For the week ending Jan. 19, 2024
Members of the West Virginia House of Delegates passed four bills in the first full week of the regular legislative session.
House Bill 4190 would direct the Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety to create a statewide “Purple Alert Plan” for cognitively impaired, at-risk individuals who go missing. The framework would be similar to existing Amber Alert and Silver Alert programs. House Bill 4252 would close a gap in the current law related to Domestic Violence Protective Orders. It would create a mechanism for West Virginia law enforcement officers to be able to recognize and enforce a Canadian Domestic Violence Protective Order.
House Bill 4274 continues the work that began last year in the separation of the former West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources. It would restructure state code to reflect the newly reorganized and renamed Department of Health, Department of Human Services and Department of Health Facilities.
House Bill 4433 would allow private practices to acquire and use certain tomography scanners as well as allowing mobile facilities to perform mammography and low-dose tomography both without going through the state’s certificate of need process.
Delegate Heather Tully, R-Nicholas, is vice chair of the House Health and Human Resources Committee and a sponsor of the bill. She spoke in favor of it just before the vote, saying increased access to scans for lung and breast cancers saves lives.
“This does bring health care into the rural communities, and even though we do have a hospital, we still have individuals who are not willing or do not have transportation to get to the hospital,” she said.
All four measures passed unanimously and now are with the Senate for debate.
The week started with newly appointed Delegate Thomas C. Clark, R-Webster, taking the oath of office to represent the 48th House District just before the day’s floor session.
House Majority Leader Eric Householder, R-Berkeley, announced new leadership roles for two members this week. Delegate Jon Paul Hott, R-Grant, has been named an Assistant Majority Leader, serving in that role with Dean Jeffries, R-Kanawha, and Laura Kimble, R-Harrison. Delegate Jonathan Pinson, R-Mason, has been tapped to serve as a Deputy Majority Whip, alongside Delegate Chris Pritt, R-Kanawha.
“The hard work of thoroughly deliberating important bills while efficiently managing our time began last session as members of the House rolled up their sleeves to perform the work the people of West Virginia sent us here to do,” Householder said. “That level of organization is only possible with a well-organized leadership structure that helps coordinate each of the many pieces that make up a Legislature and a legislative session.”
A total of 936 bills have been introduced in the House, and the deadline for bills to be introduced is Feb. 13. The 60-day, regular legislative session ends at midnight Saturday, March 9.