The second session of the 81st Legislature recently hit its halfway point and we have been making tremendous progress. The Senate has introduced over 500 bills, and passed 35, that we hope will positively affect West Virginians, and that number will only increase as we continue through this second half.
With much of the Legislature’s time being dedicated to the water contamination, I was pleased to see the National Institute of Health, the Center for Disease Control and the Environmental Protection Agency discuss this issue that has affected nine counties. According to their findings, it appears things are getting better and we are fortunately reaching the end of this crisis. However, we still want to monitor the potential health impacts going into the future and make sure such events never happen again.
One issue that poses a threat to the health and safety of our citizens is methamphetamine. Senate Bill 6 passed the Senate Committee on Health and Human Resources and has been sent to the Senate Judiciary Committee. This bill would require the sale of pseudoephedrine products by prescription only. It would also allow the over the counter sale of tamper resistant products.
Senate Bill 456, of which I am the lead sponsor, is another bill introduced that I believe is a key factor in improving the health of our state. This piece of legislation would raise the upper payment limit of Medicaid so to ensure that our hospitals are being paid better and more of the costs can be shared with the state. The better care our hospitals can provide for our citizens, the better off we will be
I am also sponsoring Senate Resolution 22, urging Congress to amend the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 to encourage the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) to allow the purchase of healthy food and discourage fraud. West Virginia has among the highest rates of obesity, heart-related illness and oral health problems in the country. Unfortunately, states are unable to take action to promote healthy habits in SNAP. With this resolution, we are hoping to convince Congress to prohibit SNAP funds to be used to purchase unhealthy foods and beverages and provide incentives for the purchase of fresh fruits and vegetables. It also calls for greater controls on required identification, such as photographs on SNAP benefit cards.
It was great meeting with the Wayne, Lincoln and Logan County members of the West Virginia Community Development Hub’s Communities of Achievement Program (HubCAP) upon the passage of Senate Resolution 18. I felt it was important to sponsor this resolution due to all the hard work these folks put into improving their communities. I was able to speak with Tanya Huff and Michael Tierney for an in-depth report on the group’s activities. Whether it’s for redeveloping industry or enhancing recreation and 4-H facilities, these people deserve to be honored.
I was also proud to be the lead sponsor on Senate Resolution 19, which recognizes the contributions of the Center of Organ Recovery and Education and encourages our citizens to become organ, tissue or cornea donors. Nearly 900 West Virginians are on waiting lists for organ transplants, and we can help make a difference in each person’s life by calling a local DMV office and requesting to become donors.
It is an honor to serve the 7th Senate District in efforts to create a better West Virginia. If my constituents have any questions or concerns, 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.