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WVEA Lobby Line

Updated: Feb 5

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 The bill cleans up outdated language and makes the scholarships available to students attending charter schools, home schools, learning pods, microschools, and other educational programs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.

Senate

On second reading today, the Senate advanced SB 189 giving substantial deference to the state superintendent of schools in legal interpretations to third reading with no amendments. The bill will be up for passage tomorrow.

On first reading, SB 487 providing for review of professional development for teachers and education staff, was advanced to second 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, allowing staff to focus on the classroom.

There were no education bills in Senate Committee meetings to report on today, but Senate Education will meet tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m.


Friday, January 26, 2024 Day 17

Senate

The Senate floor session included the following bills:

SB 189 providing for substantial deference to state school superintendent’s interpretations of school law. This substantial deference would apply to both the Public Employees Grievance Board and County Boards of Education. This bill passed through the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday and was on first reading today. SB 189 advanced and will be on second reading Monday.

Committee Substitute for SB 468 requiring a course in public schools on human development was on second reading today, but was referred to the Rules Committee. This bill requires the Meet Baby Olivia video be shown in 8th grade with a refresher in 10th.

House

Today in the House Floor Session HB 4860, providing that a general education teacher may not be responsible for accommodation logs, advanced from 1st reading to 2nd reading.  Action on HB 4776, adding elementary schools into school disciplinary measures, and 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 one day (again) and will be on 1st reading Monday, January 29.

It’s Friday, so look for your weekly WVEA Legislative Update email this afternoon! Not receiving WVEA emails? Let us know!

If you are concerned about any of the bills covered on Lobbyline, contact your legislators and speak out. As the session continues, things will start to pick up and move fast. Want to receive text alerts from WVEA on pressing legislative issues? Sign up here!



Thursday, January 25, 2024 Day 16

House

Today on the House Floor the following bills on First Reading were laid over for one day and retain their place on the agenda:

HB 4776 relating to adding elementary schools disciplinary measures. This bill was postponed yesterday as well.

HB 4777 Allowing staff members in public schools to eat lunch free if there is food left over after every students has been fed.

HB 4860 Providing that a general education teacher may not be responsible for accommodation logs. This bill was postponed yesterday as well.

Senate

The Senate floor session included the following bills:

SB 448 requiring age-appropriate instruction on the Holocaust in public schools was advanced to second reading on Tuesday and then was held over yesterday, keeping its place on the calendar, and then referred to Rules Committee today.

SB 468 requiring course in public schools on human development, was on first reading today and was advanced to second reading. This bill requires a specific video to be shown in 8th grade and a refresher in the 10th grade. Initially, the bill included 3rd grade, but the Senate Education Committee removed that portion. The animated video begins with the sperm fertilizing the egg, instructing that life begins then, and goes through the 9-month gestation period. It will be in the amendment stage tomorrow, and those concerned should reach out to their Senator today.

The Senate Education Committee met this morning and WVEA President Dale Lee gave a presentation on the results of the scientific WVEA member survey 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.

The committee then advanced the following bills:

SB 487 requiring a periodic review of professional development.  WVEA has complained about the volume of required professional development for some time. 

SB 502 allowing teachers to sell unused sick days at the end of the year for 80% of “substitute pay with ten years of experience”. The bill was advanced to the Finance Committee.

SB 503 protecting belief-based student organizations from certain types of discrimination.  The bill was advanced to Judiciary committee.

Tomorrow’s floor session for the Senate will be at 9:00 a.m. instead of the normal 11:00 a.m. time.

The state task force on school discipline met Tuesday and Wednesday to discuss changes to West Virginia Board of Education Policy 4373, Expected Behavior in Safe and Productive Schools. Some changes explored so far include an extensive rewrite to inappropriate behavior levels and include specific examples at each level. The rewrite also adds eating disorders to the student protection list. Despite the positives, there are some concerning changes like a list of “alternatives to exclusion”. The policy will undergo more work by the committee before it is placed on the calendar and released for public comment.  WVEA will share any additional information provided.



