Espinosa and Moore attend chamber legislative event
CHARLES?TOWN — The Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce held its annual legislative luncheon last week to allow local legislators to inform constituents of their key goals for the upcoming session in Charleston.
Conflicts in scheduling left several legislators unable to attend the event; however, Delegates Riley Moore, R-Jefferson, and Paul Espinosa, R-Jefferson, were on hand to offer comments and answer audience questions. Sens. Patricia Rucker, R-Jefferson, and John Unger, D-Berkeley, were unable to attend, as was Delegate Jill Upson, R-Jefferson.
Espinosa opened the discussion by sharing his optimism for the upcoming year’s budget process.
“We have a good working relationship with the Governor,” Espinosa said. “We could end fiscal year ’19 with a budget surplus.”
Working to make sure a responsible budget is passed within the regular session parameters is a key goal for Espinosa, and something he says he believes can happen.
He also focused on education, especially the need for funding in areas of higher education.
Moore, in his opening statement, shared what he did in the last session as well as what he hopes to accomplish in 2018.
He said he was proud of his role last session in working to secure the vivitrol (non-opioid blocker) program, and of his work on the resort license creation, which allows all buildings at a hotel complex or resort to fall under one liquor license.
His third key accomplishment, he said, was his work on the State Police Forensic Fund, which allows funds to be allocated from fees in civil suit filings to go to the fund to process forensic cases.
“We currently have a backlog of about 4,800 cases,” Moore said.
Moore then shared his goals for the upcoming session: continuing to build the forensic fund; tackling a prescription bill to limit the number of pills that can be prescribed for non-chronic pain; and supporting the need to tax sports betting within the state.
Questions from the audience centered on natural gas and its potential detrimental effects on the environment. Espinosa said strict guidelines are in place and will continue to be in place with regard to natural gas pipelines. Many of those guidelines come from the federal level.
He and Moore both stressed the need to bring natural gas to the area to secure business relocation to Jefferson County.
The delegates said they’d be happy to converse with any constituent who has questions or concerns. Their contact information, as well as that of all senators and delegates, can be found at www.legis.state.wv.us/.