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WVEA Lobby Line

March 6, 2020

There is only one more day left in the regular legislative session and several bills were on third reading/passage stage. In the Senate HB 4804 passed by a vote of 34-0 and will now be sent to the governor. This bill would allow county boards to develop teacher leader programs to help with teacher induction and professional growth. The county board may adopt a salary supplement to provide additional compensation to teachers who are teacher leaders. The bill would require the Department of Education to allocate $100,000 over five years to assist county boards with the design and implementation of a teacher leader program.

After being laid over on third reading yesterday, HB 4398 was laid over again today. The purpose of this bill is to incorporate into Celebrate Freedom Week the original texts of the Mayflower Compact, Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States and its amendments, the Bill of Rights, Federalist Papers and the Constitution of West Virginia. It

will continue to be on third reading tomorrow.

HB 4737 was also laid over for one day and will continue to be on third reading tomorrow. This bill says that if a student is unable to complete the FAFSA due to extenuating family circumstances, as determined by the vice chancellor for administration in consultation with the student’s high school, it will not affect the student’s eligibility for state financial aid. It will now go to the governor.

Several bills were moved off the inactive calendar and put back on second reading today. HB 4069 is known as The West Virginia Student Religious Liberties Act. It would do a number of things including: protect students and parents from being discriminated against on the basis of religion, allow students to express their religious beliefs in assignments, allow students to engage in religious activities before, during and after the school day in the same manner and to the same extent that students may engage in nonreligious activities or expression. During the Senate Education Committee most of section 5 of the bill was removed which requires school districts to create a limited public forum for student speakers for school events. The bill will be on third reading tomorrow.

Also on second reading was HB 4497. This bill would require an automated defibrillator device be present at all secondary school a