Four Senate Bills the House Passed on the Next-to-Last Day of the Regular Session


With today being the next-to-last day of the regular session, time is running out for lawmakers to complete legislation to be sent to the governor. The House voted on 23 Senate items ranging from rules bills, to education and assisting veterans.

S.B. 477

Several bills were debated during the afternoon House session but the one receiving the most discussion was Senate Bill 477.

The bill would provide that teachers determine the use of their time during planning periods as opposed to administrators.

Delegate Paul Espinosa worried that the bill would minimize joint planning meetings between teachers. He presented a long study to Education Committee Chair Mary Poling and told her that collaboration was the most effective method of teacher planning.

As a teacher by trade, Delegate Adam Young was offended at the unsaid insinuation that teachers would abuse this privilege.

“I work with teachers from all over the state,” Delegate Young said. “I have never heard a teacher say I refused to give up my planning period for the benefit of our school or the benefit of our students in the school that I was working.”

The bill passed by a vote of 86-3 but the House voted again later and the bill passed unanimously.

S.B. 356

Another bill considered by the House related to Governor Tomblin’s bill to reform how the state purchases goods and services.  

Among other things, Senate Bill 356 specifically authorizes the secretary of the Department of Administration and the director of purchasing to issue cease and desist notices when a spending unit has violated competitive bidding requirements.

The bill was approved 83-11.

S.B. 621

Delegate Tim Manchin explained that the bill would allow insurers to sell the insurance but must notify the holder of a rate hike or cancellation.

Some delegates pointed out this currently is the policy in place now, calling it a “feel good bill.”

While Delegate Bob Ashley agreed with the claim he also pointed out that flood insurance rates are a problem in West Virginia.

“You go and ask the bank for $150,000 to remodel your house and you find out it’s going to cost $6,500 to about $9,000 if you’re in a hundred-year flood zone to do it,” Delegate Ashley said. “Insurance companies aren’t going to do this. They’ve had the ability to do it for a long time.”

The vote was 86-8.

S.B. 523

a bill that would provide for an additional state veterans skilled nursing facility in Beckley was up for passage.

Delegate Linda Sumner of Raleigh County spoke in favor of the bill.
“The potential opening of this facility would provide services to the many veterans in southern West Virginia and allow the state to better care for the many brave and heroic men and women who so admirably served the United States in West Virginia.”

Her colleagues agreed with the sentiment as the bill was passed unanimously. Senate Bill 523 now waits for the governor’s signature.

There are still many outstanding issues that must be addressed. The House will meet early this evening but it all comes down to tomorrow, the final day of the regular session.