WV mine safety bill passes 2nd Senate committee - Business, Government Legal News from throughout WV

WV mine safety bill passes 2nd Senate committee

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The governor's mine safety bill had one more amendment tacked on to changes made by the House of Delegates.

The mine safety bill has already unanimously cleared the House of Delegates and is on the second of three readings on the Senate side today. According to Senate leadership and the governor's office, the bill is expected to clear the legislative process relatively quickly.

The amendment, offered by Sen. Mark Wills, D-Mercer, offers mostly small, technical changes to the bill, said Sen. Corey Palumbo, D-Kanawha, chair of the Senate Judiciary committee. The amendment, Palumbo said, included just one substantive change.

"It would eliminate the requirement that a form that notifies a certified person on the surface of a dangerous condition," Palumbo said. "They would still have to note it in their book. I think the thought was there wouldn't always be a certified person on the surface to notify."

Palumbo said it was change that everybody agreed with, and that he was confident there was plenty of support in the Senate for continued movement of the bill.

"I don't think there will be any problem at all," Palumbo said.

The bill, a package of mine safety efforts, could be on the Governor's desk for signature by early next week.

Among other provisions, the bill codifies an anonymous tip line for miners to report safety issues, provides a method for submission of ventilation plans, increases state rock dust standards and tightens methane level shutdown limits, increases criminal accountability following a mine accident.

The bill was drafted largely in response to the Upper Big Branch mine disaster that killed 29 coal miners in Raleigh County April 5, 2010.

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