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Legislative Update #2 (Jan. 20, 2024)

Week Two

There has been some activity under the dome. The Senate passed the following three education-related bills this week:

  • Committee Substitute for SB 152 displays the official US motto in public schools. The Committee Substitute changed the bill from displaying the motto in all buildings to all classrooms. The bill passed with a 31-1-2 vote. Bill status: The bill passed the Senate on January 23rd and will now head to the House Education Committee.

  • Committee Substitute for SB 280 allowing teachers to discuss scientific theories. The Committee Substitute changed the wording from “teach intelligent design” to “discuss scientific theories.” The bill passed by a 31-2-1 vote. Bill status: The bill passed the Senate on January 23rd and is now pending in the House.

  • Committee Substitute for SB 293 creating the Glucagon for Schools Act. The Committee Substitute added notifying the student’s health care provider of the administration of the glucagon to the post-administering steps. The bill passed with a 33-0-1 vote. Bill status: The bill passed the Senate on January 23rd and will now head to the House Health and Human Resources Committee.

The House passed one education-related bill this week, HB 4769, by a vote of 94-3-2. This is the school counselor bill that clarifies appropriate and inappropriate duties along with providing the definition of a school counselor. Bill status: The bill is now pending in the Senate.

Additionally, there was a public hearing for HB 4654 in the House Chamber. This bill would remove schools, museums, and public libraries from the exemption in the code that protects these types of entities from prosecution for distribution and displaying obscene matter to a minor. This is a concern because the definition of obscene is not in the bill and striking the language of “school, in the presentation of local or state-approved curriculum.” During the public hearing, WVEA President Dale Lee shared these concerns when he spoke in opposition to HB 4654. This bill remains in the House Judiciary Committee.

During the Senate Education Committee meeting yesterday, WVEA President Dale Lee presented the results of the scientific WVEA member survey outlining issues in public education and our potential solutions. The Committee received a copy of the results and had the opportunity to ask questions. WVEA President Dale Lee will present to the House Education Committee next week.

Be heard this session! Now is a great time to contact your legislators, so they know how you feel about the education-related bills. Want to receive text alerts from WVEA on pressing legislative issues? Sign up now! Also, check out our daily Lobbyline, which reports education-related bills that move through committees and on the floor. 

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