Legislative session beginning to heat up
Things are heating up in the second session of the 81st Legislature at the Capitol. We recently passed the halfway point of the session and the cutoff date for bill introduction was Feb. 17, meaning many legislators have been working tirelessly to get every vital piece of legislation introduced. The House of Delegates has also been successfully passing bills through committee as well as through the chamber.
One of my bills introduced, House Bill 4339, recently passed through the House Judiciary Committee. This bill would require the Secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection to make funds available in the Solid Waste Facility Closure Cost Assistance Fund to bring about the complete closure of both the Elkins-Randolph County Landfill and the Webster County Landfill. It has passed the House Judiciary and House Finance Committees and is now on its second reading. Then it will go through the Senate committee process and to the Senate floor for a vote.
This past week, the House of Delegates was able to pass House Bill 4283. This piece of legislation would raise the minimum wage from its current rate of $7.25 per hour to $8 per hour beginning Jan. 1, 2015. The rate would be raised again as of Jan. 1, 2016 to a rate of $8.75 per hour.
West Virginia has many hard-working families working multiple minimum wage jobs still struggling to earn a decent wage. I am proud of the step we took toward giving these families an opportunity to live a bit more comfortably and see these wages help stimulate our economy.
While some may think the water crisis has passed, it is still very much a dominant aspect of our attention at the Legislature.
After spending much time deliberating it, the House Committee on Health and Human Resources has passed Senate Bill 373. The bill takes many strong steps towards preventing another similar catastrophe from happening again, but we felt compelled to amend it to ensure that it is as effective as possible. This includes requiring the owner of each aboveground storage tank to create a spill prevention response plan so as to further lessen the likelihood of a leak. The bill must now be approved by House Judiciary and House Finance before it makes its way to the floor.
Through all of this, I am still working on several bills I have introduced in hopes that they can positively affect the lives of West Virginians. I am thankful for this privilege to serve the 43rd Delegate District and will continue to represent my constituents to the best of my ability.
If anyone has any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me. I am located at 208-E in Building 1 of the State Capitol Complex at 1900 Kanawha Boulevard East, Charleston, WV 25305. I can also be contacted by telephone at 304-340-3145 or by email at email@example.com.