UNDER THE DOME

Below is a list of bills relating to the legal community that have introduced during the Second Regular Session of the 78th Legislature, which began Jan. 9. Entries below include bill number, sponsors, purpose of bill and action taken so far.

STATE SENATE

SB1 (White, Hunter, Fanning, Minard) 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. JAN. 9: Introduced, sent to Judiciary.

SB3 (Hunter, Barnes) To require review of life without parole sentences by the State Supreme Court of Appeals. JAN. 9: Introduced, sent to Judiciary.

SB30 (White, Hunter) 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. JAN. 9: Introduced, sent to Judiciary.

SB39 (Minard, Oliverio) 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. JAN. 9: Introduced, sent to Government Organization, then Finance.

SB50 (Bailey) To authorize the Administrator of the Supreme Court to oversee bail bondsmen; and to promulgate rules if necessary. JAN. 9: Introduced, sent to Judiciary.

SB127 (Jenkins) To limit certain asbestos claims, provide for the fair and efficient judicial consideration of personal injury and wrongful death claims arising out of asbestos or silica exposure, to ensure that individuals who suffer impairment, now or in the future, from illnesses caused by exposure to asbestos or silica, receive compensation for their injuries, and for other purposes. JAN. 9: Introduced, sent to Judiciary.

SB200 (President Tomblin, Caruth at governor's request) To modify certain statutory venue provisions in a manner consistent with the common law doctrine of forum non conveniens. JAN. 10: Introduced, sent to Judiciary.

SB204 (President Tomblin, Caruth at governor's request) To create the Indigent Defense Commission to assist Public Defender Services with regard to the general policies and procedures of the agency and to provide additional oversight of the costs and administration of the public defender corporations; to require corporations to submit monthly reports on billable and nonbillable time to the agency; to authorize the agency to create additional corporations in a judicial circuit with an active corporation, activate corporations, and require the merger of existing corporations; to establish an order of preference for the appointment of panel attorneys; to modify requirements for funding applications; to modify compensable expenses; and to authorize the executive director to establish guidelines for submission of vouchers and claims. JAN. 10: Introduced, sent to Judiciary.

SB218 (McCabe, Guills and Jenkins) To elect all justices to the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals and all circuit court judges on a nonpartisan basis. JAN. 15: Introduced, sent to Judiciary.

SB220 (Facemyer) To establish a procedure that requires a claimant that files an asbestos case after the effective date of this bill to provide information to all defendants about all claims filed or anticipated to be filed by that claimant against asbestos bankruptcy trusts, a mechanism for the defendant to challenge those claims, a procedure for sanctions by the court, and for set-offs for those claims. JAN. 16: Introduced, sent to Judiciary.

SB238 (Kessler) To increase the jurisdictional limit for filing suits in circuit court from $300 to $1,000. JAN. 16: Introduced, sent to Judiciary; JAN. 23: Reported do pass, with amendment (striking out the words "one thousand" and inserting in lieu thereof the words "two thousand five hundred"); JAN. 24: First reading; JAN. 25: Second reading, committee amendment adopted, floor amendment adopted; JAN. 28: Third reading, passed Senate with amended title, ordered to House; JAN. 29: Introduced, sent to House Judiciary.

SB260 (Love, Hunter, McKenzie, White) To allow the Supreme Court of Appeals to establish a uniform bail schedule which will allow persons charged with crimes to be released by posting a standard bail when a magistrate is not available. JAN. 18: Introduced, sent to Judiciary.

SB276 (Bowman, Helmick, Prezioso, Unger, Facemyer, Guills, Plymale) To modify the time frame for submitted claims for reimbursement. This bill was recommended by Subcommittee A of the Joint Standing Committee on Finance during the 2007-2008 legislative interim session. JAN. 21: Introduced, sent to Judiciary.

SB277 (Foster, Hunter, Kessler) 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. JAN. 21: Introduced, sent to Judiciary then Finance.

