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Lobby Line (Feb. 5 - 9)

Monday, February 5, 2024 Day 27

Senate

The following bills were on the Senate’s calendar today:

The Committee Substitute for SB 466, requiring state board of education develop Safety While Accessing Technology (SWAT) education program was on third reading and passed with a vote of 34-0 with 0 absent. This bill will require the WVDE to work with other agencies to development safety programs and instruction for elementary and secondary students regarding all forms of technology.

The Committee Substitute for SB 504, relating to felony offense of sexual intercourse, intrusion, or contact with a student, along with clarifying that the offense applies to a student of any private or public elementary or secondary school was on second reading today. No amendments were offered, and the bill was advanced to third reading. SB 504 will be up for passage tomorrow.

SB 507, relating to repeal of WV EDGE was on first reading and was advanced to second reading. The dual enrollment bill from last year (HB 2005) did away with the need for the program.

SB 529, including Salem University in PROMISE Scholarship program was on first reading and was advanced to second reading. The bill also strikes Alderson Broaddus University from the language in the bill.

SB 546, updating STEM scholarship program was on first reading today and was advanced to second reading. The bill cleans up outdated language and makes the scholarships available to students attending charter schools, home schools, learning pods, microschools, and other educational programs authorized by the Legislature.

House

Today on the House Floor, HB 4851, allowing public and private schools in WV to employ security personnel, advanced to third reading with amendments pending and the right to amend the bill on third reading tomorrow.

The following bills advanced from first reading to second reading:

HB 4863, the Patriotic Access to Students Act.  This defines patriotic societies as any youth group listed in Title 36 of the US Code and allows them the opportunity to speak and recruit at public schools.

HB 5056, relating to substitute service personnel positions.

HB 5153, relating to revising, updating and streamlining the requirements governing the West Virginia Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Scholarship. This bill updates to reflect the HEPC oversees the scholarship and provides technical cleanup language to the code.

Com. Sub. for HB 5158, making technical corrections to the special education code.  This bill defines Local Educational Agency and makes technical corrections.

HB 5179, relating to the creation of “Jaycie’s Law.” This bill pertains to student parents. This bill provides for excused absences for student parents with time periods for natural births and C-section births and medical appointments.

Com. Sub. for HB 5200, requiring that school counselors serving students in preschool through the 12th grade participate in the School Counselors Conference at least once every two years.

HB 5252, requiring certain minimum experience for the director or coordinator of services class title involving school transportation.  This bill requires 5 years experience in transportation or have one year to achieve certification as a bus operator for the director and other positions.

During the House Education Committee meeting, WVEA President Dale Lee gave a presentation on the results of the scientific WVEA member polling outlining issues in public education and potential solutions.  The report highlighted lack of respect, pay and discipline issues that are driving teachers out of the profession and leading to poor working and learning conditions in our schools. Delegates wanted specific examples of how student behavior issues are having such an impact on the classroom. This is where you come in. Share your experiences and let them know just how real the crisis is. You can find contact information for the House Education Committee here.

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