West Virginia Farm Bureau

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The Voice of Agriculture in the Mountain State

2024 Legislative Handbook

2024 West Virginia Farm Bureau Legislative HandbookWould you like to become more involved in the legislative process but don’t know where to start?  Well, look no further! 

This 12 page guide will help you find your representative’s contact information, the committees upon which they serve, and will even give you tips on how to most effectively communicate with them.  A must-have for every civic-minded voter.

Today in the Legislature

Legislative Action Report

Today in the Legislature is a daily synopsis of legislative activities maintained by the West Virginia Legislature’s Office

February 23, 2024

The 2024 West Virginia Legislative Session began on January 10. Governor Jim Justice, in his last state-of-the-state address, proposed a $5.52 billion budget, a 5-percent pay raise for teachers and state employees, the elimination of tax on Social Security income, and an expanded homestead property tax cut, as well as a number of other proposals.

The West Virginia Senate, under direction of President Craig Blair, began the second session of the 86th Legislature. Over 20 bills that passed the Senate last year but didn’t become law were read a first time for passage.

The House of Delegates was convened by Speaker Roger Hanshaw. House Resolutions 1 through 3 were passed for operation of the House.

Over 900 bills were submitted for consideration during the opening week. All committee assignments and legislation may be found at www.wvlegislature.gov.

All bills that did not pass one house as per legislative calendar have been deleted. Updates in bold.

The following bills were introduced during Week 1 (January 10-12) of the 60-day session. Those of interest to agricultural producers and rural West Virginians included:

SB 68 By Senator Woodrum. WVDA legislative rule relating to frozen desserts. Similar bill HB 4112. Sent to Judiciary. WVFB supports.

SB 69 By Senator Woodrum. WVDA legislative rule relating to certified pesticide applicators. Similar bill HB 4113. Sent to Judiciary. WVFB supports.

SB 70 By Senator Woodrum. WVDA legislative rule relating to licensing for pesticide businesses. Similar bill HB 4114. Sent to Judiciary. WVFB supports.

SB 72 By Senator Woodrum. WVDA legislative rule relating to select plant-based derived products. Similar bill HB 4116. Sent to Judiciary. WVFB supports.

SB 73 By Senator Woodrum. WVDA legislative rule relating to agritourism. Similar bill HB 4117. Sent to Judiciary. WVFB supports.

SB 171 By Senators Hamilton, Smith, Taylor, Oliverio, Deeds, Swope, Rucker, Woodrum, Trump, and Jeffries.  Purpose of bill is to prohibit county commissions from adopting ordinances and rules or other authorizations that exceed state law.  Bill prohibits county commissions from adopting ordinances that prohibit state and federally registered pesticides.  On second reading.  Passed Full Senate.  Ordered to the House.  Sent to House Government Organization.  Passed on first reading Full House.  Passed Full House.  Awaits Governor’s decision.  WVFB supports. 

HB 4226 By Delegate C. Pritt. Purpose of bill is to define market value and true/actual value and that property taxes may not be approved and assessed higher than the value in 2019. Sent to Finance. WVFB monitoring.

HB 4292 By Delegate Anderson.  Bill provides enhanced damages for non-payment of royalties due under terms of lease or agreement within six months of due date equal to three times the market value plus reasonable attorney fees.  (Similar bill SB 235 sent to subcommittee for review.)  HB 4292 sent to Committee on Energy.  Passed.  Sent to House Judiciary.  Passed on third reading Special Calendar.  Passed Full House.  Sent to Senate Energy.  Passed as amended.  Sent to Senate Finance.  WVFB supports.

HB 4409 By Delegate Mallow. Bill increases the fire and casualty insurance surcharge from 0.55 percent to 1 percent and distributes funds to volunteer fire departments. Sent to Committee on Banking & Insurance. WVFB monitoring.

HB 4411 By Delegate Mallow. Bill requires DEP to develop standardized oil and gas leases/contracts. Sent to Judiciary. WVFB opposes.

HB 4442 By Delegate Howell and Hillenbrand. Bill ensures that rightful property owners retain any and all titles to their property in the event that fraudulent or wrongful claims are listed against the property. Sent to Judiciary. WVFB monitoring.

HB 4569 By Delegate Cooper. Bill exempts sales tax from all-terrain vehicles if a farm use exemption certificate is obtained. Sent to Agriculture & Natural Resources. Passed. Sent to House Finance. WVFB supports.

HB 4605 By Delegate Young. Bill establishes the Agricultural Right to Repair Act. It requires manufacturers of agricultural equipment to make available to owners and independent repair providers on fair and reasonable terms the parts and tools to diagnose, maintain, and repair the equipment. (Similar bill SB 306 sent to Rules Committee. On second reading Full Senate as amended.) Sent to Agriculture & Natural Resources. Passed Senate Agriculture & Natural Resources. Sent to Full Senate. WVFB opposes due to previous MOU agreements with many manufacturers.

