Before I update you on the happenings in the Legislature, let me say how proud I was of the Grafton Memorial Day Parade! It was bigger than ever, well run, and the streets were completely lined with observers. I also appreciate the efforts of the Dept. of Highways for ensuring the CSM Timothy Allen Bolyard Memorial Bridge signs were in place by Memorial Day.
Now on to the Legislature-May 20, 2019 the House convened at the request of the Governor for a special session on education and to correct actions on bills that were vetoed by the Governor. We corrected the technical bill drafting errors, reviewed the objections of other bills by the Governor and readdressed those items. We also passed supplemental appropriations for roads and a settlement placed upon the State of WV by the federal government for using Broadband Technology Opportunities Program dollars inappropriately. This occurred years ago when the State contracted with Frontier to provide broadband services. It is infuriating that the State seems to have real issues with grant utilization.
Additional road money was obtained by transferring $54m from the general revenue fund to the State Road fund. As you may be aware money for roads is generated through DMV fees and taxes on items such as gasoline. We also shifted $34.5 m from areas of non-maintenance to maintenance use. The Legislature’s role is to appropriate money and we have had concerns in the past that monies were not being used wisely. In reviewing their funding it was brought to our attention that slip repair/maintenance money was low in amount as well as equipment needs were high. Therefore we increased the funding to accommodate these needs.
The education piece of the extraordinary session will occur June 17th week for the House. The Senate chose to go in this past weekend and may vote out a large education bill titled Senate bill 1039. The House may take up the bill with additional bills or break it into pieces for individual consideration. In order for the pay raise piece to be implemented for county teachers and school personnel it must pass by June 30th to be part of the new budget.
Delegate Amy Summers
[email protected] by email, 304-641-1159 (cell), and 98 Meadland Rd. Flemington, WV 26347