Daily Legislative Update for Monday, March 6, 2023
-Bills Heading to The Governor
SB 268, the PEIA bill, was sent back to the Senate after passing the House with amendments on Saturday. The Senate concurred with the House changes, and passed the amended version.
SB 423, the pay raise bill, has completed legislative action and been sent to the Governor. SB 423 was passed by the House later in the day on Saturday. Several amendment attempts were made. Delegate Foggin offered several amendments to the bill to attempt to gain experience increment pay bumps for physics and chemistry teachers, as well as speech pathologists, but all were rejected. Delegates Fluharty, Skaff, Hansen, Walker, Rowe, Williams, Griffith, Young, D. Pritt, Pushkin, Garcia and Hornbuckle offered an amendment to add an additional $2300 pay raise effective July 1, 2024. This amendment was also rejected. The bill passed 94-0 with 6 absent.
Com. Sub. for S. B. 51 - Requiring impact statement in certain instances of school closing or consolidation (Action on this bill was postponed until tomorrow)
S. B. 237 - Relating to Public Employees Retirement System and State Teachers Retirement System. This bill provides a one time bonus of $1500 plus set a minimum retirement benefit ($1000 month) for retirees who have 25 years of service and have reached age 70, and are currently receiving less than $1000 month. This bill passed and has completed legislative action. It will now go to the Governor for his signature.
S. B. 99 - Authorizes meetings of county boards of education to explore and discuss the feasibility of consolidating school districts or sharing certain services, and spells out the procedures for such discussions. The bill also authorizes the legislature to incentivize county boards to explore and discuss the feasibility of consolidating school districts or sharing of services. The bill advanced to second reading.
Com. Sub. for S. B. 688 - Allowing BOE to hire retired teachers to assist with tutoring. The bill advanced to second reading.
-House Education Committee
S. B. 488 aligns state and federal accreditation rules. The bill was passed from the committee and moves to the House floor for consideration.
S. B. 251 is a mandate to display the official motto of United States in public schools and institutions of higher education. Committee on Education moved a strike and insert amendment which removed higher education from the bill and makes it permissive instead of a mandate. Delegate Pritt moved to amend the bill by adding “public charter schools” to the bill. Delegate Pritt’s amendment was adopted. The chair moved to remove the committee’s strike and insert. Motion is adopted. A new strike and insert was offered stating the “In God We Trust” motto shall be displayed in the main building and it may be displayed in other buildings. Higher education facilities were put back in the bill. Vice Chair Statler moved the strike and insert and the motion passed. The bill passed the committee and now moves to House Judiciary for consideration.
S. B. 262, Allowing students to transfer schools and retain athletic eligibility. Committee amendment was offered and adopted. The bill was passed from the committee and moves to the House floor for consideration.
S. B. 274, Third Grade Success Act. Reported to the floor with the recommendation that it do pass but first to Finance. Vice Chair Statler moved the waive second reference which was adopted. The bill now moves to the House floor for consideration.
S. B. 543 authorizes rule-making changes to terms, procedures and reporting duties in higher education. The bill was passed from the committee and moves to the House floor for consideration.
S. B. 625 requires certain transcripts to be accepted as record of student's performance for placement in micro school programs. The bill was passed from the committee and moves to the House floor for consideration.
Com. Sub. for S. B. 667 requires periodic performance audits of WV Secondary Schools Athletic Commission. The bill was passed from the committee and moves to the House floor for consideration.
SB 422 requires public schools to publish curriculum online. This is the Governor’s proposal mentioned during his State of the State address, however the content of the bill is significantly different than what the Governor said during the speech. The bill states curriculum and a syllabus (including any books used) must be posted online only at beginning of each new school year. This typically is already occurring on Schoology or other platforms used by educators. However, after much discussion about potential interpretations of this bill, SB 422 was tabled indefinitely.
-House Judiciary Committee
SB 461 proposes several changes to the grievance procedure, including extending timelines for steps and requiring a notarized grievance form upon filing. The most concerning of the changes was a provision where the losing party may be required to pay the legal costs of the winning party. The employer (county BOEs) would have the unfair advantage of always paying their share on the taxpayer dime, whereas employees (or their representative organization) would shoulder that cost privately. An amendment was offered to stipulate the financial burden would only be placed on the losing party for appeals to the WV Intermediate Court of Appeals or WV Supreme Court. Additionally, the amendment stipulates that an employee who lost at the Intermediate Court of Appeals or Supreme Court level would not be required to pay for the county BOE legal fees if the employee had been the prevailing party at any point in the lower level of the process. This amendment was adopted. Additionally, amendments were adopted that removed the requirement that grievance filings be notarized, and removed the prohibition on filing grievances during a declared state of emergency. These amendments, supported by Delegate Garcia and Delegate Steele, make this a much better bill for employees. The bill passed from the committee and moves to the House floor for consideration.
Eng. H. B. 2827 - Make public charter schools eligible for Safe Schools Funds. The bill passed the Senate and has completed legislative action. It now goes to the Governor for his signature.