By Lori Dittman WV House of Delegates 63rd District
During the first full week of the 86th Legislature, the West Virginia House of Delegates have passed five of its bills to the Senate for consideration, the first being House Bill 2526, which would gradually reduce the personal income tax by 50 percent over three consecutive years.
A bill that passed the full House Thursday by a unanimous vote would leverage the state’s position in the fast lane for digitally titling vehicles. House Bill 2506 allows the DMV to create a title clearinghouse for businesses not based in West Virginia. The process would reduce the time for titling from a 40-day process on paper to a four-day process. With the titling fee of $15 at a bare minimum, the state road fund will get a $15 boost every time a non-resident business titles a vehicle in West Virginia. It is anticipated that within two years, this could add $100 million to the road fund.
The first completed legislation of the session were Senate Bill 161 and Senate Bill 162. SBH 161 will allow the Division of Natural Resources to sell, lease, or dispose of any obsolete or unused property under its control. If the land is in a state park or state forest, the Legislature first would need to grant approval. SB 162 would allow the DNR to lease tiny pockets of underground open areas so energy producers who liquify the carbon they capture are able to pump it down into those spaces to keep carbon from being released into the atmosphere. Both pieces of legislation have been sent to the Governor for his signature.
A total of 890 bills have been introduced in the House.
Other activities of this week included several events and celebrations.
I was honored to attend a commemoration and celebration of the life of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The event was held at the West Virginia Culture Center.
It was my pleasure to welcome pages from the Gilmer County Girl Scouts. Clarissa Miller and Ariana White , both accompanied by La Tasha White. As a teacher of West Virginia History, I am always excited to see young people take an interest in the legislative process.
A reception was held to celebrate the partnership between Marshall University and Glenville State University. The collaboration between the two schools will expand programs like nursing and their shared resources will allow for additional course offerings.
I would also like to congratulate Glenville State University professor, Jacob Petry who invented the Pathfinder. This tool is a directional conversion wheel.
Randy James, a member of the Frametown Volunteer Fire Department, stopped by my office to discuss firefighter and EMT concerns. Our volunteer firefighters and EMTS are vital to our rural communities.
Conservation Day was held on January 16, where I met with representatives Larry Sponaugle and Jane Cain to discuss importance of conservation and future projects.
I met WVU Basketball Coach Bob Huggins. He was recognized by the Legislature for his induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
Braxton County’s own Samantha Morris re-enlisted in the West Virginia State Police. Congratulations and thank you for your service.
Aside from legislative duties, I would like to offer my condolences to my predecessor, Brent Boggs, and his family, on the loss of Brent’s father, Doyle. I have known Doyle most of my life through his service in our church and our community. My prayers continue to be with him and his mother, Ethel Mae, and their family.
“Everybody can be great because everybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love.” (Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.)