The House of Delegates is closing in on the final day of the regular legislative session with long hours leading up to March 28, the deadline for bills due out of committees in their house of origin to ensure three full days for readings on the full floor, also known as “Crossover Day.”
A total of 21 bills have been signed by the Governor, 64 bills have completed legislation and 148 House bills have passed the full House as of Friday, March 26. House Committee chairmen have been focused on advancing House bills to the House floor this week, meeting multiple times per day.
The full House unanimously approved House Bill 2368, known as “Mylissa Smith’s Law,” March 23. This bill was named in honor of a Kanawha County hospice nurse who contracted COVID. The measure would establish guidelines for the frequency of allowable visitation so patients could see family members, clergy or hospice while complying with all applicable procedures already established by the health care entity. I am disappointed to hear the Senate may not take up the bill.
House Bill 2630, which would require the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection to reimburse certain fines paid by towns, villages and communities, also passed the full House March 23. Its lead sponsor, Delegate Charlie Reynolds, R-Marshall, said he hopes the bill can become law to support community improvements throughout the state. “I’ve heard from so many of our small towns that they don’t have the funds to correct some of the problems they’re getting fined for by the DEP, and those bills just compound the problem,” Reynolds said. “This is a way the DEP can still carry out its objectives while allowing our cash-strapped communities to actually fix some of their infrastructure issues.”
The House completed the “Second Chances at Life Act,” which would require a pregnant woman seeking a chemical abortion to be informed that it may be possible to stop the intended effects if the second pill has not been taken and she changes her mind, but time is of the essence. The bill also would require the woman to be notified, among other information already in code, that the father, if his identity can be determined, is liable to assist in the support of the child, including paying 50 percent of medical expenses that began at conception.
One of several bills from the House of Delegates meant to help our first responders, military members and veterans is HB2874, which unanimously passed the House this week. This measure would add Active Military Members and their spouses to the successful “Boots to Business” program through the West Virginia Secretary of State. This would offer a waiver of initial business registration fees and certain annual business fees to active-duty military members, their spouses and immediate family members when they start businesses in West Virginia. The state has a host of active-duty military members, and this would help make West Virginia the easy choice for those families.
The House passed HB3293 which only allows single sex participation in athletics that have both a boy and a girls’ team. This has not yet been an issue in WV that I am aware of but in other states girls are in competition by transgender individuals who are biological males. We defeated HB2702 that made all students fill out the FASFA to see what financial aid could be available to them. I thought it was too much government overreach for students who had no intention of attending higher education.
Delegate Amy Summers ([email protected] 304-340-3220, 228-M Capitol Complex, 1900 Kanawha Blvd East, Charleston, WV 25305)