CHARLESTON - An alimony bill, a bill to open the way for a nursing care facility to be built in Wirt County and a bill regulating cold medications are some of the bills state lawmakers are trying to wrap up as the regular session of the Legislature winds down.
With lawmakers in committee meetings and floor sessions at the state Capitol, many are trying to get through bills before the midnight Saturday deadline, marking the end of the session.
Sen. Donna Boley, R-Pleasants, said House Bill 4504 would allow Wirt County to apply for a certificate of need with the state Healthcare Authority to pursue the development of a nursing care facility. The state implemented a moratorium on new nursing facility beds in 1987.
Officials and residents in Wirt County are looking to build a 32-bed care facility for the area's elderly population.
Boley said the bill was read on the floor of the Senate for the first time Wednesday. The bill passed in the House, 98-0, last week.
''There really is a lot of support for it,'' Boley said. ''Wirt County is only one of two counties in the state (the other being Doddridge) without a nursing care facility. Hopefully, we will get it passed soon and sent to the governor.''
A bill sponsored by Boley and Sen. David Nohe, R-Wood, that would deny spouses alimony based on adultery that produces a child passed the Senate last week, 34-0, and is working its way through the House of Delegates. It was being debated in the House Judiciary committee Wednesday night.
''I would love to see that bill passed,'' Nohe said.
The bill was sponsored in response to the plight of Vienna resident Sean Keefe, who was forced to pay alimony after learning he was not the biological father of a child he initially thought was his.
''There are some more bills and other things that we are working on that are real good,'' Boley said.
Lawmakers are considering tighter limits on cold remedy purchases to combat their use in the illegal manufacture of methamphetamine.
''That bill seems to change with everybody it goes through,'' Nohe said.
Initially, legislators were working to make cold remedy medication available only through a prescription. However, critics of that plan, like Nohe, said it would incur more cost for people who have to make doctor's appointments to get the prescriptions.
The House Judiciary Committee voted this week to cap individual sales of pseudoephedrine medicines at 24 grams a year. The vote also removed a monthly limit of 3.6 grams. The House health committee adopted both caps on Monday.
Nohe said there were concerns over whether people could get a full month's supply as that is how some people buy their medications. The cold remedy limits would not apply to prescribed drugs.
''It keeps going back and forth,'' Nohe said.
The bill would have West Virginia join a tracking system for these behind-the-counter medicines.
If a decision cannot be made, Nohe hopes he will be appointed to a special committee, made up of three delegates and three senators, to work out a compromise.
Delegate Tom Azinger, R-Wood, was one of those who supported making these medications prescription only. He saw it as the best way to battle the growing methamphetamine problem in the state.
''We didn't get what we wanted,'' he said. ''I do hope this works.''
The Legislature is considering bills dealing with texting and driving as well as talking on cell phones while driving. Once the regular session is done, lawmakers will work exclusively on the state budget next week.
Delegate Bill Anderson, R-Wood, said the Legislature has passed two of the most important bills it had to deal with this session: the Mine Safety Bill and the bill handling the state's Other Post Retirement Benefits (OPEB).
''These will go down as the most significant bills this session,'' he said. ''These will apply to the greatest degree and majority of people.''
Lawmakers said they have been able to move through a lot of bills easily in these last few days of the session.
''The bills are not getting backed up,'' Nohe said. ''We are getting the bills out. I have not felt rushed.''
(The Associated Press contributed to this story.)