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January 24, 2020

Fridays are typically slow days at the capitol. With no education-related bills in committees in either house, today was no different.

On the Senate Floor, SB 303 was on second reading. This is the “Students’ Right-to-Know Act” and is intended to help high school students make more informed decisions about their futures. It would require the State Board of Education to compile information on things like the most in-demand jobs in the state, the average cost of all major colleges and vocational schools in the state, the average monthly student loan rate for those who have attended colleges and vocational schools in the state and more. That information would then be distributed to every public high school in the state. No amendments were offered and the bill will be on third reading/passage next week.

Over in the House, HB 4089 was on first reading today. This is the bill that would require that cursive writing be taught in grades 3-5. The bill should continue its path toward passage next week.

While not much happened today, many bills have been moving through both houses this week. To keep up to date on everything that happened in the Legislature this week, be sure to check your e-mail and the WVEA website for this week’s Legislative Update. It will be sent out/posted later this afternoon.


January 23, 2020

Today was a busy day for education-related bills in both houses of the legislature. The House Education Committee began early this morning with two bills on their agenda. First up was HB 2464 which would require the State Board of Education or any county board of education to provide feminine hygiene products to students in all grades. It would allow businesses and members of the public to donate these items including things like deodorant, toothpaste, soap and more. It would also allow the school boards to solicit for these donations, as these items would be provided by donation only. The bill passed out of committee and will now go to the Finance committee.

The committee also discussed HB 2425. This bill defines the work day for service personnel as eight hours with a 30 minute duty free lunch. The bill also strikes the language prohibiting anyone employed in an aide position from being transferred or subject to a reduction in force in order to create a vacancy for the employment of a licensed practical nurse. Delegate Toney, a bus driver and member of this committee, answered a multitude of questions.

After much discussion in the morning, the House Education Committee was forced to reconvene at 5 PM to continue work on HB 2425. They continued to discuss the bill for almost an hour before finally deciding to lay it over to a future committee meeting. 

On the Senate Floor today SB 303, the “Students’ Right-to-Know Act”, was on first reading. It would require the State Board of Education to compile information on things like the most in-demand jobs in the state, the average cost of all major colleges and vocational schools in the state, the average monthly student loan rate for those who have attended colleges and vocational schools in the state and more. It would be required that this information be distributed to every public high school in the state for public distribution to students by school guidance counselors no later than October 15 of each year. It will be on second reading/ amendment stage on Friday.

SB 192 was on third reading/passage stage today on the Senate Floor. This is the WVSSAC bill. After some short debate, the bill was rejected by a vote of 16-17 with one person absent. Senate Democrats were joined by Senators Clements, Hamilton, Mann and Sypolt in defeating the bill.

SB 297 was also on third reading in the senate today. This is the bill that would create the family and consumer sciences course. This bill passed 33-0 with one person absent. The bill will now be sent to the house.

SB 230 was in the Senate Children and Families Committee and relates to suicide prevention of students. A similar bill to this was passed several years ago, however the Center for Professional Development was eliminated and the training was no longer required. SB 230 requires a school administrator to provide information and opportunities to discuss suicide prevention awareness to all middle and high school students. It also requires that the state board provide routine education to all professional educators and service personnel in direct contact with students on the warning signs and resources to assist in suicide prevention. The bill passed out of committee and will now go to the Senate Education Committee.

Finally, the Senate Education Committee met this afternoon to discuss SB 241. This bill requires the state board of education to propose a plan which makes student transportation costs a stand-alone item. The bill allows the board to look at Step 2 funding to provide funding for rural counties to hire more bus drivers. It was explained that the change be made to Step 2 funding because the number of students enrolled is declining but the counties are unable to reduce the number of routes because of the rural geography. It is expected that this bill will help at least 8 counties hire more bus drivers. The bill passed out of committee and will now go to the Senate Floor.


January 22, 2020

It was a slow day in the Senate. No education-related bills were in senate committees today. During the floor session, SB 192 was on second reading/amendment stage. This is the WVSSAC bill. One amendment was offered that simply cleaned up language in the bill. That amendment passed and the bill will be third reading/passage tomorrow.

SB 297, the home economics bill, was also on second reading today. One amendment was offered on this bill. The goal of this amendment was simple: to change the bill from requiring a course be offered in home economics to requiring a course be offered in family and consumer sciences. The amendment was adopted and the bill will be on third reading/passage tomorrow.

