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Nathan Brown

While the regular session of the 84th Legislature ended on March 9, many of the bills that passed the Senate and House have been working their way through the process to either become law or to be vetoed by the governor. Many of the constituents have contacted me seeking clarity on bills which actually became law.

Included you will find several notable bills which indeed went through the process and became law. This list is not inclusive of all bills. If there are questions about certain bills, please contact me directly, and I will be happy to discuss those with you.

Committee substitute for House Bill 2001 created a partial state income tax exemption for Social Security benefits received by certain taxpayers.

This bill implements a phased-in approach to eliminating state income tax on Social Security benefits. In tax years beginning Jan. 1, 2020, qualified taxpayers are permitted to modify their federal adjusted gross income for the taxable year by 35% of the amount of Social Security benefits received. In tax years beginning after Jan. 1, 2021, qualified taxpayers are permitted to modify their federal adjusted gross income for the taxable year by 65% of the amount of Social Security benefits received.

In tax years beginning after Jan. 1, 2022, qualified taxpayers are permitted to modify their federal adjusted gross income for the taxable year by 100% of the amount of Social Security benefits received. This exemption applies to married couples filing jointly with a federal adjusted gross income under $100,000 and individuals with a federal adjusted gross income under $50,000.

Committee substitute for House Bill 2083 provides for an identification card for released inmates who do not have a West Virginia identification card or driver's license. This bill requires the Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation to assist inmates in correctional facilities in obtaining a valid WV identification card to make it easier for recently released inmates to secure housing, employment, receive necessary medication, open a bank account, cash or deposit a check or register for school or enter a federal building. These identification cards may not be issued more than seven days prior to the inmate's release and will be valid for 90 days.

Committee substitute for House Bill 2183 dictates where a charge of DUI may be brought against an individual. Currently, a DUI can be statutorily enforced against individuals operating a vehicle on roads of the state.

The bill clarifies that "drives a vehicle in this state" does not mean or include driving or operating a vehicle solely and exclusively on one's own property.

Committee substitute for House Bill 2362 expanded absentee voting in the week prior to the election to accommodate qualified voters who cannot vote in person due to confinement to a specific location because of illness, injury, physical disability, immobility due to extreme advanced age, or another medical reason.

The bill permits the county clerk to require written confirmation by a licensed physician, physician's assistant or advanced practice registered nurse that the voter meets the criteria of this subdivision before permitting such voter to vote an emergency absentee ballot.

Committee substitute for House Bill 2439 relates to fire service equipment and training funds for volunteer and part-volunteer fire companies. This bill was recommended for passage by the Joint Committee on Volunteer Fire Departments and Emergency Services.

The purpose of this bill is to provide an easier method to submit documentation of a fire department's expenditures, rather than to require a written report from the fire department or company. Current law requires that a fire department submit either a written report or a sworn statement of expenditures relating to receipt of formulas distributions and equipment and training grants.

This bill establishes requirements for notice to be given to the delinquent companies and authorizes funds to be withheld from non-compliant fire departments and corrects an error in existing law relating to rule-making authority to distribute certain funds to fire departments and companies. Existing code also contains conflicting provisions making two different entities responsible for proposing legislative rules.

Committee substitute for House Bill 2446 creates the Blue Alert program to aid in locating a law-enforcement officer who has disappeared in the line of duty or locating a suspect or suspects who kill or inflict a life-threatening injury upon a law-enforcement officer and remain at large.

Committee substitute for House Bill 2481 permits retail sale of alcoholic beverages on Sundays after 1 p.m. Currently, retail establishments may not sell liquor on Sundays, on Christmas Day or between the hours of midnight and 8 a.m. This bill adds Easter Sunday to the days that retail establishments may not sell liquor.

House Bill 2509 holds that in addition to misrepresentation, fraud, forgery, etc., that it is unlawful to obtain possession of a controlled substance by theft. The bill makes no changes to the criminal penalty.

Committee substitute for House Bill 2662 provides for the automatic termination of a service personnel employment contract and the automatic revocation of the bus operator's certificate if the employee or bus operator is convicted of any offense that requires him or her to register as a sex offender, or of any criminal offense which has as an element the distribution of a controlled substance.

Committee substitute for House Bill 2809 increases the penalty for failing to remain within and on a designated, marked trail within the Hatfield-McCoy Recreation Area. This is currently a misdemeanor penalty with a fine of not more than $100. The bill increases the fine for this violation from not more than $100 to a fine of $1,000. If a person additionally causes damage to a landowner's property or interferes with a landowner's use of the property, the fine increases to $2,000.

House Bill 3044 requires the Commissioner of Highways to develop a formula, prior to the 2020 Regular Session, for allocating road funds among districts and counties. The bill requires the commissioner to submit the formula to the Legislature as a legislative rule.

Senate Bill 503 allows all used motor vehicles to be sold "As Is" if:

(1) The vehicle is inoperable and a total loss;

(2) The vehicle has been custom built or modified for show purposes or racing; or

(3) The vehicle is the following:

(A) Sold for less than $4,000;

(B) Driven more than 100,000 miles at the time sold; or

(C) Seven years of age or older as calculated from Jan. 1 of the designated model year of the vehicle.

As promised, I look forward to updating my constituents periodically and to provide the most transparent information possible. Please feel free to contact me directly at Nathan.Brown@wvhouse.gov or by phone at 304-340-3126 or 304-235-5674.

Del. Nathan Brown, D-Mingo, represents the 20th District, which includes parts of Mingo and Logan counties.

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