Emily Rice Published

Senate Moves Health Bills in Saturday Morning Session

An overhead shot of the state senate.
The West Virginia Senate passing bills as the session comes to an end.
Will Price/WV Legislative Photography

After a late night lawmaking session Friday, the Senate was quick to action Saturday morning, the final day of the 2023 Regular Legislative Session. With so many bills surrounding the health of West Virginia being passed from chamber to chamber, and committee to committee, there are a lot of loose ends to tie up.

SB 187 – Sexual contact between students and teachers

The Senate refused to concur on the House of Delegates’ amendments to a bill to ban sexual contact from school staff regardless of age.

Senate Bill 187 would make it a felony offense for a school employee or volunteer to engage in sexual contact with students.

On Saturday, the Senate refused to concur with the House’s amendments to Senate Bill 187. 

“The Senate version of this bill prohibits primary and secondary school employees from being sexually intimate with students regardless of age,” Sen. Tom Takubo, R-Kanawha, said. “The House version eliminates elementary schools, adds colleges and caps the student age at 20. I urge the House to recede.”

The bill now returns to the House of Delegates.

SB 559 – Relating to Spousal Privilege

A measure of protection for children that has been shuffled throughout legislation this session is Senate Bill 559.

As originally presented, the bill expanded the exceptions to spousal privilege of not being compelled to testify against a spouse to exclude cases in which the offense at issue was committed against any child rather than a child of one or both spouses.

The Senate rejected the House’s amendments and proposed their own.

“The House amended to add a number of new exceptions to spousal privilege,” Takubo, R-Kanawha, said. “The proposed Senate amendment limits the exception of spousal privilege in instances where a spouse commits an offense against a minor.”

The amendment adopted by the Senate with 33 yeas, 0 nays. The bill now goes to the House for their concurrence.

SB 577 – Insulin Co-Pay Cost Reduction Heads to Governor’s Desk

Senate Bill 577 aims to reduce the co-pay cap on insulin and related treatment devices and permit the purchase of testing equipment without a prescription.

On the last day of the 2023 session, the Senate accepted the bill’s House amendments and passed the bill. 

“To limit cost sharing to 35 per 30 day supplies of insulin,” said Takubo. The amendment changes the effective date and makes technical changes. 

The bill passed both chambers and will take effect Jan. 1, 2024.

SB 273 – Reallocating CPS workers by population

After passing technical amendments, the Senate passed Senate Bill 273, to allocate child protective service workers in counties according to the average caseload per county and the county population based on the 2020 Census.

The bill now goes to the House for their concurrence.