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Senator: Data Collection System Keeps Personal Information Confidential

Ashton Marra

Senators took up Senate Bill 420 Monday to amend the state P-20W Longitudinal Data System.

The system collects statistics from K-12, colleges, universities and community colleges tracking student achievement.

The bill adds child care and workforce data to the system giving a broader view of a student’s success. It also requires the information be brought to the Legislative Oversight Committee on Education Accountability to ensure transparency.

Senate Minority Leader Mike Hall, however, addressed the concerns of some of his fellow lawmakers and members of the public about too much information being shared through the system.

He stood to clarify for his fellow legislators that West Virginia’s bill prevents the collection of mailing addresses, medical histories, criminal histories, vehicle or drivers license numbers, and firearm ownership among many, many others.

 “We already have a Longitudinal Data System in place that is already collecting information,” said Senator Clark Barnes, who stood in support of the legislation.

“This legislation, therefore, clarifies with the amendments that have been made what is confidential information. If we don’t pass this bill today, then the Longitudinal Data system moves forward without the privacy protections.”

The bill passed with only Senators Boley, Carmichael and Nohe voting against it.

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