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WVEA Legislative Update #1 (January 17, 2020)

Updated: Feb 4, 2020

WVEA's Legislative Update #1

The first full week of the 2020 Legislative Session has come to a close! It has been a slow start for education-related bills, but some things have been moving.

SB 192 – WVSSAC Audit. This bill caused several delays this week in the Senate Education Committee. It was first brought up during Tuesday’s meeting and carried over to Thursday’s meeting. This bill would require the Legislative Auditor to do performance audits of the WV Secondary School Activities Commission. After hearing from a coach, the SSAC executive director and other interested parties the committee ultimately passed the bill out of committee. It should be on the Senate floor next week.

SB 297 – Home Ec Courses. This bill began to move Thursday evening. It would require the State Board of Education to create a home economics course that may be integrated into the curriculum of secondary schools. As the bill is currently written, it is up to the individual counties as to whether they offer the course as part of their curriculum. The committee substitute passed out of committee and was supposed to go to the Finance Committee. On Friday, however, when the bill was reported Senator Tarr asked that the bill bypass the Finance Committee and go to the Senate Floor. This motion passed and the bill will be on first reading next week. 

SB 42 – Faith-based Programs. This bill moved quickly through the Senate Education committee and was on second reading/amendment stage on Friday in the Senate. This bill would allow drug awareness and prevention programs to include faith-based electives for drug awareness in classrooms. No amendments were made, and it will be on third reading/passage next week. 

SB 291 – Health Parity. This bill is currently in the Senate Health and Human Resources Committee and it would require PEIA to treat behavioral/mental health and substance abuse treatment equally to medical and surgical treatment. PEIA Director Ted Cheatham spoke against this bill. He said that while PEIA is exempt from mental health parity, they do treat this issue mostly the same. He said copays are the same, however some diagnosis are not currently covered. In the end, the senators wanted to hear how the bill would affect other insurance companies as well, so they decided to lay over the bill.

SB 16 – Donor Lists (Right to Unite Act). This bill would prevent anyone from being able to obtain membership lists or donor information from a 501c3. This bill caught our eye because it could be used to hide who is behind the start-up of a charter school since t