CHARLESTON – Besides the looming legislation regarding the special gubernatorial election, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee seems a relatively calm session ahead.
Tim Miley, D-Harrison, says the biggest legal bills his committee has on the horizon deal with criminal matters.
"For example, we're looking at a bill that would give our State Police administrative subpoena powers to get ISP addresses in online solicitation crimes against minors," he said. "Also, there should be a civil forfeiture bill to address scams perpetrated on people of our state, especially our seniors. Like when someone pays for work on windows, roofing, etc. It's akin to asset forfeiture in drug cases. Our hope is that you discourage this kind of conduct. And you can recover some of the compensation for the victims.
Miley said his committee also will be looking at a cyber bullying bill, which has been a hot topic nationally in recent months.
"The issue generally is cyber bullying regarding sexual orientation," he said. "When we put it on the agenda, it likely will get some colorful and interesting debate."
Miley said the committee also will look at whether there is a need to impose or modify regulations on Marcellus Shale drilling industry.
"This is a tremendous opportunity to help a new industry grow and thrive, to create jobs and to benefit our state economically," Miley said. "But we have to be careful to not become intoxicated to ignore the impact on our environment."
He said regulatory issues, such as secondary roads damaged by heavy rigs, water usage and water disposal issues will be taken up.
Miley said the Judiciary also could look at a bill that would require insurance companies to provide some limited coverage for autism disorders.
"Sadly, like so many health issues we can pay now on front end or ignore it and pay later," he said.
Like his state Senate counterpart Corey Palumbo, Miley said he doesn't think the House Judiciary will take up the idea of creating an intermediate appellate court this session after the Supreme Court introduced its revised rules for appellate procedure.
"What I'd like to see is how the new rules are working and whether we are seeing every case get the review it is supposed to receive," he said.