Wednesday, January 24, 2024 Day 15

House

Today began in the House Chamber with the 8:30 a.m. public hearing on HB 4654. The bill would remove schools, museums and public libraries from the exemption in code that protects these types of entities from prosecution for distribution and display obscene matter to a minor. Concerning is the definition of obscene (which is not in the bill) and striking of the language of “school, in the presentation of local or state approved curriculum.” WVEA President Dale Lee shared these concerns when he spoke at the hearing.

On third reading during the floor session, the House passed HB 4769 with a 94-3-2 vote. This is the school counselor bill that clarifies appropriate and in appropriate duties along with providing the definition of a school counselor. 

The two bills on first reading were postponed one day. Both were discussed and passed in the House Education Committee on Monday. Those bills are: 

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. 

HB 4860 Providing that a general education teacher may not be responsible for accommodation logs.  This bill amends the code so that a general education teacher is not responsible for completing accommodation logs. 

The House Committee on Finance met today and Superintendent Blatt gave a WVDE budget presentation. Delegates questioned Superintendent Blatt about Safe Schools funding, Hope Scholarship, transportation funding, professional development funding, and expiring federal COVID money. Andy Neptune, the Executive Director of the School Building Authority also gave a presentation. He stated 19 of the 27 counties requesting SBA money last year received a total of $111,000,000 funding for their projects.

The House Education Committee met this afternoon, and was still meeting at the time of press. WVEA will post about this meeting at a later time.

Senate

The Senate held SB 448 over for one day, keeping its place on the calendar. The bill requires age-appropriate instruction on Holocaust in public schools, and remains on second reading.

The Senate Committee on School Choice met this afternoon for a presentation on the Hope Scholarship. Amy Willard from the West Virginia State Treasurer’s Office testified that the agency has changed the rules to allow an unlimited application period.  Willard stated that five percent of Hope Scholarship state funding is currently going to out of state charter schools (over $300,000.00). Willard also stated her agency is constantly getting informed by the public schools that students receiving the Hope Scholarship have started attending public schools, but have not informed her agency.  In the 2022-2023 school year there were 2,333 students who completed the program. Nearly half of the applications last year were for PreK and Kindergarten.  The program total funds approved for student accounts was in excess of 9 million dollars.  This is money that could have been spent to improve public schools. 

The Senate Judiciary Committee also met and discussed SB 189. This bill would provide for substantial deference to state school superintendent’s interpretations of school laws, and did not survive the 2023 legislative session. The committee was still meeting at press time, so an update will be posted. 

If you are concerned about any of these bills covered on Lobbyline, contact your legislators and speak out. Want to receive text alerts from WVEA on pressing legislative issues? Sign up here!




Tuesday, January 23, 2024 Day 14

Senate

Today in Senate Education, Star Academy made a presentation of their middle school program for at risk students.  This a STEM based program for school districts where Star Academy trains the teachers in the school district.

After the presentation, the following bills were discussed:

A Committee Substitute for SB 302, authorizing child sexual abuse and sexual violence prevention program and in-service training in child sexual abuse prevention.  This would provide age appropriate instruction in personal safety and child abuse in grades 3-6 and instruction in dating violence, etc. in grades 7-12.  The bill was amended to give the parents at least a one weeks notice to opt out.  The amendment passed.  Committee Substitute for SB 302 as amended was adopted and will be reported to the full Senate.

SB 468 requiring course in public schools on human development. This bill relates to pregnancy and human development and ultrasound videos.  A Committee Substitute was offered requiring the State Department to implement the standards and require the video be shown in grade 8 with a refresher in grade 10.  The Committee substitute also removed the language concerning the Attorney General and the ability to bring legal action against someone for failure to present the curriculum.  The Committee Substitute was adopted, and the Committee Substitute for SB 468 was adopted and will be reported to the full Senate with the recommendation it do pass. 

SB 487 requiring periodic review of professional development for teachers and education staff.  This would require the state department to review staff development at least every 10 years.  The bill was laid over to the next meeting.

