This website is devoutly dedicated to all of Larry's friends and associates, both early and late, who have influenced and mentored him. However, it also should be noted that, being who they are, a majority of them have been late most of the time.

Monday, January 30, 2012

2012 Eastern Panhandle Report #3

Participating in the Eastern Panhandle Legislative Caucus this morning were Delegates Larry D. Kump, Jonathan Miller, Tiffany Lawrence, Ruth Rowan, Eric Householder, Walter Duke, Daryl Cowles, John Overington, Gary Howell, and Senator Herb Snyder.

Martinsburg Mayor George Karos and Martinsburg City Manager Mark Baldwin also attended the caucus meeting.

On behalf of the West Virginia Municipal League, Mark Baldwin asked the caucus to support legislation to do an in-depth study of West Virginia's property tax.

Excepting the "common ground" areas within homeowners associations from property taxes also was discussed. Legislation to further study and reform laws regarding homeowners associations is being drafted.

Mayor Karos expressed support for increased "real-time" reporting by pharmacies of sudafed sales. (Note: This proposal would not require a prescription to purchase sudafed.)

The ongoing development of the West Virginia "State Rail Plan" in regard to the Maryland Area Regional Commuter (MARC) was discussed.

SB 362, to provide funding for Cacapon State Park, is expected to receive a favorable Senate Committee report.

SB 347, to use some of the property transfer tax income to help fund Regional Jail costs, was discussed.

Legislation to provide more property tax relief for senior citizens and the disabled is in the process of being drafted.

Legislation to increase the number of state police and increase state police civilian salaries also is being drafted.

Constitutional Issues

HJR 102 and HJR 103 are two of my proposals to amend the West Virginia Constitution.

HJR 102 prospectively would limit state legislators to no more than eight consecutive years as a Delegate or Senator.

HJR 103 would require a new office of West Virginia Lieutenant Governor to also serve as the Chairperson of the Public Service Commission (PSC), thus providing more accountability to voters by requiring that the PSC Chairperson be an elected official.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Standing Alone

Click on the link below to read the newspaper editorial lauding public access to citizen petition signatures.

While I understand and respect the position of those who support publication of petition signatures and absolutely agree that all petition signatures should be carefully reviewed by election officials for veracity and eligibility, I continue to believe that publication of signatures will further damper and discourage independent and third party election efforts.

To that end, I am a proud sponsor of HB 4081 (See the January 17th "Crime & Citizenship" entry at this website).

Monday, January 23, 2012

2012 Eastern Panhandle Report #2

Participating in this morning's meeting of the Eastern Panhandle Legislators' Caucus were Senator Herb Snyder as well as Delegates Larry D. Kump, Daryl Cowles, John Overington, Tiffany Lawrence, Walter Duke, and Eric Householder.

Hampshire County Delegate Ruth Rowan and Berkeley County Councilpersons Doug Copenhaver and Tony Petrucci also participated in this meeting.

A major topic of discussion was the drug abuse epidemic and ways to deal with it, including drug testing. There also was intense discussion about prison overcrowding, sentencing guidelines, and rehabilitation programs. There will be further meetings on this issue by the caucus.

SB362, to complete the improvements to Cacapon State Park, was discussed by the caucus.

Forthcoming legislation to help home owners' associations and ongoing Chesapeake Bay watershed efforts were meeting topics; as well as the Maryland Area Regional Commuter (MARC), bar closings, salaries of eastern panhandle employees, state police staffing, the need for a additional circuit and family court judges, Homestead Act tax credits for senior citizens and the disabled, and copper wire theft issues.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Sudafed Up? (Revisited)

