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Winners and losers on session’s final day

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The state legislature gave several dozen bills final approval Saturday before the 60 day regular session came to a close.

SB 842 will create positions in separate county school districts for behavior interventionists. The bill creates a pilot project.

HB 4497 will require county school districts to have an automated external defibrillator device at secondary schools activities events. The legislature agreed Saturday not to require the devices until the 2021 school year.

HB 4176, the West Virginia Intelligence/Fusion Center Act, does several things including the codification of the state Fusion Center which has been operating under executive order since its creation.

HB 4543, the insulin cap bill received final approval Saturday night. The Senate raised from the cap from $25 to $100. Supporters of the original bill in the House didn’t like the change but also didn’t want to kill the bill so it passed late Saturday night.

HB 4494, Tobacco Use Cessation Initiative, also returned to the House from the Senate in a different form but was still approved by the House. The original House version would have provided a revenue stream for cessation efforts. The Senate changes creates a task force that will make recommendations to the legislature.

HB 4524, if signed into law, will make the entire state “wet” when it comes to the retail sale of liquor and wine. The bill provides counties an option to go “dry” through a countywide vote. The county commission would have to call for the vote. There are currently 13 “dry” areas in the state.

HB 4363, creates a separate retirement system for Division of Natural Resources police officers.

Several bills that didn’t make it through on the final night included HB 4083, which would have required the West Virginia Parkways Authority to allow tolls to be paid on the West Virginia Turnpike by credit and debit cards.

The bill went to conference committee Saturday but a compromise was never reported. The House and Senate disagreed on when the change should be made. The original House bill required the alternate payment options to be available by July 2021 but the Senate pushed that back to 2023.

Gov. Jim Justice has five days to sign or veto a bill or allow it become law if he receives the bill before the session is over. He has 15 days, excluding Sundays, to make a decisions on bills he receives after the session ends.

The state Constitution gives the governor just five day to sign, veto or line-item veto the budget bill after the session concludes.

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