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February 13, 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 fourth and fifth week of legislative session, a review of bills introduced and bills moving through the legislative process, and the budget hearings before the legislative finance committees.

Budget Hearings

Following WVU Day on January 30, President Gee and CFO Paula Congelio presented to the House Finance Committee on January 31 and Senate Finance Committee on February 1 as part of the state agency budget hearings. In the presentation, President Gee and Vice President Congelio provided a review on the University’s financial position, an update on the $50 million investment made to the WVU Cancer Institute and the $47 million investment in deferred maintenance projects, and shared priorities for the current legislative session.

Due to recent reforms of the Public Employee Insurance Agency (PEIA), the employer premium increases cost the University almost $11 million last year and roughly $5 million this year. With premiums going up for the Board of Risk and Insurance Management (BRIM) coverage, which insures all State buildings and properties, and inflationary pressures affecting goods and services, the University has asked the Legislature to consider funding to help offset those expenses. That is the University’s top priority this session.

Additionally, the University — along with Marshall University — has asked for $5 million in one-time funding for the First Ascent Program and $5 million for the Military Ascend Program. First Ascent is designed to keep recent WVU and Marshall graduates in state, and Military Ascend is designed to encourage veterans and active service members to move to West Virginia.

Further, if there is additional funding in the State’s budget surplus, the University has offered two opportunities for further investment: a neuromodulation center at RNI and a Robotics Center of Excellence at Engineering.


Several bills have been introduced this session seeking to improve access to childcare options in West Virginia and make care more affordable. House Bill 5051 would provide a tax credit to for-profit and nonprofit corporations to encourage the continued operation of childcare facilities for employees, while House Bill 5052 would increase the tax credit for employers providing childcare for employees. Both bills have passed the House Committee on Senior, Children and Family Issues and will be considered by the House Finance Committee.

Additionally, House Concurrent Resolution 65 encourages WVU and Marshall, working with the Department of Education and Department of Human Services, to conduct a study on childcare. In particular, the study requests experts to create an actual cost of care estimator tool for parents and families and for the State to set rates. If adopted, the resolution would require the study to be presented by the end of the year.

SB 543

Senate Bill 543 has passed the House and the Senate and now goes to the Governor’s desk for signature. It includes economic development as part of the mission for higher education research corporations. The measure is supported by WVU and Marshall.


House Bill 5014, which would provide a $2 million supplemental appropriation to the WVU Rockefeller Neurosciences Institute (RNI) for a pilot project with the Food and Drug Administration, has passed the House of Delegates unanimously. The bill now moves to the Senate, where the Senate Finance Committee will first consider it.

Bills Introduced

More than 2,200 bills have been introduced. The last day to introduce bills in the House is Tuesday (February 13) and the last day to introduce bills in the Senate is Monday, February 19. While close to 3,000 will be introduced, only 200 to 300 will be seriously considered and 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 4305 – Granting in-state resident status to economic development participants
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
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 homeschoolers
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 4654 – Removing schools, public libraries and museums from the list of criminal liability exemptions relating to distribution and display of obscene material to minors
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 4759 – Relating to E-Verify, the federal employment authorization program
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 contract with a 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 drop out 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 5051 – Provide a tax credit to for-profit and nonprofit corporations to encourage the continued operation of childcare facilities for the benefit of their employees
HB 5052 – Increase the tax credit for employers providing childcare for employees
HB 5065 – Regarding continuing education requirements and compensation of Guardians Ad Litem
HB 5127 – Including Potomac State College in definition of CTC for participation the “Learn and Earn Program”
HB 5157 – Relating to contingent increase of tax rate on certain eligible acute care hospitals
HB 5217 – Recognizing U.S. currency as legal tender for all transactions private and public
HB 5223 – To create the Southern Coalfield Resiliency and Revitalization Program
HB 5232 – Updating the Business Liability Protection Act
HB 5240 – Eliminate woke, anti-women words from State government
HB 5241 – Requiring WV Office of Insurance Commission to audit certain PEIA claims
HB 5243 – Relating to Women’s Bill of Rights
HB 5249 – Vaccine exemption for private, parochial, charter, virtual charter and remote public schools
HB 5293 – Establishing a pilot program to develop childcare program where State, employer and employee contribute one-third of the total cost each
HB 5335 – Relating to compulsory immunizations
HB 5338 – Consumer Protection Data Act and establishing a framework for controlling and processing personal data in the State
HB 5350 – Expanding definition of recreational purposes to include mountain biking activities
HB 5405 – Providing additional professional development and support to WV educators through teacher and leader induction and professional growth
HB 5544 – Require a report on the Mountaineer Trail Network detailing progress towards completing the goals of the system
HB 5555 – Creating the legislative oversight committee on aviation development


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 child care 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-provided child care 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 477 – Prohibit public disclosure of personal information on internet
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
SB 584 – Including Salem University in Promise Scholarship Program
SB 589 – Permitting campus police officers to participate in Deputy Sheriffs Pension
SB 591 – Expanding contracting agreements between WVU and Marshall to all state spending units
SB 601 – Creating WV Women’s Bill of Rights Act
SB 635 – Modifying rules regarding liquidation of property
SB 743 – Relating to Bureau for Medical Services’ medically supervised weight loss program

Legislative Calendar

Tuesday, February 13            Last Day to Introduce Bills in the House
Friday, February 16               Adventure Travel Day at the Capitol
Monday, February 19            Last Day to Introduce Bills in the Senate
Wednesday, February 21      History Day at the Capitol
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 (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, associate vice president for government relations and collaboration, at