WEST VIRGINIA
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West Virginia Legislature

Legislative

Senate Bill No. 605 (2012)
West Virginia Code limits the liability of landowners who make land available for military, law enforcement or homeland defense training, adds a state or federal law-enforcement officer, a federal agency or service employee, a State military authority employee, or a civilian supporting the military and/or government employees to the definition of military, law enforcement or homeland defense training.

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Eminent Domain Restrictions Resulting from the Kelo Case
West Virginia Code § 16-18-18 prohibits the use of eminent domain for private retail, offices, commercial, industrial or residential development for the enhancement of tax revenues.

West Virginia Code § 16-18-18

Urban Growth Boundaries 
West Virginia S.B. 256 of 2009 provides additional requirements and conditions on annexation without an election or by minor boundary adjustment in counties that have adopted a county-wide zoning ordinance and have designated urban growth boundaries around the municipalities within that county. Requires property to be annexed outside the municipality's urban growth boundary must be contiguous. Property outside the urban growth boundary requires county commission approval for annexation. Property within the municipality's designated urban growth boundary does not require county commission approval for annexation and does not have to be contiguous.

S.B. 256 of 2009 


Open Space/Conservation

Uniform Conservation Easement Act
West Virginia Code §20-12-1 et seq. provides for the state’s Uniform Conservation Easement Act, which authorizes the creation of permanent easements on real property for conservation and historic preservation purposes.

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Farmland Preservation Program
The Voluntary Farmland Protection Act of 2000 (West Virginia Code §8A-12-1 et seq.) declared that agriculture is a unique “life support” industry and that a need exists to assist those agricultural areas of the state which are experiencing the irreversible loss of agricultural land. The act established a two-tier system to allow landowners to voluntarily protect their farmland.  The state Land Protection Authority was established under the Department of Agriculture to accept conservation easements from landowners.  Additionally, the act allows the County Commission of each county to establish a county Farmland Protection Board to develop a local protection program and to hold easements. A conservation easement offer can be made to either the state Land Protection Authority or to a local Farmland Protection Board. 

In 2002, the Act was amended to allow each county with a Farmland Protection Program to provide funding for such program through a real estate transfer tax.  These monies must be used exclusively for the purpose of funding farmland preservation (West Virginia Code §8A-12-21). 

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Forest Legacy Program
The West Virginia Division of Forestry administers the state’s Forest Legacy Program.  The program is intended to protect forest areas that are threatened by conversion to non-forest uses through fee simple title or conservation easement purchases.

Contact:
Mr. John Rowe, Forest Legacy Forester
1900 Kanawha Blvd, E.
Charleston, West Virginia 25305
(304) 558-2788
(304) 545-6063
John.P.Rowe@wv.gov 

Resource Link

Voluntary Rural & Outdoor Heritage Conservation Act
The Voluntary Rural & Outdoor Heritage Conservation Act of 2008 (West Virginia Code §5B-2G-1 et seq.) makes a state investment in the conservation of wildlife habitat, natural areas, forestland, and farmland and establishes a statewide land conservation fund, the Outdoor Heritage Conservation Fund. The Voluntary Rural & Outdoor Heritage Conservation Act makes an investment by dedicating revenue from a $4 flat fee on the recording of deeds and $5 flat fee on the recording of other documents to land conservation.  Half of the revenue from these fees will be directed to the new state-level Outdoor Heritage Conservation Fund created by the legislation and half will be directed to the state-level Farmland Protection Fund. 

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Airport Investment to Preserve West Virginia Air Guard Base
Local airport officials in Kanawha County, W.Va., agreed to invest $1.5 million over 10 years to help construct a bridge intended to secure the future of the Air National Guard’s 130th Airlift Wing.
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Administrative

Department of Veterans Assistance Secretary
The mission of the Department of Veterans Assistance is assist veterans who have served in and have been honorably discharged or separated under honorable conditions from the Armed Forces of the United States, as well as their dependents. On June 16, 2013 Governor Earl Ray Tomblin appointed Rick Thompson Cabinet Secretary of the West Virginia Department of Veterans Assistance where he officially began serving in June, 2013.

Contact:
Mr. Rick Thompson, Cabinet Secretary
Department of Veterans Assistance
Office of the Cabinet Secretary
1514-B Kanawha Blvd., East
Charleston, WV 25311 
Phone: (304) 558-3661
Resource Link

West Virginia Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety
The Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety is responsible for responding to emergencies, disasters and crimes in the State. It provides guidance to agencies involved in all facets of public safety. 
Resource Link

State Contact Information

Military Liaison POC
Mr. Rick Thompson, Cabinet Secretary 
West Virginia Department of Veterans Assistance
Office of the Cabinet Secretary
1514-B Kanawha Blvd., East
Charleston, WV 25311 
Phone: (304) 558-3661

Mr. Rick Staton, Deputy Secretary for Legislative Affairs
Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety
Building 1, Room W-400 
1900 Kanawha Boulevard East 
Charleston, WV 25305
(304) 558-2930

Adjutant General
Major General James Hoyer, Adjutant General
Adjutant General’s Office
1703 Coonskin Drive
Charleston, West Virginia 25311-1085
(304) 561-6316
(304) 561-6327 fax
james.hoyer@us.army.mil

Legislative Process Regarding Military POCs
Legislators in West Virginia defer primarily to the Adjutant General to represent the military.  Committees of primary jurisdiction are the Senate Committee on the Military and the House Committee on Veterans Affairs and Homeland Security.  However, the office of the Adjutant General and the Division of Veterans Affairs serve as the military liaisons and representation on issues before all committees in the state Legislature.  

Committees of Primary Jurisdiction/Legislative Contact
Senate Committee on Military
Senator Eric Wells, Chair
Room 417M, Building 1
State Capitol Complex
Charleston, West Virginia 25305
(304) 357-7841
erik.wells@wvsenate.gov

House Committee on Veterans Affairs and Homeland Security
Representative Brady Paxton, Chair Homeland Security
Room 204E, Building 1
State Capitol Complex
Charleston, WV 25305
Capitol Phone: (304) 340-3146
brady.paxton@wvhouse.gov

Representative Richard J. Iaquinta, Chair Veterans Affairs 
Room 212E, Building 1
State Capitol Complex
Charleston, WV 25305
Capitol Phone: (304) 340-3161
richard.iaquinta@wvhouse.gov