The West Virginia Legislature adjourned “sine die” Saturday nite at midnight. A last minute attempt in the Senate to pass SB 498, which forbids talking about racism in certain cases in the classroom, missed the final bell by 15 seconds. The clock also ran out on a bill which forbid medical providers from performing abortions after 15 weeks. While the House of Delegates passed the bill on Feb, 15, the bill stalled in the Senate.

Senate bill 2 and 3, which reduced the amount time unemployment benefits could be collected and addressed unemployment fraud both failed to due to lack of time. A last minute attempt to combine the bills proved futile.

A bill to allocate Magistrates on population passed the Senate on the final day with significant amendments. The bill passed the house with one magistrate allocated per 15,500 population with no county less than having less than two magistrates. The bill was amended in the Senate directing the Supreme Court to commission a study on the caseloads of magistrates and report back to the Legislature within the year. The amended bill also calls for magistrates to operate regionally to cover after hours issues like domestic disputes, etc. No less than 158 magistrates are allocated on a statewide basis with no more than 170 permitted. The bill also added an additional magistrate for Berekely County. The bill is now on the Governor’s desk for signature.