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New Law Changes Coming to West Virginia in 2020

Published on Jan 2, 2020 at 7:07 pm in Legal Information.

With a new year comes new laws. While it’s possible a number of laws pass every year that do not impact your day-to-day life, it’s important to stay on top of the decisions state legislators are making. You never know what laws could apply to you in the future. In West Virginia, there are a number of new law changes coming in 2020. Let’s take a look at the requirements regarding REAL IDs, charter schools, and changes to DUI conviction records.

REAL ID Requirements

Starting on October 1, 2020, all West Virginia residents will need a REAL ID for federal purposes. The REAL ID Act was established to set minimum security standards for license issuance and productions. Driver’s licenses that do not meet the requirements cannot be accepted by Federal agencies. This includes accessing Federal facilities like a courthouse, entering a nuclear powerplant, and boarding a federally regulated commercial aircraft.

While West Virginia residents will have the option to stick with a standard driver’s license, failing to get a REAL ID could cause problems in the future – especially if you’re planning on traveling. To get a REAL ID, individuals need to appear at their local DMV in person and bring documents proving U.S. citizenship. This includes one proof of identity, one proof of legal presence, two proofs of West Virginia residency, and one proof of their social security number.

It’s important to remember you have until October to use your old driver’s license for federal purposes. If you choose not to get a REAL ID, other acceptable forms of ID for government purposes include a valid passport, federal government PIC card, or a U.S. military ID.

Charter School Introduction

While this law regarding charter schools was introduced in June 2019, most residents of West Virginia won’t notice its effects until 2020 and beyond. Governor Jim Justice announced the signing of House Bill 206, an education measure that opens the door to charter schools in the state. It also grants pay raises to public school workers and increases school funding overall.

A charter school is an independently-operated public education institution that operates under a contract with a charter school authorizer. This is usually a nonprofit organization, government agency, or university. The authorizer is responsible for ensuring high standards are outlined in the official charter. Currently, most charter schools are located in urban areas. Overall, these institutions aim to provide a range of options so parents can make an informed decision regarding their child’s education.

According to the bill, only three charter schools are allowed to be operational until July 1, 2023. After that, three more can be added every three years. This limit is set because of the opposition and hesitation surrounding the passing of the bill.

According to Justice, the bill is “designed for the betterment of children, teachers, and the entire education community.” It allows students to attend public schools in counties they don’t live in, assuming the receiving county’s board of education approves. Additionally, the school board no longer has the ability to block transfers. In regard to the pay raises, teachers receive $2,120 more annually.

Expunging DUI Convictions

A bill aimed at giving DUI offenders the opportunity to have the offense wiped from their record was passed in November 2019, but most looking to reap the benefits won’t be able to do so until 2020.

The original bill made it easier for veterans who had been charged with DUIs to get the conviction expunged from their record. The wording, however, could have cost West Virginia federal highway funding, so lawmakers took the bill back to ensure it was compliant with federal guidelines. Previously, a charge for driving under the influence was not eligible for expungement. This is because of the serious nature of drinking and driving and the number of car accidents and deaths it causes every year.

At DiPiero Simmons McGinley & Bastress, PLLC, we pride ourselves on staying up-to-date on all the state laws and amendments in West Virginia. As personal injury lawyers, we want to provide our clients with the best representation possible.

While the laws discussed above may initially seem irrelevant to personal injury claims, you never know what laws could apply to your case until you have a lawyer examine the specifics. To learn more about the new law changes coming to West Virginia in 2020 or for information on personal injury law and how we can help you or a loved one recover compensation for wrongful injuries, schedule a meeting with our law firm today.

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