'Omnibus' Education Bill Up for Amendments Friday

Jan 31, 2019

The full West Virginia Senate is set to consider amendments to a wide-ranging and controversial education reform bill Friday.

Senate Bill 451, also known as the omnibus education bill, cleared the chamber’s 34-member Committee of the Whole on an 18-16 roll call vote and advanced to the Senate proper. Republican Sens. Kenny Mann and Bill Hamilton joined Democrats as no votes.

No amendments were offered to the bill in the Committee of the Whole and little discussion was had.

Senate Bill 451 ties pay raises for teachers and school service personnel to a long list of other measures, including the establishment of public charter schools, education savings accounts, and forcing teachers to annually sign off on union due deductions. A non-severability clause states that should any of the bill’s provisions be found invalid in a court challenge, the entire measure would be null and void.

Also Thursday, Senators agreed to advance the bill beyond first reading, putting the bill on the floor amendment stage Friday.

If the full Senate passes SB 451, it would head to the House of Delegates for consideration. Gov. Jim Justice said earlier this week that he would veto the bill if it makes it to his desk in its current form.