By Bobby Bordelon
With the end of the Legislative session on the horizon, the number of Greenbrier County representative sponsored bills passing is increasing. This includes the near unanimous passage of over 20 Senator Jack Woodrum sponsored bills.
Although the Republican supermajority is considering several forms of income tax replacements or repeals, a large portion of the Greenbrier County representative bills have been approved in their respective houses.
Since last week, one such bill was approved by both the House of Delegates and the Senate:
– The Delegate Tood Longanacre sponsored H.B. 2260 sets new rules around procurement of child placing services, ensuring “performance-based payment methodologies must be used in child placing agency contracting” and the department “shall actively monitor the child placing agency’s compliance with the terms of contracts.” The bill passed in both the House and the Senate without a single nay vote.
– S.B. 275 relates to the WV Appellate Reorganization Act of 2021, creating an intermediate court in West Virginia. Introduced by Senator Stephen Baldwin on behalf of Governor Jim Justice, the bill has passed the Senate on February 24 (19-15, nay Baldwin and yea Woodrum) and the House on March 30 (56-44, nay Bruce, yea Longanacre).
An ample number of bills sponsored by delegates Todd Longanacre and Barry Bruce, as well as Woodrum and Senate Minority Leader Stephen Baldwin, have passed through one chamber of the legislature, including:
– The Longanacre sponsored H.B. 3311, “requiring that the cost of obtaining a medical record may not exceed a fee consistent with HIPAA” and making technical changes, was unanimously passed by the House.
– The Bruce-sponsored H.B. 2017 is a massive rewriting of West Virginia’s criminal code with dozens of subsections, dealing with penalties and definitions around numerous criminal acts, including larcey, assault, sexual crimes, financial crimes, and more. As covered by WV News, the bill would be one of the bigger criminal code rewrites in decades. Passed by the House 76-22-2, with Bruce and Longanacre voting yea.
– In the same vein, the Bruce-sponsored H.B. 3304 would create “a program of Reentry and Transitional Housing that will encourage reentering offenders to become responsible, productive citizens by providing transitional housing and access to resources within a community setting designed to help reintegrate formerly incarcerated persons,” including assistance with academic education, social skills, education, self-discipline programs, substance abuse treatment, employment, vocational education and counseling. The bill was passed by the House in a nearly unanimous vote, 98-1, with yeas from both Bruce and Longanacre,
In the House, Both Bruce and Longanacre sponsored a bill seeking to ban transgender atheletes in secondary schools from competing with their gender, H.B. 3293, mandating they compete with their gender assigned at birth.
The bill was passed 78-20, with yeas from Bruce and Longanacre, and is currently in the Senate Education committee. In a social media post, Bruce explained “keeping men out [of] women’s sports and protecting the girls rights to have a fair advantage in female sports” was the goal of the bill.
In addition to potentially requiring a physical in order to determine gender for anyone accused of not “being” their gender, the bill would also mandate transgender boys and teenagers play on women’s teams.
Though far from the only reason the text of the bill is inaccurate, it also fails to consider that upon the beginning of Hormone Replacement Therapy, transgender boys hormonally and phsyically become average male teenagers. Aside from requiring the testosterone-deprived transgender women to compete against teenage boys, it would also guarantee transgender teenage boys, with the hormone levels and physiology to match, would be playing with teenage girls.
Both delegates also cited their religion for a basis for this law.
Longanacre decried critics of the bill, stating, “Despite being referred to as a ‘bully’ and a ‘bigot’ for sponsoring this Bill, I am confident that our young girls will not have to face what others around the country have had to deal with. … This Bill would not discriminate against transexual individuals playing sports as they may still play on the male teams.”
Presently there are no known transgender students competing in sports in Greenbrier County.
In the Senate, three bills cosponsored by Baldwin and Woodrum passed, including:
– S.B. 613, also sponsored by Baldwin, would add classification and base salaries of certain civilian employees of State Police Forensic Laboratory. The bill was unanimously approved on March 31.
– S.B. 634, requiring criminal justice training for law-enforcement officers and correctional officers regarding individuals with autism spectrum disorder, was unanimously approved on March 29.
– S.B. 658, requiring sheriff’s departments to participate in the Handle With Care Program for trauma-inflicted children, was unanimously approved on March 25.
Senator Jack Woodrum has sponsored over 20 bills over the past week that have been approved near unanimously by the Senate and are now being considered by the House of Delegates:
– S.B. 297, modernizing Board of Treasury Investments, was unanimously approved on March 17.
– S.B. 361, extending supervision for conviction of soliciting minors and using obscene matter with intent to seduce minors, was unanimously approved on March 27.
