. The plan will provide a tax-advantaged savings account for West Virginians who want to enter a vocation or trade to help cover startup costs, equipment, certifications and licenses needed to enter vocational trades.

House Speaker Roger Hanshaw, R-Clay, was the lead sponsor of the bill.

“I couldn’t be prouder to see this meaningful piece of legislation become law,” Hanshaw said. “We’ve said all session long that no one education model fits all, and this is a tangible boost into the workforce for that wide swath of people who might not fit in the box of a four-year college degree.”

House Bill 2368, known as “Mylissa Smith’s Law,” creating patient visitation privileges, was read a first time in the House of Delegates March 19, and could be up for a vote next week. Mylissa Smith was a hospice nurse in Kanawha County who died from COVID after spending nearly a month alone in the hospital. The bill would require visitors to comply with all applicable procedures already established by the health care entity while establishing guidelines for the frequency of allowable visitation. Delegate Dean Jeffries, R-Kanawha, is the lead sponsor of the bill, and he said it’s an issue he’s heard about from many constituents this year.

“This is a human rights bill that would give patients access to family members, clergy or hospice in a time when we’ve had restrictions during a pandemic,” Jeffries said.

Senate Bill 42, which has been called the “Zombie Property Remediation Act of 2021” has completed legislation. This measure would establish a process for counties and municipalities to step in and foreclose on vacant and abandoned properties, then take over the deed. The need for this bill has been seen throughout West Virginia as properties are sold for back taxes in a public auction, but when a new owner realizes remediating the property will cost more than the property is worth, they let it go again, and the property becomes worse as the cycle repeats.

“Cities and counties now have another tool at their disposal to petition the sale of properties deemed unsafe, dangerous or detrimental to the public safety to encourage additional development,” said Delegate Ben Queen, R-Harrison, chairman of the Small Business and Economic Development Committee. “Rather than watch these properties sit empty in our communities, this will now allow more economic development at the local level.”

Remarks by members took place March 17, and Delegates Heather Tully, R-Nicholas, and John Doyle, D-Jefferson, both took the opportunity to share information about the St. Patrick’s Day holiday.


Beyond the Dome


WV DMV announced more then one million online vehicle transactionsThe West Virginia Division of Motor Vehicles announced that its online services portal had completed more than one million vehicle transactions in February.

“We are thrilled to pass that one million mark,” said Commissioner Everett Frazier. “DMV continues to look for ways to make our services easier, more convenient, and accessible to customers. We have been adding services to our website,, since April of 2014, and more and more customers are seeing the convenience of doing DMV business from the comfort and safety of their homes.”


Sine Die