WVPA Sharing

This Week in the W.Va. House of Delegates

Editor’s Note: This the weekly update emailed to the media to help with coverage of the legislature. It is shared as working notes from the House of Delegates for the week and is not a news report. 

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The conclusion of this week marks the halfway point of the legislative session.  Much has been accomplished in the first month, and the robust pace will continue until the session concludes on March 14th.   On Saturday, Feb. 14, Speaker Tim Armstead will deliver an op-ed in the Charleston Daily Mail highlighting the progress made so far in the first session of the 82nd Legislature.

Friday February 13th 

House Celebrates WVU Day

Charleston – Today marks West Virginia University Day at the West Virginia Legislature.

“West Virginia University has played a significant role in the history our state.  I am pleased to welcome President Gee and all of the representatives who do so much to educate our students and serve the people of West Virginia,” said Speaker Tim Armstead (R-Kanawha).

The House of Delegates celebrated the Mountaineer spirit with President. E. Gordon Gee, and the university’s mascot, Michael Garcia.

“We are very fortunate to have wonderful partners in our State Legislature. And we are thrilled to be able to share all of the great things that take place at West Virginia University today at WVU Day at the Legislature. We look forward to a continued partnership as we work together to elevate the state,” stated President Gee.

The House of Delegates also honored the WVU Extension Service with a citation recognizing them for 100 years of service and serving as the primary outreach arm of West Virginia University as the “front porch” of the state’s land grant institution.

Del.  Amanda Pasdon (R-Monongalia) chair of House Education Committee helped lead the presentation.

“It gives me much pride to welcome President Gee and the leadership of the university as well as all of WVU Extension agents to join us at the Capitol.  The 4-H programs led by the WVU Extension Service are near and dear to my heart – they bring much enrichment to children’s lives by expanding their horizons and opportunities for the future.”

The citation was presented by the Monongalia County Delegates who represent the 51st District.  They include Del. Amanda Pasdon, Cindy Frich, Joe Statler, Brian Kurcaba and Barbara Evans Fleischauer.

“I appreciate all of their efforts and I am grateful for the pride they bring to our state, and throughout the country,” added Armstead.

Please stay tuned for a video link of the presentation for the WVU Extension Service.  

Thursday February 12th

House Passes Captive Cervid Farming Act

Charleston – The House passed the Senate Bill No. 237, the Captive Cervid Farming Act by a vote of 88-12.

The bill transfers the state’s regulatory oversight of deer farming operations in the state from the Division of Natural Resources to the Department of Agriculture.

Del. Bill Anderson (R-Wood) stated, “This legislation will help our state’s tourism industry and will allow local restaurateurs to serve venison raised here in West Virginia.”

The bill goes to the Governor for signage.

Wednesday February 11th

House Passes Pain-Capable Unborn Protection Act

Charleston – Today the House of Delegates passed the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (H.B.2568) by a vote of 87-12.

Speaker Tim Armstead stated, “I applaud the House for their overwhelming bipartisan support of this bill that will protect the unborn in West Virginia.  Despite claims from opponents of the bill, I believe the legislation is constitutionally sound and represents the right public policy in our state.”

The legislation protects the unborn child in the womb from abortion, once the unborn becomes developmentally pain capable at the gestational age of 22 weeks.  The bill also contains exemptions to protect the life and health of the mother.

“The Pain Capable Unborn Protection Act reflects the values of West Virginians and it is my hope that this legislation will ultimately be signed by the Governor.  I am confident that the vast majority of West Virginians believe West Virginia should protect unborn children who are capable of feeling pain,” Armstead added.

The legislation originated in the House Committee on the Judiciary, chaired by Del. John Shott (R-Mercer) and the House Committee on Health, chaired by Del. Joe Ellington (R-Mercer).

The sponsors of the bill include Del. Kelli Sobonya (R-Cabell), Del. Lynne Arvon (R-Raleigh), Del. Kayla Kessinger (R-Fayette), Del. Ruth Rowan (R-Hampshire), Del. Amy Summers (R-Taylor), Del. Anna Border-Sheppard (R-Wood), Del. Saira Blair (R-Berkeley), Del. Paul Espinosa (R-Jefferson), Del. Terry Waxman (R-Harrison),  Del. Rick Moye (D-Raleigh) and  Del. Jeff Eldridge (D-Lincoln).

Here is what they’re saying about passage of H.B. 2568

  • “It was encouraging to see 17 out of the 19 women serving in the House of Delegates to vote for this bill.  This bill is not a women’s issue, this bill is about having compassion for the unborn who feel pain during an abortion.  As the lead sponsor of this bill, I urge the Senate and the Governor to do their part in passing this much-needed, humane bill.”

– Del. Kelli Sobonya (R-Cabell)

  • “I want to thank my grandparents and parents for choosing life.  I want to thank my ex-wife and wife for choosing life, and giving me my beautiful children.  I stand for those who can’t speak for themselves by voting “yes” for life.”   – Del. Jeff Eldridge (D-Lincoln)
  •  “Today we stood up for the unborn who can feel pain and we have made it clear that we will protect those who cannot protect themselves.”  – Del. Amy Summers (R-Taylor)
  • “I am pleased with the cooperation and support of my colleagues in their work to bring the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act forward.  When this bill becomes law, West Virginia will no longer have the most liberal abortion laws in the nation ” Del. John D. O’Neal IV (R-Raleigh)
  • “I respect women’s rights, but I also fear my God, and I believe that we must protect the unborn – that is why I supported the passage of this legislation.”   Del. Rick Moye (D-Raleigh)
  • “I supported today’s bill because my grandson Robbie was born at 24 weeks and endured multiple surgeries, and he is a living testimony that life is precious and worthy of protecting.”