– S.B. 419, redefining “firearm” to match federal code, was unanimously approved on March 27.
– S.B. 458, modifying and limiting the power of government entities regarding the possession of firearms and related products by individuals during a declared state of emergency, was unanimously approved on March 27.
– S.B. 470, limiting release of certain personal information maintained by state agencies, was unanimously approved on March 30.
– S.B. 485, creates a criminal penalty for any person who possesses a firearm while attempting to commit or committing a qualifying felony, was unanimously approved on March 31.
– S.B. 486, relating to powers and duties of Chief Technology Officer, was unanimously approved on March 30.
– S.B. 488, dealing with distribution of hotel occupancy tax to convention and visitor’s bureaus and prohibiting the authorization of a new convention and visitor’s bureau that does not satisfy certain requirements, was unanimously approved on March 29.
– Woodrum is the lead sponsor for S.B. 508, relating to public records and increasing available funds in the Public Records and Preservation Revenue Account for grants to counties for records management, access, and preservation purposes. The bill passed unanimously on March 30.
– S.B. 542, requiring that all public electric utilities maintain a contract for a 30-day aggregate fuel supply for the remainder of the life of existing coal-fired plants and provide advance notice of retirement, shutdown, or sale of electricity-generating units, was unanimously approved on March 31.
– S.B. 543, establishing a medal of excellence in honor of Chuck Yeager, was unanimously approved on March 30.
– S.B. 550, providing counties with authority to impose a county sales and use tax of one percent under certain circumstances, and would not apply to incorporated areas of the county, passed the Senate on March 31, 28-5, with yeas from Baldwin and Woodrum.
– S.B. 587 would prohibit government officials from entering contracts with certain conditions, such as clauses that indemnify or hold harmless any entity, agree to binding arbitration dispute resolution process, limit liability for direct damages for bodily injury, death, or damage to property caused by the negligence or willful misconduct of such person’s employees or agents. The bill passed unanimously on March 26.
– S.B. 641, allowing counties to use severance tax proceeds for litter cleanup programs, was unanimously approved on March 30.
– S.B. 657, permitting expressive activity on campus under certain conditions, allowing state institutions of higher education to maintain and enforce reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions under certain parameters, requiring state institutions of higher education to treat student organizations which are open to all students equally, and more, was unanimously approved on March 30.
– S.B. 660, providing for cooperation between civilian law-enforcement agencies and military authorities for investigations, passed the Senate on March 29, 32-1, with yeas from Baldwin and Woodrum.
– S.B. 663, providing for a fee for the processing of criminal bonds and the bail piece and requiring it be deposited in the Courthouse Facilities Improvement Fund, was unanimously approved on March 31.
– S.B. 668, creating the Psychology Interjurisdictional Compact, allowing permitted psychologists to practice across state lines, passed March 30 in a 33-1 vote, with Baldwin and Woodrum voting yea.
– S.B. 677, relating to miners’ safety, health, and training standards, was unanimously approved on March 31.
– Woodrum was the lead sponsor on S.B. 684, relating to the State Library Commission and adding the Curator of the West Virginia Division of Arts, Culture, and History as an ex officio voting member. The bill was unanimously approved on March 30.
– S.B. 713, clarifying that inmates in the custody of the Commissioner of the Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation receive basic good time unless expressly excluded, and more relating to inmate good time, was unanimously approved on March 29.
– S.B. 714, the Physician Assistants Practice Act which would limit rule-making authority, revise licensure requirements and practice requirements, eliminate practice agreement requirements, and more, was unanimously approved on March 30.
– S.B. 715, creating the State Recovery and Hope Office in order to offer “several programs to assist the citizens of West Virginia battling substance use disorder,” was unanimously approved on March 30.
Four Baldwin sponsored bills have also passed the Senate:
S.B. 335, revising the WV Invests Grant Program for students at accredited community and technical college, was unanimously approved on March 31.
S.B.464, requiring composting of organic materials and commercial composting products comply with WV Fertilizer Law, was unanimously approved on March 31.
S.B. 586, providing WV veterans discounts on fees and charges at state parks, was unanimously approved on March 23.
S.B. 610, providing tuition and fee waivers at state higher education institutions for volunteers who have completed service in AmeriCorps programs in West Virginia, passed March 25, 32-1 with yeas from Baldwin and Woodrum.
Previous Mountain Messenger Legislative roundups included the following bills sponsored by Greenbrier County Representatives that have passed both chambers:
Also previously covered are bills sponsored by Greenbrier County Representatives that have passed one chamber of the West Virginia Legislature: