Education, Government, Latest News, State Government, West Virginia Legislature

Senate committees OK gun bill, student organization bill, Edith Levy resolution

MORGANTOWN — Senate committees on Thursday approved bills dealing with firearms instruction and belief-based student organizations, and a resolution honoring Morgantown resident and Holocaust survivor Edith Levy.

Senate Government Organization took up SB 402, to allow the U.S. Concealed Carry Association to provide concealed carry classes in West Virginia. Committee council told the senators that the NRA already provides them.

Former Delegate Joshua Higginbotham, a certified USCCA instructor, told the members that Virginia passed a similar bill last year. USCCA already offers classes here, with several hundred instructors in the state and about 6,000 active members.

In other states, he said, USCCA provides more classes than the NRA and majority of USCCA instructors are also NRA certified.

The bill would simply codify the USCCA’s authority to cover instances where a county sheriff might not wish to issue a permit if the applicant took a USCCA class.

It passed without debate and goes to the full Senate.

Senate Education passed SB 503, also without debate.

It says a state institution of higher education may not deny a religious, political, or ideological student organization that is open to all students any benefit or privilege made generally available to any other student organization, or otherwise discriminate against the organization, based on: the expression of the organization; or a requirement that the organization’s leaders or members affirm and adhere to the organization’s sincerely held beliefs, comply with the organization’s standards of conduct, or further the organization’s mission or purpose.

It goes to the full Senate.

Government Organization approved SR 6, the Edith Levy resolution. Levy died Nov. 11, and the resolution opens saying she was “a Holocaust survivor, and a remarkable woman, who dedicated her life to educating others about the horrors of genocide and the importance of tolerance and compassion.”

The resolution was introduced on Jan. 15 and came up for action the next day, but was referred to the committee. Senate staff told The Dominion Post the resolution had a couple of items that needed amendment, and rather than try to do that on the Senate floor it was more efficient to refer it to committee.

Also, the family wasn’t available that day and the Senate plans to bring it back to the floor when the family is able to come to the Capitol.

The corrections were made by staff and the committee members approved the amended resolution unanimously without discussion.


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