Under the Dome delivers a review of the issues being considered and passed by the
85th Legislature of West Virginia. It provides information on matters that affect
WVU and higher education. This edition provides a wrap-up of the final days of
legislative session, focusing primarily on the 2022 Budget Bill, personal income
tax reduction plan, soft drinks tax, campus carry and other issues.
The House and Senate reached a compromise on the budget and passed the measure before Saturday’s midnight deadline. On Friday, the House voted 86-14 to approve the 2022 Fiscal Year State Budget. The Legislature reduced WVU’s general appropriation lines by 1.5%. Additionally, the Legislature decided to fund $16.6 million of the WVU appropriation by using anticipated current fiscal year surplus amounts. The State currently has a surplus of around $235 million for this fiscal year. WVU and Marshall were the only higher education institutions to receive a reduction this year. On Saturday, the Senate approved the bill as well, in a vote of 23-11. Governor Justice will have until the end of the week to approve the budget, veto it or use his veto line item power to eliminate or reduce specific funds.
CAMPUS CARRY AND SODA TAX
While a number of bills were introduced, neither campus carry nor an elimination or reduction of the soda tax were ultimately considered or passed by the Legislature. The Government Relations Team will continue to engage with legislators and our campus and community on this issue prior to the 2022 session.
HOUSE BILL 3293
Last week, the Senate passed House Bill 3293, which would permit only single-sex participation in interscholastic and college athletic programs. The vote was close – 18 for and 15 against. On Friday, the House approved the bill in a vote of 80-20. WVU’s LGBTQ+ Center, Student Government Association and Department of Pediatrics sent letters to legislators voicing their concerns and opposition to the bill. The measure now goes to Governor Justice to be approved or vetoed. He has indicated he will not veto it.
REMOTE WORKER LEGISLATION
On Friday, Governor Justice signed House Bill 2026 into law. The legislation, supported through the joint efforts of WVU and the West Virginia Division of Tourism, would modernize the collection of state corporate income taxes for mobile workforces.
Earlier this week, Governor Justice was joined by President Gee, Secretary of Tourism Chelsea Ruby, and West Virginia native Brad Smith and his wife, Alys Smith, to officially launch the nation’s premiere remote worker program, aimed at recruiting outdoor enthusiast professionals and young families to the Mountain State. The program, called Ascend West Virginia, will allow adventurers to enjoy world-class recreation, uncrowded spaces and a low cost of living while staying fully connected to their jobs. House Bill 2026 was introduced and passed to support this effort.
To learn more on WVU’s Brad and Alys Smith Outdoor Economic Development Collaborative, please visit: https://provost.wvu.edu/centers-institutes/oedc.To learn more on Ascend West Virginia, please visit: http://ascendwv.com.
PERSONAL INCOME TAX REDUCTION PLAN
After the Senate passed its version of the personal income tax reduction on an 18-16 vote, the House unanimously rejected the Senate’s personal income tax reduction plan. Governor Justice has indicated that he plans on continuing to champion the issue as a measure to attract population and investment, and he stated he is taking his advocacy on the road directly to citizens and voters. The governor may also call a special session in the coming months to further consider the idea.
More than 2,000 bills were introduced, but only 282 (160 from the House and 122 from the Senate) ultimately passed; 78 bills have already been signed by the governor, one was vetoed and one became law without the governor’s signature. Over the next couple weeks, the remaining bills will be reviewed and approved or vetoed by the governor.
