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Lobby Line (Jan. 29 - Feb. 2)

Friday, February 2, 2024 Day 24

Senate

The floor session was at 9:00 a.m. this morning and the following bills were on the calendar:

The Committee Substitute for SB 466, requiring state board of education develop Safety While Accessing Technology (SWAT) education program was on second reading this morning. 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. Com. Sub. for SB 466 was advanced to third reading, and will be up for passage Monday.

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 first reading, and was advanced to second reading.

House

Committee Substitute for HB 4851, allowing public and private schools in West Virginia to employ security personnel was on first reading today. The training topics of this bill were debated for quite some time Wednesday before passing out of the House Judiciary Committee. HB 4851 will be on second reading Monday.

Throughout the legislative session, student behavior and discipline concerns have been brought up by WVEA leadership, but your personal stories and experiences are what legislators need to hear. Reach out and share your concerns today! Legislator contact information can be found here. Copy your emails to mail@wvea.org so WVEA can collect the member stories shared with legislators.

It’s Friday, so be on the lookout for your weekly Legislative Update email and video featuring WVEA President Dale Lee! Not receiving WVEA emails? Update your contact information here. Don’t forget to sign up for legislative text updates here!



Thursday, February 1, 2024 Day 23

Senate

The Senate Education Committee took up the following bills:

SB 507, relating to repeal of WV EDGE. The dual enrollment bill from last year (HB 2005) did away with the need for the program. The motion to report SB 507 to the floor with the recommendation it do pass was adopted.

SB 546, updating STEM scholarship program. The bill cleans up outdated language and makes the scholarships available to students attending charter schools, home schools, learning pods, microschools, and other educational programs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. The motion to report SB 546 to the floor with the recommendation it do pass was adopted.

During the Senate’s floor session, the Committee Substitute for SB 466, requiring state board of education develop Safety While Accessing Technology (SWAT) education program was on first reading and advances to second reading. 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.

House

No actions to report on in the House today.



Wednesday, January 31, 2024 Day 22

House

Today on the House floor the following bills were up on third reading:

HB 4776, relating to adding elementary schools into school disciplinary measures.  The bill adds elementary schools to the discipline bill that passed last session, and passed 92-4 with 4 absent.

The Committee Substitute for HB 4830, addressing the professional development of teachers passed 96-0 with 4 absent.  This bill would amend annual required professional development such as suicide prevention from annual to every three years.

HB 4832, relating to state superintendent’s reports regarding the finances of school districts.  The bill requires an annual report of all county systems financial reports to be given to the Legislative Oversight Commission on Education Accountability (LOCEA), and passed 96-0 with 4 absent.

HB 4838, requiring county boards of education to provide long-term substitute teachers, upon hiring, with certain information.  This gives long-term substitutes access to 504 plans and IEPs, and passed 96-0-with 4 absent.

In House Education, the following bills were discussed:

HB 4305, relating to granting in-state resident status to economic development participants.  This allows for the children of company employees relocating in WV to receive in-state tuition at our colleges and universities.  The motion to report HB 4305 to the floor with the recommendation it do pass but first be referred to the committee on Finance was adopted.

HB 4375, providing programs to educate senior citizens. The bill provides community education programs for seniors.  The motion to report HB 4375 to the floor with the recommendation it do pass but first be reported to the committee on Finance was defeated.

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.  The motion to report HB 4863 to the floor with the recommendation it do pass was adopted.

HB 4986, relating to computer science and cybersecurity instruction for adult learners.  This bill grants up to $300,000 to school districts for adult computer classes.  An amendment was adopted to state the superintendent “may seek to  provide grants if available” not “shall provide grants”. The motion to report HB 4986 as amended to the floor with the recommendation it do pass was adopted.

HB 5029, creating a tuition reimbursement program for Corrections employees.  The motion to report  HB 5029 to the floor with the recommendation it do pass but first be referred to the committee on Finance was adopted.  

HB 5078, including Salem University in programs wherein the PROMISE Scholarship is accepted.  A strike and insert amendment was adopted to place Salem University in the correct location in code. The motion to report HB 5078 as amended to the floor with the recommendation it do pass but first be reported to the committee on Finance was adopted.

