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January 26, 2024 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. This edition includes highlights from the third week of legislative session, a review of bills introduced and bills moving through the legislative process and the upcoming budget hearings.

School for Tourism

On Wednesday, Governor Justice announced the creation of the first-ever School for Tourism. It will be hosted by WVU and supported by the West Virginia Department of Education’s Division of Instruction and Career Engagement. According to Governor Justice’s press release, the School for Tourism will provide students a 10-day, hands-on learning tour of the Mountain State. Additionally, these budding industry ambassadors will visit many of the state’s travel regions and meet with dozens of industry professionals who will offer a glimpse into the variety of sectors within tourism. This includes outdoor recreation, arts and culture, hospitality and lodging and culinary arts. The program is provided at no cost to students and families. The School for Tourism will accept one freshman or sophomore student from each county, as well as one student from each of the state’s five charter schools and a student from the West Virginia School for the Deaf and the Blind. WVU’s Chambers College of Business and Economics and the Outdoor Economic Development Collaborative have been working with Tourism Secretary Chelsea Ruby on the project.

Budget Hearings

Next week, the Finance Committees will hear from WVU officials on the University’s FY2025 budget requests. On Wednesday at 1:00 p.m., President Gee and Paula Congelio will speak to the House Finance Committee. They will appear before the Senate Finance Committee on Thursday at 4:00 p.m.
An audio link for the House Finance Committee can be found at: .
The Senate Finance Committee will be livestreamed at: .

Economic Development

House Bill 5308 would add economic development efforts to the purposes of higher education research corporations. It was introduced on Tuesday. It is sponsored by legislators representing Marshall and Cabell County but is supported by WVU through our Universities United partnership. A similar bill, SB 543, was introduced in the Senate. Its sponsors include Senator Oliverio from Monongalia County.


Speaker Hanshaw introduced House Bill 5014, which would provide a $2 million supplemental appropriation to the Rockefeller Neurosciences Institute (RNI) for a pilot project with the Food and Drug Administration. The bill will go through the House Finance Committee first before the full House considers it. Then it will go to the Senate for consideration before it would reach the Governor’s desk.

In God We Trust

Senate Bill 152 has passed the Senate 31-1. It would require all public schools, including state higher education institutions, to display the official motto of the United States (“In God We Trust”) in all classrooms if the posters are donated or paid for by a private entity or individual. Last year, a similar bill passed the Senate, but it was amended by the House Education Committee. The bill did not ultimately pass the Legislature during the 2023 session.


House Bill 4387, relating to nondiscrimination at institutions of higher education, was introduced the first day of session. It is a carryover bill from last year and was not considered during the previous session. It would restrict diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) offices and programs. While this bill is not moving through the legislative process, the Government Relations Team is monitoring other bills that might affect any higher education policies, including DEI.

Longest-Serving Senator Honored

WVU joined with Marshall and other organizations in supporting the State Senate and the Legislative Women’s Caucus in paying tribute to the longest-serving state senator in West Virginia’s history – Donna J. Boley of Pleasants County. Sen. Boley has served in the Senate since 1985, when then-Gov. Arch Moore appointed her to the seat.

Bills Introduced

More than 1,600 bills have already been introduced. Historically, a couple thousand more will be introduced by members of the House and Senate, but only 200-300 will be seriously considered; even fewer will ultimately become law.
Several bills are being followed by the Government Relations Team and are of interest to the University and our community. High-profile bills include:

