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February 10, 2023 Edition

In Review

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 that impact the Mountain State and its citizens. The edition includes highlights from the first four weeks of session, campus carry, WVU Day at the Legislature, immunizations, gender affirming care and a rundown of bills introduced and passed during the 86th Legislature of West Virginia.

Campus Carry

Senate Bill 10, the Campus Self Defense Act, passed the Senate 29-4. The Senate’s three Democrats were joined by one Republican. It would permit campus carry on campus, in classrooms and in certain buildings and spaces. The bill is very similar to House Bill 2519, which passed the House in 2019 but failed in the Senate.

WVU does not support statewide campus carry. We support local control and believe our Board of Governors is best suited to decide whether guns should be permitted on campus. However, there is widespread support in the Legislature for campus carry. We have asked the House Judiciary Committee where the bill will be considered next, to make sure certain safeguards and best practices from other states remain in the bill.

WVU Day at the Legislature

Last week, the Legislature celebrated WVU Day at the State Capitol. President Gee was joined by the Mountaineer Mary Roush and several deans as the Senate and House of Delegates proclaimed Tuesday, January 31 as WVU and WVU Extension Day. Several student groups, faculty and staff members, and other University supporters were on hand to share how WVU and WVU Extension help move West Virginia forward.

Universities United

Students, faculty, staff, administrators and alums from WVU and Marshall came together in Charleston on the evening of January 31 to celebrate the two universities in the first Universities United Legislative Reception. Numerous delegates and senators attended to show their support for WVU and Marshall. President Gee and Marshall President Brad Smith made comments to the attendees, showcasing the joint efforts between the two universities on education, health and economic and community development.

Budget Hearing

Last Thursday, President Gee and Vice President Rob Alsop spoke to the Senate Finance Committee as part of the committee’s budget hearing on WVU. President Gee addressed the transformational work being done at the University, on our campuses and across the state, and Rob Alsop discussed State appropriations, legislation that could impact our campus and community, deferred maintenance and budget challenges facing higher education.

Childhood Immunizations

Senate Bill 535, introduced by freshman Senator Laura Wakim Chapman, would provide for a religious and philosophical exemption to West Virginia’s school-aged immunization law. A letter opposing the bill has been sent to members of the Senate from the three medical school deans at WVU, Marshall and the West Virginia Osteopathic School; WVU Medicine; Marshall Health; Mountain Health; and Vandalia Health.

Gender Affirming Care

House Bill 2007 would prohibit a physician from providing gender reassignment surgery to a person who is under 18 years of age. In the House Judiciary Committee, where the bill was considered last week, the members included gender altering medications to the list of prohibited medical practices. The bill passed the House 84-10 on Friday. The bill next goes to the Senate where the Senate Health and Judiciary committees will debate the bill.


Several bills have been introduced banning certain social media platforms and programs, like TikTok, from government devices and systems. Two bills (House Bill 2898 and Senate Bill 426) are moving through both chambers of the Legislature. Cybersecurity experts fear foreign powers are able to access user data through these applications. The bills follow restrictions already put in place on the national and state level. If the bill passes the Legislature and is signed by the Governor, WVU will have to remove certain applications from its State-owned devices and restrict access to certain platforms.

House Concurrent Resolution 11

WVU and WVU Tech are working with the House Speaker’s Office, Marshall University and the Higher Education Policy Commission on a collaborative effort related to nuclear energy and technology. Last Friday, the House of Delegates passed House Concurrent Resolution 11, which would set up this collaboration between the State and higher education institutions. The effort will also include a regional partnership with Virginia Tech.

Deferred Maintenance

In his introduced budget, Governor Justice committed $75 million to deferred maintenance issues for West Virginia’s public colleges and universities, an issue he talked about in his State of the State address. Last week, HEPC Chancellor Sarah Tucker asked the Legislature to consider appropriating $100 million in one-time surplus funding to assist college and universities in addressing these critical infrastructure improvements. During the WVU Budget Hearing in Senate Finance, President Gee and Vice President Alsop presented on the request and shared specific information related to WVU and the deferred maintenance issues on our campuses.

Hunger Free Campus

Senator Amy Grady, Senate Education Chair, has introduced Senate Bill 578 to create a Hunger Free Campus Grant Program. The program would be administered by the Higher Education Policy Commission and provide funding to institutions to address food insecurity issues. Colleges and universities would also be required to establish a Campus Hunger Task Force to promote the program and develop solutions to improve food insecurity issues and food availability on campuses.

Tax Reform

On Wednesday, the Senate released its tax reform plan.

Senators are proposing to:

• Cut the personal income tax by 15% with economic triggers to reduce it further in the coming years
• Eliminate the marriage penalty for married couples
• Create a rebate process for the car tax
• Rebate 50% of the business inventory and equipment tax on small businesses
• Expand the Homestead real property exemption to 90-100% service-disabled veterans

After revealing the concept in the morning, the Senate reconvened in a late afternoon session and passed Senate Bill 424 unanimously after suspending the Constitutional rules a bill be read on three separate days.
It now goes to the House of Delegates for consideration.

