CHARLESTON — The West Virginia Senate on Tuesday handed a invoice that checks the authority of county boards of well being and will lead to separate metropolis/county well being ordinances.
Senate Invoice 12 handed 21-13, with Republican Sens. Invoice Hamilton, R-Upshur, and David Stover, R-Wyoming, voting with the Democratic minority.
The invoice requires the appointing authorities of the county boards of well being to approve or disapprove all ordinances and guidelines handed the board. Within the case of the Cabell-Huntington Well being Division, that may be the Cabell County Fee and Huntington Metropolis Council. It might lead to one public well being ordinance within the metropolis and one other within the county.
The appointing authorities additionally should have a member function a non-voting member of the board.
Boards of well being will likely be required to submit new guidelines on the State Register and their web site and to have a public remark interval. The rule and any public feedback have to be submitted to the county fee and different appointing company inside 30 days. If a rule/ordinance is rejected, the appointing company should clarify in writing why and the board of well being can resubmit the ordinance.
“Opposed choices” well being departments will also be appealed the neighborhood, as amended the Senate on Tuesday.
If there’s a public well being emergency, the rule can instantly go into impact however the appointing businesses nonetheless should approve or disapprove the rule inside 30 days. Boards should additionally defer to the state in instances of emergency.
The invoice isn’t retroactive, and the Senate rejected an modification that may have required guidelines going again 10 years to be permitted/disapproved.
Supporters of the laws say the invoice supplies stability between public well being and politics, and provides energy again to the folks holding elected officers accountable.
“The people who find themselves elected the residents ought to have the ultimate say,” stated Sen. Charles Trump, R-Morgan. “… If not, then folks can’t be actually sovereign.”
The invoice is opposed the state Affiliation of County Commissioners, the state affiliation for public well being officers, the American Most cancers Society, the American Lung Affiliation and the Board of Osteopathic Medication.
“The American Most cancers Society Most cancers Motion Community and our coalition companions oppose laws that may take away native management and make it tougher for county well being departments to enact future smoke-free air and different public well being laws in communities,” the ACS CAN stated in an announcement. “These laws defend West Virginia residents from publicity to secondhand smoke and enhance public well being.
“Smoking and secondhand smoke publicity stay main causes of preventable loss of life and illness in West Virginia. Greater than 65% of the inhabitants in West Virginia, staff and patrons, profit from smoke-free workplaces, together with eating places and bars, due to native smoke-free laws put in place native county well being departments.”
Sen. Mike Maroney, R-Marshall, chair of the Well being Committee, stated the invoice happened after “egregious” actions taken some county well being boards in the course of the pandemic. Sen. Ron Stollings, D-Boone, a doctor, stated one of many so-called egregious points was Monongalia County deciding to ban Pennsylvania residents from shopping for liquor in West Virginia. Pennsylvania had closed its liquor shops and had greater charges of the virus on the time. Stollings stated it was a call made the county fee, legislation enforcement and the board of well being.
The opposite extremely cited incident, Stollings stated, was when vape outlets within the Jap Panhandle have been labeled as nonessential. That subject labored itself out as soon as Gov. Jim Justice stepped in with statewide laws.
Stollings stated the invoice was anti-public well being and was a “poke within the eye” to the hardworking public well being staff within the state.
“It’s a foul invoice,” Stollings stated Monday throughout a Democratic information convention. “They tried to place lipstick on it, however they will’t make it pro-public well being.”
SB 12 is much like Home Invoice 2015, which was learn for the primary time Feb. 13 after which taken off the energetic “particular” Home calendar.
Reporter Taylor Caught could be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Observe her on Twitter and Fb @TaylorStuckHD.