HB 5158, making technical corrections to the special education code.  This bill defines Local Educational Agency and makes technical corrections.  A committee substitute was adopted to add clean up language. The motion to report the Committee Substitute for HB 5158 to the floor with the recommendation it do pass was adopted.

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.  The counselors would receive staff development credit for the conference.  It also requires the Conference to have trainings on CTE options and post secondary employment opportunities.  A committee substitute was offered to require the conference to be help once every two years instead of annually and requires the Buildings and Trades training.  The committee substitute was adopted.  The motion to report the Committee Substitute to HB 5200 to the floor with the recommendation it do pass was adopted.

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.  The motion to report HB 5252 to the floor with the recommendation it do pass was adopted.

HB 5262, relating generally to teacher’s bill of rights.  A Committee Substitute was offered to make the counselor language the same as the bill just passed.  It also sets the class limit for special education self contained classes and will provide additional pay for overages if the teacher agrees to a waiver on the class limit.  The Committee Substitute was adopted.  The motion to report the Committee Substitute to HB 5262 to the floor with the recommendation it do pass was adopted. 

HB 5289, to allow for the implementation of Plasma Games in WV public schools.  Plasma games are video games geared to STEM and CTE students.  A pilot would begin with 10 schools before full implementation.  The motion to report HB 5289 to the floor with the recommendation it do pass but first be reported to the committee on Finance was adopted. 

The House Judiciary passed Committee Substitute for HB 4851. The bill sets up a system for county boards to employee school security officers along with the standards and training for the officers. There were some questions regarding the right of these officers to detain students based on a “breach of the peace”. Breach of peace can be the threat of physical violence.  It can be based on the report to the officer from the teacher and the officer does not necessarily have to witness the breach themselves.  Legislation would provide allowances for the security officer to break up fights or even be invited into a classroom to deal with an unruly student. An amendment was offered to require parental consent for the officer to interrogate or detain a student without parent consent, unless there is an immediate danger to the health safety or welfare of those in the building.  The amendment was adopted.  The final amendment was adding and if the student detained is under the age of 21, the parent or guardian will be notified.  This amendment also was adopted.  The motion to report Com. Sub. for HB 4851 to the floor with the recommendation it do pass was adopted. 

Senate

Only one education bill was on the Senate’s calendar today. SB 487, requiring periodic review of professional development for teachers and education staff was on second reading passed 33-0 with 1 absent. The bill would require the State Board of Education to perform periodic reviews of PD for teachers and education staff to ensure training is truly essential, with the intent of allowing staff to focus on the classroom.

The Committee on School Choice met this afternoon and combined SB 531 and SB 598, relating to the Hope Scholarship Program and micro schools. This bill allows charter schools to charge Hope Scholarship students for classes. With no questions nor discussion, the motion to report SB 598 to the floor with the recommendation it do pass was adopted. 

The Judiciary Committee met at 3:00 with SB 504 on the agenda. This bill modifies felony offense of sexual misconduct of school employee or volunteer, and was still being discussed at press time. WVEA will update on this bill later.



Tuesday, January 30, 2024 Day 21

Senate

The following bills were on the Senate calendar today:

SB 189 providing for substantial deference to state school superintendent’s interpretations of school law was on third reading today and passed with a vote of 30-2 with 2 members absent. There was no debate.

SB 487 requiring periodic review of professional development for teachers and education staff was on second reading. No amendments were offered, and the bill advances to third reading. The bill would require the State Board of Education to perform periodic reviews of PD for teachers and education staff to ensure training is truly essential, with the intent of allowing staff to focus on the classroom.

Today in Senate Education, the West Virginia Department of Education presented survey results from a survey of 2,222 teachers taken in November of this school year.  This was a joint survey with the Legislature.  The topics were workload, professional development opportunities, support from administration, parent involvement and open ended questions.  The survey results reinforce the WVEA survey results that were presented last week.  Key findings were student behavior, compensation and benefits, and teacher burnout.

A Committee Substitute for SB 466, requiring development of safety while accessing technology education program was discussed.  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 motion to adopt the Committee Substitute for SB 466 will be reported to the full Senate with the recommendation it do pass but first be referred to the Committee on Finance was adopted.

