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March 17, 2022 Edition


Under the Dome delivers a review of issues being considered by the West Virginia Legislature. It provides information on matters that affect WVU and higher education, as well as other hot topics being addressed. This edition includes a rundown of the bills that completed the legislative process and those that failed to cross the finish line by the midnight deadline on March 12.


On Saturday morning, the House passed Senate Bill 250, the Budget Bill. The version passed the Senate last Thursday and is a compromise between the two chambers. It preserves funding for WVU that was included in the Governor’s introduced budget and provides additional money for a portion of the pay raises promised in the Governor’s State of the State. The budget accounts for $14 million from the insurance premium tax for WVU Health Sciences, which will replace the soda tax revenue that has supported our academic medical, nursing and dental programs since 1951.

The Legislature also included in the surplus section of the budget $600 million for economic development projects, $100 million for Congressional earmark maintenance of effort spending and $265 million in additional budget surplus.


Senate Bill 498 did not cross the finish line. The bill substantially changed from what was introduced back in January. Senate Education reformed several provisions that would affect both K-12 and higher education. Once the bill made it to the House of Delegates, the House Education Committee removed the section impacting higher education. House Judiciary then further reduced the burden to K-12, and on the House floor, the chamber adopted more changes before passing the bill 75-24 and sending it back to the Senate. However, the bill failed to meet the midnight deadline and did not become law.


House Bill 4008 completed the legislative process and heads to the Governor’s desk. It funds a portion of an institution’s appropriation based on certain performance metrics focused on student success and mission achievement that strengthen the state’s economy and workforce; sets a floor for year-to-year appropriations; differentiates missions and goals for institutions; and maintains administrative and statutory exemptions for certain schools, including WVU. The bill would go into effect in the FY2024 State budget year cycle with a hold-harmless provision of three years. HEPC would track the metrics and submit to the Governor and Legislature what an institution should receive in State funding based on the formula. The Governor and Legislature, however, would still retain the authority to set appropriations. The bill also includes a provision that would allow four-year institutions to create new four-year programs on their existing campuses without HEPC approval.


Senate Bill 546 would allow an institution of higher education to pledge a portion of its tuition and fee revenue toward debt service and would add IT projects to the list of capital projects that an institution of higher education could issue debt for. The bill passed the House last Thursday and completed legislative action in the Senate on Friday. The bill heads to the Governor’s desk for his signature or veto.

Senate Bill 533 would eliminate the soda tax and replace support for WVU Health Sciences through the insurance premium tax. The bill secures $14 million in revenue for our medical, nursing and dental programs; secures $5.5 million for Marshall University’s School of Medicine; and $3.9 million for the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine.


Senate Bill 656 completed legislative action on Saturday and heads to the Governor’s desk. It would incentivize employers to create childcare facilities via a tax credit that would be received over several years. The bill would also allow a business to join with other businesses in creating new childcare centers. The goal is to give employers a new option to help recruit and retain workers, and to give employees of participating employers the benefit of having childcare close to their workplace.

WVU fully supported this legislation. The University believes the bill will enhance quality of life, increase workforce participation, reduce the burden on working families and improve the educational attainment of young children. President Gee signed a letter with the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce and other businesses and organizations asking for the Legislature to pass the bill.


House Bill 4479 completed the legislative process on Friday. It creates the Coalfield Community Grant Facilitation Commission. The purpose of the commission is to assist coalfield communities with applying for and administering federal, state and local grants for economic development and revitalization efforts. The commission will be chaired by the EDA and its members will be from business and industry, higher education, community foundations, county and municipal governments and three members from different regions of the state.


House Bill 4502 incentivizes the building of residential housing in targeted regions of West Virginia. The bill would allow for a reduction of certain taxes for materials, services and personal property taxes. The bill will enhance housing for residents and communities and help to attract individuals and families, such as remote workers, to the Mountain State.

SB 230

Senate Bill 230 would have changed the grievance procedure for public employees. The bill passed the Senate 23-11 and was changed by the House Judiciary Committee before reaching the House floor. On Friday, the House of Delegates rejected the bill on a vote of 39-61.


Several bills passed related to energy production in West Virginia.

On rare earth elements, House Bill 4003 completed legislative action. It establishes rights to compounds, substances and elements found in the treatment process of acid mine drainage. It now goes to the Governor’s desk for review.

House Bill 4098 completed legislative action and heads to the Governor’s desk. It will help with the development of geothermal energy.

Senate Bill 4 lifts West Virginia’s ban on nuclear energy. It passed both the Senate and the House. Governor Justice signed it into law on February 8. The law will go into effect on May 1.

Unfortunately, House Bill 4025 did not complete the legislative process this year. It would have provided for a severance tax exemption on severing rare earth elements. On the last day of session, the Senate amended a different tax bill (amusement tax for county governments) into the bill and sent it back to the House. The House refused to concur with that change and asked the Senate to recede from its position. The midnight deadline came before the bill was reconsidered.