Bills Introduced

More than 1,900 bills have been introduced. Several bills are being followed by the WVU Government Relations Team and are of interest to the University and our community. A rundown of high-profile bills includes:

SB 1 – Requiring HEPC to create the Promise Plus Scholarship Program
SB 9 – West Virginia Monument and Memorial Protection Act
SB 10 – The Campus Self Defense Act
SB 11 – Prohibiting Excessive Government Limitations on Exercise of Religion
SB 19 – Revised Uniform Athlete Agents Act
SB 23 – Fetal Heartbeat Act
SB 85 – Establishing Tax Credit for Certain Physicians Who Locate to Practice in West Virginia
SB 93 – Prohibiting the Teaching of Divisive Acts and Critical Race Theory in Public Schools
SB 103 – Prohibiting Certain Funding and Attendance of Minors to Drag Shows
SB 121 – Creating Student Journalist Press Freedom Protection Act
SB 125 – Safeguarding Concealed Carry Permit Holder’s Information
SB 126 – Reorganizing DHHR
SB 127 – Relating to Reimbursement of Hospital Inpatient Rates for PEIA
SB 130 – Anti-Racism Act of 2023
SB 150 – Budget Bill
SB 153 – West Virginia Chemical Abortion Prohibition Act
SB 188 – Creating Grid Stabilization and Security Act of 2023
SB 215 – Creating No TikTok on Government Devices Act
SB 224 – Establishing Revocation of Authority for Spending by Agency in Support of Challenge to West Virginia Law
SB 227 – Promise for Promise Act
SB 238 – Specifying When Public Employee’s Spouse May Be Covered by PEIA
SB 251 – Displaying Official Motto of United States in Public Schools and Higher Education Institutions
SB 266 – Relating to Tobacco Usage Restrictions
SB 269 – Increasing Dental Coverage Limit for Medicaid Enrollees
SB 288 – Relating to Sexual Assault Examination Network
SB 289 – Establishing Minority Health Advisory Team
SB 291 – Eliminating Restriction to Carry Firearm on State Capitol Complex Grounds
SB 304 – Increasing Criminal Penalty for Fentanyl
SB 306 – Establishing Summer Feeding for All Program
SB 423 – Increasing Salary for Certain State Employees
SB 426 – Banning Use of Certain Products and Platforms Deemed Unsafe or High Risk on Government Systems
SB 432 – Granting Fleet Management Division Oversight Authority of State Vehicle Fleet
SB 438 – Return to West Virginia Tax Credit Act
SB 461 – Relating to West Virginia Public Employees Grievance Procedure
SB 481 – Extending Sunset Provision of Upper Kanawha Valley Resiliency and Revitalization Program
SB 488 – Aligning State and Federal Accreditation Rules
SB 526 – Including Early Detection and Diagnosis of Alzheimer’s and Other Dementias in Public Health Programs and Services
SB 528 – Requiring Certificate of Need Be Subject to Legislative Rulemaking
SB 535 – Creating Religious and Philosophical Exemptions for School Attendance Vaccines
SB 543 – Authorizing Rule-Making Changes to Terms, Procedures and Reporting Duties in Higher Education
SB 551 – Creating Medicaid State Plan Amendment
SB 552 – Relating to Abortion
SB 578 – Hunger Free Campus Act

