Legislative Update… By Lori Dittman WV House of Delegates 63rd District

As the clock ticked down to the deadline for Governor Justice to act on the remaining bills, critical decisions were made including a veto that would have weakened immunization requirements for school students. HB 5105 was aimed to eliminate vaccine requirements for students in public virtual schools, private schools, and parochial schools. Governor Justice emphasized the potential harm posed by the bill in terms of childhood immunity against diseases like mumps and measles.
In addition to HB 5105 Governor Justice also vetoed the following bills:

  • SB 683: modifies the definition of “alternative fuel” for motor fuel excise taxes.
  • SB 714: transfers responsibilities and licensing from the Board of Osteopathic Medicine to the Board of Medicine.
  • SB 722: This bill revises the process for examining records related to limited video lottery.
  • HB 5338: It pertains to safe harbors for cybersecurity programs.
  • HB 5604: This bill addresses procurement by state spending units.
    On the other hand, Governor Justice signed the following bills:
  • HB 4883: This bill allocates a 5% pay raise to teachers, school service personnel, and West Virginia State Police employees, amounting to over $80 million. Additionally, pay raises for other state employees funded through the general revenue budget were already included in Senate Bill 200, the budget bill, which was signed two weeks ago.
  • HB 4880: This bill focuses on the personal income tax Social Security exemption. It gradually phases out income tax collections on Social Security benefits for single filers earning more than $50,000 and joint filers earning more than $100,000. The phase-out is retroactive to January 1, resulting in a 35% reduction in taxes this year and 65% reduction in tax year 2025, with complete elimination of the tax in tax year 2026.
    • SB 146: Creates a state task force on adult education to consider funding options and collect findings for the Legislative Oversight Commission on Education Accountability.
  • SB 487: Requires the State Board of Education to review professional development resources for teachers every five years.
  • SB 568: Aims to reduce chronic absenteeism by altering school protocol for addressing student absenteeism and increasing contact between schools and parents of absent students.
  • HB 4233: Codifies in state law that the term “non-binary” is prohibited from being used as a sex on state birth certificates.
  • HB 4830: Loosens training requirements for teachers, reducing the requirement from annually to every three years.
  • HB 4975: Establishes a web-based foster parent information system.
  • SB 170: Compensates certain firefighters who develop bladder cancer, mesothelioma, or testicular cancer through workers’ compensation.
  • SB 325: Allows for penalties for manufacturers who deny, restrict, or prohibit the acquisition of a 340B drug by a safety net provider or contract pharmacy.
    Two bills became law without his signature automatically after fifteen days from session:
  • SB 841: Freezes taxable wages to fund the state unemployment trust fund at $9,500 and conforms the maximum weekly benefit rate for unemployment recipients to $662. It maintains 26 weeks of unemployment benefits and allows part-time jobs for those on unemployment, requiring four weekly work search activities. Employers must report refusals to accept employment through Workforce West Virginia referrals and those who leave or are dismissed after six weeks.
  • HB 4911: Permits the sale of raw milk that is labeled and dated gives sellers of raw milk immunity from suit and liability.
    I was pleased to see the Governor sign HB 5017 which creates a statewide food truck permit. The bill helps small businesses operate more efficiently throughout the state by permitting them to buy the permit in their local county and the permit is recognized in all other counties.
    To get a full list of all the bills passed by the governor, please visit and click on the “Bill Status” tab then choose “Actions by the Governor.”
    Today, I am so thankful to have spent the morning with my church family celebrating the resurrection of Jesus, and the hope and forgiveness that He gives. If you do not know this forgiveness, my prayer is that you will.
    I spent the afternoon with my parents, aunt, Will, and Hannah. I treasure time with my family and am thankful and blessed.
    Signs of spring are everywhere. Longer days, the mowing of grass, and plants, trees, and flowers blooming with life. Our communities will blossom with life as well.
    “It is spring again. The earth is like a child that knows poems by heart.” (Rainer Maria Rilke)
    I look forward to hearing from people in the district and hope to see you out and about enjoying all the great things our area has to offer. I can be contacted at [email protected] or 304-701-8600.