Senior Centers recognized for commitment during pandemic


The Senate recognized senior center personnel as essential workers and commended them for their dedicated public service through the COVID-19 pandemic with Senate Resolution 33.Whereas, Senior citizens are 20.5 percent of the population of West Virginia; and

Whereas, The worldwide coronavirus pandemic inflicts its most deadly threat on senior citizens and has prompted measures to help senior citizens to remain safer at home; and

Whereas, Multi-purpose senior centers, the community focal point for comprehensive in-home and community-based services, information, and advocacy, restructured a normally high-touch service model to safely address the surge of dramatically increased demand; and

Whereas, Senior centers prepare and deliver 2,500,000 nutritious meals proven to maintain health, improve independent living, and reduce health care costs; and

Whereas, Senior centers provide safe, reliable transportation proven to improve access to food, shelter, medical care, and life-sustaining treatments; and

Whereas, Senior centers provide 3,574,994 hours of personal care assistance proven to improve independent living in safe and healthy homes; and

Whereas, Senior centers make weekly telephone calls and/or home visits to assess the well-being of the thousands of West Virginia seniors; and

Whereas, Senior centers employ a trained workforce of more than 3,000 dedicated adults who diligently devote their days to serve and protect our most vulnerable elderly; and

               Whereas, Senior center employees have faithfully performed their jobs each day, doing their very best to assist seniors throughout the COVID-19 pandemic; andWhereas, Senior center employees are essential to the daily health and well-being of our treasured senior citizens; therefore,


be it Resolved by the Senate:


That the Senate hereby recognizes senior center personnel as essential workers and commending them for their dedicated public service through the COVID-19 pandemic; and, be it

Further Resolved, That the Senate extends its sincere gratitude and appreciation to senior center employees for their commitment to senior citizens in West Virginia; and, be it

Further Resolved, That the Clerk is hereby directed to forward a copy of this resolution to the appropriate representatives of senior centers throughout West Virginia.




Today the Senate Energy, Industry and Mining Committee passed the House’s version HB2842, the Ban the Ban bill. The bill prevents cities from banning utility services based upon the source of energy generation, including wind and solar. Over in the House, the Committee on Political Subdivisions added the wording “political subdivisions” to encompass all portions of local and county government. In addition, the committee added “private business” to the definition of utilities, and the words “propane gas” because some areas and customers in West Virginia have propane infrastructure. The bill now heads to Senate Judiciary.




Senate Judiciary passed a strike & insert amendment for HB2830 to strengthen sex trafficking laws. It allows for accessibility of juvenile adjudication records for child victims of sex trafficking and provides immunity from prosecution for child victims of sex trafficking. Counsel gave the example that they couldn’t be prosecuted for prostitution It provides criminal liability of a person who aids, assists, or abets the trafficking of an adult or child. A child victim of sex trafficking would be eligible for comprehensive and specialized trauma-informed child welfare services and could have records expunged.A strike & insert amendment passed for Com Sub for HB2793 that would allow non-state residents to get a concealed carry license in WV through the county Sheriff. Because adults 21 & older, residents and non-residents, can already carry concealed in WV without a permit, the purpose of the bill is not for carrying in WV. With this bill, residents from other states can come to WV and buy a license which will give them the ability to carry concealed in the 37 states where WV has reciprocity.

House Judiciary passed  SB496 which makes a technical correction a statute enacted during the 2020 Regular Session relating to punishment for second and third degree felonies.




One of the major priorities of the session, broadband, was taken up by Senate Government Organization with a strike & insert amendment for Committee Substitute for HB2002 which creates the framework to support, encourage, and expedite the expansion of broadband throughout the state.The Office of Broadband within the Dept. of Commerce is created in this bill with duties set forth and authority to hire consultants. This office would take some of the responsibilities of the Broadband Enhancement Council. Political subdivisions are given the power and authority to provide broadband. The lead sponsor of the bill, Del. Linville, responded to questions. He described the bill as trying to streamline the process of providing broadband throughout the state.

The strike & insert amendment made several changes to the House bill, including removal of consumer protections. Linville said he wanted to offer a competitive environment for providing broadband rather than treating it as a regulated utility under the PSC.

