Government, The Braxton Democrat

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

This past week has been one of waiting to see which bills the governor would sign into law, veto, or just let become law without his approval. As of just a couple of days ago, the governor signed seventy-three bills into law, and unfortunately vetoed one, HB 5014, which provided $2 million for WVU Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute. The bill supported ongoing research using ultrasound technology to cure Alzheimer’s Disease and addiction. I have mentioned this research and the success of Dr. Ali Rezai and his team, which was shown in an episode of 60 Minutes, in a previous article. If you have not gotten to watch the report, you can do a google search for 60 Minutes-American Neurosurgeon Ali Rezai. I am hopeful that these lifesaving appropriations will be made in April or May when we are called back to work on the budget.
Governor Justice signed the budget bill with three objections. The first objection included an “incorrect fund number,” for the Information Services and Communication Fund. Next, he objected to a direct transfer regarding Green Acres Regional Center, Inc. Finally, Governor Justice objected to appropriations to higher education fund because they did not include all institutions of higher education or follow a performance-based funding formula mandated in HB 4008 that was passed in 2022.
The Governor is slow to act on contentious bills, such as the change to unemployment benefits, the legislative auditor’s office, and lessening the vaccine requirements for school age children that are going to virtual school or parochial school determining their immunization requirements. The sixty-day session is over, but the work is far from finished.
During the last week in session, I had the pleasure of recognizing Dylan Johnson in the gallery and I met with Jamie Oates from Jobs of Hope. You may recognize Jamie Oates as the announcer for many of the Eagles games on the radio or Braxton Live, or the praise and worship leader at Gassaway Baptist Church, but he is also a transition agent with Jobs of Hope. The mission of Jobs of Hope is to offer support through statewide agencies to assist West Virginians in recovery with an opportunity to obtain career training and to locate meaningful employment. This agency is changing lives. I appreciate Jamie sharing more about the program with me and thank him for his work!
The Eagles first round of tournament play did not end as we all had hoped. It was great to see the excitement and support that the Eagles received. Congratulations for making it to the dance!
Will and I had the pleasure of touring Gilmer High School’s Meat Processing Facility. Our tour guide was Agriculture teacher and FFA advisor, Nick Cox. We were both impressed and excited to see the opportunities for students and the potential service to the community. Later, we attended the Ham, Bacon, and Egg Sale sponsored by Gilmer County FFA. We had a lovely dinner with some great people.
On Sunday, I attended the ribbon cutting ceremony for the recently renovated Braxton County High School Gymnasium, the Eagle’s Nest. I got a bit emotional by the beauty of it, the community support behind it, and the work of CTE students that helped make it possible. I am thankful for the vision that Dr. Tetrick had and all that made it possible. The community supported the day with attendance and former players taking the floor for a game of basketball. Even the teachers and the Boad of Education played a game. Great memories are ready to be made!
In District 63, there is one thing we can count on for sure and that is we support our kids! My heart is full!
“We cannot always build the future for our youth, but we can build our youth for the future.”
Franklin D. Roosevelt
With spring comes more road work. Please be patient and careful as you drive through work zones.
I return to the classroom so my availability will be after 4:30pm during the school week. I am looking forward to seeing my students.
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@wv or 304-701-8600.