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Lobby Line (Jan. 10 - 12)

Friday, January 12, 2024 

Senate 

The following bills, all passing the Senate last year and dying in the final days, passed again:

SB 143 creating the WV Guardian Program, which allows a county board of education to contract with an independent contractor who is an honorably discharged veteran, former state trooper, former deputy sheriff, or former federal law-enforcement officer as security on school grounds. The bill passed 32-0 with 2 absent.

SB 144 requiring each county board to ensure that its meetings are open to the public through in-person attendance and broadcast live on its website. The bill passed 32-0 with 2 absent.

SB 146 creating an adult education task force to consider funding for adult education learning centers. The bill passed 32-0 with 2 absent.

SB 159 prohibiting persons convicted of certain crimes against minors from holding positions on boards of education passed. The bill passed 32-0 with 2 absent.

SB 162 establishing the Summer Feeding for All Program, which allows schools to assist with the feeding of our students during the summer break. The bill passed 32-0 with 2 absent.

SB 172 revising requirements of local school improvement councils. This will define the make-up of the parents on the improvement council and require the minutes of the meetings. The bill passed 32-0 with 2 absent.



Thursday, January 11, 2024 

Senate 

Today in the Senate, the following bills were advanced to third reading with no amendments offered:

SB 144 requiring each county board to ensure that its meetings are open to the public through in-person attendance and broadcast live on its website.

SB 146 creating an adult education task force.

SB 159 prohibiting persons convicted of certain crimes against minors from holding positions on boards of education.

SB 162 establishing the Summer Feeding for All Program, which allows schools to assist with the feeding of our students during the summer break.

SB 172 revising requirements of local school improvement councils. This will define the make-up of the parents on the improvement council and require the minutes of the meetings. Each of these bills passed the Senate overwhelmingly last session and died in the final days. These bills will be up for adoption on Friday, January 12th. Also passing the Senate last session, but not advancing to third reading today was SB 152. The bill deals with displaying the official US motto in public schools and was referred to the Education Committee. WVEA will update any future movement.

House 

There were no bills discussed during the House floor session today and no education related bills discussed in committees.

State of the State Response Governor Justice delivered his final State of the State address to a joint session of the state House and Senate last night. As usual, the Governor’s speech was lacking in specifics or details and covered a multitude of topics. He did mention a proposed Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit for those struggling with daycare, which can be written off their taxes. He also mentioned $50 million to WV State University for a state agriculture lab, $150 million for the School Building Authority, $10 million for Communities in Schools, the desire to amend legislation passed last year regarding the student athlete transfer rule, $1.6 million to Fairmont State University for dual enrollment courses, $5 million in seed money for charter schools, the desire to totally eliminate taxes on social security benefits and a continued reduction in the state income tax. He will also propose a pay raise of 5% for teachers, service personnel, and all those employed in government. The governor indicated the pay raise will cover the PEIA premium increase and provide a little more money in employee’s pockets. WVEA President Dale Lee stated, “While the legislature continues to pass salary increases, the increases are not enough to keep pace with our surrounding states when it comes to pay. In the most recent rankings, West Virginia had dropped to 50th in pay. We are not able to attract or retain educators, which is why there continues to be an educator shortage.” As this is the second year of the current legislature, you will see many rollover bills being introduced in the opening week of the session. A ‘rollover’ bill is one that was introduced in last year’s session and was not passed.


Wednesday, January 10, 2024 

The West Virginia Legislature begins today, and Governor Justice will deliver his final State of the State address to a joint session of the state House and Senate this evening. Check tomorrow for a recap and an update on the day’s events.

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