Government, The Braxton Democrat

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

Members of the West Virginia House of Delegates passed four bills in the first full week of the regular legislative session:

  • House Bill 4190 would direct the Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety to create a statewide “Purple Alert Plan” for cognitively impaired, at-risk individuals who go missing. The framework would be similar to existing Amber Alert and Silver Alert programs.
  • House Bill 4252 would close a gap in the current law related to Domestic Violence Protective Orders. It would create a mechanism for West Virginia law enforcement officers to be able to recognize and enforce a Canadian Domestic Violence Protective Order.
  • House Bill 4274 continues the work that began last year in the separation of the former West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources. It would restructure the state code to reflect the newly reorganized and renamed Department of Health, Department of Human Services and Department of Health Facilities.
  • House Bill 4433 would allow private practices to acquire and use certain tomography scanners as well as allowing mobile facilities to perform mammography and low-dose tomography both without going through the state’s certificate of need process.
    Delegate Heather Tully, R-Nicholas, is vice chair of the House Health and Human Resources Committee and a sponsor of HB 4433. She spoke in favor of it just before the vote, saying increased access to scans for lung and breast cancer saves lives. “This does bring health care into the rural communities, and even though we do have a hospital, we still have individuals who are not willing or do not have transportation to get to the hospital,” she said.
    All four measures passed unanimously and now are with the Senate for debate.
    The week started with newly appointed Delegate Thomas C. Clark, R-Webster, taking the oath of office to represent the 48th House District just preceding the day’s floor session.
    House Majority Leader Eric Householder, R-Berkeley, announced new leadership roles for two members this week. Delegate Jon Paul Hott, R-Grant, has been named an Assistant Majority Leader, serving in that role with Dean Jeffries, R-Kanawha, and Laura Kimble, R-Harrison. Delegate Jonathan Pinson, R-Mason, has been tapped to serve as a Deputy Majority Whip, alongside Delegate Chris Pritt, R-Kanawha.
    “The hard work of thoroughly deliberating important bills while efficiently managing our time began last session as members of the House rolled up their sleeves to perform the work the people of West Virginia sent us here to do,” Householder said. “That level of organization is only possible with a well-organized leadership structure that helps coordinate each of the many pieces that make up a Legislature and a legislative session.”
    I will continue to serve on the following committees: Education, Economic Development and Tourism, Health and Human Resources, Agriculture and Natural Resources, Jails and Prison, and Finance.
    A total of 936 bills have been introduced in the House, and the deadline for bills to be introduced is February 13th. The 60-day regular legislative session ends at midnight on Saturday, March 9th.
    This past week cold temperatures and snowfall forced many of us to slow down and spend time at home. Students were home much of the week. I want to thank the Division of Highways for working to clear roads and make them safer for those that had to travel.
    Monday of last week was recognized as EMS Day. I was happy to see Randy James, John Hoffman, Tiffany Prior, and Brian White from Braxton County and Zach Chauncey and Richard Dorsey from Gilmer County. I appreciate them stopping by and sharing about the work they are doing in our district. Their service to make our counties safer by providing emergency care when needed is so very appreciated.
    As the temperatures rise this week with rain in the forecast, I pray there will not be much flooding. I know children are ready to get back to school and everyone else to their regular routines.
    It’s hard to believe we are almost through the first month of 2024. I hope the new year is bringing all of you good health and happiness. As each day passes, the daylight hours extend giving us all the anticipation of spring. While responsibilities and the weather aren’t allowing a lot of adventure right now, I am already planning activities around our beautiful state for this spring and summer.
    “Sky above, earth below, peace within. Welcome to West Virginia.”
    (Brandyn Shoemaker)
    I look forward to hearing from people in the district and hope to see you out and about enjoying all the great things our area has to offer. I can be contacted at lori.dittman@ or 304-701-8600.