A look at court-related bills introduced during the first session of the 78th West Virginia Legislature.

Bill (sponsors; date introduced): Purpose. ACTIONS (IF ANY).

SENATE
SB 13 (Minard, Sharpe; Jan. 10): To increase, by one, the number of magistrate court deputy clerks that may be appointed and provide that the deputy clerk be appointed in Braxton County.
SB 50 (Foster; Jan. 10): To create a Physicians Lien Act to allow physicians and other providers to place liens on claims and causes of action by injured parties.
SB 60 (Bowman; Jan. 10): To repeal §14-2-2 of the Code of West Virginia mandating that certain suits and actions involving the state may only be brought and prosecuted in the circuit court of Kanawha County.
SB 77 (White, Bailey, Hunter, Kessler, Wells, Sharpe, Fanning, Unger; Jan. 12): To give the Office of the Attorney General the power to investigate and charge home heating oil, gasoline or other motor fuel price gouging, at any time.
SB 94 (Hunter; Jan. 15): To provide for the mandatory review of life without parole sentence by the State Supreme Court of Appeals.
SB 101 (White, Prezioso, Hunter,Wells; Jan. 17): To give the Office of the Attorney General the power to investigate and charge home heating oil, gasoline or other motor fuel price gouging, at any time.
SB 110 (Jenkins, Barnes, Guills; Jan. 17): To allow Supreme Court justices to be elected on a nonpartisan ballot.
SB 140 (Kessler, Foster, Green, Jenkins, Minard, Stollings, Wells, White, Barnes, Caruth, Deem, Hall, McKenzie, Yoder; Jan. 18): To clarify that $10 of fines and fees collected in civil and criminal cases in magistrate court must be deposited into the magistrate court fund. PASSED Senate on Jan. 23, INTRODUCED in House on Jan. 24, FIRST READING on House Calendar on Jan. 31.
SB 164 (Bailey; Jan. 19): To give magistrates the authority to perform marriages. The bill would allow magistrates to charge up to $50 to perform a marriage, a sum that would be collected by the magistrate in addition to his or her regular salary.
SB 194 (Kessler, Plymale; Jan. 24): To limit bond amounts; to consolidate multiple judgments for bonding purposes; and to provide exceptions to bonding limitations. COMMITTEE SUBSTITUTE reported on Jan. 26, THIRD READING on Jan. 31.
SB 204 (Kessler, Oliverio, Chafin, Foster, Green, Hunter, Jenkins, Minard, Stollings, Wells, White, Barnes, Caruth, Deem, Hall, McKenzie, Yoder: Jan. 24): To allow magistrates to assess the total cost of jury service. Under the previous statute the magistrates always assess $200.00.
SB 216 (Bailey, Minard, Hunter; Jan. 25): To authorize the Administrator of the Supreme Court to oversee bail bondsmen; and to promulgate rules if necessary.
SB 349 (Foster; Jan. 29): To provide a longer period of time for lien creditors to provide releases of liens, and to provide a penalty for failure to release a lien within the time period.
SB 377 (Foster; Jan. 30): To set a 10-year limitation on the enforcement of certain liens on real estate assessed by municipalities.
SB 400 (Kessler, Guills, Jenkins, Caruth, Barnes, Plymale; Jan. 31): To create additional circuit judgeships consistent with recommendations from the National Center for State Courts. That would provide for additional circuit court judges to be appointed to the fifth, ninth, 10th, 13th, 19th, 22nd, 23rd, 24th, 26th, 27th and 30th judicial circuits.
SB 410 (Kessler, Oliverio, Foster, Green, Hunter, Jenkins, Minard, Stollings, Wells, White, Barnes, Caruth, Hall McKenzie; Jan. 31): To authorize the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals to create a panel of senior status magistrate assistants, allowing the West Virginia Supreme Court to employ retired magistrate assistants when current assistants are on medical leave. Currently, the law allows for the West Virginia Supreme Court to have the same type of panel for magistrates and magistrate clerks.
