There have been many reviews of bills that passed and became law in West Virginia this year. However, there were far more bills that were introduced but not passed by the legislature. This month’s column points out some bills that did not pass but were sponsored by Delegates Clark, Espinosa, and Ridenour. Next month I’ll continue with a review of bills sponsored by Delegate Hardy and Senators Barrett and Rucker.
Increasing Pay For Teachers & School Staff
In areas like Berkeley and Jefferson counties, which border Maryland and Virginia, it has been suggested that a boost in salary levels to be competitive with these neighboring jurisdictions (aka “locality pay”) would go a long way towards keeping and recruiting teachers and other school staff. Locality pay was somewhat addressed in HB 2828 which would have raised base pay for teachers statewide, which in turn would make our school systems more competitive with abutting jurisdictions. Delegate Clark along with eight other delegates sponsored this bill, but it stalled in the House Finance Committee.
Guns In Schools
HB 2549 would have allowed teachers, school administrators, and others to carry concealed firearms in schools (grades K-12). This bill stalled in the House Judiciary Committee. It was sponsored by eleven delegates including Delegate Clark.
Surveillance Cameras In Schools
HB 2560 would have required that cameras be placed in all public places in schools with the exception of bathroom stalls, showers, and locker rooms. This bill stalled in the House Education Committee. It was sponsored by ten delegates including Delegate Ridenour.
Requiring English Skills For Students
HB 2622 would have required that children be able to speak English before being admitted to school. This bill stalled in the House Education Committee. It had three sponsors including Delegate Ridenour.
Weight Of Final Semester Examinations
HB 3447 would have required that high school final examinations carry a weight of at least 12 percent of the final grade. This bill stalled in the House Education Committee. Delegate Ridenour was the sole sponsor. [Note: the Jefferson County School Board, in its role as the local school authority, is currently reviewing the weight of final exams and has set up a Semester Exam Advisory Committee (consisting of citizens and teachers) to assist with the review and determination of the weight of final exams in Jefferson County schools.]
Zoning Exemption For Electrical Generation
HB 2459 would have allowed an exempt wholesale generator (any person or entity that is not an electric utility but who intends to purchase, construct, or operate an electric generating facility) to be permitted to operate in any zoning local district. This bill stalled in the Judiciary Committee and was sponsored solely by Delegate Clark. [Jefferson County amended its zoning ordinance in 2022 to permit wholesale solar generation as conditional use in its rural zoning district.]
Removing License Requirements For Radon Contractors
HB 2769 would have removed the licensure requirements for radon specialists, including contractors and testers. This bill stalled in the Committee on Government Organizations. Delegate Espinosa along with ten other delegates sponsored this bill.
Voting Rights For Formerly Incarcerated Individuals
HB 3009 would have restored voting rights upon release from prison, even if the person will be on probation, parole or supervised release. The bill stalled in the House Judiciary Committee. This bill was sponsored by a by-partisan group of eight delegates. Delegate Espinosa was the lead sponsor.
Guns In The Capitol
HB 2114 would have permitted the carrying of concealed weapons in and on the grounds of the state Capitol. This bill stalled in the House Judiciary Committee and was sponsored by eleven delegates including Delegate Clark.
Removing Childhood Vaccine Requirements
HB 3144 would have removed any vaccinations or immunization requirements for a child to enter public school. Delegate Ridenour was one of four sponsors of this bill which stalled in the House Education Committee.
Inspection Of Motor Vehicles
HB 3217 would have repealed state inspection requirements for motor vehicles. This bill stalled in the House Technology and Infrastructure Committee. Delegate Ridenour was one of ten sponsors of this bill.
HB 3535 would have provided that certain persons (“citizens of the United States of America who have been arrested, charged or convicted of any crime, other than a felony, relating to the US Capitol building on January 6, 2021”) arrested by the United States Government may not be transported through or imprisoned in West Virginia. Delegate Ridenour was the sole sponsor of this bill. It stalled in the House Judiciary Committee.
Susan Benzinger is a retired tax attorney and active volunteer in Jefferson County. During her 2022 campaign for WV State Delegate campaign she became very familiar with the issues facing West Virginia and offered to share updates on the state legislature during the 2023 session for The Observer.By Susan Benzinger