HB 4625 By Delegate Foster. Bill repeals laws relating to licensing of auctioneers. Sent to Agriculture & Natural Resources. WVFB opposes.

SJR 2 By Senator Karnes. Right to Farm & Ranch Amendment. Similar to HJR 2. Sent to Judiciary. WVFB supports.

The following bills were introduced during Week 2 (January 15-19) of the 60-day session.

SB 221 By Senators Weld and Grady. Bill creates felony offenses for aggravated cruelty to animals. Includes many undefined terms. Sent to Judiciary. WVFB opposes.

SB 271 By Senator Karnes. Bill raises the limit of donated food tax credit from $2,500 to $5,000. Sent to Agriculture & Natural Resources. WVFB monitoring.

SB 314 By Senator Chapman. Bill provides description of shelter requirements for animals. Under this bill, no animal would be kept outside if temperature is below 32 degrees or above 85 degrees. Bill does have a mild undefined term for agricultural animals. (Similar bill HB 5246.) Sent to Agriculture & Natural Resources. WVFB opposes.

SB 394 By Senator Tarr. Bill precludes WVDA from cancellation of certain leases. Sent to Agriculture & Natural Resources. WVFB monitoring.

SB 397 By Senators Hamilton, Caputo, Chapman, Deeds, Martin, Maynard, Plymale, Rucker, Stover, Taylor, Woelfel and Woodrum. Bill exempts high tunnels and greenhouses, whether heated or not, from all property taxes. Sent to Agriculture & Natural Resources. Passed. Sent to Senate Finance. WVFB supports.

SB 425 By Senators Woodrum and Deeds. Bill creates West Virginia Public Waterways Act providing for public access and fencing requirements. Requires agricultural producers to erect fences adjacent to new highway construction and requires gates to be installed for recreational purposes. Sent to Agriculture & Natural Resources. WVFB opposes.

SB 427 By Senator Woodrum. Bill repeals authority of Agriculture Commissioner to increase certain fees by rules or regulations. Similar bill HB 4891. Sent to Agriculture & Natural Resources. WVFB monitoring.

SB 429 By Senator Woodrum. Bill allows options for signage of farm use vehicle tag to both sides, front, or back of vehicles. Sent to Committee on Transportation. Passed on third reading Full Senate. Passed Full Senate. Sent to House Technology & Infrastructure. WVFB supports.

SB 494 By Senators Oliverio and Trump.  Bill enacts Uniform Unlawful Restrictions in Land Records Act.  Provides a mechanism for amending existing deeds by filing a document with the County Clerk which declares a discriminatory provision of a deed is void and doesn’t pass through the subsequent chain of title.  Similar bill SB 4916.  Sent to Government Organization.  Passed.  Sent to Senate Judiciary.  Passed Full Senate.  Ordered to the House.  WVFB monitoring.

HB 4434 By Delegates Howell, Crouse, Horst, Ferrell, Barnhart, W. Clark, Phillips, Willis, Sheedy, Stephens, and Hite. Bill prohibits state agencies and local governments from restricting sales of vehicles based on energy sources. Bill was amended to include tractors. Passed Technology Committee. Sent to Government Organization. Passed on first reading Special Calendar Full House. Passed Full House. Sent to Senate Transportation Committee. WVFB supports.

HB 4575 By Delegate Horst. Bill sets forth limitations of entry onto private lands and clarifies law enforcement entry onto posted land, as well as use of surveillance cameras by law enforcement. (Similar to HB 4825 – Passed with amendment. Sent to House Judiciary.) Sent to Agriculture & Natural Resources. Passed with amendment. Sent to Judiciary. Similar bill SB 580. WVFB monitoring.

HB 4721 By Delegate Cooper.  Bill requires land surveyors to offer to record maps/plats of measured parcels of land made by the surveyor.  Sent to Political Subdivisions.  Passed.  Sent to House Government Organization.  WVFB monitoring.

HB 4736 By Delegate Mazzocchi. Bill establishes new code known as the West Virginia Farm Fresh Dairy Act which allows for the sale of fresh raw milk to informed end consumers. Sent to Agriculture & Natural Resources. WVFB opposes.

HB 4739 By Delegate Gearheart. Bill authorizes landowners to hire third party hunters to harvest deer or other wildlife. Sent to Agriculture & Natural Resources. WVFB monitoring.

HB 4745 By Delegate Summers. Bill exempts quail and partridges possessed for agricultural purposes from game preserve license requirement. Sent to Agriculture & Natural Resources. Passed. Sent to House Government Organization. WVFB monitoring.

