From The Well

Day 6


At the center of the West Virginia state Capitol is an area known as The Well.

It is the informal gathering place for lobbyists, reporters, constituents and lawmakers.

Centrally located between the chambers of the House of Delegates and Senate,

The Well is often where information is shared, alliances are formed, and deals are made.



Martin Luther King Jr. Day




Prayer honors Dr. King

On a snowy Monday, the House of Delegates had a brief Martin Luther King Day floor session with Delegate Danielle Walker of Monongalia County presenting the prayer that was given at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s funeral in 1968.






House panel reviews broadband bill


The House Committee on Technology & Infrastructure met Monday to learn about broadband-related HB4001.


Committee Counsel told members that a committee substitute ultimately will be presented during the next meeting because of ongoing discussions with members of industry and the Public Service Commission and the presence of a few technical errors in the present form of the bill.


Members received a brief overview of the concept of the HB4001 and were able to ask general questions.


The purpose of HB4001 is to create the Legislative Oversight Commission on Department of Economic Development Accountability. The bill provides for the creation of the Conduit Installation Fund in the State Treasury to be administered by the Department of Transportation, a Dig-Once Fund to be administered by the Office of Broadband, and modified bidding for the Broadband Development Fund.


HB 4001 also creates the Broadband Middle Mile Fund and the Pole Replacement and Relocation Fund.


The bill calls for a process to map disturbances in rights-of-way, as well as a utility pole rights-of-way and easement mapping initiative.


In addition to creating funds to further broadband, the bill provides for existing customer protections for the Office of the Attorney General to oversee in coordination with the Office of Broadband and Department of Economic Development.


The bill defines modems and other connection devices, as well as competitive-access infrastructure and eligible telecommunications carriers. It provides for penalties where misrepresentation of eligible telecommunications carrier status occurs.



House of Delegates



Two bills advance on Monday


The House of Delegates passed two bills Monday. They will be at the amendment stage Tuesday. They are:


Committee Substitute for HB4059, allowing deputy agency commissioners whose positions are created by the Legislature to be either classified or unclassified. The legislation is important because deputy commissioners exempt from classified service do not have salary restrictions.


HB4060, removing three coalitions from the code. They include the Coalition for Diabetes Management, the Coalition for Responsible Pain Management, and the State Advisory Coalition on Palliative Care. House Health and Human Resources Committee Counsel Charles Roskovensky said the coalitions have completed their legislatively directed work.






Drug prescription code change suggested


HB4111, introduced Monday, cleans up the code regarding the 72-hour prescription authority for Class II drugs for physician assistants and advanced practice nurses, placing the ANP prescribing authority in the area of the code dealing with registered professional nurses.


The authority had previously been in the physician assistant section of the code. The bill has a double reference to the Health and Human Resources Committee and then the Judiciary Committee.



Telehealth rules surface in Senate


The Senate on Monday referred two newly introduced telehealth rules to the Judiciary Committee.


SB371 deals with a Board of Medicine rule relating to telehealth and interstate telehealth registration for physicians, podiatric physicians, and physician assistants.


SB357 deals with a Board of Osteopathic Medicine rule relating to telehealth practice and interstate telehealth registration for osteopathic physicians and physician assistants



Treasurer’s Office



Education investment changes proposed


Following a floor session, the House Government Organization Committee passed a strike-and-insert amendment for SB8 relating to the state’s savings and investment programs.


The bill updates the statute to reflect the termination of the Prepaid Tuition Program, which ended in 2001 and was closed out last year.


The boards for the Smart 529 College Savings Plan and the Jumpstart Plan, which is designated for trade and vocational school savings, are combined and redesignated as the Board of Trustees of the West Virginia College and Jumpstart Savings Programs.


Treasurer Riley Moore explained the two programs are separately administered, and the bill will eliminate duplicative roles for the board.



DMV / Courts



Grievances, appeals sought for DMV law


A Committee Substitute for SB35 would add grievance and appellate procedures and judicial review for individuals participating in, or who have participated in, the Division of Motor Vehicles’ Safety and Treatment Program.


Adam Holley, DMV General Counsel, told the Senate Judiciary Committe that DMV resumed control of the DUI safety and treatment program from DHHR a few years ago. DMV have found that a formalized hearing and grievance procedure is needed because there is not a lot of recourse if there’s a conflict between the offender and the treatment provider.


The bill passed but is second referenced to Senate Finance because there is fiscal note of $223,000.




Bill taps Secretary of State as Census liaison


The Senate Judiciary Committee passed SB253 to designate the Secretary of State as the state’s liaison to the U.S. Census Bureau for purposes of the redistricting phases for the federal decennial census.


SB253 will require county commissions to submit information to the Secretary of State relating to precinct updates; the Secretary of State will provide information to the Census Bureau and also to legislative leadership.


Counsel for the Committee explained that currently the Secretary of State does not have a role in the process, but the bill makes the office the conduit to the Census Bureau for counties. A similar process exists in Massachusetts.


James Whitehorn from the Census Bureau’s redistricting data office said the program is designed to serve the state through the block boundary project and the voting district (precinct) project.


“This bill would help us have a better relationship with the state of West Virginia,” Whitehorn said.

Donald Kersey, Counsel for the Secretary of State, provided his understanding of the intent of the bill, saying the goal will be to keep counties on track to meet deadlines and to serve as a central hub.


The plan is to have someone in Secretary of State’s Office who will have GIS expertise to carry out the intent of the bill.


Boards & Commissions



Digital format approved for some reports


Committee Substitute for HB4067 quickly passed the House Government Organization Committee and will make several agency reports electronic rather than in printed hard-copy form.


Some reporting requirements are eliminated entirely for agencies whose reports are no longer needed or whose deadlines have passed with reports already submitted.




Bridge funds on their way to West Virginia


Faced with aging bridges, West Virginia officials expect to gain $506 million in federal funds to take on the infrastructure challenge. Read more here.


West Virginia leads the nation with the most bridges in poor condition, according to the American Road and Transportation Builders Association.


West Virginia’s funding for the first year of the program is $101.3 million.


“The infrastructure act is particularly important for West Virginia because it is going to provide us with about $500 million in new, additional money specifically to repair and replace West Virginia’s bridges,” said Mike Clowser, Executive Director of the Contractors Association of West Virginia.


Overall, the program provides $26.5 billion to states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico over five years.


Legislative Calendar


Click here for the full calendar

of the West Virginia Legislature.



WV Legislature
Legislature Live


Meeting Notices
Proposed Rules


Legislature Blog
Glossary of Terms


Some information in this update is collected from the WV Legislature’s Daily/Weekly Blogs.


Hartman Harman Cosco, Public Policy Strategists, LLC, (H2C) is a strategically assembled bipartisan lobbying firm comprised of legal, communications and policy professionals. H2C possesses the insight and intuition that only comes from decades of hands on experience leading community and statewide initiatives.


Hartman Harman Cosco, LLC | | 800-346-5127