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Local Bills Pass As Session Wanes

March 8, 2012
By JOSELYN KING - Political Writer , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

WHEELING - Bills sponsored by local lawmakers regarding hazardous waste management and domestic violence passed the West Virginia Legislature in its final days this week.

Additional bills coming from the Northern Panhandle also are on track for approval before the Legislature concludes its regular session at midnight Saturday.

House Bill 4320, introduced by Delegate Michael Ferro, D-Marshall, unanimously passed the Senate and completed legislative action Tuesday. The measure authorizes the Secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection to propose legislative rules to settle violations of the hazardous waste management act by consent agreements, as an alternative to instituting a civil action in the circuit courts of the state.

Two bills proposed by Senate President Jeff Kessler, D-Marshall, also have completed legislative action.

Senate Bill 191 unanimously passed the House on Tuesday. It provides for the protection of nonfamily or nonhousehold members who do not otherwise qualify for protection under the domestic abuse statute, and it also establishes jurisdiction of magistrate and circuit courts.

Kessler's second measure, SB 371, passed the House Wednesday by a vote of 95 to 4. It establishes innovation zones for county school systems who are under a state of emergency. The bill also requires annual performance reviews and reports and permits the posting of certain teaching vacancies.

Set for a third reading and final vote in the Senate today is HB 4489, introduced by Delegate David Pethtel, D-Wetzel. The purpose of this bill is to enhance the ability of the Municipal Pensions Oversight Board to ensure compliance and protect the fiscal integrity of the state's municipal policemen's and firemen's pension and relief funds.

And SB 211, proposed by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and introduced by Kessler, is slated for a second reading. It creates the secondary offense of operating a motor vehicle while texting or using a wireless communications device without hands-free technology.

Two other Kessler bills are among measures still in committee, but noted as "do pass" by the House.

The first, SB 479 creates the Spay Neuter Program and Fund. And the second, SB 437, addresses the regulation of opioid treatment programs in this state, and updates rules for opioid treatment program facilities to require clinical guidelines.

Also slated for passage is SB 36, introduced by Sen. Orphy Klempa, D-Ohio. It requires the disclosure of subcontractors within two hours of the close of bids for public contracts. Additionally, the bill prohibits the substitution of a contractor unless it is to the owner's advantage.

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