HB 4011 – Modify exemptions from criminal liability to include a distinction for biological lessons regarding reproduction
HB 4019 – Regulation of Sports Wagering
HB 4025 – Budget Bill
HB 4172 – Amend section providing for waiver of tuition and fees for older persons auditing certain college classes
HB 4192 – Allow for religious exemptions for getting vaccinations
HB 4195 – Relating to reporting requirements under the Grant Transparency and Accountability Act
HB 4215 – To ensure that hospitals do not provide lesser treatment to unvaccinated individuals as opposed to vaccinated individuals
HB 4271 – Creating the Economic Development Tuition Waiver
HB 4276 – Relating to transferred right of self-defense to a person who engages an active shooter on school grounds
HB 4290 – To create the American Campuses Act
HB 4348 – Relating to natural immunity or antibodies to any illness being treated as equal or better to vaccine induced immunity
HB 4357 – To prohibit public university names for gender affirming care
HB 4387 – Relating to nondiscrimination at institutions of higher education, was introduced the first day of session. It is a carryover bill from last year and was not considered during the previous session
HB 4401 – Require that all injures and side effects from vaccines be reported by medical professional to the Bureau for Public Health
HB 4403 – Providing options to vaccinations and mask requirements as a condition of entry of schools
HB 4414 – Strengthening anti-hazing laws and policies for pre-K to grade 12
HB 4439 – Prohibiting requiring COVID-19 vaccine or booster shot to attend in-person classes at colleges and universities
HB 4456 – Remove the helmet law in WV
HB 4457 – Remove assessments for home schoolers
HB 4464 – Life at Conception Act of 2024
HB 4516 – Revoke spending authority for money used by an agency in support of a challenge to WV law
HB 4563 – Prohibit State funding for any organization that performs abortions
HB 4592 – Relating to a State-funded psychiatric residency program
HB 4629 – Hunger Free Campus Act
HB 4656 – Relating to microreactor development
HB 4693 – Expanding the amount of Promise Scholarship funds awarded to persons majoring in science, technology, engineering and mathematics
HB 4753 – Requiring health insurance policies and Medicaid to cover biomarker testing
HB 4755 – Terminating the Division of Personnel
HB 4756 – Creating a state Alzheimer’s plan task force
HB 4763 – Establishing behavioral health workforce initiative at HEPC
HB 4768 – Increasing the number of out-of-state medical students receiving in-state tuition rates who agree to practice for a specific time in WV
HB 4795 – Permitting an academic medical center to operate an opioid treatment facility
HB 4797 – Relating to reimbursement for childcare based upon enrollment
HB 4822 – Creating the Certified Sites and Development Readiness Program
HB 4824 – Relating to the Certified Industrial Business Expansion Development Program
HB 4830 – To address the professional development of teachers
HB 4846 – Relating to “In God We Trust” signs donated in schools
HB 4879 – Providing for child and dependent care credit against personal income tax
HB 4880 – Relating to personal income tax Social Security exemption
HB 4882 – Extending in-state tuition rates to all members and veterans of the National Guard, Reserves, and armed forces as well as their spouses
HB 4883 – Relating to increasing annual salaries of certain employees of the State
HB 4899 – WV Belief-Based Campus Student Organization Bill
HB 4908 – Permitting the state agencies to contracting with the WV public health institute
HB 4909 – Eliminating the Certificate of Need Program for health services
HB 4919 – Relating to the Promise Scholarship
HB 4921 – Relating generally to tuition for children of out-of-state alumni of WV state universities
HB 4939 – Banning certain practices by medical students without informed consent
HB 4947 – Creating the First Time Home Buyer Savings Account Act
HB 4951 – To facilitate the interstate practice of School Psychology in educational or school settings
HB 4956 – Creating the Oral Health and Cancer Rights Act
HB 4958 – Creating the American Campuses Act
HB 4959 – To exclude certain students from dropout rate data
HB 4960 – To establish career exploration courses
HB 4961 – To create the Substance Abuse Recovery Tax Credit
HB 4968 – Making WV an agreement state with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and transferring authority and responsibility for sources of radiation from other State agencies to DEP
HB 4971 – Relating to Critical Materials Manufacturing Tax
HB 4981 – Gun carry allowed on college campuses
HB 4983 – To fund the Tobacco Use Cessation Initiative
HB 4986 – Relating to computer sciences and cybersecurity instruction for adult learners
HB 4994 – Relating to the Anti-Terrorism Act
HB 4996 – Relating to government procurement of electric vehicles
HB 5013 – Relating to timber management
HB 5014 – Supplementing and amending appropriations to WVU General Administration Fund
HB 5027 – Relating to State-funded institutions to purchase food from in-state sources
HB 5029 – To create a tuition reimbursement program for Corrections employees
HB 5032 – Require hospitals under Certificate of Need to accept PEIA
HB 5038 – Relating to research and economic development agreements for state institutions of higher education
HB 5050 – Relating to authorizing legislative rules regarding higher education
HB 5065 – Regarding continuing education requirements and compensation of Guardians Ad Litem

