Today is a key legislative deadline: Crossover Day. 

By the end of the day, bills must pass their chamber of origin in order to potentially become law. House bills that have not passed the House will be dead and the same in the Senate.

Bills advance on Crossover Day

The clock in the House of Delegates, about to turn midnight on the last day of the 2022 regular session. Photo by Perry Bennett/WV Legislature

As we write this, senators are currently in session on the Senate floor. You can watch the Senate floor session here.

Delegates in the House gaveled in around 10 a.m. and debated, amended and passed legislation for over six hours with only a brief mid-day break.

Financial bills – specifically the budget and any salary or appropriations bills – can pass after Crossover Day. 

We’re keeping an eye on bills in both chambers and will have a full breakdown tomorrow of what made it and didn’t make it. –Duncan Slade

Child marriage ban passes House before deadline

After being parked in the House Rules Committee, where legislation sometimes goes to die, a bill ending child marriage in West Virginia passed the House on the final day it could have. HB 3018 will now move to the Senate.

Currently, minors 16 and older are allowed to get married in the state with parental consent, and children of any age can be married with a judge’s sign-off. 

West Virginia has the highest rate of child marriage of any state in the country, with a large majority of those marriages being between a minor and an adult. There have been over 41 instances in the last 20 years of children under 16 getting married Del. Kayla Young, D-Kanawha and the bill’s lead sponsor, told West Virginia MetroNews.

Only one lawmaker, Del. Keith Marple, R-Harrison, spoke opposing the bill. He noted that he was married at 18 and that his daughter was married before age 18 after getting pregnant.

Ultimately, the bill passed 84-13, with bipartisan support. The bill would not affect current marriages involving a minor. –Ian Karbal

Sexual assault exam reimbursement likely dead in committee

A slide during a January presentation to lawmakers about sexual assault examinations. Photo by Will Price/WV Legislative Photography.

Barring any dramatic last-minute legislative maneuvering, a bill that would have raised the reimbursement for sexual assault forensic examinations has died in the Senate Finance Committee. The committee is not scheduled to meet until Thursday after the Crossover Day deadline has passed.

Exams are conducted at hospitals and the state reimburses them for the cost.

Lawmakers have said they want to make it easier for victims of sexual assault to be able to get a forensic exam – a key step in connecting the patient to resources and collecting evidence for criminal evidence. In many parts of the state, one must drive hours to get a forensic exam because of a lack of properly-trained examiners.

Members of the state’s Sexual Assault Forensic Examination commission have said funding is needed to reimburse hospitals and to train new nurses examiners. Later this session, lawmakers will consider the state budget and could fund training.

They have already passed a different bill that initially required all hospitals to have trained forensic examiners on staff but was later watered down to have little impact on making it easier for victims of sexual assault to get an exam. –Duncan Slade

Read more: West Virginia bill falls short of improving access to sexual assault exams

Ian Karbal is a Report for America corps member, and the state government watchdog reporter for Mountain State Spotlight.

Duncan Slade is Mountain State Spotlight's Deputy Managing Editor