House

During the House floor session, HB 4860, providing that a general education teacher may not be responsible for accommodation logs passed by a vote of 90-7 with 3 members absent.  This bill states a general education teacher shall not be required to keep a daily accommodation log but must provide evidence of accommodations one each grading period.

The following bills were on second reading:

HB 4776, relating to adding elementary schools into school disciplinary measures.  The bill adds elementary schools to the discipline bill that passed last session.  The Committee on Education offered an amendment that provides the circumstances by which a preK-5 teacher may remove a student and requires a convening of the school discipline team for the student.  The amendment passed, and the Committee Substitute for HB 4776 advances to third reading.

The Committee Substitute for HB 4830, addressing the professional development of teachers.  This bill would amend annual required professional development such as suicide prevention from annual to every three years.  No amendments were offered and the bill advances to third reading.  

HB 4832, relating to state superintendent’s reports regarding the finances of school districts.  The bill requires an annual report of all county systems financial reports to be given to the Legislative Oversight Commission on Education Accountability (LOCEA).  No amendments were offered and the bill advances to third reading.

HB 4838, requiring county boards of education to provide long-term substitute teachers, upon hiring, with certain information.  This gives long-term substitutes access to 504 plans and IEPs.  No amendments were offered and the bill advances to third reading.

The House Rules Committee met this morning and placed HB 4777 on the inactive calendar. This bill would allow staff members in public schools to eat lunch for free if there is food left over after every student has been fed. Action on HB 4777 was postponed 3 consecutive days before being placed on the inactive calendar.



Monday, January 29, 2024 Day 20

Today was Farm Bureau Day at the Legislature, and FFA students from all over the state were in attendance in both chambers.

House

An FFA Student from Doddridge County presided over House introductions this morning.

HB 4860 providing that a general education teacher may not be responsible for accommodation logs, was on second reading and was amended on the floor. Delegate E. Pritt moved to amend the bill by inserting the word “daily” before “accommodation” and adding the following sentence: “The general education teacher shall only be responsible for acknowledging, at the end of each grading period, that each accommodation as required by the IEP has been met.” The amendment was adopted along with advancing the bill to third reading, making HB 4860 up for passage tomorrow.

The following bills were on first reading:

HB 4776 adding elementary schools into school disciplinary measures and advanced to second reading.

HB 4777 allowing staff members in public schools to eat lunch for free if there is food left over after every student has been fed, was postponed yet another day and will be on 1st reading again tomorrow.

Com. Sub. for HB 4830 addressing the professional development of teachers advanced to second reading.

HB 4832 relating to state superintendent’s reports regarding the finances of school districts was advanced to second reading.

HB 4838 requiring county boards of education to provide long-term substitute teachers, upon hiring, with certain information. The information pertains to IEPs and 504s and the bill was advanced to second reading.

The Committee on Education will meet this afternoon at 2:00 to take up the following bills:

HB 4945 relating generally to the Hope Scholarship Program. This bill establishes an appropriation calculation based on the estimated number of participating students instead of prior year students.  The estimate is based on the number of kindergarten students.  The ceiling would be a 5% increase in funding.  An amendment was offered by Delegate Pushkin to require the HOPE Scholarship funds be spent only to schools located in West Virginia.  The motion failed.  The motion to report HB 4945 to the floor with the recommendation it do pass but first be referred to the committee on Finance was adopted.                                                                                            

HB 5056 relating to substitute service personnel positions. This bill states a service personnel may substitute in a position outside their regular full-time position. The motion to report HB 5056 to the floor with the recommendation it do pass was adopted.

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.  The motion to report HB 5153 to the floor with the recommendation it do pass was adopted.

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.  Delegate Pushkin offered an amendment in section 6 of the bill changing the “required” to “may” to refer to a crisis pregnancy center.  The motion passed.  Delegate Tully offered an amendment to provide at least 8 weeks of excused absences for any time of delivery.  The motion passed.  Delegate Tully offered another amendment to simplify the excused absence procedure.  The amendment passed.  The motion to report HB 5179 as amended to the floor with the recommendation it do pass was adopted.

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