HB4958 addressed ending the suspension of driver's licenses, and the imposition of jail time, for failure to pay court fees and fines. Delegate Fleischauer was a sponsor. Although the law regarding these fees and fines was designed to provide revenue for government services, the remedy of license suspension was far too punitive on low-income people. Forty-two percent of people who have had their driver’s licenses suspended under the old law in our state lost their jobs due to their inability to drive to work. Once they lost their jobs, they had an even more difficult time paying off the debt they owed. Under the new law, those owing fines will be allowed to set up a payment plan. Hopefully, tax dollars lost incarcerating people for driving on suspended licenses will now instead be tax dollars contributed by those same people who will be able to get to work once their license is restored.
Delegate Fleischauer was a sponsor of HB 2006 in 2017, which increases penalties for violating the state’s whistle-blower statute. All too often, public employees who report fraud or wrong-doing, which is a service to the state and to taxpayers, are fired in retaliation for reporting. Often, they fight for years before they are vindicated. In addition to backpay and reinstatement, the normal remedies, this bill permits the termination of the boss who retaliated against the whistle-blower, which helps correct the unfairness and imbalance of power.
Low income people at risk of being evicted or who are domestic violence victims need legal help to become safe and secure in their homes. Over the years, Legal Aid has been there to protect their rights. Unfortunately, federal funding for Legal Aid has been dramatically cut back, forcing decreases in the number of legal aid attorneys in our state (from a high of 80 down to 48). Delegate Fleischauer sponsored HB 2776 in 2013, which increased various fees to restore the lost funding, but it was tabled on third reading because of budget worries. When SB 426 was placed on the House Judiciary agenda, she saw an opportunity to amend in some fee increases that would produce a healthy, but smaller amount of funding. As a result of Delegate Fleischauer’s amendment, Legal Aid of West Virginia now receives an approximately $200,000 more every year in state funds.
Delegate Fleischauer served as House Chair of an Interim Judiciary subcommittee that worked on reform of statutes which regulate corporations. One of her friends and supporters, WVU College of Law Professor Ann Maxey, had worked for several years on a draft of the re-write, which streamlined and modernized procedures for both profit and non-profit corporations. Unfortunately, Professor Maxey died suddenly of a brain tumor in 2002. Delegate Fleischauer was able to successfully steer passage of Professor Maxey's efforts by sponsoring and passing corporate overhaul legislation in 2003 (HB 3108).
Innocent people have been convicted of crimes they did not commit because of insufficient protections used to verify eyewitness identifications. The WVU College of Law’s Innocence Project Clinic prepared draft legislation that Delegate Fleischauer sponsored in 2013. HB 2758 requires law enforcement agencies to establish fair procedures for line-ups and witness identification. These included requirements that the eyewitness's full description of the perpetrator including the circumstances under which they saw them be recorded before viewing a lineup, that eyewitness must be told that the suspect may not be present in the lineup and they are not required to make an identification, and that all lineups must be conducted in such a way that the person conducting the lineup does not know who the suspect is. These measures and others are designed to prevent false charges being leveled against innocent people.
At the request of the Morgantown City Council, local Delegates, with Delegate Fleischauer as lead sponsor, passed HB 3134 in 2009. The bill set up a pilot project for cities to conduct election by mail. The City of Morgantown conducted one election by mail, which resulted in a dramatic increase in voter turnout.
West Virginia has a notorious elections history regarding the Supreme Court. In a recent example, a coal baron sank millions into a fake group called "And For the Sake of the Kids" to elect his preferred Supreme Court candidate. In 2010, Delegate Fleischauer worked to enact legislation setting up a pilot project to provide public funding for candidates for the Supreme Court. Public financing first became available to Supreme Court candidates in the 2012 election. Delegate Fleischauer sponsored HB 2805, which passed in 2013, and made the program permanent.
Delegate Fleischauer served as Chair of the House Committee on Constitutional Revision for 16 years. During that time, she was involved in the formulation of several amendments to the Constitution which passed the Legislature by a super-majority and were adopted following a majority vote by state residents. Changes to the West Virginia Constitution that she helped shape include the following amendments.
Family Court Amendment - This amendment created our current system of family court judges (Article VIII, Section 16 - 1999).
Tax Increment Financing Amendment (TIF) - The TIF amendment provided a new way to finance economic development projects; (Article X, Section 81 - 2002).
Prudent Investment of State Funds Amendment - This revision allowed investment of state funds in the stock market under certain conditions, (Article X, Section 6 -1997).
Veterans Bonus Amendment of 2008 (Amendment 17) - As a way of recognizing and thanking those who have served in our most recent conflicts (Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan), this amendment provided cash bonuses for veterans.