HB 2001 – Reduce Personal Income Tax Rates by 10% for All
HB 2003 – Providing Early Childhood Assistant Teachers and Systems of Support to Help Students Achieve Grade Level Literacy and Numeracy by End of Third Grade
HB 2005 – Establishing Dual Enrollment Pilot Program to Be Administered by HEPC and CTC in Conjunction with State Board of Education
HB 2006 – Reorganizing DHHR
HB 2007 – Prohibiting Certain Medical Practices
HB 2009 – Authority and Obligations of the Governor and Legislature When in Declared States of Preparedness and Emergency
HB 2024 – Budget Bill
HB 2244 – Providing a Process by which a City May Hold an Election to Recall an Ordinance
HB 2249 – Specifying when a Public Employee’s Spouse May Be Covered by PEIA
HB 2254 – Natural Gas Electric Generation Development Act
HB 2264 – Establishing the Minority Health Advisory Team
HB 2386 – Ban Sanctuary Cities in West Virginia
HB 2421 – The Campus Self Defense Act
HB 2474/3042 – The West Virginia Religious Freedom Restoration Act
HB 2497 – Prohibiting Requiring COVID-19 Vaccine or Booster to Attend in Person Classes at Colleges and Universities
HB 2502 – Repeal Law Requiring Motorcycle Riders to Wear a Helmet
HB 2504 – Relating to PROMISE Scholarship Program Requirements
HB 2510 – Establishing Rare Earth Element and Critical Mineral Investment Tax Credit Act
HB 2526 – Reducing the Personal Income Tax
HB 2536 – Permitting Physicians to Provide Exemption Certificates Relating to Required Immunizations
HB 2542 – Make It Illegal for Any State Employee to Access TikTok through a Government Device
HB 2558 – Providing a Religious Exemption for Compulsory Immunizations
HB 2559 – Prohibiting Mask Mandates in the State of West Virginia
HB 2590 – Repealing the State Helmet Law
HB 2633 – Campus Self Defense Act
HB 2637 – Creating a State Central Legal Advertising Website
HB 2757 – Amending Eligibility of WV Invests Program by Providing That a Not–For–Profit Hospital Based Allied Health Program Is Eligible
HB 2759 – Updating the Health Care Provider Tax
HB 2603 – Vaccination and Mask Requirements
HB 2768 – Require All State Entities and Chapter 30 Boards Use “.gov” Domains and Email Addresses
HB 2774 – Veterans Welcome Home Grant Program
HB 2775 – Raise Pay for Certain Employees
HB 2786 – Objective Reality in Government Act
HB 2789 – Relating to Certificate of Need
HB 2800 – Authorizing Higher Education Rules
HB 2824 – Campus Carry
HB 2825 – Prohibiting Mask Mandates
HB 2833 – Establishing Behavioral Health Workforce Education Initiative at HEPC
HB 2878 – To Grant Fleet Management Division Oversight Authority of State Vehicle Fleet
HB 2887 – Elimination of Helmet Requirement for Motorcycles
HB 2888 – Elimination of Statewide Contracts That Are Awarded to Out of State Vendors
HB 2896 – Relating to Making West Virginia an Agreement State with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
HB 2898 – Banning High Risk Technologies from Government Systems
HB 2938 – To Modify the Number of Magistrates per County
HB 2972 – Prohibit Public University Names for Gender Affirming Care
HB 2989 – Increasing the Number of Out-of-State Medical Students Receiving In-State Tuition Rates Who Agree to Practice for a Specific Time within West Virginia
HB 2993 – Relating to Rural Emergency Hospital Licensure
HB 2999 – To Choose to Not Vaccinate Children Does Not Amount to Abuse and Neglect
HB 3000 – Universities Must Accept Religious, Medical, or Right of Conscience Exemptions to Taking Vaccinations
HB 3002 – To Create a Crime to Send Someone Abortion Pills through the Mail
HB 3003 – Stop Practice of Medicine by Telehealth for Abortion Prescriptions
HB 3006 – West Virginia Critical Infrastructure Protection Act
HB 3012 – Encouraging Economic Development of Rare Earth Elements and Critical Minerals by Providing Temporary Severance Tax Relief
HB 3024 – Hunger Free Campus Act
HB 3049 – Creating the American Campuses Act
HB 3069 – Requiring All Injuries and Side Effects from Vaccines Be Reported by Medical Professionals to Bureau for Public Health
HB 3070 – Increasing Retirement Benefits for Public Employees
HB 3078 – Allow State Employees to Cash in on Certain Benefits
HB 3094 – Create the Remote Worker Home Development Act
HB 3097 – Banning Medicaid and CHIP from Paying for Child and Adult Transgender Surgeries
HB 3116 – Creating the No Patient Left Alone Act
HB 3143 – Allow for Religious Exemptions for Vaccines
HB 3144 – No Vaccine Mandates for Schools
HB 3166 – Permit a Hospital to Hold a Patient Experiencing a Psychiatric Emergency for Up to 72 Hours
HB 3174 – Relating Generally to Magistrate Courts
HB 3184 – West Virginia Medical Information Confidentiality and Anti-Discrimination Act
HB 3185 – Transparency in Government Act
HB 3273 – Create State Tech Transfer Commission
HB 3294 – Ensuring Future Economic Development with Limitations, Excise Tax, and Registration Requirements of Carbon Offset Agreements
HB 3300 – To Provide for the Creation of an “EV Manufacturers Investment Credit”
HB 3303 – Clarifying and Expanding the Powers and Duties of the Director of the Coalfield Community Development Office
HB 3305 – Creating the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Act

Legislative Calendar
Friday, February 10                 Undergraduate Research Day
Tuesday, February 14              Last Day to Introduce Bills in the House
Monday, February 20              Last Day to Introduce Bills in the Senate
Sunday, February 26               Bills Due Out of Committee in Chamber of Origin
Wednesday, March 1              Last Day to Consider Bills on Third Reading (Crossover Day)
Saturday, March 11                Last Day of Session (Adjournment at Midnight)

More Information

To learn more about the Legislature, including district maps, committee assignments, bill tracking and a summary of daily activities, please visit .
To learn more about WVU’s government relations and legislative initiatives, please visit or contact Travis Mollohan, director of government relations, at