Legislative Update for Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2023
House Floor Action:
The following bills were supposed to be on third reading today after being removed from the 8 PM session calendar last night. However, they’ve been moved to the inactive calendar (special calendar) for the time being.
- HB 2607 – Clarify that vehicles with a capacity larger than 10 passengers may be used to transport students provided that no more than 10 passengers may be transported at one time
- HB 3376 – Relating to changing the term teacher in residence to clinical teacher of record
HB 3547 – Increasing the number of personal leave days that county board of education employees may use from 4 or 5.
- HB 3548 – Relating to teacher duty-free lunch and daily planning periods, including:
A uniform method for notifying teachers of the duties at the school for which a teacher may voluntarily exchange his or her lunch recess to perform, and the process for volunteering to make the exchange; (2) A uniform prohibition on direct, in-person contact by administrators to request, coerce or order a teacher to exchange his or her lunch recess to perform the duties; (3) A uniform form for documenting the terms of the agreement between a teacher and the superintendent or his or her agent for the exchange of the teacher’s lunch recess to perform the duties; and (4) A uniform benefit for the exchange of the lunch recess by a teacher to perform the duties. Verbiage concerns in the bill originally passed from the education committee were amended to ensure the “shall” language was left intact.
- HB 3549 will prohibit regular classroom teachers and special education classroom teachers who are required to participate an individualized education program committee from also being required to prepare or reduce to writing the individualized education program plan unless no other professional educator with the knowledge is available.
Senate Floor Action
Com Sub for SB 268 was on first reading today. This bill makes modifications to PEIA including coverage changes for employee spouses. AFT-WV and other AFL-CIO unions oppose this bill and are working together in hopes of stopping it. Union leaders have also expressed their shock and disappointment in numerous news articles at the lack of discussion the Senate Finance Committee gave the bill.
House Education Committee
HB 3095- Creating a Department of Economic Development grant program relating to agricultural vocational and technical training facilities at West Virginia schools. HB 3095 will create a fund for, and a grant program dedicated to, the purposes of constructing, renovating and/or expanding agricultural, vocational and technical training facilities at West Virginia primary and secondary schools. The bill advanced from the committee and now moves to the floor.
Com. Sub. for SB 51- Requiring impact statement in certain instances of school closing or consolidation. The bill advanced from committee and moves to the floor for action.
Com. Sub. for SB 121- Creating Student Journalist Press Freedom Protection Act. SB 121 contains new language that states a student journalist has the right to freedom of speech and of the press in school- media regardless of whether the media is supported financially by the school, uses the facilities of the school, or is produced in conjunction with a course or class in which the student is enrolled. Subject to subsection (b) of this section, a student journalist is responsible for determining the news, opinion, feature, and other news reporting content of school-sponsored media. The bill advanced from the committee.
Com. Sub. for SB 602- Enabling WVSU and Bluefield State University to offer associate degrees– The bill advanced from the committee.
Senate School Choice Committee
SB 625- Requiring certain transcripts to be accepted as record of student's performance for placement in micro school programs. The bill advanced from the committee and moves to the Senate floor. New language includes:
-A student from another state, or who is eligible to enroll in a public school in this state, shall be enrolled in the same grade in a public school in West Virginia as the student was enrolled at the school or program from which the student transferred. A transcript or other credential provided by a public school program, private school program, homeschool program, micro-school program, or HOPE scholarship program shall be accepted by a public school in this state as a record of a student’s previous academic performance for the purposes of placement and credit assignment.
SB 628- Revising provisions related to public charter schools. SB628 was reported to the floor with the recommendation that it do pass but first be referred to the Committee on Education. Counsel stated that the second reference to the Committee on Education may be waived. Some of the new provisions contained in SB628 include:
- It is the intent of the Legislature that public charter school students be considered as important as all other school students in the state and, to that end, comparable funding levels from existing and future sources should be maintained for public charter school students.
-If a public charter school chooses to incorporate post-secondary embedded credit, dual credit, and industry and workforce credential programs into its educational program, institutions of higher education may not impose any requirements on the public charter school that are not required of non-charter public schools;
-If a public charter school does not sponsor an extracurricular athletic and/or academic interscholastic activity for the students enrolled in the public charter school and the non-charter public school serving the attendance area in which the public charter school is located sponsors the activity, the public charter school students may participate in those activities at the non-charter public school on the same basis as other public school students are able to participate in those activities at the non-charter public school;
-The Professional Charter School Board may receive and expend appropriate gifts, grants and donations of any kind from any public or private entity to carry out the purposes of this act, subject to all lawful terms and conditions under which the gifts, grants or donations are given; may apply for any federal funds that may be available for the implementation of public charter school programs; and may make start-up grants to public charter schools from funds appropriated or otherwise available to it from federal, state, or other sources.
HB 2820- To provide HOPE Scholarship recipients with the ability to play sports. HB2820 advanced from the committee and moves to the Senate floor for consideration. This bill has already passed the House. New language includes:
-Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, or the commission’s rules, the commission shall consider eligible for participation in interscholastic athletic events and other extracurricular activities of secondary schools a student who is receiving home instruction or who is a participant in the Hope Scholarship Program, or in a micro-school or learning pod.
-Provided, that students enrolled in a private school shall not be eligible to play on a public school team if the sport is offered at the private school. Private school students are subject to the same member-to-member transfer protocols and West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission waiver application process.