2017 Legislative Session

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Parents or guardians who cause the death of a child in West Virginia will face tougher penalties under a law signed by the governor.

Gov. Jim Justice signed Senate Bill 288, known as "Emmaleigh's Law," into law Wednesday. It sets a sentence of 15 years to life for fatal child abuse caused by a parent, guardian, custodian or other person allowed by the parent to commit the abuse.

Canabis Oil Medical Marijuana
Adobe Stock

Gov. Jim Justice signed a law Wednesday making West Virginia the 29th state to allow the use of marijuana for certain medical conditions.

The law lets doctors prescribe cannabis to patients who are terminally ill or have seizures, cancer, chronic pain, post-traumatic stress disorder, AIDS and other specified conditions.

Doctor's Exam Room
Tinton5 / Wikimedia Commons

Physician assistants are urging Gov. Jim Justice to withdraw his veto of legislation that would revise their scope of practice in West Virginia and authorize they work in collaboration rather than under supervision of a doctor.

The bill approved by the Legislature would have removed the requirement that physician assistants maintain current certifications from the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants.

Evzio Naloxone Auto-injector
Clark Davis / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

  A new state law authorizes school nurses and other trained and authorized personnel at West Virginia schools to administer drugs to counteract opioid overdoses by students without having to first contact parents.

The bill passed unanimously by the House and Senate and signed by Gov. Jim Justice comes as West Virginia recorded 844 overdose deaths last year, more than 700 involving at least one opioid such as heroin, fentanyl or prescription painkillers.

hydrocodone pills
Toby Talbot / AP

With more than 30,000 West Virginians already in drug treatment, lawmakers have voted to spend $24 million from recent court settlements with opioid distributors increase inpatient beds to help address the state's addiction crisis.

West Virginia House of Delegates
Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

With the passage of their budget bill behind them, members of the House are working their way through a number of bills left on their agenda this legislative session. West Virginia Public Broadcasting took a closer look at two of the bills approved in the chamber Thursday.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

A bill to legalize medical marijuana in West Virginia is heading to Gov. Jim Justice for a signature.

Members of the House accepted Senate technical amendments to the bill Thursday night, sending it on for gubernatorial approval. 

Deer
Scott Baue / U.S. Department of Agriculture

West Virginia lawmakers have voted to allow Sunday hunting on private land across the state with the written consent of the owner.

The House has voted 92-5 for the bill that bars counties from prohibiting Sunday hunting.

West Virginia Legislative Services

West Virginia's House has voted to make it a crime to publicly display, distribute or threaten to disclose sexually explicit or intimate images of someone else without their consent.

Judiciary Committee Chairman John Shott says the purpose is to criminalize "revenge porn."

Tim Armstead, Eric Nelson
Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Members in the House of Delegates have approved their budget bill for fiscal year 2018 – bringing $140 million additional dollars in revenue and making $75 million in cuts to government agencies. The House’s budget is largely based on revenue brought in under a Senate bill that was drastically changed by the chamber’s finance committee.

Will Price / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Senators voted 20-14 Wednesday, approving their Senate plan for the 2018 fiscal year. 

The bill, which contains no new revenue or a draw down from the State's Rainy Day Fund according to Senate Finance Chair Mike Hall, relies on about $160 million in cuts to government spending. 

Greyhound Racing
AngMoKio / wikimedia Commons

The days of dog track racing could be numbered in West Virginia.

At the state's two tracks, there are usually more dogs than there are spectators. The tracks are among the last remaining greyhound racing facilities in the U.S. The races could soon end if the governor signs a bill doing away with state subsidies that benefit breeders and handlers at racetracks.

Tim Armstead, Steve Harrison
Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

The House of Delegates has passed a Senate bill that would legalize medical marijuana in the state. But the bill has seen a number of changes since the 28 to 6 vote last week in the upper chamber.

John Shott
Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

A bill to legalize medical marijuana will be put to a vote in the House of Delegates Tuesday. Over the weekend, a handful of delegates from both sides of the aisle met with attorneys to discuss potential amendments to the Senate bill that were discussed in a late night floor session Monday. The bill has now taken a much different form than when it was approved in the state Senate just last week.

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West Virginia's House of Delegates has followed the Senate and voted to eliminate the state requirement that construction and mining companies post bonds to protect worker wages if they've operated in West Virginia less than five years.

The House Bill, approved 85-14 on Monday, would remove the bonding requirement but increase one possible criminal penalty for employers who knowingly relocate or dispose of assets to deprive workers of wages and fringe benefits.

Tower for drilling horizontally into the Marcellus Shale Formation for natural gas, from Pennsylvania Route 118 in eastern Moreland Township, Lycoming County, Pennsylvania, USA
Ruhrfisch [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)

West Virginia's House is considering Senate-passed legislation to authorize natural gas producers to drill when three-fourths of those with royalty rights agree.

At a House hearing Monday, witnesses were divided over whether the bill would unconstitutionally involve the state in private contracts and represents an economic boom for more than out-of-state energy companies.

Shawn Fluharty
Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

The House of Delegates has passed a bill that would effectively put an end to greyhound racing in the state, according to its opponents. Senate Bill 437 discontinues the Greyhound Breeding and Development Fund, putting about $14 million back into excess lottery revenue accounts for lawmakers to appropriate in the upcoming fiscal year. The bill was approved last week in the Senate on a 19 to 15 vote.

Mike Caputo
Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

The West Virginia House of Delegates has passed a Senate bill that changes the eligibility for unemployment benefits for workers who go on strike.

Tim Miley
Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

A bill to legalize medical marijuana in the state is bypassing the committee process, putting it on the fast track for a vote in the House. Senate Bill 386 was read for a first time on the floor Thursday night after a 54 to 40 procedural vote to bring it straight to the floor.

The vote has been called historic in the chamber. But several delegates argued pulling the bill out of the committee process was the only way members would get to put the medical marijuana bill to a vote this session.

Mike Folk
Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

A senate bill to legalize medical marijuana in the state is being fast-tracked through the West Virginia House of Delegates. Senate Bill 386, which passed out of the state Senate Wednesday night on a 28 to 6 vote, would create the West Virginia Medical Cannabis Act, legalizing medical marijuana in West Virginia.

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