During the floor session, the following three bills were passed on third reading:

Com. Sub for SB 152 displaying official US motto in public schools. The Com. Sub. changed the bill from displaying the motto in all buildings to all classrooms. The bill passed with a 31-1-2 vote.

Com. Sub for SB 280 allowing teachers to discuss scientific theories. The Com. Sub. changed the wording from “teach intelligent design” to “discuss scientific theories”. The bill passed with a 31-2-1 vote.

Com. Sub. for SB 293 creating the Glucagon for Schools Act. The Com. Sub. 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.


House

On second reading in the House today was HB 4769 clarifying appropriate and inappropriate duties for school counselors while also providing the definition of a school counselor. A floor amendment was adopted to remove outdated language referencing the Center for Professional Development because the agency no longer exists. HB 4769 will be up for passage tomorrow.

A reminder regarding the public hearing in the House chamber tomorrow morning at 8:30 regarding HB 4654, where WVEA will speak about concerns regarding the definition of obscene (which is not in the bill) and strikes the language of “school, in the presentation of local or state approved curriculum.”  WVEA will speak at the public hearing Wednesday.  The bill was removed from the Judiciary Committee agenda Monday pending the public hearing.

On first reading today was SB 448 requiring age-appropriate instruction on Holocaust in public schools. The bill advanced to second reading.


Monday, January 22, 2024 Day 13

Senate

The following three bills advanced from second reading to third today during the Senate’s floor session:

Com. Sub for SB 152 displaying official US motto in public schools. The Com. Sub. changed the bill from displaying the motto in all buildings to all classrooms.

Com. Sub for SB 280 allowing teachers to discuss scientific theories. The Com. Sub. changed the wording from “teach intelligent design” to “discuss scientific theories”.

Com. Sub. for SB 293 creating the Glucagon for Schools Act. The Com. Sub. added notifying the student’s health care provider of the administration of the glucagon to the post administering steps.

There were no Education related bills on Senate Committee agendas today.

House

Today in the House Floor Session, HB 4769 advanced from first reading to second reading.  The bill clarifies appropriate and inappropriate duties for school counselors while also providing the definition of a school counselor.

The House also announced a public hearing for HB 4654 removing schools, museums and public libraries from the exemption in code that protects these types of entities from prosecution for distribution and display obscene matter to a minor.  The hearing will be Wednesday morning, January 24th at 8:30 AM.  Concerning is the definition of obscene (which is not in the bill) and strikes the language of “school, in the presentation of local or state approved curriculum.”  WVEA will speak at the public hearing Wednesday.  The bill was removed from the Judiciary Committee agenda pending the public hearing.

In House Education, the following bills were discussed:

HB 4372 increasing the 35 year limit on interval pay raised for teachers to 40 years.  This bill extends the experience pay schedule from 35 years to 40 years.  A committee amendment was proposed that would remove the cap altogether.  The amendment passed. The motion to report HB 4372 as amended to the floor with the recommendation it do pass but first be referred to the committee on Finance was adopted. 

HB 4776 adding elementary schools to the school disciplinary bill that was passed last year.  This allows a teacher to remove a disruptive student and the student cannot be put back in the classroom the remainder of the period.  Three (3) removals in a month requires the student be suspended.  A committee amendment was was offered to require a parent conference within 3 days of the removal.  An amendment to the committee amendment was offered to address exceptionalities for students with IEPs.  The amendment to the committee amendment was adopted.  The amendment as amended was passed.  The motion to report HB 4776 as amended to the floor with the recommendation it do pass was adopted.

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.  The motion to report HB 4777 to the floor with the recommendation it do pass was adopted.

HB 4851 to allow for public and private schools in West Virginia to employ security personnel.  This bill would allow school security officers to be employed and these officers could carry firearms under certain conditions.  A committee amendment was offered to make technical corrections and allowing the SSO the ability to detain individuals until law enforcement arrives.  The committee substitute passed.  The motion to report HB 4851 as amended to the floor with the recommendation it do pass but first be referred to the committee on Judiciary was adopted.

