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March 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 the final week of regular session, the announcement of a special session, details on the budget, and major issues that passed and did not pass the Legislature.

Campus Carry

House Bill 2519, the Campus Self Defense Act, which passed the House on February 27 by a vote of 59-41, died for the year in the Senate Judiciary Committee on March 5 when it was rejected on a 7-9 vote.

The University will continue to engage with our campus community and legislative leaders on this issue, as we expect it to be considered in the future.

The Budget

The 2020 budget – HB 2020 – was passed by the Senate and House before the end of the regular session, avoiding a need to extend the session to complete it.

The budget includes no cuts to higher education. In fact, following years of reductions and no substantial reinvestments, higher education institutions saw increased support from the Legislature this year. WVU received a $1.5 million increase to its general revenue appropriation, and $500,000 of that funding will go to support WVU Keyser (Potomac State). Additionally, the University received further support of $3.3 million for partial assistance with employee pay raises.

The budget also includes the $10 million for regional institutions agreed to by the Blue Ribbon Commission of Four-Year Higher Education, co-chaired by President Gee.

Special Session

In order to avoid an extended regular session amidst disagreements over teacher pay raises, the Governor and the Legislature agreed to a special session on K-12 public education improvements. According to the Governor’s press release announcing the call, this special session will allow “the Legislature to consider and act upon matters relating generally to improving, modifying and making efficiencies to the state’s public education system and employee compensation.”

The budget contained money to increase pay for teachers, school service personnel, state police officers and other state employees. However, the Senate failed to pass legislation authorizing the increase for teachers and school service personnel. That bill will likely be on the special session call.

Additionally, it is expected that some issues that could see debate are items that caught the state’s attention in SB 451, the comprehensive education reform package that passed the Senate and saw significant changes in the House.

Some of those topics include: charter schools; education savings accounts; county levy rate increases; tax credits for school supplies; and differential pay for critical-need positions. It is unknown when the Legislature will reconvene to consider these matters.

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 and passed the House on February 28. SB 441 passed the Senate unanimously on February 25 and passed the House on March 4. Both bills are awaiting the Governor’s signature.

Legislation Passed

More than 1,800 bills were introduced during this legislative session, but only 294 bills passed both the House and Senate. Some of the bills that relate to WVU and higher education or have significant impact on the state are:

General Legislation:
• SB 1 – Increasing Access to Career Education and Workforce Training
• SB 4 – Expansion of Municipal Home Rule Program
• SB 72 – Creating Sexual Assault Victims’ Bill of Rights
• SB 330 – Requiring Contact Information be Listed on Agency’s Online Directory and Website
• SB 345 – Relating to Fire Service Equipment and Training Funds for VFDs
• SB 440 – Relating to Antihazing Law
• SB 441 – Relating to Higher Education Campus Police Officers
• SB 561 – Permitting Alcohol Beverage Control Administration to Request Assistance of Local Law Enforcement
• SB 636 – Authorizing Legislative Rules for Higher Education Policy Commission
• SB 670 – Relating to WV College Prepaid Tuition and Savings Program
• SB 673 – Relating to Public Higher Education Accountability and Planning
• HB 2001 – Repealing Personal Income Tax on Social Security Benefits
• HB 2020 – Budget Bill, Making Appropriations of Public Money Out of the Treasury in Accordance with Section Fifty-One, Article Six of the Constitution
• HB 2363 – Relating to the Upper Kanawha Valley Resiliency and Revitalization Program
• HB 2412 – Relating to Criminal Acts Concerning Government Procurement of Commodities and Services
• HB 2452 – Creating the West Virginia Cybersecurity Office
• HB 2665 – Supplemental Appropriation for PEIA Rainy Day Fee
• HB 2674 – Creating a Student Loan Repayment Program for a Mental Health Provider
• HB 2853 – Establishing the West Virginia Program for Open Education Resources
• HB 2992 – Relating to Governmental Websites
• HB 3020 – Relating to Sole Source Contracts for Goods and Services with Nonprofit Corporations Affiliated with the Respective Education Institutions
• HB 3139 – Relating to Funding of the Public Employees Health Insurance Programs
• HB 3142 – Reducing Severance Tax on Thermal Steam Coal

WV Forward-Related Legislation:

• SB 3 – Establishing WV Small Wireless Facilities Development Act
• SB 153 – Providing Greater Flexibility for Making Infrastructure Project Grants
• SB 317 – Authorizing Three of More Adjacent Counties form Multicounty Trail Network Authority
• SB 421 – Relating to Annual Legislative Review of Economic Development Tax Credit
• HB 2004 – Providing for a Program of Instruction in Workforce Preparedness
• HB 2396 – The Fresh Food Act
• HB 2550 – Creating a Matching Program for the Small Business Innovation and Research Program and the Small Business Technology Transfer Program
• HB 2828 – Relating to Qualified Opportunity Zones
• HB 3024 – West Virginia Business Ready Sites Program

Health-Related Legislation:
• SB 255 – Relating to Emergency Medical Services Advisory Committee
• SB 400 – Allowing Board of Dentistry to Create Special Licenses
• SB 537 – Creating Workgroup to Review Hospice Need Standards
• SB 564 – Expanding Comprehensive Coverage for Pregnant Women through Medicaid
• SB 587 – Relating to PEIA Reimbursement of Air Ambulance Providers
• SB 593 – Permitting Critical Access Hospital become Community Outpatient Medical Center
• SB 640 – Regulating Sudden Cardiac Arrest Prevention
• SB 641 – Relating to Primary Care Support Program
• SB 653 – Relating Generally to Practice of Medical Corporations
• SB 668 – Relating to Physician Assistants Collaborating with Physicians in Hospitals
• HB 2010 – Managed Health Care for Children in Foster Care System
• HB 2525 – Tobacco Cessation Therapy Access Act
• HB 2531 – Permitting Trained Nurses to Provide Mental Health Services in a Medication-Assisted Treatment Program
• HB 2538 – Banking Services for Medical Cannabis
• HB 2583 – Family Planning Access Act
• HB 2849 – Establishing Different Classes of Pharmacy Technicians
• HB 2947 – Relating Generally to Telemedicine Prescription Practice Requirements and Exceptions 

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