During the House floor session, HJR 102 was on second reading today. This is the resolution that would require any rules made by the Board of Education be approved by the Legislature. The resolution would have been set for a House floor vote tomorrow. Instead, however, it was taken off the House active calendar today and we are unclear as to when it may start moving again. We will continue to monitor this and keep you up to date.

The House Education Committee met this evening with a full agenda. First up was HB 2433 which would change the school calendar to begin no earlier than Labor Day and end before Memorial Day. After over an hour of debate, the bill passed out of committee and will be sent to the house floor. 

HB 2775 would require each high school student to complete a half credit course in personal finance in place of existing economics requirements. The County Board of Education would be in charge of developing the curriculum for this course. This bill was laid over so that they could get more information  

HB 4089 says that the State Board of Education shall require that cursive writing be taught in grades 3-5. This bill pass and will be sent to the house floor  

The Business Promise+ Scholarship is created with HB 4143. Businesses in the state can fund scholarship awards to Promise-eligible students in lieu of the Promise Scholarship. Students can received an amount of up to $15,000 annually. This new scholarship will be managed by the Higher Education Policy Commission and they are in charge of establishing any criteria for the award. This bill passed and will now be sent to the finance committee. 


January 21, 2020

The House Education Committee began early this morning at 9:00. They discussed a Higher Education Policy Commission and CTC Council Rules Bill. Since it is a rules bill it is not designated a number. Among the rules changes included would be changes to the Underwood-Smith Teaching Scholars Program in accordance with HB 206 which was passed last year.

During the House floor session, HJR 102 was on first reading. This Joint Resolution is an attempt to make an amendment to the state constitution to require that any rules promulgated by the WV Board of Education be submitted to the Legislature for review and approval prior to implementation. Passage of this resolution would require a 2/3 vote in both the house and the senate. The measure would then have to be voted on by the public during an election.

In the Senate, SB 192 and SB 297 were both on second reading/amendment stage today. SB 192, which would require the Legislator Auditor to perform financial and performance audits of the WV Secondary School Activities Commission, had one amendment posted before the session began. SB 297, which would require the Board of Education to create a home economics course that may be integrated into the curriculum of secondary schools, had two amendments posted. However, when each bill came up they were laid over one day. This means no changes were made today and they will continue to be on amendment stage tomorrow. This also means there will likely be more amendments to consider for these bills.

The big news on the Senate floor today was the introduction of two Senate Joint Resolutions: SJR 8 and SJR 9. SJR 8 is the Senate's attempt at removal of the Manufacturing and Machinery Tax. (For more info on this see our talking points.) SJR 9 is the attempt to lower or get rid of the real property taxes you pay on your vehicles. Both of these would require a 2/3 vote in both houses and a vote by the public during an election prior to implementation. Both measures were sent to the Judiciary Committee and then to the Finance Committee. 

The Senate Education Committee also met this afternoon. The only bill on their agenda was SB 303. This bill is also known as the “Students’ Right-to-Know Act” and is intended to help high school students make more informed decisions about their futures. It would require the State Board of Education to compile information on things like the most in-demand jobs in the state, the average cost of all major colleges and vocational schools in the state, the average monthly student loan rate for those who have attended colleges and vocational schools in the state and more.

It would be required that this information be distributed to every public high school in the state for public distribution to students by school guidance counselors no later than October 15 of each year. An amendment was made that added language to the purpose section of the bill that says the board of education must provide information on all different levels available to students (i.e. certifications, 2 year programs, 4 year programs etc.). The amended bill passed out of committee and will now be sent to the Senate floor.


January 20, 2020

A number of Martin Luther King, Jr. activities were held at the capitol today including the annual bell ringing on the north side of the building, but committee work inside the capitol was slow.

Both the House and Senate went into session at 11 am.

In the Senate, a couple of education-related bills were on third reading/passage stage. SB 16 – the Right to Unite Act was passed on a 34-0 vote. This bill would prevent anyone from being able to obtain membership lists or donor information from a 501c3. This is similar to a bill passed last year by the Senate.

The Senate also passed SB 42 – Faith-based Programs on a 34-0 vote. This bill would permit county boards of education to include faith-based electives in classroom drug prevention programs. The state school board would have to develop a rule on how that would work. This bill also passed the Senate last year. Both of those bills will now be sent to the House.