SB 30 – DHHR rule relating to certificate of need
SB 152 – Displaying official motto in public schools
SB 178 – Relating to dental healthcare service plans
SB 194 – Prohibiting gender transition surgeries, treatments and therapies to minors
SB 198 – Prohibiting teaching of divisive acts and critical race theory in public schools
SB 200 – Budget Bill
SB 225 – Establishing revocation of authority for spending by agency in support of challenge to WV law
SB 257 – Prohibiting mandates for vaccines
SB 258 – Increasing tax credit for employers providing childcare for employees
SB 259 – Requiring Higher Education Policy Commission to create and administer PROMISE Plus Program
SB 269 – Excluding test strips from definition of drug paraphernalia
SB 273 – Prohibiting certain divisive acts or concepts from schools, State agencies and any groups receiving State funding
SB 278 – WV Chemical Abortion Prohibition Act
SB 279 – Requiring medical professionals to report injuries and side effects from vaccines to the Bureau for Public Health
SB 284 – Fetal Heartbeat Act
SB 292 – Hunger Free Campus Act
SB 309 – Authorizing child or childcare tax credit
SB 323 – Creating tax credit related to childcare expenses
SB 330 – Creating psychiatric residency program
SB 333 – Dissolving PEIA and converting to employer-owned mutual insurance company
SB 334 – Enabling WVSU and Bluefield State University to offer associate degrees
SB 336 – Return to WV Tax Credit Act
SB 343 – Providing medical examination transportation services for students who seek support after experiencing sexual violence
SB 352 – Modifying Unborn Child Protection Act
SB 357 – Permitting dental hygienist to perform tobacco cessation education
SB 361 – Promise for Promise Act
SB 367 – Anti-Racism Act of 2024
SB 373 – Providing tax credit to corporations for existing employer-provide childcare facilities
SB 393 – Related to modifying concealed carry permit
SB 410 – Requiring all State buildings to provide private room for nursing or breastfeeding purposes
SB 412 – Amending medical exemptions to State vaccination laws
SB 426 – WV Recreational Trails Development Act
SB 443 – Oral Health and Cancer Rights Act
SB 458 – Relating to personal income tax Social Security exemption
SB 459 – Increasing senior citizen property tax credit and expanding eligibility requirements
SB 460 – Providing for child and dependent care credit against personal income tax
SB 484 – Extending in-state tuition rates to all members, veterans and spouses of National Guard, Reserves and armed forces
SB 485 – Increasing annual salaries of certain employees
SB 495/SB 496 – Prohibiting racial discrimination based on certain hair textures and hairstyles
SB 499 – Permitting care of patient by telemedicine across state lines
SB 503 – Protecting belief-based student organizations from certain types of discrimination
SB 526 – Verifying legal employment states of workers to governmental agencies
SB 529 – Including Salem University in Promise Scholarship Program
SB 543 – Relating to research and economic development agreements for state institutions of higher education
SB 546 – Updating STEM
SB 547 – Authorizing legislative rules for Higher Education Policy Commission
SB 553 – Providing for religious exemptions for school attendance immunizations
SB 558 – Requiring publicly funded medical schools to teach certain life-saving methods

Legislative Calendar

Tuesday, January 30              WVU and WVU Extension Day at the Capitol
Tuesday, February 13             Last Day to Introduce Bills in the House
Friday, February 16                Adventure Travel Day at the Capitol
Monday, February 19             Monongalia County Day at the Capitol
Monday, February 19             Last Day to Introduce Bills in the Senate
Thursday, February 22           Undergraduate Research Day at the Capitol
Sunday, February 25              Bills Due Out of Committees of Origin
Wednesday, February 28        Final Day to Consider Bills on Third Reading
Thursday, February 29           Arts Day at the Capitol
Saturday, March 9                  Last Day of Session

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, associate vice president for government relations and collaboration, at