SB291 (Helmick and Yoder) To authorize the Governor to appoint an additional judge to the twenty-second Judicial Circuit consisting of Pendleton County, Hardy County and Hampshire County to alleviate case load. JAN. 22: Introduced, sent to Judiciary then Finance; FEB. 14: Committee substitute reported, but first to Finance; FEB. 20: Reported do pass, with title amendment; FEB. 21: First reading; FEB. 22: Second reading; FEB. 25: Third reading, passed Senate, ordered to House; FEB. 26: Introduced in House, sent to Judiciary then Finance; MARCH 5: Do pass, but first to Finance; do pass, immediate consideration, first reading; MARCH 6: Second reading.

SB293 (Foster, Yoder) To allow retired magistrates, magistrate clerks and other senior status employees retired from the employ of the Supreme Court of Appeals to work for the court after retirement on a temporary or per diem basis and draw both their retirement benefits and up to twenty thousand dollars in compensation. JAN. 22: Introduced, sent to Pensions then Finance; JAN. 24: Do pass, but first to Finance.

SB303 (Hunter, Foster, White, Kessler, Wells, Chafin, Bailey, Bowman, Edgell, Plymale) To prohibit employers from mandated captive meetings with their employees on political or religious matters. The bill provides a prohibition on these meetings and allows employees to recover damages for any adverse actions taken against them for refusal to participate in such meetings. JAN. 23: Introduced, sent to Judiciary.

SB310 (Bailey and Kessler) To provide that all magistrates be paid equally. JAN. 23: Introduced, sent to Judiciary then Finance. FEB. 7: Reported do pass, but first to Finance.
SB311 (Kessler, Plymale, Love, Oliverio) To allow judges in particular instances to order jurors from another county or counties to be summoned to ensure an adequate jury pool. JAN. 23: Introduced, sent to Judiciary then Finance; FEB. 1: Committee substitute reported, but first to Finance; FEB. 20: Committee substitute for committee substitute reported; FEB. 21: First reading; FEB. 22: Second reading; FEB. 25: Third reading, passed Senate, ordered to House; FEB. 26: Introduced in House, sent to Judiciary then Finance; MARCH 3: With title amendment, do pass, immediate consideration; first reading; MARCH 4: Second reading; MARCH 5: Third reading, passed House, title amendment adopted (voice vote), communicated to Senate.
SB334 (Kessler, Hunter, McKenzie) To create a panel of senior status family court judges; to provide for the temporary assignment for family court judges; and also to provide for reasonable payment. JAN. 24: Introduced, sent to Judiciary then Finance; JAN. 29: Committee substitute reported, but first to Finance.
SB335 (Kessler, Hunter, White, McKenzie) To authorize the Supreme Court of Appeals to create a panel of senior status magistrates and senior status magistrate assistants and to provide for reasonable payment. JAN. 24: Introduced, sent to Judiciary then Finance; JAN. 29: Committee substitute reported, but first to Finance.
SB336 (Kessler, Hunter, Yoder) To increase the rate paid to all witnesses to the same rate paid to jurors. JAN. 24: Introduced, sent to Judiciary then Finance. JAN. 25: Do pass, but first to Finance.
SB338 (Kessler, Helmick, Love) To reduce the number of written status reports on civil actions brought against state government agencies that are required to be provided by the chief officer of the government agency to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Delegates. Currently, agencies are required to furnish one report every sixty days in every case pending against a state government agency. The bill would provide that reports are required only as requested by the President and the Speaker. JAN. 24: Introduced, sent to Judiciary then Finance.
SB475 (Jenkins, Barnes, Sypolt) To allow Supreme Court justices to be elected on a nonpartisan ballot. JAN. 28: Introduced, sent to Judiciary.

SB492 (White) To eliminate part-time prosecutors; and authorizing an increase in salary for a part-time prosecutor that becomes full-time. JAN. 30: Introduced, sent to Judiciary then Finance; FEB. 20: Committee substitute reported, but first to Finance; FEB. 26: Committee substitute for committee substitute reported, unanimous consent, immediate consideration, first reading; FEB. 27: Second reading, third reading, passed Senate, ordered to House; FEB. 28: Introduced in House, sent to Political Subdivisions then Judiciary; FEB. 29: With amendment, do pass, but first to Judiciary; MARCH 3: With amendment, do pass, taken up for further consideration; first reading; MARCH 4: second reading, committee amendment adopted (voice vote); MARCH 5: Third reading, passed House, title amendment adopted (voice vote); Effective July 1, 2008, communicated to Senate.

