This week from Charleston
This has been a hectic week with little time outside of my committee room or the main chamber. I did manage to steal time to have lunch with some of the folks from Jefferson County who attended Jefferson County Day last Monday. (I should mention that Toni Milbourne was in the group and ably represented the Chronicle and its readers). Just in this last week, we dealt with at least 60 bills in the Judiciary Committee. One rule I follow when it gets to be late at night and we are all growing weary is that we must treat the last bill with the same care that we treated the first bill. If we are spending legislative resources on a bill, we must give full attention and debate to every bill.
The Judiciary Committee has dealt with everything from expanding which dependents of public employees are eligible for pre-natal and maternity coverage, to the sale of raw milk and to new regulations concerning the chemicals used in “fracking.”
Regarding the fracking disclosure, I joined a bipartisan group of delegates to make a common sense amendment to require disclosure of chemicals being allowed at a fracking site. Right now, the chemicals that are being injected into the ground are not necessarily going to be disclosed the landowners whose well water may be affected by the chemicals. One bill of local interest, S.B. 542, that passed out of the Judiciary Committee was to allow additional races at Charles Town with West Virginia-bred thoroughbreds. I lobbied the Judiciary Chair to put this bill on the agenda. This bill will be a direct benefit to Jefferson County if we pass it in the full House.
As of this writing, I am still waiting on the MARC train bill to be heard in the House Finance Committee. There are a number of other bills that I am waiting on that are of interest to Jefferson County. The session will end at midnight on Saturday night, and we will spend most of the next week working on the budget. I look forward to reviewing all of the bills that end up making it through both chambers in the upcoming weeks. Most importantly, I look forward to being back home!