Sadly, many otherwise well-intentioned elected officials sincerely believe that more government control over our lives (and the taxes to finance it) is best.
They are wrong, so wrong.
One instant example is the renewed push in the West Virginia Legislature this year to require  a doctor's prescription in order to purchase sudafed.
Because of drug addicts using sudafed to manufacture the illegal and devastating drug Meth, West Virginia previously required the over-the-counter sale of sudafed to be purchased directly from the pharmacist, without a prescription, but with the proviso that customers had to identify themselves and sign for the medication prior to purchasing it.
Drug addicts quickly circumvented this requirement by buying their sudafed supplies at multiple pharmacies.
This sudafed prescription requirement legislation passed the House of Delegates last year, but was narrowly defeated in the West Virginia State Senate.
This year, the same legislative push will be made again, and now it even is going to be named after the late Delegate Larry Border, who was a pharmacist.
This is yet another example of government punishing the many because of the bad behavior of a few.
If this legislation is passed, working West Virginia families will have to schedule a costly visit with their family doctor and get a prescription in order to get what previously was an over-the-counter medicine: all because of drug abusers.
Other Mountaineer families, who live in our border counties, simply will step across our state line to buy sudafed elsewhere.

This is not the first time that inventive abusers have found new ways to pursue their addictions.
Common bath salts also often are used for such nefarious purposes.
Further, alcoholic youth often buy vanilla extract, because of its high alcohol content, at neighborhood grocery stores.

Addicts "huff" the vapor in "Redi-Whip", and I'm told that even kitty litter can be used to manufacture addictive drugs.

As a former Criminal Justice Prison Case Manager, I have intense and up close experience with the tragic outcome from the manufacture of and addiction to Meth, not only to the addicts but also to public safety and our neighborhoods.
However, instead of punishing all of us, a more prudent solution simply would be to first try to effect a better coordination of the record of sudafed sales at drug stores with law enforcement, thereby targeting the offenders and not the law abiding public. 
You know,these overly broad and ham fisted legislative oversight proposals remind me of a situation years ago in New England, where it was reported that someone had filled a "Super-Soaker" water gun with bleach and subsequently had inflicted great harm. The reaction of a few legislators was to attempt to include water guns as dangerous weapons.
I will be voting against the sudafed prescription proposal.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Crime & Citizenship

Dealing effectively with criminals and safeguarding our citizen rights and responsibilities are important public policy issues.
That's why I've introduced HB 4079, HB 4080, and HB 4081 in the West Virginia Legislature.
Our current criminal justice system is seriously out of whack, and it's costing taxpayers a huge amount of money. It's also becoming a serious burden to the the ability of state and local governments to make budgetary ends meet.
West Virginia needs to walk away from the "lock 'em up and throw away the key" approach to all crimes, and instead focus on our public safety from those who truly endanger us and our families.
To that end, we need to develop reasonable alternatives as to how we deal with drug abuse and other crimes, but also be much more diligent in protecting us and our families from violent criminals.
HB 4079 does that by making those convicted of Murder, Rape, and Child Abuse ineligible for parole.
In regard to our sacred citizen rights and responsibilities, HB 4080 would give each of us more clout at the ballot box by requiring single member districts in the election of Delegates to the State Legislature, and HB 4081 would give citizens who participate in petition drives on ballot issues the same personal privacy rights as voters in elections.

Monday, January 16, 2012

2012 Eastern Panhandle Report #1

The Eastern Panhandle Legislator Caucus met at the State Capitol on Monday, January 16th.
Participating were Delegates Larry D. Kump, John Overington, Daryl Cowles, Walter Duke, Eric Householder, Jonathan Miller, and Tiffany Lawrence.
Issues discussed included increasing "Homestead" or other tax credits for senior citizens and the disabled, Eastern Panhandle conservation concerns, Maryland Area Regional Commuter (MARC) problems,
Bar closing hours, Chesapeake Bay Watershed concerns, Locality pay for Eastern Panhandle employees, Improving Rt. 9 west of Martinsburg and other road issues, Homeowner association concerns, State Police issues, and the term of office for Water & Sewer boards.

Friday, January 13, 2012

2nd & 10th Amendments Based Proposal

It pleases me to be a proud sponsor of HB 2705.

If passed into law, HB 2705 would exempt West Virginia from federal regulation (under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution of the United States) of firearms, firearms accessories, or firearm ammunition manufactured and retained in West Virginia.

All firearms regulation under the above circumstances would be under West Virginia law, as guaranteed by the 2nd and 10th amendments of the United States Constitution.