WVPA Sharing

W.Va. Senate passes House Bill 4631: Demetry Walker blood program legislation

By Autumn Shelton, WV Press News Sharing

Charleston, W. Va. – As members of the West Virginia Senate began the last week of the 2022 regular legislative session on Monday, they had fifteen bills up for third reading. 

Of these bills, the one that received the most discussion was House Bill 4631, designed to establish the Demetry Walker blood marrow and peripheral blood stem donation awareness program. 

The bill was first introduced by Lead Sponsor Del. Danielle Walker, D – Monongalia, on Feb. 10. Eleven days later, House members unanimously approved the bill. Now, it has cleared the Senate.

The bill directs the Bureau for Public Health to create a website that will “inform and promote donation awareness” for both members of the public and for certain health care providers.

Del. Walker sponsored the bill following the death of her son, “who would have benefitted from such a donation,” said Sen. Michael Maroney, R – Marshall, adding that when she spoke of the bill her testimony “was amazing.” 

“The inner strength that she showed during that testimony to try to help others from, in my opinion, the worst tragedy that could happen to a mother was beyond amazing,” Maroney said. “It’s a great idea and there’s no question that Demetry Walker, the delegate’s son who passed, will definitely save lives with this creation of the website.” 

Sen. Charles Clements, D – Wetzel, shared his story before those in attendance. 

“I was very fortunate. Back in 2017, when I was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, it was caught early enough that they could use my stem cells to give me a bone marrow transplant,” Clements said. 

He explained that there were two floors of the cancer center where he was a patient, that were “full of people having these transplants.” He said half of them were “not fortunate enough to be able to use their own bone marrow, their own stem cells.” He supported the bill’s passage. 

Sen. Mike Caputo, D – Marion, also rose in support of the bill. 

“Delegate Walker suffered a great loss when she lost her son, but she found strength somehow to try to do something to help others and to help save lives, and maybe prevent other families from going through what the Walker family went through,” Caputo said. 

The bill was passed with 32 yes votes.  

Other bills passed during third reading in the Senate include: 

  • House Bill 4065, which allows the Division of Natural Resources to teach hunter’s safety courses in school. 
  • Engrossed Committee Substitute for House Bill 4282, which allows for the creation of a commission to determine how to use location data as more people use cellphones and internet calling. A final commission report would be due on June 1, 2023. 
  • Engrossed House Bill 4286, which exempts attorney’s employed after July 1, 2022 from the civil service system.  
  • Engrossed House Bill 4291, which authorizes legislative rules for the Higher Education Policy Commission and the Community and Technical College Council. The West Virginia Invests Grant Program would see changes necessitated by Senate Bill 335, which was passed during last year’s session. 
  • Engrossed Committee Substitute for House Bill 4324, regarding a collaborative pharmacy practice. The purpose of this bill removes an approval process in favor of a practice notification and expands the definition of a collaborative pharmacy practice. 
  • Engrossed Committee Substitute for House Bill 4345, which is an agency bill from the Division of Motor Vehicles concerning vehicle registration cards. The bill allows electronic or mobile registration cards, issued by the DMV, to satisfy the requirement that cards are to be located in a vehicle. The bill also removes the requirement that vehicle owners must sign their registration card. 
  • Engrossed Committee Substitute for House Bill 4380, which relates to the transportation of students during extracurricular activities. The bill increases the number of ten-passenger vehicles which may be used for any school-sponsored activity, notes that buses must be used if transporting more than 18 students and allows service employees to operate certain vehicles.
  • Engrossed Committee Substitute for House Bill 4426, repealing article 33-25G-1 et seq., creating provider sponsored networks. 
  • Engrossed House Bill 4462, relating to municipal deferred retirement option plan evaluations. The bill was requested by the Municipal Pension Oversight Board and will take the reporting requirement from a one year period to a five year period. 
  • Engrossed Committee Substitute for House Bill 4489, requiring counties to post service and extracurricular positions on the statewide job bank. 
  • Engrossed House Bill 4517, relating to an outdated law that makes it a misdemeanor to not display certain ratings on the jacket of a video cassette. 
  • Engrossed House Bill 4649, which transfers the operations of the West Virginia Children’s Health Insurance Program to the Bureau for Medical Services. 
  • Engrossed House Bill 2817, after being amended, passed the Senate with the request for the House to concur. This bill creates a new chapter of code called the Donated Drug Repository Program. It gives the West Virginia Board of Pharmacy the authority to administer the program and provides for any eligible donor to give drugs to an eligible recipient, who may not have the financial means to afford them. 

Additionally, House Bill 4535, which would remove requirements for school attendance and satisfactory academic progress as conditions of obtaining a driver’s license was laid over one day.

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