HB 4823 By Delegate Westfall. New code proposal creates West Virginia Public Adjuster Professional Standard Reform Act. Bill details public adjuster and insured contract requirements. Creates fees and commissions for public adjusters. Sent to Banking & Insurance. Passed with amendment. Sent to House Judiciary. WVFB supports.

HB 4911 By Delegates Hornby and Summers.  Bill legalizes the sale of raw milk.  Sent to Agriculture & Natural Resources.  Passed on second reading Special Calendar.  Passed Full House.  Sent to Senate Agriculture & Natural Resources.  WVFB opposes.

 

The following bills were introduced during Week 3 (January 22-26) of the 60-day session. 

SB 501 By Senator Weld. Bill creates and defines felony offense of cruelty to animals. Bill currently contains exemptions for farm animals. Sent to Judiciary. WVFB monitoring.

SB 512 By Senator Rucker. Bill amends Chapter 11 of the Tax Code to say farming does not include the development and ownership of solar farms unless the units are elevated so that animals may graze underneath. Sent to Agriculture & Natural Resources. Passed. Sent to Finance. WVFB monitoring.

SB 532 By Senators Smith, Caputo, and Stover. Bill’s purpose is to prevent oil/gas wells from being orphaned with no responsible operator. Requires certain fees or bonds to plug well at end of its useful production. Bill allows surface owner to defer plugging as long as well is not causing environmental problems. Sent to Energy. WVFB monitoring.

HB 4754 By Delegate Criss.  Bill exempts 6 percent service tax on processing of beef, pork, and lamb by a slaughterhouse for owner of processed product.  (Similar bill SB 617 passed Senate Agriculture.  Sent to Finance.)  Sent to Agriculture & Natural Resources.  Passed as amended.  Sent to House Finance.  Passed Full House.  Communicated to Senate.  Sent to Senate Finance.  WVFB supports.

HB 4935 By Delegate Ferrell. Bill amends three sections of the State Code regarding welfare of domestic animals, dog breeder requirements, and unlawful confinement of domestic animals. Contains mild exemptions for agricultural animals. Bill would significantly increase costs to animal shelters and increase penalty of animal abuse if convicted to a felony. Similar bill HB 5146. Sent to Agriculture & Natural Resources. WVFB opposes.

HB 4949 By Delegates Howell, Linville, Stephens, Willis, Hornby, Winzenreid, Crouse, Dittman, Jeffries, and W. Clark. Bill modifies Chapter 8, permitting agency deadlines for local governing bodies such as planning commissions to make decisions on requests within 60 days. Sent to Political Subdivisions. WVFB monitoring.

HB 4974 By Delegates Hott, Hite, Petitto, Jeffries, Kelly, W. Hall, Fehrenbacher, Householder, Hardy, Hornby, and Burkhammer. Bill establishes new code known as Save Our Farmland and Protect Our National Security Act. Bill identifies action by Secretary of State/Attorney General against individuals, entities, organizations, nonprofits, and others who are listed as a threat to state/national security that purchase agricultural land to be escheated to state for further sale. Secretary of State shall compile from Secretary of State/U.S. Attorney General and other sources that support terrorist activity. Similar bill HB 5169. Sent to Agriculture & Natural Resources. Passed. Sent to House Judiciary. WVFB monitoring.

HB 5013 By Delegates Hillenbrand, Thorne, Miller, Horst, Hornby, Adkins, Mazzochi, Dittman, Ward, Lucas, and Hott.  Purpose of bill is to amend managed timberland to include certain parcels of land within subdivisions as long as they are managed for timber production.  Sent to Energy.  Passed on second reading Special Calendar.  Passed Full House.  Sent to Senate Government Organization.  WVFB monitoring.

HB 5027 By Delegates Hornby, Burkhammer, Chiarelli, McGeehan, Phillips, and Foggin. Bill amends Fresh Food Act by increasing the amount of food purchases by publicly funded institutions from 5 percent to 10 percent, with penalties for non-compliance. Sent to Government Organization. WVFB supports.

HB 5044 By Delegate Williams. Bill amends Chapter 6 Article 8 regarding animal treatment. Bill sets unattainable animal care standards. Increases penalty for conviction to not less than $1,000 and up to $5,000 fine and minimum six-month jail time. Sent to Judiciary. WVFB opposes.

HB 5115 By Delegate Foster. Bill requires land assessed as farm property to be assessed at the regular rate of taxation for the preceding three-year period after the sale of the property for development. Sent to Agriculture & Natural Resources. WVFB opposes.

HB 5140     By Delegates Hornby, Hite, Horst, Thorne, Street, Heckert, Burkhammer, Pinson, Chiarelli, Smith, and Willis.  Bill amends Chapter 19-2B-4 to permit custom or non-commercial slaughterhouses to sell meat to consumers without restriction of portion size.  Sent to Agriculture & Natural Resources.  Passed.  Sent to Government Organization.  WVFB supports.

