By April 20, 2017 Read More →

Governor signs 96 bills into law

By ANDREA LANNOM

The Register-Herald

CHARLESTON, W.Va.  — Gov. Jim Justice has signed 96 bills into law so far, including one that changes age guidelines for children to start pre-K and kindergarten and another that would increase penalties for child abuse causing injury or death.

Gov. Jim Justice

Senate Bill 186 changes the birthday by which children are eligible for early childhood education and kindergarten enrollment from Sept. 1 to July 1.

Justice also signed Senate Bill 288, or Emmaleigh’s Law, which increases the penalty for the crime of child abuse causing death.

The new law stems from a case of sexual assault case in Jackson County in which 10-month-old Emmaleigh Barringer died of a skull fracture. Her mother’s boyfriend has been charged in her death.

The measure increases the penalty for intentional or malicious infliction of pain, illness, impairment of physical condition and causing death. It remains a felony and the penalty is equivalent to first-degree murder — 15 years to life.

Earlier this week, the governor signed House Bill 2801, which will resolve the budget gap for this fiscal year.

In a previous interview, Delegate Eric Nelson, R-Kanawha, who serves as the House Finance chair, called the bill the “big daddy” of supplementals. He said the bill would close the estimated $192 million gap for the fiscal year, which ends in June.

The bill takes about $40.4 million from the Rainy Day Fund. It also sweeps various agencies’ special revenue accounts.

Go to http://www.legis.state.wv.us/Bill_Status/ActionsbyGov.cfm?year=2017&sessiontype=rs&btype=billto see lists of bills signed by Gov. Justice, vetoed or still pending his approval.

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