Government, The Braxton Democrat

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

Members of the West Virginia House of Delegates met and passed 16 bills during a Saturday session this week as legislative deadlines approach.
House Bill 3214, which would create the Road Optimization and Assessment Data (ROAD) Pilot Program, overwhelmingly passed the House in a bipartisan vote. It would utilize Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence, along with GPS and Geotagged positioning, as well as a laser measuring system with video. Those tools all would facilitate data collection such as road geometry, curvature, cracks, potholes, painted lines, canopy brush and drainage issues, all to serve as a baseline for road conditions. The Department of Highways would implement the program on a combination of both urban and rural roads with Monongalia and Preston counties. Data collection would take place at regular intervals, at least twice during the pilot project, which would last five years, and the data would be used to compare changes in road conditions, as well as for regular reporting to the Legislature.
Members of the House unanimously passed House Bill 2538 this week, which would require the West Virginia Bureau of Social Services to implement a web-based communications system for foster care families. The portal would be required to facilitate communications such as foster parent requests and responses to requests of staff for the Bureau for Social Services, updates about foster child visitation, travel, scheduled court and multidisciplinary team hearings as well as other information.
House Bill 3055, which would create a vocational math class for students interested in the trades, completed the legislative process this week after passing the full Legislature by unanimous vote. The bill would establish a technical, transition math class geared toward students interested in careers in the trades for all public-school curricula. The class would pertain to fractions, conversion from fractions to decimals, measurement, reading blueprints and other math skills necessary to be successful in the trades. Instructors would be required to meet the same qualifications necessary to teach current trade classes and specific content in public schools. Students would be eligible for the class upon entering high school, and it could be taken as a personalized math credit to meet graduation requirements. The measure is awaiting action from the governor.
A total of 35 bills have completed legislative action as of February 25th, and 21 of those have been House bills. The 60-day, regular legislative session ends at midnight March 11th.
I was pleased to sponsor a student from Braxton County, Colton Cook, who served as a page this week. Another Braxton County student, Mckenzie Conrad, was sponsored by Delegate Doug Skaff.
West Virginia became the first state to publicly recognize and support the Society of the Honor Guard, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. It was an honor to visit the touring replica and pay my respects.
On Tuesday, Recovery Advocacy Day was held at the Capitol. I had the pleasure of recognizing representatives from Community Care of West Virginia (CCWV) from the House floor. I spoke at length with Dr. Benjamin Jackson and Dr. Kevin Junkins about the treatment CCWV provides for substance use disorder. Other representatives from CCWV present were Kristi Walker, Ronna Dittman, Dr. Kimberly Becher, and Peer Recovery Support Specialists Melissa Koch, Judy Utley, Leah Mullens, and CW Dent. I had a lengthy conversation with Mr. Dent and gained insight about recovery. I look forward to these services coming soon to Braxton County.
The West Virginia Executive Magazine held their induction ceremony for the fourth class in the Health Care Hall of Fame at the University of Charleston on Tuesday night. I was pleased to attend the ceremony where CCWV’s Deputy Chief Executive Officer Patricia Collett, was inducted, along with nine other healthcare professionals from across West Virginia.
I visited the Cross Roads Pregnancy Care Center in Charleston this week. I am inspired by the work they are doing there.
Congratulations to the Braxton County Eagle’s Wrestling Team 2023 Regional Champions and best of luck to them at the State Tournament this weekend.
It is hard to believe my first session of my Legislative service is almost over. I look forward to hearing from constituents in the 63rd District and visiting with you throughout the year. Please contact me at 304-701-8600, or [email protected].
“Tomorrow is the most important thing in life; it comes to us at midnight very clean. It’s perfect when it arrives, and it puts itself in our hands. It hopes we’ve learned something from yesterday.” (John Wayne)