Charleston, W.Va. - As the mother of a child who has required intensive medical care and who has been denied healthcare insurance coverage in the past, Secretary of State Natalie E. Tennant said she understands the need for medical care for children with special needs including autism.
Secretary Tennant said she is shocked that the Board of Examiners of Psychologists, after having proposed this emergency rule, will not discuss the rule with either the media or the parents of the children who will be affected by this rule.
Secretary Tennant said she is calling on both sides of this issue to come together and work out their differences.
“As Secretary of State, I may disagree with a particular rule but I must follow the process laid out in state code,” Tennant said. “I cannot deny an emergency rule simply because I disagree with it or don’t like it. The only guiding factor when it comes to emergency rules is what state code says. And I will always follow state code.”
The Secretary of State’s office carefully examines each emergency rule and decides if it meets some very specific guidelines, depending greatly on the reasoning for the emergency as presented by the agency that is filing the rule.
First, the Secretary of State’s office determines if the agency who filed the emergency rule has rule making authority over the subject matter. Next, an emergency rule is only necessary for what West Virginia code calls “the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, safety, or welfare.” State code also says emergency rules can be approved to comply with a time limitation established by either state or federal code.
Finally, emergency rules can be approved to prevent substantial harm to the public interest.
In conclusion, if the emergency rule is proposed by an agency with rule making authority, if an emergency exists, and if it meets one of these three criteria, the emergency rule must be approved.