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February 18, 2019 Edition

In Review

Under the Dome delivers a review of the issues being considered by state government and the 84th West Virginia Legislature during its first regular session. It provides information on matters that affect WVU and higher education. This edition covers updates on major issues being debated by the Legislature.

Campus Carry

House Bill 2519, the Campus Self Defense Act, was introduced on January 18. The bill would prevent our Board of Governors, except in some sensitive areas, from prohibiting individuals with a concealed carry permit from carrying a concealed weapon on our campuses or in our buildings. WVU leadership is engaged with the Legislature on this issue and will continue to advocate for the best interests of our campus.

The House Judiciary Committee held a public hearing on February 11. Several representatives of the University – including Provost Joyce McConnell, UPD Chief W.P. Chedester, Professor Stanley Hileman, Student Body President Isaac Obioma and Vice President Abbi Yachini – voiced major concerns with the bill and joined other college representatives from across the state and members of the public at the State Capitol.
To read the full bill, please visit: .

Education Reform

SB 451 (Comprehensive Education Reform) was passed by the Senate on February 4. The bill raised teacher and school service personnel pay by 5%, allowed for differential pay for critical-need teachers (including STEM and special education), permitted county school boards to raise levy rates, changed performance qualifications for retaining teachers and permitted the use of Educational Savings Accounts (ESAs) and the creation of charter schools.

After several days of debate, the House Education Committee made several major changes to the bill. Following passage of the bill, the House Finance Committee attempted to alter many of House Education’s changes, but was unable to do so.
The final version passed by the full House, retains the 5% pay raise for teachers and school service personnel, $2,000 bonus for math teachers, more flexibility for county salary supplements, a $250 tax credit for school supplies and $24 million for more student support personnel. The bill also retains voter approval for regular school levy increases. The bill made several significant changes, including teachers can still be paid and participate in extracurricular activities during a work stoppage, removed Education Savings Accounts, removed administration employees becoming at-will employees, removed paycheck protection and non-severability clause, and added $5 million for Innovations Zones and law enforcement officers for each school. The bill also permits counties to suspend/dismiss employees for findings of abuse.

Bill Tracking

SB 1 – Increasing Access to Career Education and Workforce Training
SB 15, SB 132 and HB 2484 – Establishing the Mountaineer Trail Network Recreation Authority
SB 59 – Creating Business PROMISE+ Scholarship
SB 97 – Modernizing Certain Beer, Wine, and Liquor Laws
SB 266 – Creating Intermediate Court of Appeals
SB 314 – Relating to Cybersecurity of State Government
SB 365 – Redistributing Revenue-Generated Excise Tax on Soft Drinks to Four-Year Medical Schools
SB 454 – Providing Exemptions from Mandatory Immunizations
SB 479 – Requiring Each State Institution of Higher Education Adopt and Submit Written Sexual Assault Policy to West Virginia HEPC
SB 602 and HB 2550 – Creating a Matching Program for Small Business Innovation and Research Program and Small Business Technology Transfer Program
SB 610 and SB 549 – Authorizing DNR solicit donations for WVU Rifle Team on Hunting and Fishing Licenses
HB 2007 – Eliminating the Certificate of Need Program
HB 2363 and SB 151 – Relating to the Upper Kanawha Valley Resiliency and Revitalization Program
HB 2399 – Relating to Regulating Prior Authorizations
HB 2452 – Creating the West Virginia Cybersecurity Office
HB 2455 – Redirecting Excise Tax Revenue on Bottled Soft Drinks from WVU Schools to PEIA
HB 2467 – Relating to Permitting Nonresidents to Obtain State Licenses to Carry a Concealed Deadly Weapon
HB 2513, SB 441 – Relating to Campus Police Officers of State Institutions of Higher Education
HB 2519 – The Campus Self Defense Act
HB 2520, SB 440 – Relating to the Anti-hazing Law
HB 2532 – Allowing Certain Donations by Persons Renewing Their Driver’s License or Vehicle Registration
HB 2574 – Repealing the Soft Drinks Tax
HB 2589 – Relating to Solar Energy on Formerly Mined Land
HB 2648 – Continuing Education for Registered Nurses and Advanced Nurse Practitioners
HB 2696 – Creating an Additional Index System for State-Owned Lands
HB 2760 – Relating to Performance Reviews of State Agencies and Regulatory Boards
HB 2828 – Relating to Promoting Investment in a Qualified Opportunity Zone
HB 3096 – Relating to Reforms to Four-Year Higher Education

SB 440 and 441

The University has introduced two bills during the legislative session and is working to pass both in the upcoming weeks. SB 440 would change the anti-hazing statute and is supported by local prosecuting attorneys. SB 441 would allow the boards of governors to determine qualifications for candidates for campus police officers.
SB 440 passed the Senate unanimously on February 12. It now goes to the House Judiciary Committee for consideration.

HB 2532 and SB 549/610

HB 2532 permits an individual to make a donation to the Farm Bureau Foundation, Future Farmers of America or the WVU Foundation for 4-H programs when renewing their driver’s license or vehicle registration through the Division of Motor Vehicles.
SB 549 and SB 610 permit the Division of Natural Resources to solicit donations for the WVU Rifle Team when individuals apply for or renew their hunting and fishing license

WV Forward

The WV Forward study revealed several areas of concern for our state’s workforce, educational attainment and economic development. A few of these issues are being considered this year by the Legislature.
Some of the bills are:
SB 1 – Increasing Access to Career Education and Workforce Training
SB 23 and SB 48 – Creating Five-Year Sunset of All State Tax Credits
SB 59 – Creating the Business PROMISE+ Scholarship
SB 421 – Relating to Annual Legislative Review of Economic Development Tax Credits
HB 2452 – Creating the West Virginia Cybersecurity Office
HB 2483 – Relating to Incentives for Mathematics Teachers
HB 2550 and SB 602 – Creating a Matching Program for the Small Business Innovation and Research Program and Small Business Technology Transfer Program
HB 2724 – Small Business Tax Credit
HB 2696 – Creating an Additional Index System for State-Owned Lands
HB 2828 – Relating to Promoting Investment in a Qualified Opportunity Zone
HB 2976 – Economic Diversification Act of 2019
HB 3009 The Young Professionals Tax Credit Act
HB 3024
– West Virginia Business Ready Sites Program
HB 3050 – West Virginia Municipal Broadband Expansion Act

Legislative Calendar and Important Dates

Last Day to Introduce Bills in the Senate                      February 18, 2019
Tourism Day at the Capitol                                            February 20, 2019
Bills Due Out of Committee in Chamber of Origin        February 24, 2019
Undergraduate Research Day at the Capitol                February 26, 2019
Last Day to Consider a Bill on Third Reading               February 27, 2019
Final Day of Session (Adjournment at Midnight)           March 9, 2019

WVU at the State Capitol

Travis Mollohan and Rocco Fucillo, both from WVU’s State Government Relations team, represent WVU at the State Capitol during the legislative session. They can answer questions about any issues addressed by the legislature. You can contact them at: Travis Mollohan ( or Rocco Fucillo (

More Information

To learn more about the legislature, including district maps, bill tracking, committee assignments and a summary of legislative activities, please visit .
To learn more about WVU’s legislative and government relation initiatives, please visit .