AARP representative Angela Vance spoke to the bill, stating that while it had several provisions they wanted, the strike & insert took out the consumer protections and the definition of underserved areas. Senator Woelfel offered a two-part amendment: (1) reinsert the definition of underserved areas; and (2) restore the consumer protections that were in the original legislation from the House.

Chris Morris with CityNet expressed opposition to defining underserved, which is not defined anywhere else in the country, because it could allow areas that do have some service to get public funds and possibly hurt unserved areas. “What you will do is allow for taxpayer money to be invested into areas that already have service,” Morris said.

Del. Linville disagreed with this approach and said that simply defining the term underserved would not necessarily allow use of public funds.

After a recess, the committee resumed with Sen. Mike Caputo successfully amending the bill to add back in the consumer protection language requiring a broadband operator to credit subscribers for service interruptions of more than 24 hours.




Bail Bondsmen are the subject of HB2758 discussed by Senate Judiciary. It would add new language defining bonding and bail bondsmen and transfer regulation of bail bondsmen from the Supreme Court to the Insurance Commission. A representative for the WV Association of Bail Bondsmen said this will professionalize the occupation and have a positive impact. The committee passed their strike & insert amendment to the bill.


Public Safety


House Judiciary advanced two bills that require training for managing special circumstances by members of law-enforcement.  The first bill, SB434, requires training to include standards and procedures for ongoing training for those investigating sexual assault cases involving adult victims. The bill goes to the House with the committee’s recommendation that it pass. SB634requires that law-enforcement officers and correction officers be trained in appropriate interactions with individuals with autism spectrum disorders who are victims or witnesses to a crime, or suspected or convicted of a crime. Both bills will be reported to the House with the committee’s recommendation that they pass.




House Judiciary amended SB562, which establishes procedures for establishing juvenile competency to stand trial and to establish disposition alternative for incompetent juveniles. The amendments, offered by Delegate Tom Fast, R-Fayette, ensured Guardian ad litem is appointed at the time the issue is raised; and to clarify the burden proof. The committee reported the bill, as amended, to the full House with a recommendation that it do pass.


Unemployment Insurance


HB3294 as passed by Senate Judiciary would create the Unemployment Insurance Program Integrity Act and require that the commissioner, on a weekly basis, check unemployment insurance rolls against Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s list of imprisoned individuals, check new hire records against the National Directory of New Hires, and check unemployment insurance rolls against the Integrity Data HubIt provides for data sharing between Workforce West Virginia and other departments, agencies, or divisions; providing for action by bureau to make new eligibility determinations. The commissioner is required to implement internal administrative policies regarding the recovery of fraudulent unemployment overpayments, cooperative agreements with the U.S. Department of Labor to investigate unemployment fraud, and recover overpayments of unemployment benefits.  A mechanism is created for an employer to contact Workforce when an employee is offered their job back but refuses to be rehired. It also establishes the Short Time Compensation Program within Workforce West Virginia.


Consumer Protection


The House Judiciary Committee advanced SB401a bill that amends the West Virginia Consumer Credit and Protection Act to exclude depository accounts from the definition of services; to remove a party collecting on its own debt from the definition of a debt collector; to establish a loss threshold of $5,000 for the certification of a class action; to limit recovery to members of a class to the greater of $1,000 per claim or the total outstanding indebtedness; to reduce the current statute of limitations from four years to one year; to reduce statutory penalties to $1,000 per claim; to limit attorney’s fees to four times the award; to update the adjustment for inflation to September of 2021; and to prohibit class actions under Article 6 of the Act.




Senate Judiciary discussed a strike & insert amendment for HB2496, relating to assessments and appellate rights of property owners concerning valuation, classification, and taxability of real estate and personal property taxation. Counsel described that the purpose of the bill is to make it easier for the taxpayer to challenge the Assessor’s valuation It provides that residential property owners may not be required to furnish a formal appraisal to establish the value of their primary residence.  The assessor’s review is to be an informal process and the standard of proof which a taxpayer must meet is to be no greater than a preponderance of the evidence. It expands the jurisdiction of the Office of Tax Appeals to include property tax valuation, classification, and taxability. If an assessor rejects a petition, the petitioner may appeal to the county Board of Equalization and Review or the Office of Tax Appeals. The bill passed but will also go to Finance.


Sine Die