Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Eastern Panhandle Legislative News Update #6
Participating in the Monday morning, February 24th, 2014 meeting of the West Virginia Eastern Panhandle Legislative Delegation (Hampshire, Morgan, Berkeley, & Jefferson Counties) at the West Virginia State House were Delegates Larry D. Kump, Mike Folk, Paul Espinosa, Larry Faircloth, Daryl Cowles, John Overington, Steven Skinner, and Ruth Rowan, as well as Senator Don Cookman.
West Virginia Transportation Secretary Paul Mattox and Highways Chief Engineer Robert Pennington were guest participants. They discussed road conditions and needs within the Eastern Panhandle. Secretary Mattox said that West Virginia is spending about $162 million per year on road re-surfacing, using a 28 year cycle, although the preferred cycle is 12 years. It also was reported that pot-hole repairs will begin with the advent of warmer weather. In 2015 or 2016, work will begin on widening the rest of I-81 in West Virginia, in tandem with Maryland and including a widening of the I-81 bridge of the Potomac River (the Potomac River is owned by Maryland). Delegate Kump strongly urged that more intensive coordination be done with law enforcement during this project. He also pushed for improvements on Route #9 in Western Berkeley County and in Morgan County.
The constitutional deadline now has passed for all legislative proposals (bills) to have been reported out of their originating committees within the House of Delegates and the Senate. The end of the 2014 Legislative Session will be at Midnight, Saturday, March 8th. Nevertheless, the Legislature will meet for a few days or more after their March 8th adjournment, in order to give final consideration and approval of the budget for the fiscal year that begins on July 1st of 2014.
Delegate Kump reported on HB 4007 (Protecting the Property Rights of Homeowners with residential Septic Systems). Although not on the original agenda of the House of Delegates Political Subdivision Committee that was posted on Wednesday morning, February 19th, it was later included as an agenda item for that day's committee meeting. However, the committee was not able to get to HB 4007 and one other bill within the remaining committee time available. Delegate Kump now is working with Delegate Tiffany Lawrence, Committee Chair, to draft and cosponsor a special legislative resolution that will authorize the creation an interim legislative study of this issue by a joint interim committee of the House of Delegates and Senate. He also will be pursuing this issue at the local county levels within his district.
Senator Cookman urged support for SB 378, which would allow waste service vehicles to be equipped with yellow or amber flashing warning lights.
Delegate Rowan urged support for HB 4137, to improve funding for special needs students. HB 4137 subsequently was passed by the House of Delegates, and now is pending consideration by the Senate.
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