Delegate holds Town Hall at Morgan’s Grove Park
SHEPHERDSTOWN — After several postponements due to COVID-19 restrictions, Delegate John Doyle held his legislative session wrap-up meeting on June 11 at Morgan’s Grove Park. Just over a dozen people gathered to hear Doyle’s thoughts about what transpired during the last West Virginia House of Representatives session.
Breaking his briefing into four parts, Doyle explained there were issues that were addressed and passed that he approved of; bills that were passed of which he did not approve; bills he wanted but that did not pass and finally, bills for which he was glad of defeat.
Falling into the category of what was approved the he supported, Doyle included the Foster Care Bill, which he called one of the most important bills done in a long time. He also praised the development of the Solar Energy Bill, the Advanced Deposit Wager Bill and the fact that Shepherd University was given some extra flexibility through higher education.
Bills that passed for which Doyle did not give support, included a bill allowing the Bible to be taught in schools.
“I tried to get it changed to ‘sacred texts,'” Doyle said.
Another bill that passed makes protesting gas lines or pipelines illegal. Doyle indicated that at least it would be a misdemeanor, rather than the initially proposed felony charge.
Bills Doyle had hoped to see pass but that did not pass, included a bill that would allow children to receive breakfast and lunch each day during the summer through the school system. He also shared that the move to have personal finance as a requirement for graduation also did not move forward.
Doyle praised the failure of the Campus Carry Bill, the above ground storage tank bill and a proposal for the institution of an intermediate court of appeals. According to him, he was happy the proposal to eliminate personal property tax on equipment for businesses failed.
“To promote economic development, we should get rid of the individual personal property tax on vehicles,” Doyle said. “I think that’s the best way – to give money to people who will spend it.”
He added that whatever is done, the money removed will have to be replaced by money from another tax. Raising the severance tax on natural resources would be his preferred revenue, Doyle added.
During a question and answer session, Doyle touched on West Virginia’s financial state, especially regarding funds received from the federal government as part of the CARES Act. Doyle believes the legislators will be called back for a special session to discuss use of those funds.
MARC train funding also arose in the question portion of the meeting, with Doyle sharing he still believes the need is there for three trains and that the state should fund them.
“A lot of the answers will depend on who gets elected,” Doyle said.