The Senate Judiciary Committee took up four uniform acts on Wednesday and recommended that the full Senate pass them all.
Committee Substitute for SB439 enacts the Revised Uniform Athletes Agents Act.
The Uniform Athletes Agents Law, currently in West Virginia Code, was enacted in 2001. The purposes of the RUAAA include providing enhanced protection for student athletes and educational institutions, creating a uniform body of agent registration information for use by state agencies, and simplifying the regulatory environment faced by legitimate athlete agents.
The Committee Substitute makes non-substantive drafting changes to the bill.
Chris Alder with the West Virginia Secretary of State’s Office said 30 to 35 states have adopted the original Act. He explained that the recent case related to athlete names, image, and likeness is related to the issues the Act is intended to address but does not specifically involves those issues.
The committee also heard from Libby Snider, a staff attorney with the Uniform Law Commission. She highlighted changes to the Act passed by West Virginia in 2001, including the definition of an agent. It includes a cause action for students and adds additional requirements to the signing of the contract.
She indicated 18 states have enacted the revision, and two states, including West Virginia, are currently considering bills. She also indicated that high school athletes are outside of the scope of the Act. She noted that the Uniform Law Commission has recently adopted a uniform act addressing the use of college
athletes’ name, image, and likeness.
Senator Robert Karnes of Randolph County asked whether friends of the athlete must register as an agent. The answer is yes. Ms. Snider explained the sanctions contained in the Act. Family members and coaches are exempt.
The committee agreed to the language of the Committee Substitute. The committee also agreed to report it to the full Senate and recommended passage.
SB440 establishes the Uniform Commercial Real Estate Receivership Act.
The Uniform Commercial Real Estate Receivership Act (UCRERA) provides a consistent set of rules for receiverships involving commercial property.
The law has been developed by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws to establish uniformity among the states regarding the appointment and powers of receivers, persons appointed by a court to take possession of the property of another involved in matters before the court, and to receive, collect, care for, and dispose of the property or the fruits of the property before of the court in a fair and equitable manner.
In short, the UCRERA provides a set of uniform rules that should provide more predictability to lenders and borrowers alike. It gives state courts guidance on the receivership process while preserving the court’s flexibility to craft a remedy appropriate under the circumstances.
The committee agreed to report the bill to the full Senate and recommend passage.
Committee Substitute for SB452 permits civil remedies for unauthorized disclosure of intimate images.
The bill creates a civil action for the unauthorized disclosure of an intimate image. The bill permits civil remedies for the unauthorized disclosure of intimate images.
Most states, including West Virginia, already have a criminal statute covering the subject. The Act is intended to make a victim whole by allowing recovery of civil damages.
Five states have adopted the Act, and 12 other states have similar statutes related to a civil cause of action.
A Committee Substitute was presented to the committee, which contained only technical drafting changes.
The committee agreed to the language of the Committee Substitute and then agreed to report the Committee Substitute to the full Senate with a recommendation for passage
Committee Substitute for SB453 establishes uniform requirements for restrictive employment agreements.
The bill is to provide rules for determining when noncompete agreements will be unenforceable. The bill limits the use of overly broad restrictive agreements. The act provides for a detailed notice to ensure that workers understand what the restrictive agreement prohibits. The Act provides for civil penalties for violations.
Adopted by the Uniform Law Commission in July 2021, no states have adopted the Act, but it has been introduced for passage in Oklahoma, Vermont, and West Virginia. Most if not all states have similar law, but they are not uniform in their scope and remedies. One in five workers has been subject to noncompete agreement during his or her careers, including low wage hourly workers.
A Committee Substitute was presented to the committee, and it contained only technical drafting changes.
Senator Karnes moved to amend the bill by increasing the time after the work relationship ends that a former employee may be subject to a noncompete agreement relating to a trade secret or on ongoing client or customer relationship from one year to two years. Senator Karnes argued that a two-year period would protect former employers and make them more likely to do business in the West Virginia.
Senator Mike Romano of Harrison County spoke in opposition to the amendment, suggesting it is not a lack of jobs in the state but a lack of persons to perform the jobs. He further said the amendment will further inhibit workers and their ability to stay in West Virginia.
Senator Ryan Weld of Brooke County agreed with Senator Romano and his opposition to the amendment.
The amendment was rejected.
The committee agreed to the language of the Committee Substitute and then agreed to report the Committee Substitute to the full Senate with a recommendation for approval.