Under the Dome provides a review of the recent issues being considered by the 83rd Legislature during its Second Session and provides information on issues under consideration that affect WVU and higher education.
House Bill 4298 was introduced this week by several members of the House of Delegates. It would prohibit our Board of Governors, except in three defined instances, from banning individuals with a concealed weapon permit from carrying a concealed weapon on our campuses or in our buildings. We note that current law authorizes the Board of Governors and administration to make those decisions.
Under the proposed legislation, the only instances in which the Board of Governors could prohibit concealed weapons on campus would be in: (1) a stadium or arena with a capacity of more than 5,000 spectators; (2) a daycare facility located on the property of the State institution of higher education; or (3) in the secure area of any building used by a law enforcement agency on the property of the state institution for higher education.
University leadership believes that this legislation may begin to move through the committee process soon and is engaged in taking appropriate measures in the best interest of the institution.
We have several concerns about House Bill 4298 and we believe that the decision on these issues pertaining to our WVU System campuses should reside with our Board of Governors. Our university government relations team is engaged with the Legislature on this issue and will continue to advocate for the best interests of the University.
However, we also are aware that there are some (including in the Legislature) who believe we should be a “campus carry” state. We wanted to alert faculty and staff of the pending legislation. Read more about the pending legislation.
Also, for those who have an interest in contacting members of the Legislature regarding this legislation, please view the main legislative webpage.
Here are some of the bills introduced so far in the House of Delegates and the State Senate that relate to WVU and higher education.
- SJR 9 ( HJR 106) – Just Cut Taxes and Win Amendment
- SB 83 – Relating to Higher Education Student Success
- SB 111 – Enacting Forming Open and Robust University Minds Act
- SB 152 ( HB 4019) – Budget Bill
- SB 269 ( HB 4154) – Establishing 2018 Regulatory Reform Package
- SB 284 ( HB 4267) – Increasing Access to Career Education and Workforce Training
- SB 287 ( HB 4170) – Creating and Maintaining Centralized State Vehicle Inventory System
- SB 330 – Relating to Exemptions from Mandated Immunizations
- SB 340 – Relating to Employer-Employee Cost-Sharing Ratio of Premiums for PEIA Active Members
- HB 2335 – Protecting Academic Freedom in Higher Education
- HB 2887 – Relating to Retirement and Separation Incentives
- HB 3001 – Abolishing the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission
- HB 3045 – Modifying the Tax on Soft Drinks to Only Cover Sugary Drinks
- HB 4203 – Campus Free Speech Act
To review bills that have been introduced, please visit the "Bill Status" page of the West Virginia Legislature website.
State of the State Address
On January 10, Governor Justice delivered his second State of the State Address.
West Virginia University was mentioned prominently in a few places of the speech. The Governor highlighted the fact that the State’s budget situation has improved dramatically compared to last year (NOTE: The appropriation for WVU for this year was increased by approximately $900,000 over last year, instead of a reduction).
The Governor focused on many key areas: the need to develop a long-term strategy for increasing K-12 educator compensation; the need to increase workforce participation rates in our state by making community college more affordable; and taking steps to address the opioid crisis (including a specific reference to West Virginia University). He also mentioned the need to increase the state’s agriculture economy and the need to continue to address the state’s business climate, and in particular the personal property tax on industrial machinery, equipment and inventory.
Many of these initiatives are consistent with the efforts of the West Virginia Forward project.
Track the Governor’s legislative package and see the status of other bills signed or vetoed by the Governor.
New Members and Appointments
On January 11, Governor Justice appointed Jeffrey M. Pack of Raleigh County to the House of Delegates to replace John O’Neal, who accepted a position as Legislative Liaison for the Governor’s Office.
Governor Justice also recently appointed Delegate Karen Lynne Arvon to the State Senate, following the resignation of Senator Jeff Mullins. Senator Arvon becomes the fourth Republican woman to serve in the State Senate, and the 9th District becomes the first senatorial district in the state’s history to be represented by two women. The Governor will appoint a replacement to Senator Arvon in the House in the near future.
Legislative Calendar and Important Dates
|Monongalia County Day at the Capitol||January 30, 2018|
|Last Day to Introduce Bills in the House||February 13, 2018|
|Last Day to Introduce Bills in the Senate||February 19, 2018|
|WVU and WVU Extension Day at the Capitol||February 20, 2018|
|Bills Due Out of Committee in Chamber of Origin||February 25, 2018|
|Last Day to Consider a Bill on Third Reading||February 28, 2018|
|Last Day of Regular Session||March 10, 2018|
WVU at the State Capitol
Travis Mollohan and Rocco Fucillo, both from WVU’s State and Local Relations team, represent WVU at the State Capitol during the legislative session. They can answer questions about any issues addressed by the Legislature.
To learn more about the Legislature, including district maps, bill tracking, committee assignments and a summary of legislative activities, please visit the West Virginia Legislature website.
To learn more about WVU’s legislative initiatives, please visit WVU's Government Relations site.
For questions or more information, contact Travis Mollohan, director, State and Local Relations, email: firstname.lastname@example.org; phone: 304-400-4963