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March 1, 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 affect the Mountain State and its citizens. This edition includes highlights of DEI and legislation that made it beyond Crossover Day and bills that did not.

Crossover Day

Wednesday was Day 50. Known as Crossover Day, it’s the day when bills must pass their chamber of origin. More than 2,500 bills were introduced this year, but only 267 House bills and 240 Senate bills made it over the line and will be considered in the final week of the 60-day session.


On Monday, Senate Education took up and passed a committee substitute for Senate Bill 870, the Restoring Sanity Act. The bill would ban DEI offices and officers, as well as create the Anti-Racism Act for K-12 schools and higher education institutions. The bill passed the committee unanimously on a voice vote. Senate Judiciary did not take up the bill, and therefore, it will not become law.

Hunger Free Campus Act

Senate Bill 292 would create the Hunger Free Campus Act. It requires HEPC to establish a grant program to address student hunger, leverage sustainable solutions to basic food needs, raise awareness of services currently available and build strategic partnerships at the state, local and national level to assist in food insecurity issues.

A similar bill last year did not pass. However, this year, through the effective work of the WVU Student Government Association, including Student Body President Madison Santmyer and Vice President Brogan Dozier, the bill is set to pass the House of Delegates early next week.

The bill passed the Senate 32-2, passed the House Education Committee and will be passed by the House early next week.

Childhood Immunizations

House Bill 5105 would provide a religious exemption for school-aged immunization requirements. The legislation passed the House 57-41. It now goes to the Senate for consideration. Dr. Clay Marsh, chancellor and executive dean for health sciences, and Dr. Charles Mullett, chair of the WVU Department of Pediatrics, wrote to the Legislature sharing their concerns and strong support for current West Virginia law, which protects children and families from harmful and preventable diseases, like measles.

Safe Harbor Law

House Bill 5338 would create the Safe Harbor for Cybersecurity Programs. The bill provides a statutory incentive for business and industry to align cybersecurity practices to one of several recognized frameworks. It does not require companies to maintain a compliant cybersecurity program, but rather it provides an affirmative defense as an incentive to do so. The bill was developed with the input of Dr. Chris Ramezan, assistant professor of cybersecurity programs, and Azeem Khan, WVU Honors political science student and Truman Scholar.

It passed the House 92-0. It now goes to the Senate for consideration.

Learn and Earn Program

House Bill 5127, introduced by Delegate Gary Howell of Mineral County, would add WVU Potomac State College to the Learn and Earn Program. Last year, the Legislature passed legislation permitting WVU Potomac State to participate in a short-term pilot program. The bill passed the House 95-2. It now goes to the Senate, where the Economic Development Committee will consider the legislation.

Responsible Gaming and Research Act

House Bill 5668, introduced by Speaker Roger Hanshaw and Delegate Shawn Fluharty, creates the Responsible Gaming and Research Act. The bill would allow for the collection and research of anonymized gaming data by the WVU Chambers College and would require the University to work with the West Virginia Department of Human Services to provide a report on the impact of casino, iGaming, racing, iLottery and sports wagering on problem gamblers and gambling addiction.

The bill was passed 84-12 by the House. It now goes to the Senate for consideration.

Other Bills

Several bills still being followed by the Government Relations team and of interest to the University and our community include:

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 4753 – Requiring health insurance policies and Medicaid to cover biomarker testing
HB 4756 – Creating a state Alzheimer’s plan task force
HB 4759 – Relating to E-Verify, the federal employment authorization program
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 4783 – Expanding scope of practice for optometry
HB 4822 – Creating the Certified Sites and Development Readiness Program
HB 4830 – To address the professional development of teachers
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 4909 – Eliminating the certificate of need program for health services
HB 4919 – Relating to the Promise Scholarship
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 4971 – Relating to Critical Materials Manufacturing Tax
HB 4986 – Computer sciences and cybersecurity instruction for adult learners
HB 5013 – Relating to timber management
HB 5014 – Supplementing appropriations to WVU General Administration Fund
HB 5065 – Regarding continuing education requirements and compensation of Guardians Ad Litem
HB 5105 – Religious exemption for vaccine requirements for school-aged children
HB 5127 – Including Potomac State College in definition of CTC for participation the “Learn and Earn Program”
HB 5157 – Increase of tax rate on certain eligible acute care hospitals
HB 5180 – Removing requirements to submit information for home-schooled children
HB 5223 – Creating the Southern Coalfield Resiliency and Revitalization Program
HB 5232 – Updating the Business Liability Protection Act
HB 5241 – Requiring WV Office of Insurance Commission to audit certain PEIA claims
HB 5243 – Women’s Bill of Rights
HB 5297 – Removing certain protections for gender affirming care
HB 5338 – Safe Harbor for Cybersecurity Programs
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 5594 – Exempting State spending units from contracting with WVU and Marshall
HB 5604 – Procurement for state spending units
HB 5639 – Prompt Payment Act of 2024
HB 5668 – Creating the Responsible Gaming and Research Act
HB 5698 – Consumer Data Protection Act

SB 152 – Displaying official motto in public schools
SB 200 – Budget Bill
SB 225 – Establishing revocation of spending authority for State agency supporting a challenge to WV law
SB 269 – Excluding test strips from definition of drug paraphernalia
SB 292 – Hunger Free Campus Act
SB 477 – Prohibit public disclosure of personal information on internet
SB 496 – Prohibiting racial discrimination based on certain hair textures and hairstyles
SB 503 – Protecting belief-based student organizations from types of discrimination
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 589 – Permitting campus police officers to participate in Deputy Sheriffs Pension
SB 601 – Creating WV Women’s Bill of Rights Act
SB 635 – Modifying rules regarding liquidation of property
SB 743 – Bureau for Medical Services’ medically supervised weight loss program
SB 861 – Increasing support and professional development for educators
SB 870 – Restoring Sanity Act (DEI and CRT)
SB 875 – Relating to certain insurance coverage provided by BRIM

Legislative Calendar

Saturday, March 9        Manufacturing Day at the Legislature
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 .