Government, The Braxton Democrat

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

For the past two nights I stared into the night sky, but alas all I saw were clouds and fog. The Aurora Borealis, a Celestial Dance of Lights, has evaded me. I have enjoyed seeing photographs from around the world of the mesmerizing lights. With a forecast that says spectacular views are possible, I will make another attempt (Sunday) to see this phenomenon. Dark skies are an asset in our state for star gazing. With our state parks getting more attention and designations as International Dark Sky Parks, we can expect more stargazers this year.
“Amid the majesty of night,
What splendid vision strikes
my eyes,
In glory bursting on the sight,
Forth from the northern skies?”
Stephen Greenleaf Bulfinch
Not only do we celebrate Mothers in the month of May, but we also celebrate graduations! Congratulations to all high school and college graduates! Your unwavering effort, commitment, and resilience have led you to this significant milestone. As you step into the next chapter of your life, remember that the world is packed with opportunities awaiting your embrace. Whether you are pursuing further education, launching a career, or embarking on a thrilling adventure, do so with an open heart and enthusiasm. To all the graduates, your journey has just begun. May you continue to learn, evolve, and positively impact the world. Here’s to your brilliant future!
One of my favorite lessons I do with my West Virginia Studies classes is a mock legislature. We elect a Speaker of the House and President of the Senate. Students create bills that are introduced and referenced to committee where they are debated and eventually make their way through both houses and then onto the governor. Student Council President Ava Mollohan served as our mock governor. Students introduced 93 bills and passed 13 for a passage rate of 14 percent. Among the bills signed by our governor were the following: Lice control in schools act, funding for bus improvements, sports facility, improved roads, student mental health in schools, protect women’s sports act, fresh foods in schools, women’s hygiene products in school restrooms, phones allowed in schools during lunch and when work is finished, Autism awareness, expanding teacher code of conduct, a break in the school day, and a four day school week. I showed them there are actual bills that are pending and may be presented in the next legislative session. I am encouraged by their engagement and thoughtful process as bills were debated. Remember ideas for bills can come from anyone. If you have ideas for bills, please reach out to me.
One of the topics of consideration was student mental health. May is Mental Health Awareness month. “This month, we aim to shine a light on the importance of mental well-being in our communities,” said Christina Mullins, Department of Human Services, Deputy Secretary of Mental Health, and substance use disorders. “In times of struggle, it is crucial to utilize the resources available to help our friends, family, and neighbors navigate their journey towards healing and resilience. When we extend compassion and understanding to those in need, West Virginians can bolster one another in difficult times.” Resources include HELP4WV which offers 24/7 call, chat, or text support through 1-844-HELP4WV to anyone struggling with addiction or other mental health issues. There is also a Children’s Crisis and Referral Line that provides parenting support, crisis counseling, and local resources to families. The 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline also gives 24/7 direct access to trained crisis counselors. May we listen to one another and check on those in our circles and be more aware and grace-filled to all we meet.
The West Virginia Department of Human Services (DHS), Bureau for Family Assistance (BFA), Division of Early Care and Education, will conduct a public hearing on the proposed Childcare and Development Block Grant State Plan for Federal Fiscal Years (FFY) 2025 to 2027.
The public hearing will be held virtually on May 30th from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Once finalized, instructions for virtual hosting will be posted in the announcements section on BFA will also accept public comments via email to [email protected] through June 23rd at 5:00 p.m. Please make your voice heard.
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 [email protected] or 304-701-8600.