The following bills were introduced during Week 4 (January 29-February 2) of the 60-day session. 

SB 582     By Senators Stuart, Deeds, Phillips, Smith, and Taylor.  Bill provides new code to prohibit sale or production of cell cultured animal product for human consumption.  Creates a civil penalty for violation of the provision of the Cell Cultured Animals Product Act.  Sent to Agriculture & Natural Resources.  WVFB monitoring.

HB 5283     By Delegates Holstein, Martin, C. Pritt, and Horst.  Bill prevents purchase of West Virginia agricultural land by China or by a company headquartered in China.  Sent to Agriculture & Natural Resources.  WVFB monitoring.

HB 5294   By Delegates Clark, Espinosa, Howell, Hardy, Horst, Dittman, Miller, Householder, Hite, Crouse, and Hornby.  Bill revises and updates Code relating to farm wineries.  Establishes permitted activity for Class I, II, III, and IV wineries.  Sent to Economic Development.  Passed on third reading Special Calendar.  Passed Full House.  Sent to Senate Judiciary.  WVFB monitoring.

HB 5322     By Delegates Howell, Thorne, Moore, and Dittman.  Bill prohibits county commissions or municipalities from enacting regulations on meat processing businesses that are more stringent than WVDA or USDA regulations.  Sent to Agriculture & Natural Resources.  WVFB supports.

HB 5349    By Delegates Thorne, Hillenbrand, Horst, Hornby, and Hite.  Bill establishes West Virginia Truth in Labeling Act.  Defines cell culture lab-grown product, analogue product, and other items and requires clear labeling of cell culture products.  Sent to Agriculture & Natural Resources.  Passed.  Sent to House Health Committee.  On first reading Special Calendar.  WVFB supports.

HB 5353     By Delegate Thorne.  Bill provides for a prohibition on purchase of agricultural land by foreign adversaries.  Sent to Agriculture & Natural Resources.  WVFB monitoring.

The following bills were introduced during Week 5 (February 5-9) of the 60-day session. 

SB 619     By Senator Woodrum.  Bill repeals rollback tax code requiring modification of levy rates.  Sent to Finance.  WVFB monitoring.

SB 638     By Senators Oliverio, Stover, and Maroney.  Bill establishes rules for community solar programs where subscribers can purchase an interest and use credits against their utility bills.  Establishes rulemaking by PSC.  Sent to Economic Development.  WVFB monitoring.

SB 690  By Senators Rucker, Barrett, Chapman, Clements, Deeds, Hamilton, Hunt, Karnes, Martin, Queen, Roberts, Smith, Stuart, and Taylor.  Bill establishes West Virginia Agritourism Commission to review and investigate our agricultural tourism and economic development.  Includes seven-member group appointed by the governor.  Sent to Economic Development.  Passed as committee substitute on first reading Full Senate.  Passed Full Senate.  Ordered to House Government Organization.  WVFB monitoring.

The following bills were introduced during Week 6 (February 12-16) of the 60-day session. 

SB 618    By Senator Woodrum.  Bill authorizes Division of Forestry to administer a forest carbon exchange program.  Sent to Government Organization.  Passed.  Sent to Senate Finance on second reading.  WVFB opposes.

HB 5533     By Delegate Young.  Bill expands right-to-farm nuisance protection to “residential agricultural lands” in any political subdivision.  Sent to Agriculture & Natural Resources.  WVFB monitoring.

HB 5624     By Delegates Anderson, Zatezelo, Dillon, Heckert, and Barnhart.  Bill provides for expanded memoranda of lease requirements, including surface uses and burdens related to the development of the mineral estate when presented to the county recorder.  Sent to House Energy.  Passed as amended.  Sent to Judiciary.  WVFB monitoring.

The following bills were introduced during Week 7 (February 19-23) of the 60-day session. 

SB 802     By Senators Hamilton, Caputo, Deeds, Hunt, Karnes, Martin, Plymale, Stevens, Swope, Taylor, and Woelfel.  Bill amends lemon law for farm equipment to include equipment 20 horsepower or greater for vehicles as defined in 46A-6A-2 of West Virginia Code.  Passed Full Senate.  Ordered to House.  WVFB supports.

SB 822     By Senator Tarr.  Bill restricts timber carbon offset to 20 years and sets the tax at 50 percent of contract value.  Bill defines managed timberland to exclude land subject to a carbon offset agreement.  Sent to Senate Finance.  WVFB opposes.

SB 858     By Senator Trump.  Bill clarifies how taxpayers appeal reconsideration of property values with county assessors.  Bill further clarifies process for written petitions in certain instances before seeking an appeal at the Office of Tax Appeals.  Passed Senate Government Organization.  On first reading Full Senate.  WVFB monitoring.

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