With the second session of the 81st Legislature being well past its halfway point and reaching the deadline for bill introductions, it has been a hectic time at the Capitol. I am proud of the work the Senate has been doing, passing several bills that will create a stronger, safer West Virginia. Several bills of which I am the lead sponsor have been making progress in committees and will hopefully begin their floor readings soon.
This past week, Senate Bill 503 passed through the Senate Committee on Health and Human Resources and is currently in the Senate Judiciary Committee. This bill rewrites Chapter 49 of the Child Welfare Act, dealing with issues such as neglect, abandoned children, juvenile offenses, and emancipation. Child safety is always a top concern and I hope this bill finds continued success as it is further prepared for the floor.
Senate Bill 492 has been making progress as well, passing the Senate Committee on Health and Human Resources and waiting passage by the Senate Judiciary Committee. This bill would require the State Board of Pharmacy to specify which prescription drugs are considered specialty drugs by a pharmacy benefits manager. If a licensed pharmacist meets requirements, he or she would be provided with the opportunity to dispense these drugs. One of the main goals of this bill is to help small pharmacies by giving them this opportunity.
I felt it was important to update the West Virginia Board of Medicine’s licensure and regulation of physician assistants with Senate Bill 425. This bill would permit a physician assistant to obtain his or her license before finding employment, prohibit them from practicing without an approved practice agreement on file with the Board of Medicine, and authorizes them to practice in emergency situations and under volunteer licenses.
Senate Bill 6, of which I am a sponsor, had its first reading this past week. This bill would regulate the sale of drugs used in the methamphetamine manufacturing process by requiring a prescription to receive them. There would be over-the-counter options that those in need could use instead, which would not be able to be converted for the use of methamphetamine production. Meth labs have caused too much damage to this state’s health and safety.
The water crisis is still with us. The Senate has passed Senate Concurrent Resolution 27, which urges the President and Congress to establish provisions to prevent and respond to chemical spills in state and national waters. Teams would be assembled by the Center for Disease Control and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry to analyze the chemicals released and determine the potential human and environmental effects beginning the date of the spill. The National Institutes of Health would work with local health officials to diagnose and identify impacts on health. I am certainly glad that an independent company has been hired to do in-home water testing. This testing is vital to help bring answers to the many questions so many people have concerning their water.
If my constituents have any questions or concerns, I am available for contact any time. My office is located at 439M in Building 1 of the State Capitol Complex in Charleston, WV 25305. I can be contacted by telephone at 304-357-7939 or by email at email@example.com.