On first reading in the Senate today was SB 192 – WVSSAC Audit. This bill would require the Legislative Auditor’s Office to conduct a performance audit of the WVSSAC to be completed by December 1, 2021. Also, on first reading was SB 297 – Home EC courses. This bill would require the WVBE to create a home economics course for students in secondary schools. However, as the bill is currently written, no school would be required to offer the course.

Both bills were advanced to second reading/amendment stage for Tuesday.

The Senate Finance Committee is scheduled to meet today at 3:00 pm to hear the budget presentation from the State Department of Education. This is the same presentation the State Department did last week for the House Finance Committee. The WVDE is asking for less money this year and no new programs. Supt. Paine indicates he wants ‘stability in the system’.

The House had no significant education-related bills on their agenda today. They took HB 4062 – insurance co-pays off the agenda and laid it over until tomorrow. The bill would place caps on copays related to insulin costs. A press conference was held on the bill today. The bill will be on third reading tomorrow.

House Education will meet on Tuesday at 9 am. The agenda for the meeting is not yet posed.

Thanks to the education employees who came to the capitol to lobby today. It is important that you keep in contact with your legislators and let them know your position on pending legislation.

You can find legislative contact information and talking points on certain issues on our website.

 

January 17, 2020

Today was a slow day in the legislature. Neither education committee met and there were no education-related bills on the floor in the House. In the Senate, SB 42 and SB 16 were on second reading/amendment stage. SB 42 deals with allowing drug awareness and prevention programs to include faith-based electives for drug awareness in classrooms. SB 16 is the bill that will prevent anyone from being able to obtain membership lists or donor information from a 501c3. There were no amendments made to either bill and they will both be on third reading/ passage next week.

SB 297 was also reported on the floor today after it passed out of the Education Committee yesterday. This bill would require the Board of Education to create a home economics course that may be integrated into the curriculum of secondary schools. The bill was supposed to be sent to the Finance Committee next, but Senator Tarr made a motion that the bill bypass that committee and go straight to the floor. That motion passed and the bill should be on the Senate floor next week.

Remember: Monday is Martin Luther King Jr. Day and many of you are making plans to come to the capitol and talk to legislators. It is important that they know that we are still watching what they do and that they know how you feel about the issues.

WVEA will have a table setup in the upper rotunda on the House side on Monday beginning around 9 AM. We will have talking points, maps and lists of House and Senate members/offices. We hope to see you there!


January 16, 2020

The House Education Committee started early this morning with a budget presentation from the WV Higher Education Policy Commission and Community & Technical College System. They did not discuss any specific bills.

During the Senate floor session, SB 16 and SB 42 were on first reading. SB 16 is the bill that will prevent anyone from being able to obtain membership lists or donor information from a 501c3. SB 42  would allow drug awareness and prevention programs to include faith-based electives for drug awareness in classrooms. (You can read more on both of these bills in Tuesday’s Lobbyline.) These will be on second reading/amendment stage tomorrow.

 

The Senate Education Committee started their meeting this afternoon at 2 PM. They started by continuing their discussion of SB 192 from Tuesday. This bill would require the Legislator Auditor to perform financial and performance audits of the WV Secondary School Activities Commission. Several people from WVSSAC spoke about the bill including the executive director, their attorney and a board member.

The version of this bill presented today was a committee substitute that would have made any moneys collected by the SSAC public funds instead of quasi-public funds as they currently are. This was changed during an amendment and the bill was passed out of committee in its original form.

 

Senate Ed used all of their time discussing SB 192 so they had to recess until 5 PM to continue their agenda. This evening they began by discussing SB 297 which would require the Board of Education to create a home economics course that may be integrated into the curriculum of secondary schools. A committee substitute was introduced that added language that also includes any subject included in home economics. This change would allow classes such as Pro-Start, Finance, and Family Management to be included. The committee substitute passed out of committee and will now go to the Finance Committee. 

 

Monday is Martin Luther King Jr. Day so we are asking you to come to the capitol and talk to legislators. It is important that they know that we are still watching and know how you feel about the issues. We will have a table setup in the upper rotunda on the House side that day. We will have some talking points and lists of House and Senate members/offices. We hope to see you there!


 

Transcript of the Governor's State of the State speech.