CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The state Senate Finance Committee restored a provision Monday that would continue to allow property owners to file meth lab clean-up claims with the state Crime Victims Compensation Fund.

Sen. Clark Barnes, R-Randolph, said it would be hypocritical for senators to agree not to pay for meth lab clean-up while at the same time believing the prescription-only bill would reduce the number of meth labs in the state.

“I would assume that most committee members here would believe that it’s going to go down and go down substantially,” Barnes said.

Currently the Crime Victims Fund pays up to $10,000 per claim from property owners where meth labs have been located. Many of those claims come from landlords. As much as $700,000 in claims was granted last year. West Virginia is the only state to have such a claim process.

Court of Claims Administrator Cheryl Hall told the committee the fund is taking a hit it can’t afford.

“We’ve had to use our reserve account, which was at six million several years ago, but is now down to two million,” she said.

Despite Hall’s concerns, the finance committee voted to remove language the judiciary committee put in last week.

“Let’s live with it another year, let’s see what happens,” Sen. Barnes said. “There may not be a need for this at all.”

The prescription-only bill, which would require a doctor’s prescription to get cold medicines containing the meth making ingredient pseudoephedrine has passed the Senate and is awaiting action in the House of Delegates.

The Crime Victims Fund bill now moves to the full Senate for consideration.


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  • Brian

    Politicians are out of touch. Unless of course they're landlords themselves who will benefit, probably will. Hence another piece of self serving legislation. Nancy Pelosi and her husband are huge property owners in Kalifornia is it really that hard of a stretch to think our state leaders are too. Once again I suggest an insurance program where both landlord and tennant must pay. We already pay for deadbeat drivers with our states' uninsured motorist requirement the same can be done with housing. If I were a landlord I'd also require tenants to pay for and take a drug test along with a huge security deposit. A huge expense of doing business? Yes but considering $10,000 claims it's not unreasonable.

  • Kevin

    Make the meh heads pay for all this funding by working river and stream and road cleanup for free.

  • I'm honest at least

    How about an insurance co-op of sorts. Rental owners opt to pay in and if they have this type of thing happen they have paid in and would get the money. I'm so tired of paying taxes for this type of thing. It seems to me this is the sole responsibility of the owner and the renter.

  • Frank

    Shouldn't the headline read, "Senate committee decides to put state on fast track to bankruptcy"?

  • Joe

    I seem to recall that Phil Kabler wrote in his Statehouse Beat column during the 2011-12 timeframe about the specific members of the legislature who listed renal properties among their sources of revenue.

  • Joe

    "Sen. Clark Barnes, R-Randolph, said it would be HYPOCRITICAL for senators to agree not to pay for meth lab clean-up while at the same time believing the prescription-only bill would reduce the number of meth labs in the state".

    This may very we'll be the funniest sentence Metronews has ever printed.

  • johnny

    I don't think the state should pay a penny for the cleanup of meth labs. Make the low life scumbags making it clean it up. And i literally mean make them. No mercy from me.

  • Chuck

    Can anyone report how many Senators and Delegates own rental property?

    • Joe

      That's a great question, Chuck!

      Anyone put there with some intel on Chuck's inquiry?!!


  • Embarrassed

    The ballot box. That is where we can begin the process of ending this nonsense.

    • Lightning2192

      Exactly. Well said!

  • Get Serious

    These people are buffoons. We wouldn't want to make landlords take responsibility for the type of people they allow in their housing even though you can recognize meth addicts from a mile away. Nope....responsibility just is not in the legislature's vocabulary.

    • WhlgFeeling

      I agree but we cannot discriminate now can we?

  • Joe

    Honestly, the collective corruption and spinelessness of this year's legislature just never ceases to one up itself.

    • ViennaGuy

      Here here!

    • The bookman