Government, The Braxton Democrat

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

This week Governor Justice signed 27 bills on Friday, including 15 bills from the state Senate and 12 bills from the House of Delegates, into law. Some of those included:

  • SB 730 — The purpose of this bill is to clarify the sheriff’s commission compensation for the job duty of tax collector for the county and fix the amount at $15,000.
  • HB 5617 — The purpose of this bill is to adopt standards and authorize the Public Service Commission to promulgate rules on the testing, flushing, flow testing, and marking of fire hydrants owned by water utilities.
  • SB 354 — The purpose of this bill is to create the West Virginia Advanced Energy and Economic Corridor Authority Commission comprised of the economic development agencies of McDowell, Mercer, Mingo, and Wayne counties.
  • SB 466 — The purpose of this bill is to require the State Board of Education to develop a Safety While Accessing Technology education program to be taught to students from the 3rd to 12th grades.
  • SB 280 – The purpose of the bill is to allow teachers in public schools to discuss scientific theories. The bill prevents county school boards, superintendents, or principals from prohibiting teachers from responding to student questions about scientific theories of how the universe began or how life came to exist.
    On Wednesday, I attended the West Virginia Construction & Design Expo. I saw over 400 exhibits full of learning experiences for attendees. Educational and networking opportunities were plentiful. The highlight of the expo was listening to the keynote speaker, Captain Charlie Plumb, share his personal story as a Vietnam POW and finding freedom in a mental prison. Confined to an eight-by-eight foot cell for six years, Plumb stated that he had to overcome the eight inches between his ears. That was the lesson for all of us. “You survive by the thoughts you have about things,” he said. “The thoughts that I could get out of that prison cell in my mind and do things, explore things, that’s what kept me busy.” Captain Plumb shares that his experience and the challenges he faced relate to the challenges we all face. “The loneliness, the feelings of failure, the inability to communicate with loved ones, those are all challenges that we also faced in prisoner camps.” Plumb said. Other life lessons included the power of choice, no one flies alone, purpose provides strength, and appreciating the value of challenge.
    You can learn more about Captain Plumb and his story in the book, I’m No Hero, or a quick search on the internet will find videos of him speaking. He truly has a message for everyone.
    Saturday night Will, Ronna, and I enjoyed the Elimination Dinner sponsored by the Rotary Club. Hosted at the newly renovated Braxton High School gymnasium, the gym hummed with excitement and was a full house.
    Although I did not win, I did score a beautiful pen from MLA Creations in the silent auction. We had a great meal with community members raising money for student scholarships. I wanted to take a moment to express my sincere gratitude for the remarkable work the Rotary Club does in our communities. Their unwavering commitment to service, compassion, and positive impact is truly inspiring.
    On a personal note, one of my former students, Alexis Miller, has been in the hospital for several weeks due to complications from pneumonia. She got to come home. While she still has a way to go, she is on the road to recovery. A benefit dinner was held in Rosedale at the Rosedale Senior Center to help with medical costs. It was wonderful to see the community come together to support and show love to her and her family. Thank you to all who had a hand in the dinner and loving your neighbor. Please continue to remember
    Alexis and her family in prayer.
    “If we are meant to love thy neighbor as thyself, then surely we should love the world’s children as our own.”
    (Audrey Hepburn)
    Interims meetings are scheduled for April 14th-16th & May 19th-21st.
    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.