SB525 (Sypolt and Guills) To allow both the accused and prosecuting attorney to have four strikes from a panel of potential jurors. JAN. 31: Introduced, sent to Judiciary.

SB526 (Sypolt, Guills and Caruth) To replace the phrase "other infamous offense" with better defined criteria as the basis for disqualification of prospective jurors; the criteria mirrors the matters for which a witness at trial may be impeached. JAN. 31: Introduced, sent to Judiciary.

SB587 (Caruth, McCabe, Jenkins, Deem) To limit deliberate intent in civil actions to traumatic injuries only, to exclude occupational pneumoconiosis and other occupational diseases as a basis for deliberate intent actions and to require that "deliberate intent" can only be satisfied with a showing of an actual, specific intent. FEB. 6: Introduced, sent to Judiciary.

SB601 (Tomblin (Mr. President), Chafin, Plymale, Jenkins, Fanning, Stollings, Yoder) To authorize the Governor to appoint an additional judge to the 24th Judicial Circuit consisting of Wayne County to alleviate case load. FEB. 7: Introduced, sent to Judiciary then Finance.

SB602 (Chafin, Fanning, Caruth, Yoder) To authorize the Governor to appoint an additional judge to the 9th Judicial Circuit consisting of Mercer County. FEB. 7: Introduced, sent to Judiciary then Finance.

SB664 (Bailey, Love, Oliverio, Kessler, Minard) To exempt family court judges and magistrates from the licensing requirements for carrying a concealed weapon. FEB. 18: Introduced, sent to Judicary.

HOUSE OF DELEGATES

HB2093 (Schoen) To allow family court judges to carry a concealed deadly weapon without obtaining a license. JAN. 9: Introduced, sent to Judiciary.

HB2127 (Beach, Hamilton, Perry, Varner) To exempt magistrates from the licensing requirements for carrying a concealed weapon. JAN. 9: Introduced, sent to Judiciary.

HB2239 (Frederick, Carmichael) 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. JAN. 9: Introduced, sent to Finance.

HB2257 (Schoen, Martin) To add a magistrate to those serving Putnam County. JAN. 9: Introduced, sent to Judiciary then Finance.

HB2268 (Lane) 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. JAN. 9: Introduced, sent to Government Organization, then Judiciary.

HB2355 (Doyle) To remove the requirement that venue properly lies in Kanawha County in relation to certain controversies involving the state. JAN.9: Introduced, sent to Judiciary.

HB2370 (Stalnaker) To require, under all circumstances, that a criminal defendant's right to a jury trial in misdemeanor cases is forever waived unless he or she requests it within twenty days of his or her initial appearance in magistrate court. JAN. 9: Introduced, sent to Judiciary.

HB2393 (Michael) To provide immunity from civil damages for persons who volunteer their services to a Public Health Department. JAN. 9: Introduced, sent to Judiciary.

HB2396 (Kominar, Stemple) To provide that a judge becoming eligible for retirement is not required to contribute to the retirement system; and clarifying that, for judicial retirement purposes, credited service includes certain time served as an elected or appointed municipal judge. JAN. 9: Introduced, sent to Pensions and Retirement then Finance.

HB2405 (Stalnaker, White) To prohibit operators of motor vehicles who do not have insurance coverage from instituting lawsuits for damages. JAN. 9: Introduced, sent to Banking and Insurance, then Judiciary.

HB2458 (DeLong) 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. JAN. 9: Introduced, sent to Judiciary.

HB2473 (Ennis, Perry, Boggs) 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. JAN. 9: Introduced, sent to Judiciary.

HB2700 (Campbell, Canterbury) To permit magistrates to carry concealed handguns without a permit. JAN. 9: Introduced, sent to Judiciary.

HB2744 (Browning, Burdiss, Stemple) To equally compensate all state magistrates at the higher tier salary schedule. JAN. 9: Introduced, sent to Judiciary then Finance.

