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.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

A Trifecta & a "Breath of Fresh Air" for WV!

A Trifecta of three big accomplishments and a "Breath of Fresh Air" stand out to me from the recently completed 2017 West Virginia 2017 Legislative Session.

Our State Budget, Broadband Internet Expansion, and Medical Marijuana were the three "Trifecta" issues.

 The Legislature surprised many by holding resolutely firm and refusing to raise taxes on already suffering Mountaineers. However, opportunities to truly uplift our economy and our lives, through meaningful reform of our tax structure, foundered and failed. Also, Governor Justice vetoed the Legislature's proposed budget. Even so, the West Virginia tax reform movement has gained credibility and momentum. Look for more to come in future legislative sessions. Moreover, the Legislature did give approval, to conduct a statewide voter referendum to authorize the sale of 1.6 billion dollars of highway construction bonds, to be used to repair and upgrade our crumbling road system.

 Delegate Roger Hanshaw (R-Clay County) tenaciously won approval of HB 3093, to allow and encourage  broadband internet expansion in West Virginia. It removes broadband internet expansion obstacles, but, best of all, this important legislative accomplishment was finely crafted by his legal team, without any expense to taxpayers. Wow!

 When the approval of the compassionate use of marijuana for medical treatment hit a roadblock in the West Virginia House of Delegates, Delegate Mike Folk (R-Berkeley County) bravely stood up on behalf of voters and forced a vote in favor of further legislative consideration. Realizing the public outcry and need for this medical treatment, Speaker of the House of Delegates Tim Armstead (R-Kanawha County) and Judiciary Committee Chairperson John Shott (R-Mercer County), assisted by a superb legal staff, went to work and crafted further amendments. The result was to allow doctors, under strict supervision, to prescribe medical marijuana. These restrictions would not allow medical marijuana medication to be smoked or otherwise used for recreation. The final legislation builds upon medical standards and procedures already successfully used by other States.

 Finally, my nomination for the "Breath of Fresh Air" West Virginia award was introduced by Delegate Ron Walters (R-Kanawha County). His HB 3008 would be a bold step in reforming our top heavy and cumbersome school system. It would reduce government spending and bureaucratic waste, while also protecting and preserving local citizen and parent oversight of our schools. Delegate Walters' proposal did not get a legislative committee hearing, but it deserves further review and consideration in future legislative sessions. (See more details in the 15 March 2017 "A Breath of Fresh Air" post at this website.)

Yours for better governance,

Larry D. Kump,

Former West Virginia Legislator (2010-2014)

Berkeley County, West Virginia

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