From the desk of Senator Ron Stollings
March 10, 2014
February 26 was crossover day at the 81st Legislature, meaning the Senate has been having extensive committee discussions and having multiple floor sessions per day. Now that crossover day has passed, the Senate will consider House bills exclusively in order to complete legislation. I am hoping that Senate bills successfully complete legislation while under consideration by the House of Delegates.
Drug overdoses are a major health concern for our state, so Senate Bill 336 is a rather important piece of legislation. If it completes legislation in the House, emergency responders would receive training in opioid overdose prevention and treatment. These responders would be provided with and allowed to administer the opioid antagonist naloxone, which would counteract the overdose. This would greatly reduce the amount of overdoses in West Virginia, giving these citizens another opportunity to live.
Senate Bill 419, which would create the Overdose Prevention Act, would work well with Senate Bill 336. This act would create immunity from citation, arrest or prosecution for someone who seeks medical attention for someone who has overdosed. That person would provide identifying information and remain with the individual needing assistance and cooperate with emergency responders. It is my hope that this bill would create more good samaritans by relieving any punishment for doing the right thing.
I hope Senate Bill 455, or the Move to Improve Act, has success in the House as well. This bill would require that 50 percent of each physical education class be spent in moderate to vigorous physical activity, elementary and middle school students have at least 30 minutes of physical activity per day, and for school staff to be trained on how to incorporate physical activity into classroom learning and how to encourage a healthy lifestyle. West Virginia has poor health statistics and spends millions on obesity-related illnesses and I believe this program could help put a stop to this.
Teachers play such a vital role in developing the minds of our youth so I believe they should be adequately compensated for such a duty. Senate Bill 391, which is currently in the House Education Committee, would give teachers a $837 salary increase and 2 percent salary increase for service personnel. The goal of the bill is to increase the starting salary of a teacher to at least $43 thousand by 2019.
The Senate also adopted resolutions this week recognizing important groups in our state. Senate Resolution 38 recognized February 26, 2014 as West Virginia Nurses Unity Day to honor the great service nurses provide to our citizens. Senate Resolution 40 recognized the Lincoln Public Service District for providing clean, usable water to citizens in need. The water crisis would have been much worse if it were not for examples such as this where West Virginians come together during a critical time.
I also had the pleasure of welcoming several pages to the Senate this week. Scott High School was represented by Eric May and Cristopher Gage Messer. Alison Adkins, Maggie Cooper, Max Salmons, Brandon Swanson, Caitlin Bell and Kristen Pack all came from Hamlin Pk-8 School. Jordan Huntley, Brandi Terri and Noah Maynard from Man High School all made appearances as well.
I am honored to serve the 7th Senate District in every bill I sponsor and upon which I vote. If my constituents have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me. My office is at 439M in Building 1 of the State Capitol Complex in Charleston, WV 25305. I can also be contacted by telephone at 304-357-7939 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.