Here is a summary list of a number of bills that may be of interest to our campus and the general public:Higher Education-Related Legislation
SB 307 – Relating Generally to In-State Tuition for Certain Persons
SB 335 – Relating to West Virginia Invests Grant Program for Students at Accredited Community and Technical Colleges
SB 657 – Relating to Free Expression on State Institution of Higher Education Campuses
HB 2001 – Creating the West Virginia Jumpstart Savings Program
HB 2529 – Prohibiting Institutions of Higher Education from Discriminating Against Graduates of Private, Nonpublic or Home Schools by Requiring Them to Submit to Alternative Testing
HB 3293 – Relating to Single-Sex Participation in Interscholastic Athletic Events
HB 3299 – Authorizing Higher Education Rules
SB 272 – Relating to West Virginia Employment Law Worker Classification Act
SB 275 – Establishing an Intermediate Appellate Court
SB 277 – Creating COVID-19 Jobs Protection Act
SB 280 – Relating to E-Commerce Modernization
SB 343 – Authorizing DMV to Process Online Driver’s License or Identification Card Change of Address
SB 346 – Authorizing DMV to Use Electronic Means when Providing Notice for Licensees and Vehicle Owners
SB 389 – State Resiliency Office Responsibility to Plan for Emergency and Disaster Response, Recovery, and Resiliency
SB 470 – Limiting Release of Certain Personal Information Maintained by State Agencies
SB 486 – Relating to Powers and Duties of Chief Technology Officer
SB 492 – Establishing Program for Bonding to Reclaim Abandoned Wind and Solar Generation Facilities
SB 587 – Making Contract Consummation with State More Efficient
SB 641 – Allowing Counties to Use Severance Tax Proceeds for Little Cleanup Programs
SB 642 – Requiring Legal Advertisements Be Published Online by State Auditor
SB 660 – Providing for Cooperation between Law Enforcement Agencies and Military Authorities
HB 2014 – Relating to Role of the Legislature in Appropriating Federal Funds
HB 2019 – Elevating Economic Development and Tourism Departments
HB 2025 – Provide Liquor, Wine, and Beer Licenses with New Concepts Developed During the State of Emergency Utilizing New Technology to Provide Greater Freedom to Operate in a Safe and Responsible Manner
HB 2026 – Relating to the Modernization of Collections of Income Taxes by Adopting Uniform Provisions Relating to the Mobile Workforce
HB 2499 – Tax Reduction for Arms and Ammo Manufacturing
HB 2573 – Transparency and Accountability of State Grants to Reduce Waste, Fraud and Abuse
HB 2633 – Creating the 2021 Farm Bill
HB 2667 – To Create a Cost Saving Program for State Buildings regarding Energy Efficiency
HB 2694 – Creating the Second Amendment Preservation Act
HB 2763 – Creating West Virginia Cyber Incident Reporting
HB 2793 – Permit Out-of-State Residents to Obtain West Virginia Concealed Carry Permits
HB 2794 – Extend the Neighborhood Investment Program Act to July 1, 2026
HB 2888 – Relating to When Conditions Can Be Revived Based on Forensic Scientific Evidence that Was Not Available at Time of Conviction
HB 2891 – Creating Minimum Standards for Law Enforcement Officers
HB 2915 – Relating to Public Records Management and Preservation
HB 2933 – Anti-Discrimination Against Israel Act
HB 2982 – Second Chances at Life Act of 2021
HB 3301 – Relating Generally to Property Tax Increment Financing Districts
SB 295 – Relating Generally to Economic Development Loans and Loan Issuance for Broadband Development Issued by the State
SB 12 – Local Health Department Accountability
SB 334 – Establishing License Application Process for Needle Exchange Programs
SB 387 – Relating to Drug Screening of Applicants for Cash Assistance
SB 398 – Limiting Eligibility of Certain Employers to Participate in PEIA Plans
SB 714 – Relating to Physician Assistant Practice Act
HB 2024 – Expand Use of Telemedicine to All Medical Personnel
HB 2266 – Expanding Certain Insurance Coverage for Pregnant Women
HB 2368 – Creating Patient Visitation Privileges (Mylissa Smith’s Law)
HB 2962 – Relating Generally to Dental Practice
SB 11 – Declaring Work Stoppage or Strike by Public Employees to Be Unlawful
SB 14 – Additional Options for Alternative Certification of Teachers
SB 89 – Exempting Certain Kindergarten and Preschool Programs Offered by Private Schools from Registration Requirements
SB 651 – Allowing County Boards of Education to Publish Financial Statements on Website
HB 2012 – Expanding Public Charter Schools
HB 2013 – Establishing Hope Scholarship Program
HB 2785 – Relating to Public School Enrollment for Students from Out of State Constitutional Amendments
HJR 2 – Providing that Courts Have No Authority or Jurisdiction to Intercede or Intervene in, or Interfere with, Any Impeachment Proceedings of the Senate or the House of Delegates
HJR 3 – Property Tax Modernization Amendment
Before it adjourned on Saturday, the Legislature announced its interim meeting schedule for the rest of the year. Legislators will meet on May 10 to begin the interim session, as well as June 6-8, September 12-14, October 10-12, November 14-16, December 5-7, and will meet in 2022 on January 9-11 before the 2022 regular session kicks off on January 12.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, no activities are taking place this year at the State Capitol. Additionally, due to the health regulations, visitors to the Capitol will need to have an appointment with a legislator or be seeking services from a state agency within the capitol building.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 (email@example.com) or Rocco Fucillo (firstname.lastname@example.org).
MORE INFORMATIONTo learn more about the Legislature, including district maps, bill tracking, committee assignments and a summary of legislative activities, please visit www.wvlegislature.gov.
To learn more about WVU’s legislative and government relation initiatives, please visit https://governmentrelations.wvu.edu.