Legislative interaction…

Before I get to the main topic of this writing, I wanted mention a bit of an anomaly that I discovered while preparing this edition for the printer. Check out the date of this issue… its 2/22/22. I wonder how many years before that happens again?

I was absent from the office the better part of two days last week. On Wednesday, I traveled to the West Virginia Press Association offices in Charleston for meetings with the WVPA and WVPA Foundation Boards. The Press Association meeting is in person for the first time in over two years. It was good to see and visit with fellow publishers. We all agreed that we are tired of Zoom meeting, and it was nice to be discussing business face to face.

Well, it was good while it lasted… Shortly after that meeting was over, we convened the Foundation Board meeting, which I chair. While the option for members to join us via Zoom was available for the prior meeting no one took advantage of it. That changed with the Foundation when Don Smith, the Executive Director and I were the only ones in the room with the remainder of the Board joining us electronically. Both methods were productive, and we can only hope the future will bring more person-to-person meetings.

Thursday morning bright and early, I was on my way back to Charleston. This time for the WVPA Legislative Breakfast. Again, this was the first in person event of its kind in three years. Attendance by both our press core and legislators was a little down but being in person at the Culture Center seemed to be a very positive step for everyone.

As it the past, I found the event very enlightening. Those I had breakfast with, and the speakers all provided informative discussion. At my table were Jim McGoldrick of the St. Mary’s papers, Perry Nardo of the Wheeling News-Register, Secretary of State Mac Warner and two delegates that I didn’t make note of their names. Probably the highlight of the presentations came in news for the Promise Scholarship. A bill currently working its way through the process would increase the award amount from $4,750 to $5,000 and reduce the SAT requirement slightly. Both are very positive moves. The highlight though was a bonus that is currently in the bill that would encourage our youth to stay in state after graduation. A student who receives the Promise Scholarship and finds employment in West Virginia can draw the same amount for four years following graduation. What a great idea! How beneficial would that be for a young person in paying school loans, getting a place to live, or just generally beginning a new phase of their lives? After being very discouraged with the activities of this session, this is certainly a bright spot. Now can I hold by breath for 31 days to see if it passes?