Research indicates that strangulation is one of the most terrorizing and lethal forms of domestic violence- oxygen can be cut off to the brain with a grip equivalent to a handshake. However, it has been difficult to charge strangulation as a felony, because it does not always cause noticeable damage. Delegate Fleischauer was a sponsor on HB 4362, passed in 2016, which established a new felony offense for restricting another person’s air intake or blood flow by application of pressure on the neck or throat causing substantial physical pain or impaired physical condition, without the person’s consent.
Delegate Fleischauer was among the sponsors for HB 4284, passed in 2014, which includes remedies and enforcement procedures if women believe they were discriminated against by not being offered appropriate accommodations at work due to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. Employers in West Virginia must now offer reasonable accommodation to pregnant employees to enable them to continue working.
For years, Delegate Fleischauer sponsored legislation to close an insurance loophole that allowed the Public Employees Insurance Agency (PEIA) and some private insurers to avoid paying for maternity care and contraception for dependents (HB 2185). Passage of the Senate version, SB 22 in 2013, closed half the loophole, so now maternity care for dependents must be covered, just like other medically necessary healthcare. However, there was still an exception that allowed insurance companies to avoid paying for contraception for minor dependents. Delegate Fleischauer will keep working to end this discriminatory practice until the problem is fixed.
HB 2694, passed in 2009, provides uniform procedures to ensure that service member’s parental or marital rights are not negatively affected when he or she is assigned to an area away from home. Topics covered in the bill, which Delegate Fleischauer sponsored, include rules for making sure that members of the military have proper notice of the filing of various custody or divorce documents during military service or deployments, and that they can participate or have a delay in hearings involving modifications of custodial rights, child support, and parenting plans while they are on active duty.
In 2011, Delegate Fleischauer sponsored HB 2550, the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunities for Military Children Act. This bill is intended to promote smoother transitions for children in schools when military families move from state to state or out of the country. Passage of this bill is intended to ease the transfer of children’s credits and school records. Students and parents of military families should not be penalized by having to jump through inordinate hoops because they are serving our country.
Passed in 2012, HB 4007 protects spouses of active military who accompany their spouse when he or she has been assigned to duty out of state. Normally, when a person quits a job for any reason, they are disqualified from receiving unemployment compensation. Under this new law, if a spouse has to quit a job when the family moves because of a military assignment, the spouse now becomes eligible to receive unemployment compensation from West Virginia.
The 2015 West Virginia Caregiver Advise, Record, and Enable Act, HB 2001 ensures that patients can appoint a person they trust to be informed about the care they need upon discharge from a hospital, nursing home or other health care facility. Health care facilities are now required to record the name of a caregiver chosen by the patient, inform the caregiver when the patient is going to be discharged and educate the caregiver about the tasks that need to be performed in the home, such as medicine administration or wound care, so that the patient can recover. Delegate Fleischaeur was a co-sponsor.
Delegate Fleischauer was a sponsor of HB 4335, a 2014 bill that banned discrimination against mothers who nurse their babies in public places. The Senate passed this bill without difficulty in 2013 and 2014, but it hit several snags in the House. She helped craft amendments that led to the eventual passage of HB 4335. Serving on the two major committees to which the bill was assigned, Health and Human Resources and Judiciary, Delegate Fleischauer helped shepherd the bill so that West Virginia could become the 45th state to ban such discrimination.
In 2014, Delegate Fleischauer was a member of a committee of all of the female members of the House looking into crimes against children. HB 4006, which she sponsored, provided new offenses, increased fine and jail time and new definitions for crimes relating to offenders viewing large and sometimes massive numbers of pictures of child pornography.
For several years, Delegate Fleischauer worked on creating a new misdemeanor offense for child abuse. HB 4005, which she co-sponsored, was in part a response to the death in Pennsylvania of “Baby Madison Dotson” who died in Pennsylvania, after her parents had been reported to WV child welfare officials. The thinking behind the statute was that having a lower level offense would allow prosecutors to intervene earlier and perhaps prevent the injury or death of an endangered child.