Legislators convened last week to mark the beginning of the second week of the 80th Legislature. As your representative voice for the 40th Delegate District, I would like to take this time to personally express the honor and privilege I feel to be able to serve you in this position. The session is sure to be productive for the state of West Virginia with your valuable feedback and support.
Celebrations of a man's legacy and joyous notes of "Country Roads" filled the Capitol last Monday as we drew further into our second week of legislative session. The day was spent honoring the great Martin Luther King Jr., with lawmakers and social activists alike taking part in the annual Bell Ringing Ceremony on the Capitol steps. Visiting school children, along with the governor and several other attendees, were given the task of ringing the bell.
The second week of session proved to be another busy one for the House, with the introduction of several bills that my fellow legislators and I are working tirelessly to pass. The topic of education is an issue that remains high on my list of priorities for our state. As House chair of the Education Committee, I care deeply about the guidance and well-being of our district's young learners.
My fellow associates in the Education Committee have been pushing for the passage of a bill that would vastly affect the rate of pay among our state's teachers, and I am pleased to announce that the bill passed last week on the House floor. House Bill 4027 will ensure that the salary equity for teachers and service personnel will not differ by greater than 10 percent across counties and districts. Current law accounts for the varying levels of qualifications among teachers, such as degree classifications B.A. through doctorate, and years of dedication to the position.
I am also hoping for the passage of House Bill 2435, which would allow for funding to be dedicated to the construction of our school's playground facilities. Current legislation states that the building of playgrounds on school property is not included in the construction and improvement projects fund designation, but it is my goal to change that. It is important to keep in mind that the young minds of our children must grow not only through education gained in the classroom, but also socially during times of relaxation and play.
I would like to express my deep gratitude to the citizens of District 40 who joined Sen. Bob Williams, Sen. Dave Sypolt, and me last Saturday for the Legislature update forum at the Barbour County courthouse. We covered several important issues affecting our district in the three-hour long discussion.
Throughout the upcoming session, some other important issues under discussion will include mine safety and prison overcrowding, as well as the related drug abuse problem in West Virginia. Legislators also will be discussing the dangerous issue of texting while driving, and a constitutional amendment to fund road construction bonds. If you should have any questions or comments regarding these or any other issues or bills before the Legislature, please feel free to contact me. To write me, my address is Delegate Mary Poling, State Capitol, Room 434M, Building 1, Charleston, WV 25305, or call me at 304-340-3265. You can also email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I hope you all can join me in looking forward to a very productive legislative session this year.