HB 4860 Providing that a general education teacher may not be responsible for accommodation logs.  This bill amends the code so that a general education teacher is not responsible for completing accommodation logs.  The motion to report HB 4860 to the floor with the recommendation it do pass was adopted.



Friday, January 19, 2024 Day 10

With the Governor declaring a state of emergency in all 55 counties, neither the House nor the Senate moved any bills during their floor sessions today. In the House, all bills on third, second and first reading were postponed for one day. In the Senate, President Blair declared the absence of a quorum. Both chambers are adjourned until 11:00 on Monday, January 22nd.

On Monday, Committee Substitute for HB 4302 will be on first reading in the House. This is a school counselor bill clarifying appropriate and inappropriate duties for school counselors while also providing the definition of a school counselor.

Be on the lookout this afternoon for WVEA’s first Legislative Update email, and stay safe!



Thursday, January 18, 2024 Day 9 

Senate

During the Senate’s first floor session today, the following bills were on first reading and were advanced to second reading:

Com. Sub for SB 152 displaying official US motto in public schools. 

Com. Sub for SB 280 allowing teachers to discuss scientific theories. The Com. Sub. changed the wording from “teach intelligent design” to “discuss scientific theories”.

Com. Sub. for SB 293 creating the Glucagon for Schools Act.

The Senate Education Committee met this morning and passed 2 out of 3 bills on their agenda, while holding the third bill over for a future meeting. SB 466 requiring development of safety while accessing technology (SWAT) education program will be addressed at a future meeting because the committee plans to incorporate other tech safety bills, creating a Committee Substitute. The two bills that passed are: 

SB 448 requiring age-appropriate instruction on Holocaust in public schools.

SB 259 requiring Higher Education Policy Commission to create and administer PROMISE Plus Program. The program would fund additional Promise Scholarship money to a select group of students meeting extra requirements in exchange for the student working in state equivalent to the number of years the scholarship was received. 

House

There are no education related bills to report on from the House today.

WVEA’s first Legislative Update for the 2024 session will be sent out tomorrow afternoon.



Wednesday, January 17, 2024 

House 

The following bills were reported today from the House Education Committee to the floor:

SB280 allowing teachers in public schools to teach intelligent design.

SB152 displaying official US motto in public schools.

SB253 establishing minimum student enrollment for school aid formula passed in House Education yesterday, and was referred to House Finance today.

During committee meetings today, House Education discussed the following bills:

HB 4202 raising the monthly salary for service personnel $670 per month. The motion to pass the bill to the full House but first be referred to the Committee on Finance was adopted.

HB 4763 raising the starting salary for teachers in WV to $44,000. This will also be an across the board raise of $5,005 and will put salaries in the 50th percentile of our surrounding states. The motion to pass the bill to the full House but first be referred to the Committee on Finance was adopted.

HB 4769 clarifying appropriate and inappropriate duties for a school counselor. An amendment was passed to clarify the language as is pertains to 504s. The motion to report the bill as amended to the full House was adopted.

HCR 24 requires the Joint Committee on Finance study the school aid formula and report their findings by the start of the 2025 Legislative Session. The Concurrent Resolution was adopted and will be reported to the full House.

Senate 

The Senate’s School Choice Committee met this afternoon and listened to a presentation by James Paul from the West Virginia Professional Charter School Board. Part of the presentation included a request for more state funding for both brick and mortar and virtual charter schools. Additional startup costs and increases in per student funding were requested.



Tuesday, January 16, 2024 

There were no education bills to report on from either floor session today. The Senate Education Committee adopted the following committee substitutes:

SB280 allowing teachers in public schools to teach intelligent design.

SB152 displaying official US motto in public schools.

SB253 establishing minimum student enrollment for school aid formula.

During the Senate’s Health and Human Resources Committee meeting, the committee substitute for SB 293 allowing trained school personnel to administer Glucagon was adopted. All four bills passed the Senate last session, but died in the House. The committee substitutes were not available when Lobbyline was posted.


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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