CHARLESTON – The West Virginia Home of Delegates shortly handed a state Senate invoice that provides county commissioners extra authority over well being laws, bypassing the conventional committee course of.
Senate Invoice 12, associated to the accountability of the native well being division, handed Home 63-33 after being authorized by the Senate on Tuesday.
SB 12 would give county commissioners and metropolis leaders veto energy over guidelines or amendments to guidelines created by native boards of well being, aside from well being emergencies.
The invoice additionally places all native well being departments underneath the authority of the state well being official within the occasion of a declared state well being emergency. The invoice applies to particular person county and metropolis well being departments, in addition to joint well being departments between a couple of county or county and joint metropolis well being departments.
As an alternative of referring the invoice to the Home Well being and Human Assets Committee, the committee provided an modification to SB 12 changing a part of the invoice with a Home model that was already pending a vote. The modification permits a county or metropolis official to stay a voting member of a board of well being. The unique model of the Senate made these positions ex officio and with out the suitable to vote.
The Home of Representatives modification to SB 12 creates an appeals course of for well being division selections and sanctions and provides county and metropolis governments 30 days to approve or reject guidelines made by well being boards throughout states of emergency. The Senate model gave county and metropolis governments rapid voice on emergency guidelines.
Talking in opposition to the invoice, Del. Lisa Zukoff, D-Marshall, stated her county commissioners have been in opposition to the invoice. Zukoff stated commissioners are involved about accountability for overriding the well being division’s selections.
“I believe that is actually a nasty invoice. I believe it would inadvertently hurt a few of our counties and create legal responsibility points. “ Zukoff stated. “I believe we’ve to present these native boards native autonomy as they’ve at all times executed. There was no downside on this regard, even inside the pandemic. I believe we’re asking our county commissioners to shoulder an undue burden that they merely don’t have any expertise with. “
Del. Tom Quick, R-Fayette, stated the code already offers legal responsibility protections for selections made by county commissioners. He shortly in contrast the invoice to the identical authority the Legislature has to go guidelines developed by state companies.
“We approve and vote and deliberate on the principles”, Quick stated. “The county fee can do the identical. You’ll be able to ask … the well being division concerning the rule. They will name in specialists similar to us, they usually can educate themselves. After which they’ll make the choice to approve, disapprove, or amend that rule. “
The invoice is opposed by teams representing county commissioners, native well being departments and public well being advocates.
Usually despatched to Home committees for approval earlier than hitting the Home ground, the Home waived referring the invoice to a committee in order that the invoice is on the ground quicker and in third studying on Friday. . If the Senate approves the Home modifications to the invoice, it would go to Governor Jim Justice’s desk to signal or veto.
You’ll be able to attain Steven Allen Adams at firstname.lastname@example.org