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House Passes Its First Bill of 2017 Legislative Session

Perry Bennett
West Virginia Legislative Photography
Del. John Shott, House Judiciary Chairman, R-Mercer.

The House of Delegates voted on its first bill of the 2017 state Legislative Session Wednesday – one of many ethics bills expected to move through the chamber this year.

House Bill 2006 increases the penalties for someone who violates West Virginia’s Whistle-Blower Law.

The law protects a public employee who comes forward to alert authorities, or blow the whistle, on an employer who’s involved in an illegal activity. If that employer retaliates against the employee for doing so, current law says they could be suspended from work and also be expected to pay a fine of up to $500.

The newly passed bill, however, strengthens those penalties and makes it possible to terminate the employer from his or her position and also pay a fine of as much as $5,000.

Delegate John Shott of Mercer County is the House Judiciary Chair.

“It also makes it clear that this is a personal fine against the person that up to $5,000 fine is a personal obligation of that person and not of the entity; the governmental entity that employs that person.”

The bill also puts the control for making the decision regarding termination in the hands of the public agency instead of a judge.

House Bill 2006 passed 98 to 0.

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