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

Countdown: 9 days to go


March 2, 2023


Welcome! Click here to subscribe to HC/GR Morning Clips.


Senate Judiciary


Purple Alert System legislation advances


The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday adopted an amended House Bill 3188, which establishes a Purple Alert System for public awareness of missing cognitively impaired persons. 

The bill concludes the alerts can be “one of the most effective tools in locating missing who has a mental or cognitive disability that is not Alzheimer’s disease or a dementia-related disorder; an intellectual disability or a developmental disability; a brain injury; another physical, mental, or emotional disability that is not related to substance abuse; or a combination of any of these.”


Purple Alerts would operate like Amber Alerts, Silver Alerts, or Blue Alerts. Amber Alerts are issued for the recovery of endangered missing or abducted children.


Silver Alerts notify the public and law enforcement when an adult with cognitive impairment (memory, thinking, and reasoning problems) is missing, meaning the need to harmonize these Alerts with Purple Alerts.


Blue Alerts are issued for the disappearance of law-enforcement officers in the line of duty or for someone who kills or and who “poses a serious threat to the safety of the public.”


The state Department of Military and Public Safety would have until July 1, 2024, to develop legislative rules relating to Purple Alerts.


In other action, Senate Judiciary approved the following bills:


Motorsports Responsibility Act advances

House Bill 2569 establishes the Motorsport Responsibility Act. Senate Judiciary adopted an amendment removing House language that Committee Counsel said is related to a “quasi-claim of action” for participants in motorsports “where the violation … is causally related to the injury, loss, or damage suffered by participants” in these events.


Motorsports activities are defined as “driver training, vehicle storage, competitive racing, non-competitive racing, exhibitions of speed, fairs or shows using motorized vehicles, or other forms of recreation involving the use of motor vehicles, including motorcycles.”


The bill acknowledges “… there are inherent risks in motorsport activities” and itemizes requirements for both motor-sport operators and participants. Senators said motorsport activities significantly contribute to the state’s economy.


Legislation focuses on camera-carrying drones

House Bill 3479 concerns requirements for unmanned aerial vehicles (drones).


Most HB3470 language is preserved, although the Senate made several technical revisions to the bill.


Senator Laura Wakim Chapman of Ohio County was successful in amending the legislation so its provisions don’t apply to news organizations “using a camera-carrying drone at altitudes greater than 400 feet over private property for legitimate news purposes.”


The previous language referred to “accredited and licensed news organizations,” wording that she said could violate First Amendment rights of “citizen journalists.”


Bill addresses training of probation officers

House Bill 3448 allows the state Supreme Court of Appeals to contract probation-officer field training.


HB3448 grants field-training officers the same powers as a probation officer while performing his or her duties.


Bill changes property-transfer language

Senate Judiciary Committee members had a few questions on Thursday before they passed a strike-and-insert amendment for House Bill 3499, which modifies the Uniform Real Property Transfer on Death Act by allowing transfer on death deeds to specify joint tenancy with the right of survivorship.


Counsel said under existing law, the transfer could be made only with tenancy in common and not with joint right of survivorship. He added that tenants in common are usually split among two or more people while, with joint right of survivorship, all property goes to the other person if that is specified in the transfer on the death deed.


Senator Laura Wakim Chapman of Ohio County asked counsel whether the bill would be retroactive. He said any bill the Legislature passes is considered to be proactive unless it specifically states that it applies retroactively. Senator Chapman proposed an amendment that was adopted to clearly state that it is applied prospectively.


Senate Health and Human Resources


Senate OKs bill addressing drug rehab beds


The Senate Health and Human Resources Committee on Thursday passed Committee Substitute for House Bill 3337 to prohibit a certificate of need for additional drug and alcohol treatment facilities and services in certain counties. 

The bill sets the threshold at 250 licensed treatment beds.


Senator Robert H. Plymale of Wayne County asked about the specific counties. Counsel said a county can’t add additional beds under the bill if it already has more than 250 beds.


Parkersburg Mayor Tom Joyce told the Committee the is bill is important to Parkersburg and Wood County. They currently have 281 treatment beds. The next highest number is in Kanawha County.


Senate Education


Bill funds cameras in special-needs classes


The Senate Education Committee adopted four bills on Thursday. 

House Bill 2827 revises a 2019 law relating to cameras in special-needs classrooms. Under terms of HB2827, the state Department of Education is required to allocate funds to satisfy the camera requirement. Then funds are to be provided for safe-school entryways.


When those two priorities are met, the Department will allocate funds based on a state Board rule. Multicounty vocational centers and public charter schools can receive those funds based on the rule.


Bill opens doors for retired bus drivers to work

House Bill 2346 allows a retired bus operator to accept employment as a “critical need substitute bus operator for an unlimited number of days each fiscal year without affecting his or her the monthly retirement benefits.”


Considerable committee discussion centered on fiscal implications for the state, if any.


Bill revises language within SBA-related code

House Bill 2380 makes technical revisions in laws relating to the School Building Authority of West Virginia primarily by removing antiquated language relating to SBA bonds adopted in the 1990s.


Bill OKs monitoring of some special-needs restrooms

House Bill 3271 requires monitoring of special-needs restrooms in self-contained classrooms. Parents could have students “opted out” of the bill provisions.


According to Committee testimony, the legislation will cost county boards about $220,000. Bill provisions are effective in August.


Capitol Compensation


Senate passes bill to raise lawmakers’ pay


State Senators on Wednesday voted 26-7 for Senate Bill 740, which supports pay raises for members of the West Virginia Legislature. 

Following a January meeting, the seven-member Citizens Legislative Compensation Commission recommended state lawmakers receive a raise of $10,000. The Commission, which meets every four years, passed a resolution recommending that lawmakers’ annual pay be increased to equal the per-capita income in West Virginia.


Commission Chairman Mike Hall, a former state Senator, told MetroNews that’s about $30,000.

“In a collaboration by others and the Legislature, the Legislature expressed an interest in tying their income to some sort of standard,” Hall said at the time. “So the one standard they liked was per-capita income, which is a little over $30,000 this year.”


Right now, lawmakers make $20,000. A raise wouldn’t occur until the next Legislature in 2025.


Click here to read more from WVMetroNews.


Footnote for Readers


Access to some of the stories in From the Well may require a subscription to news outlets. Hartman Cosco Government Relations has no control over the terms and conditions that news outlets set to access content.




2023 Legislative Session 

60th Day — March 11: Adjournment at midnight.




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 Cosco LLC Government Relations is a strategically assembled bipartisan lobbying firm comprised of legal, communications and policy professionals. Hartman Cosco possesses the insight and intuition that only comes from decades of hands on experience leading community and statewide initiatives.