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 situated between the chambers of the House of Delegates and Senate,

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


86th West Virginia Legislature

January 16, 2023


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Senior Services


House panel hears about Bureau’s budget


Bureau of Senior Services (BOSS) Commissioner Robert E. Roswall on Monday presented the BOSS budget to members of the House of Delegates Finance Committee.

The Bureau’s main request of the Legislature is the reauthorization of $6.8 million in West Virginia Lottery funds that allow the agency to provide a reimbursement rate increase for nutrition, the largest program offered to seniors.

COVID had a great impact on how the Bureau operates, particularly on the meal program, Commissioner Roswall said

“Since March 2020, we have increased from 2 million to just short of 3 million meals a year,” he told the committee. During COVID, agencies served 2,000 people they’d never seen before.

Commissioner Roswall said senior centers were closed during COVID but provided grab-and-go meals; some counties provided boxed weekly meals. Most of the funding for those meals came from federal COVID funds, he said.

COVID also affected the ratio of congregate versus home-delivered meals. It used to be 60% congregate and 40% home delivery, but now agencies serve more home-delivered meals. The reimbursement rate is greater for delivered meals than congregate meals.

“BSS provided guidelines for centers opening up. and most were opened by June 2022,” Commissioner Roswall said.

Going through the budget numbers, Commissioner Roswall said BSS has general revenue for personal services, and there are no changes.

Federal funds have helped provide a new data system that will be available in spring. The Commissioner described it as a “no-wrong-door” system, where all calls will be addressed and connected to the correct agency or service.

He said legislative initiative funds of $9.6 million from the West Virginia Lottery can be spent at the discretion of counties as long as counties meet the needs of the federal Older Americans Act.

Other services in the budget include the Long-Term Care Ombudsman and the Lighthouse and FAIR (Family Alzheimer’s In-Home Respite) programs for Alzheimer’s patients and their caregivers.

Chief Financial Officer Terry Hess discussed a portion of the budget that appeared to be revenue but was actually spending authority. He said he would send clarified information to the Committee.

From the $117 million budget, Mr. Hess said the surplus of about $2 million will go toward meal rates.

“We have made some great strides to increase the reimbursement rate for nutrition,” Mr. Hess said, noting that nutrition is the biggest program at $16 million. Of that, 65% is state funding, and the rest is federal.

Delegate Larry Rowe of Kanawha County asked, “Are you okay on the reimbursement rate?”

Commissioner Roswall responded that there is a 13.5% increase currently in federal legislation, but it hasn’t passed yet.

“The number of meals being served has increased, but we don’t know what the federal funds will be yet,” he said.


DNA Evidence


Post-conviction collection wins support


The Senate Committee on the Judiciary took up a bill Monday to expand the number of persons whose DNA will be collected after a conviction. Additionally, the bill requires persons arrested for certain crimes to allow collection of their DNA.

Senate Bill 53 amends current law to require the collection of DNA from all persons convicted of a felony. Currently, only persons convicted of specifically enumerated felonies must submit to the collection of their DNA.

The bill also requires persons arrested for violence, burglary, and crimes against children to submit to DNA collection. The bill provides a means to remove the DNA from state and national databases for persons charged with an offense but not convicted.

The Committee defeated an attempt to amend the committee substitute to prohibit DNA collected upon arrest from being included in the state and national databases unless and until the defendant is convicted.

The Committee approved a motion to recommend the bill for passage to the full Senate. The Committee on Finance fist must consider the bill, however.




Senator Trump picks panel to review bills


Senator Charles Trump of Morgan County, Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, appointed the following on Monday to serve as a subcommittee to review elections bills:

·     Senator Mike Azinger: Pleasants, Ritchie, Wood, Wirt (part)

·     Senator Mike Caputo: Marion (part), Monongalia (part)

·     Senator Patrick Martin: Clay, Braxton, Gilmer (part), Lewis, Harrison

·     Senator Mark Maynard: Wayne (part), Mingo, McDowell, Mercer

·     Senator Mike Stuart: Logan, Lincoln, Boone, Kanawha (part)


Marshall Memorial


November 14: A day to honor crash victims


The House of Delegates Committee on Government Organization held its first meeting of the session Monday and considered House Bill 2412.

The committee substitute amends state code to declare November 14 a special memorial day in remembrance of the 75 people who died in the 1970 Marshall University plane crash.

The bill advances to the House floor.


Minority Report


Democrats object to Republicans’ tactics


With the West Virginia Senate passing multiple bills in one day and the House of Delegates changing rules to control debate, the Democrat minority in both chambers raised concerns last week about having their voices silenced.

The House adopted House Resolution 1 on Wednesday, January 11, setting forth rules that will govern the 100 delegates during the next two years. The new rules include a limitation on debate, allowing members to speak only once on a bill except when another member asks questions or is being asked questions.

During a news conference, the 12-member House Democratic caucus expressed concern about a new rule that will further curtail the ability of the minority caucus to debate the merits of legislation and influence Republican lawmakers.

Click here to read more from the West Virginia Press Association and the Parkersburg News and Sentinel.




80 mph speed limit proposed for some roads


A West Virginia Senator wants to change the speed limit from 70 mph to 80 mph on Interstate highways and four-lane limited-access highways in West Virginia.

Senator Robert Karnes of Randolph County proposed Senate Bill 34 to change the speed limit.

If passed, the increased speed limit bill would not apply to portions of the Interstate and four-lane highways that pass through the city limits of municipalities.

Other states that allow motorists to drive 80 mph are Texas, South Dakota, Wyoming, Utah, Oklahoma, Nevada, Montana, and Idaho

The bill is in the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

Click here for coverage from Lootpress.


Fleet Management


New rules considered for overseeing vehicles


New guidelines coming out of the current legislative session could affect the 7,500-vehicle state vehicle fleet.

A bill, now being drafted, matches recommendations that came from the Legislative Auditor’s Office. The main recommendation said managing the vehicles should be done at the state level with the addition of monitoring systems in all vehicles operated by state agencies.

“Our recommendation was that the Fleet Management Division be given oversight authority over the vehicle fleet instead of the individual spending units (state agencies) and that the Legislature amend West Virginia code to require the inclusion of telematics systems in all state vehicles,” Legislative Auditor’s Office Manager Mike Jones said.

The audit found that even though state employees with vehicles are required to log trips, including distance, destination, and purpose, many entries were incomplete or inaccurate.

Click here to read more from WVMetroNews.


Footnote for Readers


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2023 Legislative Session

20th Day — January 30: Submission of Legislative Rule-Making Review bills due (WV Code §29A-3-12)

35th Day — February 14: Last day to introduce bills in the House. House Rule 91a does not apply to originating or supplementary appropriation bills, and does not apply to Senate or House resolutions or concurrent resolutions.

41st Day — February 20: Last day to introduce bills in the Senate. Senate Rule 14 does not apply to originating or supplementary appropriation bills and does not apply to Senate or House resolutions or concurrent resolutions.

47th Day — February 26: Bills due out of committees in house of origin to ensure three full days for readings.

50th Day — March 1: Last day to consider bill on third reading in house of origin. Does not include budget or supplementary appropriation bills.

60th Day —  March 11: Adjournment at midnight.




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


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