HB2839 (Kominar, White, Moore) To provide a judge becoming eligible for retirement is not required to contribute to the retirement system; and clarifying that, for judicial retirement purposes, credited service includes certain time served as an elected or appointed municipal judge. JAN. 9: Introduced, sent to Pensions and Retirement then Finance.

HB2950 (Sobonya, Sumner, C. Miller, Long, Rowan, Duke, Ellem) To elect all justices to the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals and all circuit court judges on a nonpartisan basis. JAN. 9: Introduced, sent to Judiciary.

HB3159 (Stemple, Argento, Martin, Kominar, Varner) To provide that Justices of the Supreme Court of Appeals are to be elected from numbered divisions. Candidates from each numbered division are to be voted on at large from the entire state. JAN. 9: Introduced, sent to Judiciary.

HB4019 (Speaker Thompson, Armstead at governor's request) To modify certain statutory venue provisions in a manner consistent with the common law doctrine of forum non conveniens. JAN. 10: Introduced, sent to Judiciary; JAN. 23: First reading; JAN. 24: Second reading; JAN. 25: Third reading, passed House, communicated to Senate; JAN. 28: Introduced in Senate, sent to Judiciary; FEB. 29: Reported do pass with title amendment; MARCH 3: First reading; MARCH 4: Second reading; MARCH 5: Third reading, passed Senate with amended title, Senate requests House to concur.

HB4022 (Speaker Thompson, Armstead at governor's request) To create the Indigent Defense Commission to assist Public Defender Services with regard to the general policies and procedures of the agency and to provide additional oversight of the costs and administration of the public defender corporations; to require corporations to submit monthly reports on billable and nonbillable time to the agency; to authorize the agency to create additional corporations in a judicial circuit with an active corporation, activate corporations, and require the merger of existing corporations; to establish an order of preference for the appointment of panel attorneys; to modify requirements for funding applications; to modify compensable expenses; and to authorize the executive director to establish guidelines for submission of vouchers and claims. JAN. 10: Introduced, sent to Judiciary then Finance; FEB. 18: With amendment, do pass, but first to Finance; FEB. 24: By substitute, do pass, immediate consideration, first reading; FEB. 25: Second reading; FEB. 26: Third reading, passed House, effective July 1, 2008, communicated to Senate; FEB. 27: Introduced in Senate, sent to Judiciary then Finance; MARCH 4: Reported do pass with amend and title amend but first to Finance, unanimous consent, immediate consideration, first reading, on second reading to Finance.

HB4046 (Michael) To limit certain asbestos claims, provide for the fair and efficient judicial consideration of personal injury and wrongful death claims arising out of asbestos or silica exposure, to ensure that individuals who suffer impairment, now or in the future, from illnesses caused by exposure to asbestos or silica, receive compensation for their injuries, and for other purposes. JAN. 14: Introduced, sent to Judiciary then Finance.

HB4049 (Michael) To establish a procedure that requires a claimant that files an asbestos case after the effective date of this bill to provide information to all defendants about all claims filed or anticipated to be filed by that claimant against asbestos bankruptcy trusts, a mechanism for the defendant to challenge those claims, a procedure for sanctions by the court, and for set-offs for those claims. JAN. 15: Introduced, sent to Judiciary then Finance.

HB4106 (Perry, Ellem, Morgan, Stemple, Boggs, Webster, White) To allow the Supreme Court of Appeals to establish a uniform bail schedule which will allow persons charged with crimes to be released by posting a standard bail when a magistrate is not available. JAN. 21: Introduced, sent to Judiciary.

HB4120 (Webster, Brown, Shook, Hamilton, Azinger, Fleischauer, Miley, Mahan, Proudfoot) To prohibit inclusion of specific dollar amounts or figures related to damages in complaints for personal injury or wrongful death actions. JAN. 22: Introduced, sent to Judiciary; FEB. 5: By substitute, do pass; FEB. 6: First reading; FEB. 7: From House Calendar, second reading, placed on Special Calendar; FEB. 8: Third reading, passed House, communicated to Senate; FEB. 11: Introduced in Senate, sent to Judiciary; MARCH 4: Reported do pass, unanimous consent, immediate consideration, first reading; MARCH 5: Second reading; MARCH 6: Third reading.