More than 2,200 bills were introduced during this session, but only 293 made it across the finish line. Here are a number of bills that may be of interest:

SB 1 – Creating Mining Mutual Insurance Company
SB 231 – Relating to Broadband Connectivity
SB 656 – Providing Tax Credit for Certain Corporations with Child-Care Facilities
HB 2096 – Reinstating the Film Investment Tax Credit
HB 2910 – Modifying the Allowable Number of Magistrate Judges per County
HB 4001 – Relating to Broadband Connectivity
HB 4002 – Creating the Certified Sites and Development Readiness Program
HB 4311 – Creating Criminal Penalties for Illegal Voting Activity
HB 4479 – Establishing the Coalfield Communities Grant Facilitation Commission
HB 4502 – Establishing the BUILD WV Act
HB 4566 – Creating the Economic Enhancement Grant Fund

SB 228 – Providing Tuition and Fee Waivers for AmeriCorps Volunteers
SB 533 – Funding for Health Sciences and Medical Schools in State
SB 546 – Expanding Use of Fees Paid by Students at Higher Education Institutions
HB 4008 – Relating to Higher Education Policy Commission Funding Formula
HB 4291 – Authorizing Legislative Rules for Higher Education
HB 4355 – Relating to the Disclosure by Higher Education Institutions of Certain Information and Charges Assessed Regarding Textbooks and Digital Courseware

SB 246 – Requiring Newly Constructed and Majorly-Improved Public Schools to Have Water Bottle Filling Stations
SB 261 – Requiring Video Cameras in Certain Special Education Classrooms
SB 529 – Encouraging Additional Computer Science Education in Public Schools
SB 704 – Allowing Parents, Grandparents and Guardians to Inspect Instructional Materials in Classrooms

SB 25 – Updating Provisions of Medical Professional Liability Act
SB 138 – Relating to Board of Medicine Composition
SB 205 – Expanding PEIA Finance Board Membership
SB 419 – Establishing Pilot Project to Evaluate Impact of Certain Post-Substance Use Disorder Residential Treatments
SB 518 – Allowing Nurses Licensed in Another State to Practice in West Virginia
HB 2817 – Donated Drug Repository Program
HB 4012 – Prohibiting the Showing of Proof of a COVID-19 Vaccination
HB 4257 – Requiring Visitation Immediately Following Procedure in Health Care Facility
HB 4276 – Creating Parkinson’s Disease Registry at WVU
HB 4373 – Excluding Fentanyl Test Strips from the Definition of Drug Paraphernalia
HB 4377 – Updating the Involuntary Commitment Process

SB 4 – Repealing Ban on Construction of Nuclear Power Plants
HB 4003 – Relating to Commercial Benefit of Substances Like Rare Earth Elements Removed from Waters of the State by the Treatment of Mine Drainage
HB 4098 – Relating to Geothermal Energy Development
HB 4491 – Establishing Requirements for Carbon Dioxide Sequestration

To review a full list of bills passed during the 2022 Regular Session, please visit:

To review a full list of bills from the 2022 Regular Session signed or vetoed by the Governor, please visit:

Vaccine Passports

House Bill 4012 would have prohibited an institution of higher education from requiring proof of a COVID-19 vaccination to enter a premise on campus or enroll in a program. The House Judiciary Committee and Senate Judiciary Committee changed the bill to exclude Medicare and Medicaid-certified facilities and to comport with federal law and federal regulations, which will help protect WVU and our hospital system.

SB 10

Senate Bill 10 would have added the ability to donate to the Rifle Team when purchasing a hunting or fishing license. The bill passed the Senate unanimously. The House Finance Committee amended the bill and passed it unanimously on Friday. Due to the changes, the bill had to return to the Senate for that body to concur with the House proposal. Unfortunately, the bill did not make it across the midnight finish line.

SB 653

Senate Bill 653 would have merged Fairmont State University and Pierpont Community and Technical College. The bill passed the Senate 22-11 on March 2. House Education amended the bill to only move Pierpont’s Aircraft Maintenance Program to Fairmont. The bill passed the House 90-3. The Senate did not take up the House message and the bill died when the midnight deadline passed.


The Legislature announced its interim meeting schedule for the rest of the year. The sessions will kick off April 24-26 in Charleston at the State Capitol. From May 22-24, legislators will assemble in Morgantown for interim meetings, hosted by WVU. The legislators will meet again in Charleston June 12-14, July 24-26 and September 11-13. From November 13-15, legislators will meet at Cacapon State Park in Berkeley Springs and in Charleston on December 5 and 6. Legislative interims will wrap up from January 8-10 before the next Regular Session starts on January 11, 2023.


Travis Mollohan and Rocco Fucillo, both part of WVU’s State Government Relations Team, represent WVU at the State Capitol during the session. They can answer questions about any issues addressed by the Legislature. Contact them via email at: Travis Mollohan ( or Rocco Fucillo (


To learn more about the Legislature, including district maps, bill tracking, committee assignments and a summary of daily activities, please visit

To learn more about WVU’s legislative and government relations initiatives, please visit