 Del. Ruth Rowan (R-Hampshire)

  • “The bill is about protecting life and as a representative of the people, I feel that it is our duty to protect human life, and this bill does exactly that.”   Del. Kayla Kessinger (R-Fayette)
  • “I am extremely pleased that the unborn have been recognized as precious.  One of our inalienable rights is life, and we are protecting the life of the most vulnerable – I am pleased that my colleagues and I stood for life today.”   – Del. Anna Border-Sheppard (R-Wood)
  • “I take my job as a legislator to protect everyone’s individual rights very seriously and I feel that we should protect the unborn, and that is why I supported this bill”.  Del. Terry Waxman (R-Harrison)

Two other bills passed unanimously to protect the health and safety of West Virginians

The House passed Senate Bill 335, which will allow first responders to possess and administer opioid antagonists in suspected opiate-related drug overdoses.  This legislation will help ensure opioid antagonists are made available to individuals at risk of overdose and will contribute to saving lives.

They also passed Senate Bill 7 which makes it a requirement for secondary education students to learn CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) as well as first aid training as part of the state’s public school health education subjects.  Further, it requires the CPR instruction to be based on a program established by American Heart Association, the Red Cross or other recognized guidelines.

Both of these two bills go to the Governor for signage.

Tuesday February 10th

House Passes Two Major Bills

Charleston – Today, the West Virginia House of Delegates passed two bills that are a part of the major agenda items for the first session of the 82nd Legislature.  

H.B. 2005 Teacher Alternative Certification 

Charleston – Today, the House of Delegates took up H.B. 2005, which creates a pathway for the alternative certification of teachers in West Virginia.

The creation of an alternative certification program in West Virginia will provide an avenue for prepared and willing college graduates, as well as those interested in transitioning from their current career to a career in teaching.

“In my region there are many vacancies that go unfilled for qualified teachers in subjects such as math and science, and this legislation will help provide solution to this problem,” said Del. Lynne Arvon (R-Raleigh).

A report produced in 2014 by the WV Dept. of Education, found that there were 700 K-12 teaching vacancies.  Currently, a portion of those vacancies are being filled by long-term substitute teachers not qualified to teach in the respective subject matter.

This legislation originated in the House Committee on Education chaired by Del. Amanda Pasdon (R-Monongalia).

Pasdon stated, “There are 280,000 children depending on us to make the best choices for them, to help them have the very best foundation that they can have to prepare them for the workforce of the 21st century. This legislation will create an avenue for qualified-individuals with real-world experience to lend their expertise and knowledge to teach our children.”

The bill was adopted for passage in the House by a vote of 60-35.  The House also voted for this bill to take effect July 1, 2015.

The sponsors of H.B. 2005 include Del. Amanda Pasdon (R-Monongalia), Del. Danny Hamrick (R-Harrison), Del. Mark Zatezalo (R-Hancock), Del. William R. Romine (R-Tyler), Del. John B.McCuskey (R-Kanawha), Del. Ron Walters (R-Kanawha),  Del. Steve Westfall (R-Jackson), Del. Lynne Arvon  (R-Raleigh), Del. John Overington (R-Berkeley), Del. Paul Espinosa (R-Jefferson) and Del. Michel Moffatt (R-Putnam).

Bill sponsor, Del. Paul Espinosa (R-Jefferson) concluded, “This legislation provides our local school districts an additional tool to help ensure that our students have the most highly qualified teacher in their classrooms.  This important education reform serves as another step we can take to bring us in line with other states.”

The bill now goes to the Senate for further consideration.


H.B. 2011 Deliberate Intent

The House of Delegates passed H.B. 2011, a bill to clarify the deliberate intent exception to the WV Workers Compensation System.  Simply put, this legislation will restore the originally accepted purpose of deliberate intent.

Lead sponsor of the bill, Del. Roger Hanshaw (R-Clay) stated, “This bill strikes a good balance between protecting the rights of both employees and employers, while also making sure that our small businesses aren’t driven out of business by the potentially devastating effects of lawsuits.”

The legislation originated in the House Committee on the Judiciary, chaired by Del. John Shott (R-Mercer).

“This bill helps restore the predictability of the court system, while also a preserving the right to a fair recovery,” added Hanshaw.

The sponsors of the bill include Del. Roger Hanshaw (R-Clay), Del. John Shott (R-Mercer), Del. Eric Nelson (R-Kanawha), Del. Matthew Rohrbach (R-Cabell), Del. Kelli Sobonya (R-Cabell), Del. Ryan Weld (R-Brooke), Del. Paul Espinosa (R-Jefferson), Del. Joe Statler (R-Monongalia) and Del. Carol Miller (R-Cabell).

The bill passed the House by a vote of 59-38.


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