Government, The Braxton Democrat

Legislative Update… By Lori Dittman WV House of Delegates 63rd District

Members of the West Virginia House of Delegates voted overwhelmingly this week to increase the support given to adoptive families.
House Bill 2002, which passed by a vote of 88-8, would increase the current adoption tax credit from $4,000 to $5,000. It also would allow for adoptive children to participate in the state’s early intervention services, such as Birth to Three, Right from the Start and Drug Free Moms and Babies. The measure also would establish the Support for Mothers and Babies Pregnancy Support Program within the West Virginia Bureau for Public Health, to establish a mechanism for state funds to go to pregnancy support organizations. A pregnancy help organization would be required to meet a host of standards, including registering as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
House Bill 2218, the Distracted Driving Act, also received widespread and bipartisan support in the House. The measure passed the House by a vote of 88-6. The West Virginia Legislature first passed a ban in 2012 on using a phone without hands-free technology while driving. HB2218, which now goes to the Senate for debate, would update the current law to extend the prohibitions to any wireless communications device or a stand-alone electronic device. It would add clarity to definitions, increase some distracted driving penalties, and add an exception for autonomous vehicles.
A total of 19 bills have completed legislative action and seven of those have become law. 1,365 House bills have been introduced as of February 10th, and 58 of those have passed the House. The 60-day, regular legislative session ends at midnight March 11th.
Senator Shelley Moore Capito was a special guest at our State Legislative Women’s Caucus luncheon where she spoke about many issues facing our state and nation.
At the West Virginia Association of Counties meeting, I caught up with Braxton County Commissioner Lisa Mace Godwin. We had a lengthy discussion about issues affecting Braxton County. I look forward to collaborating with commissioners from both Braxton and Gilmer counties as they address issued faced by citizens of both.
I appreciated Gilmer County High School students Owen Fox, Cameron Cogar, Grace Adams, and Yohanna Heckert serving as pages this week. Thank you to their teacher, Jacob Yokum, for making the trip with them and encouraging civic engagement.
Research Day was hosted at the Capitol on Friday, February 10th. The halls were filled with college students presenting important research projects. I was delighted to see one of my former students, now a sophomore at Marshall University, Hunter Mitchell. He and his classmate, Darshan Sangani, presented their work on the chemical composition and electrochemical properties from new dyes they synthesized.
I also enjoyed a visit from my dear friends and constituents, Melinda Flint and Betsy Rexroad.
With four weeks left in the regular session, we are working hard for the citizens of West Virginia. I look forward to hearing from citizens in my District and can be reached at 304-701-8600, or [email protected].
With Valentine’s Day approaching and this month focusing on heart health, I have been thinking about how blessed I am to be serving the 63rd District. I serve because I love West Virginia and believe we have a great future.
“The greatest thing in this world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes