CHARLESTON, W.Va. —The state would no longer reimburse state residents for meth lab cleanups in an amendment that passed the state Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday.

The committee was considering a bill having to do with the Crime Victims Fund when Sen. Mitch Carmichael, R-Jackson, offered an amendment to longer use the fund to pay for the aftermath of meth labs. The committee approved the amendment.

West Virginia is the only state to pay out for meth labs from its Crime Victims Fund.

State Court of Claims Administrator Cheryl Hall told the committee the fund paid out more than $700,000 in meth lab claims last year. Residents can seek up to $10,000 per claim. Hall said the claims have been a hard hit on the fund because, unlike other claims, the federal government does not reimburse 60-centsĀ for every dollar spent.

Hall also told committee members that most homeowner insurances don’t pay meth lab claims.

“Most of the policies that even companies have have an exclusion for chemical contamination and meth is certainly chemical contamination,” she said.

The bill now heads to the Senate Finance Committee for consideration.


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  • Ragweed

    Want to stop people from operating meth labs and destroying property in the process?

    EXECUTE DRUG MAKERS AND PUSHERS! The users will virtually go away.

  • Brian

    Meth lab clean ups require a full on hazmat response team that is expensive. The day prior, meth head tenants were cooking and living in it. Require the meth heads to clean it up after training - heaven forbid these criminals get exposed to hazmat even though they had been everyday up to the bust.

  • JustaFan

    This is nothing more than blackmail. They public is against making criminals out of law abiding citizens who happen to need cold medicine. This is a way to twist the public's arm in accepting the bill. Shameful.

    • CeeJayVA

      Oh, please. The bill wouldn't make criminals out of law-abiding citizens who need cold medicine. Lots of different types of cold medicine would still be available over-the-counter, including pseudoephedrine drugs that have been manufactured to make it impossible to break down into meth. It's just the subset of drugs that contain pseudoephedrine and can be easily converted to meth that would require a prescription. Most people would find the other meds work just fine for them anyway. I certainly have - ever since they moved those drugs behind the pharmacy counter (where you have to take the little cardboard card to the counter to get those cold medicines), I haven't felt like waiting in line so I just use the types on the shelf. Haven't had a problem - those still meet my needs and are effective at relieving my symptoms.

      Only two groups are really opposing such state legislation - meth dealers and Big Pharma.

  • JTF

    Isn't Crime Victim Fund supposed to compensate victims of crimes for thins like eyeglasses that were busted during an assault, or dental costs due to asault, cost of replacing door destroyed during a break in, ER medical bills that are not covered by insurance, etc.?

    If you start paying out $700,000 just for property rehab from meth lab damage, then there may not be any left to compensate for the other damages the crime victims have.

    I think that is the reason they eliminated paying for meth lab damages. So they are sure to have enough to cover the other types of claims.

    • Come off it

      Right on the nose, JTF

  • CeeJayVA

    Hopefully the State House will pass Senate Bill 6, to help reduce the number of meth labs, reducing the need for such funds to begin with. Such prescription-required legislation has been hugely beneficial in Oregon in reducing meth labs, according to media reports on the issue.

  • JJ

    So who's going to pay for this MANDATORY cleanup? Every scumbag tenant that makes meth in a rental home (and that's most of them) destroys the value. No insurance help, no state help, for the owner. They're screwed. As usual here in good ol' WV those that work and earn get a raw deal in favor of the worthless criminal.

    • Dennis

      Maybe the landlords will begin to require background checks and credit reports on potential renters before letting just anyone with a deposit and the first month rent move in to their properties.

      • Charleston

        Not that I don't agree with you.

      • Charleston

        And the ACLU will definitely be okay with this idea.

    • Lowlander

      Here's a thought...the taxpayers shouldn't be paying to clean it up either...why take money out of a fund for those who actually need to clean up a dump...bulldoze it and let the landlord figure it out!

      • JJ

        So the landlord takes a total loss because he rented to a piece of crap?
        I don't disagree that it's ridiculous to have to pay this from the tax coffers, but I would presume that since the landlords are VICTIMS OF A CRIME that they'd be compensated through the CRIME VICTIMS FUND.
        Politicians would rather blame the victims than threaten votes from criminals.

        • Billy

          Money for the fund are collected when citizens pay fines for tickets.
          If a meth lab is discovered or materials to make on found on the rental property the house is condemed by the State Bureau of Health. Landlord has 30 days to get it tested. If it comes back dirty, landlord is required to pay to have it cleaned. 10 thousand probably covers 70 percent at the most. Small rental property owners will be forced out and rents will skyrocket.