By Lori Dittman WV House of Delegates 63rd District
Members of the West Virginia House of Delegates passed a total of 45 House Bills to the Senate this week, including one that would reorganize the current Department of Health and Human Resources.
House Bill 2006, which passed in the House by a vote of 95-3, would divide DHHR into three separate departments, each with its own secretary: Health, Human Services and Health Facilities. The reorganization would take effect January 1, 2024.
Delegates unanimously approved House Bill 2515, which would require Workforce WV to coordinate with the Higher Education Policy Commission and the Bureau for Family Assistance to create an inventory of occupational and educational resources available to assist single parents who want to further their education, reenter the workforce, or receive workforce training. The bill would require the HEPC to maintain a copy of the document on its website and to provide it by mail when requested. The bill now is with the Senate for debate.
Another bill with the Senate this week, House Bill 3036, would expand on the BUILD WV program. The Legislature created the BUILD WV program last year with the intent to provide limited tax breaks that will spur housing for graduate, post-graduate and professional job holders, technical workers as well as entrepreneurs in key geographical regions of the state. BUILD WV districts may be designated by agreement among the Secretary of Economic Development, Secretary of the Department and Tourism and the Secretary of the Department of Commerce after meeting several other detailed criteria. HB3036 would increase the number of allowable certified BUILD WV districts to 12 and would increase the limit on approved costs for approved projects.
A total of 25 bills have completed legislative action and 14 of those have been House bills. The 60-day regular legislative session ends at midnight March 11.
Beth Anderson, Director of the Burnsville Library, and her son, Aaron, were at the Capitol for Library Appreciation Day. I hope everyone takes advantage of the great programs and resources offered by our libraries. I’m so glad they were there to represent Burnsville.
Dr. Tony Minney, from Gilmer County Schools, stopped to visit. We discussed funding and the wonderful things happening in the schools in Gilmer County.
I spoke with representatives from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Suicide is the 12th leading cause of death in West Virginia. Our state ranks 10th in the nation for suicide rates. Over 87 percent of West Virginia counties do not have sufficient mental health providers to serve our residents.
The Suicide Lifeline telephone number is 988. We can all help prevent suicide. The Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones.
There are two House bills, specifically addressing behavioral health needs, which have seen action this session. BH 2833 provides funding for education and incentivizes and promotes careers in behavioral health. This bill has passed out of the Education Committee and has been designed to educate more behavioral health professionals and is currently with the Finance Committee.
HB 3218, which has been passed in the House and is currently in the Senate Education Committee, would require public schools that serve students in 6th – 12th grades and public and private higher education institutions to include the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline and Crisis Text Line (741741) numbers on all ID cards.
I look forward to hearing from constituents in the 63rd District. Please contact me at 304-701-8600, and [email protected].. It is truly my honor to serve, and I remain committed to working in your best interests.
“It is not more bigness that should be our goal. We must attempt, rather, to bring people back to the warmth of community, to the worth of individual effort and responsibility, and of individuals working together as a community, to better their lives and their children’s future.”
(Robert F. Kennedy)