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West Virginia Senate Government Organization Committee moves three bills

By Erika Diehl, West Virginia Press

CHARLESTON, W. Va. — The West Virginia Senate Government Organization Committee, chaired by Senator Mark Maynard, on Tuesday adopted all three bills on its agenda, taking action on fire, corrections and emergency planning issues.

S.B. 338 amends and reenacts the Fire Service Equipment and Training Fund. The bill includes that the State Fire Commission will create a grant program for volunteer and part-volunteer fire companies and departments to get the equipment and training they need. 

“Fire departments do miss out on opportunities in not applying for grants,” explained State Fire Marshal Kenneth E. Tyree, who committed to upping communication on his end to increase awareness that these grants exists.

Sen. Mike Caputo, D-Marion, agreed: “We all want to help our fire departments and we get a lot of requests from them.”

The bill now goes to Senate Finance.

S.B. 374 affects the Division of Corrections and Rehabilitations. This bill will increase the threshold for bid requirement to $10,000, making it consistent with other state agencies. The existing requirement states if the expenditure exceeds $2,500 the division must solicit at least three bids.

Sen. Caputo asked if this would include remodeling an office and if there is anything in the law that would prohibit string bidding. 

Committee Vice Chair Sen. Chandler Swope, R-Mercer, said, “There is nothing in the bill or procedures that would prohibit that… I will defer to the agency for more specificity.”

The bill now goes to the full Senate.

S.B. 389 relates to the state Resiliency Office. This bill contains several technical changes. It adjusts the title to state the office will be responsible for planning for emergency and disaster response, recovery, and resiliency as opposed to actually conducting the operations. 

This bill clarifies that both the state Resiliency Officer and the Cabinet Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Resources are members of the board. It also takes away the public notice requirement for board meetings.

Sen. Swope made a point add some clarity to the changes, as the co-chair of oversight of the resiliency committee and encouraged the bill.

The bill now goes to the full Senate.

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