Campbell provides legislative update

ELKINS – Delegate Denise Campbell, D-Randolph, told the Elkins Rotary Club Monday she was proud of what was accomplished during the recent legislative session.

Cambpell said the session, which ran from Jan. 8 through March 15, was one of the busiest she’d ever experienced. The legislature saw about 2,000 bills, and approving legislation fighting the exploitation of the elderly, providing pay raises for teachers and raising the minimum wage from $7.25 per hour to $8.75 per hour.

“We are going to see a $1.50 increase over the next two years,” Campbell explained. “It will begin with a 75 cent increase in January 2015 and again in January 2016.”

Campbell said that she was the lead sponsor on 13 bills, three of which passed, and she was a co-sponsor on 90 bills, 17 of which passed. Campbell said House Bill 4339 was very important to her. The bill ensures that moneys from the Solid Waste Authority Closure Cost Assistance Fund will be available to facilitate the closure of the Elkins-Randolph County Landfill and a landfill in Webster County.

“That one was big because it directly affects the people I represent,” Campbell commented.

Other sponsors on the bill were Del. William Hartman, D-Randolph; Del. Isaac Sponaugle, D-Pendleton; Del. Tim Manchin, D-Marion; Del. Harry Keith White, D-Mingo; Del. Bill Hamilton, R-Upshur; and Del. Dana Lynch, D-Webster.

Campbell also addressed criticism directed at the legislature during the recent session.

“Some people say that it was a waste of time,” she said. “I think that before you make that call you should come down to Charleston and see what we do. I also recommend people to check out the legislature’s website to keep track of what goes on during the session.”

Campbell, along with many of the legislators, was also in Charleston at the time of the Freedom Industries chemical spill, and she said it was something she won’t soon forget.

“I find it really appalling that we have a company that did not act ethically or at the level of responsibility that they should have,” she said. “I was also appalled that the water company or similar agencies didn’t have a disaster plan in place in the event that something like this could happen. Here in West Virginia, we pride ourselves on our natural resources, and this is a little bit of a blemish for us.

“One of the positive things to come out of this whole situation is how West Virginians, people from all over the state, went out of their way to provide aid to the 300,000 of their own who were affected by this. West Virginians are tough and responsible and we will persevere.”

Also during their meeting, Elkins Rotary welcomed a new member, Michelle Barb, of JMB Sales and Services.