SB 414 (Oliverio, Foster, Green, Stollings, Wells, Barnes, Caruth, Deem, Hall, McKenzie, Yoder; Jan. 31): To establish a flat fee for certain services rendered by circuit clerks; eliminating other miscellaneous fees charged by circuit clerks; and authorizing the circuit clerk to assess a fifty dollar fee to create and administer certain special funds.
SB 415 (Kessler, Oliverio, Chafin, Foster, Hunter, Minard, Stollings, Wells, White, Barnes, Caruth, Deem, Hall, McKenzie, Yoder; Jan. 31): To allow magistrate courts to assess and collect a fee of $25 for criminal records searches.

HOUSE OF DELEGATES
HB 2066 (Overington, Summer; Jan. 12):To lower the threshold required for reporting certain information about individuals, firms, associations or committees contributing to a campaign from $250 to $100.
HB 2090 (Yost; Jan. 12): To allow for the continuation of misdemeanor prosecutions in cases where a defendant is charged by complaint with both a felony and misdemeanor.
HB 2127 (Beach, Hamilton, Perry, Varner; Jan. 15): To exempt magistrates from the licensing requirements for carrying a concealed weapon.
HB 2164 (Argento, Stemple; Jan. 16): To require lien holders to notify the sheriff's office via written instrument and to record a release in the county clerk's office within 60 days after the lien has been satisfied; require that the lien be removed from record upon satisfaction; and provide penalties for failure to notify the sheriff and county clerk of satisfaction.
HB 2180 (Barker, Hrutkay; Jan. 16): To require that of the two judges allotted for the 25th circuit, one must be a resident of Boone County and one a resident of Lincoln County.
HB 2239 (Frederick, Carmichael; Jan. 16): To require the Attorney General to comply with certain requirements when entering into contracts for legal services to be performed by persons other than full-time Assistant Attorneys General or other full-time employees of the state as well as modifying current statutes to require greater legislative and executive supervision of these types of contracts. Toward these ends the bill includes the following provisions: (1) Requiring the Attorney General to report to the Governor and the Joint Committee on Government and Finance relative to these contracts; (2) requiring the Attorney General to report to the Governor and Joint Committee on Government and Finance upon the conclusion of such services, including a statement of fees involved on an hourly basis; (3) prohibiting the payment of fees to such persons in excess of $500 per hour; (4) requiring the joint committee to study the new provisions and to report recommendations for further changes to the full Legislature before the 2008 session; (5) requiring the Attorney General to submit semi-annual reports to the Governor and the Joint Committee on Government and Finance while requiring the inclusion of information concerning the nature of these contracts; (6) requiring all attorney fees or costs awarded the Attorney General to be deposited into the State Fund; and, (7)requiring that contracts proposed by the Attorney General be approved as to form by the Secretary of State.
HB 2254 (Lane, Overington, Walters, Blair, Sumner, Armstead, Carmichael; Jan. 16): To require that the Joint Committee on Government and Finance approve any proposed settlement involving the Office of the Attorney General while, additionally, providing that any proceeds received in any civil action involving the Office of the Attorney General be deposited in the General Revenue Fund to be appropriated by the Legislature.
HB 2257 (Schoen, Martin; Jan. 16): To add a magistrate to those serving Putnam County.
HB 2268 (Lane; Jan. 17): To require that the Joint Committee on Government and Finance approve any proposed settlement involving the Office of the Attorney General while, additionally, providing that any proceeds received in any civil action involving the Office of the Attorney General be deposited in the General Revenue Fund to be appropriated by the Legislature. In addition, the bill requires that the Attorney General seek bids from private attorneys when seeking outside legal assistance.
HB 2291 (Williams; Jan. 18): To provide that when a person from another state writes a worthless check in this state which results in a summons to appear in magistrate court but then fails to appear, the person shall have his or her privilege to drive in this state revoked. The bill also provides that the Division of Motor Vehicles mail notice of the revocation to the state wherein the person who wrote the bad check holds a driver's license.
