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March 8, 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.

House Judiciary 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. It passed the committee 12-11.

The full House considered the bill on February 27 and passed it 59-41.

The bill was considered by Senate Judiciary on Tuesday. With little discussion and no debate, the measure was rejected by the committee 7-9. Senator Ryan Weld (R-Brooke) and Senator Charles Clements (R-Wetzel) joined all Democrats against
the bill.

To read the full bill, please visit:
A message from President Gee about this issue can be seen at

Soda Tax Repeal

A few weeks ago, the House Finance Committee considered HB 2574 (Repealing the Soft Drink Tax). This tax supports more than $14 million of crucial funding for WVU’s medical, dental and nursing programs. The bill failed on a 13-12 vote in the committee.

Revenue Collections

February revenue collections of $302.8 million were $12.2 million above estimate and 11.3% above prior year receipts. Year-to-date collections of nearly $296 billion were more than $53 million above estimate and 12.4% ahead of prior year receipts.

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 561 – Permitting Alcohol Beverage Control Administration to Request Assistance from Local Law Enforcement
SB 602 – Creating Matching Program for Small Business Innovation and Research Program and Small Business Technology Transfer Program
SB 610 and SB 549 – Authorizing DNR to Solicit Donations for WVU Rifle Team on Hunting and Fishing Licenses
SB 673 – Relating to Public Higher Education Planning and Accountability
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 2853 – Establishing the West Virginia Program for Open Education Resources
HB 2992 – Relating to Governmental Websites
HB 3096 – Relating to Reforms to Four-Year Higher Education
HB 3139 – Relating to Funding of the Public Employees Health Insurance Program

SB 440 and 441

The University introduced two bills during the legislative session. SB 440 would change the anti-hazing statute and is supported by local prosecuting attorneys. SB 441 would allow the BOG to determine qualifications for candidates for campus police officers.

SB 440 passed the Senate unanimously on February 12. It passed the House on February 28. SB 441 passed the Senate unanimously on February 25. It passed the House on March 4. Both of the bills have gone to the governor for his signature.

HB 2532 and SB 549/610

HB 2532 would permit 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. The bill passed the House on February 22, but has yet to be considered by the Senate.
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 licenses. Neither 549 or 610 received consideration from
the Senate.

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
HB 3112 – Relating to Job Creation and Incentives

Legislative Calendar and Important Dates

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