This week from Charleston
Last week, I was back to Charleston for three days of interim legislative meetings, two meetings of the Juvenile Justice Task Force, and a panel discussion with the Our Children, Our Future symposium on the workings of the Task Force. On the Task Force, I joined the sub-group on Community Services and Interagency Service Delivery. Our first two meetings examined how and why juveniles get taken out of their homes and where they are placed. I am learning that at each point in the system, there needs to be a critical analysis to ensure proper placement; For example, juveniles are frequentlyordered to have full psychological evaluations even though they have already had one from a prior out of home placement. The problem is that not every point in the system has full access to all records, and a Court ordering a new evaluation may not have the prior evaluation. This may lead to a duplicate evaluation which is unnecessary AND expensive. The issue may be solved by having better communications between agencies and the Court. Pinpointing these critical spending and decision points is one of the critical missions of the Task Force.
One of my interim committees that met last week is the Committee on Interstate Cooperation. This committee examines proposals from the Uniform Law Commission. One of the most important ULC laws states have adopted is the Uniform Commercial Code which deals with basic contract and commercial law. West Virginia adopted in 1963, and we have been making minor and major adjustments to it ever since, usually on the recommendation of the ULC.
After the meeting, I had the chance to talk to Professor Vince Cardi of WVU Law School, who is one of West Virginia’s appointees to the ULC (and one of my former professors). He presented this year’s recommendations to the committee. After the committee meeting, Professor Cardi and I talked about updating the Uniform Common Interest Ownership Act which West Virginia adopted in 1980. The UCIOA is the law that deals with homeowners associations and limited expense communities (and some of the resulting headaches for both HOAs and homeowners). Based on feedback from many constituents and the Eastern Panhandle Organization of Homeowners Associations, I introduced a bill this past session to fix some of the problems with the UCIOA, particularly in sharing common costs. Paying for roads and other common properties is not an easy topic. I believe that the UCIOA should make sure that developers are fully disclosing future expenses for maintenance. I hope that we will have the UCIO on the agenda prior to the next legislative session.