HB 2308 (DeLong; Jan. 18): To provide for liens on child support obligors proceeds from workers' compensation awards, civil settlements, judgments, arbitration and other alterative dispute resolution awards.
HB 2332 (Perry, Amores, Craig, Perdue, Campbell, Anderson, Cann, Long: Jan. 19): To clarify that magistrate courts have concurrent juvenile jurisdiction with the circuit court with regard to enforcement of laws prohibiting the possession or use of tobacco or tobacco products by minors. The bill also gives to concurrent juvenile jurisdiction to municipal courts. PASSED House on Jan. 29, INTRODUCED in Senate on Jan. 30.
HB 2355 (Doyle; Jan. 19): To remove the requirement that venue properly lies in Kanawha County in relation to certain controversies involving the state.
HB 2393 (Michael; Jan. 22): To provide immunity from civil damages for persons who volunteer their services to a Public Health Department.
HB 2405 (Stalnaker, White; Jan. 22): To prohibit operators of motor vehicles who do not have insurance coverage from instituting lawsuits for damages.
HB 2450 (Miley, Cann, Fragale; Iaquinta; Jan. 23): To require prosecutors or assistant prosecutors that desire to carry a concealed weapon to undergo annual training consistent with the federal Law-Enforcement Safety Act.
HB 2451 (Perry, Perdue, Campbell, Long, Anderson, Cann; Jan. 23): To clarify that magistrate courts have concurrent juvenile jurisdiction with the circuit court with regard to enforcement of laws prohibiting the possession or use of tobacco or tobacco products by minors. The bill also gives to concurrent juvenile jurisdiction to municipal courts.
HB 2458 (Delong; Jan. 23): To limit the liability of medical and osteopathic physicians and those that may work under their supervision or direction, as volunteers to provide medical care at a youth camp or program.
HB 2467 (Webster, Proudfoot, Stemple, Varner, Kominar, Amores, Staggers, Ellem, Palumbo; Jan. 24): To give magistrates the authority to perform marriages. The bill would allow magistrates to charge up to $50 to perform a marriage, a sum that would be collected by the magistrate in addition to his or her regular salary.
HB 2470 (White, Perry; Jan. 24): To reduce from four years to one year the time that an action may be brought for a violation of the Consumer Protection Act involving consumer credit sales or consumer loans made pursuant to revolving charge accounts or revolving loan accounts. The bill also provides that a debt collection action may be brought more than one year after the occurrence of a violation as a matter of defense.
HB 2473 (Ennis, Perry, Boggs; Jan. 24): To provide a defense to licensees civilly or criminally charged with selling alcoholic liquors, non-intoxicating beer or wine to minors when the licensees have responsibly used scanner technology to verify age.
HB 2515 (DeLong, Walters, Hatfield, Caputo; Jan. 24): To establish the position of Insurance Advocate to be appointed by the Attorney General and to be located in the Office of the Attorney General. This bill establishes the duties of the Insurance Advocate, provides for the employment of staff by the Office of the Attorney General. The bill also sets forth the authority of the Insurance Advocate and it provides for the duties of the Insurance Advocate.
HB 2542 (Manchin, Caputo, Proudfoot, Swartzmiller, Yost, Walters; Jan. 25): To clarify that a written complaint regarding a manufactured home must be filed with the State Regulatory Board before a civil action may be filed.
HB 2548 (Reynolds, Rodighiero, Ellis, Morgan, Craig, Stephens; Jan. 25): To allow the Supreme Court of Appeals to establish a uniform bail schedule which will allow persons charged with a crime to be released by posting a standard bail when a magistrate is not available.
HB 2700 (Campbell, Canterbury; Jan. 30): To permit magistrates to carry concealed handguns without a permit.
HB 2738 (Webster, Proudfoot, Stemple, Varner, Longstreth, Kominar; Jan. 30): To allow magistrates to assess the total cost of jury service.
HB 2744 (Browning, Burdiss, Stemple; Jan. 30): To equally compensate all state magistrates at the higher tier salary schedule.

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