HB4141 (White, Webster) To reduce the number of written status reports on civil actions brought against state government agencies that are required to be provided by the chief officer of the government agency to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Delegates. Currently, agencies are required to furnish one report every sixty days in every case pending against a state government agency. The bill would provide that reports are required only as requested by the President and the Speaker. JAN. 23: Introduced, sent to Judiciary; JAN. 28: First reading; JAN. 29: Second reading; JAN. 30: Third reading, passed House, communicated to Senate; JAN. 31: Introduced in Senate, sent to Judiciary then Finance; FEB. 7: Reported do pass, but first to Finance; FEB. 29: Reported do pass; MARCH 3: First reading, MARCH 4: Second reading; MARCH 5: Third reading, unanimous consent, passed Senate, communicated to House, completed Legislative action.

HB4148 (Palumbo, Webster, Miley, Shook, Higgins and Manchin) To authorize that net settlement proceeds held for a minor may be invested in a Smart529 college savings plan. JAN. 23: Introduced, sent to Education then Judiciary; JAN. 29: Do pass, but first to Judiciary; FEB. 18: By substitute, do pass; FEB. 19: From House Calendar, first reading, placed on special calendar, read first time; FEB. 21: From Special Calendar, second reading, placed on House Calendar.

HB4285 (DeLong, Miley, Cann, Fragale, Iaquinta) 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. JAN. 25: Introduced, sent to Judiciary.

HB4326 (Reynolds, Rodighiero, Ellis, Morgan, Craig, Stephens) 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. JAN. 29: Introduced, sent to Government Organization then Judiciary.

HB4374 (Shook and DeLong) To discourage the filing of any frivolous claims and keep the court system from being clogged with cases of no merit. FEB. 1, Introduced, sent to Judiciary.

HB4378 (Doyle, Tabb, Wysong) To increase the number of magistrates in Jefferson County by one. FEB. 1: Introduced, sent to Judiciary then Finance.

HB4388 (Webster, Mahan, Hrutkay, Guthrie, Fleischauer, Lane, Shook, Burdiss, Azinger, Brown, Ellem) To authorize the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals to maintain a domestic violence database. FEB. 4: Introduced, sent to Judiciary; FEB. 5: Do pass; FEB. 6: First reading; FEB. 7: From House Calendar, second reading, placed on Special Calendar; FEB. 8: Read third time, passed House, communicated to Senate; FEB. 11: Introduced in Senate, sent to Judiciary.

HB4391 (Stemple, Kominar, Argento, Proudfoot, Miller, C., Varner, Browning, Long, Fleischauer, Hrutkay, Webster) To allow magistrates and family court judges to carry concealed weapons on courthouse property. FEB. 4: Introduced, sent to Judiciary.

HB4506 (DeLong, Miley, Manchin, Stalnaker, Stemple, Shook, Beach, Fragale, Kominar, Mahan, White) To provide that all magistrates be paid equally. FEB. 12: Introduced, sent to Judiciary then Finance.

HB4543 (Long, Frederick, Crosier, Browning, Burdiss, Moore) To authorize an additional judge to the 9th Judicial Circuit consisting of Mercer County. FEB. 14: Introduced, sent to Judiciary.

HB4640 (Kessler) To mandate the State Bar through the Insurance Commissioner require lawyers to use doctors chosen for an independent panel. FEB. 18: Introduced, sent to Judiciary.

HB4650 (Palumbo, Craig, Michael, Doyle) To elect all justices to the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals and all circuit court judges on a nonpartisan basis. FEB. 18: Introduced, sent to Judicary.

HB4656 (Manchin, Walters) To require lobbyists and lawyers when performing lobbying services to pay service tax. FEB. 18: Introduced, sent to Judiciary.

HB4663 (Ellem, Poling, D., Azinger, Border, Anderson) To add one magistrate to Wood County. FEB. 18: Introduced, sent to Judiciary then Finance.

HB4675 (Overington, Anderson, Armstead) To abolish joint liability and establish the principle of comparative fault by which each defendant is liable for damages according to the percentage of fault attributed by a judge or jury. FEB. 18: Introduced, sent to Judiciary.

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