This was my first full week at the legislature, with the beginning being interims. As you can imagine, I have spent a little time getting accustomed to wearing a suit more often, and being in the capitol versus a coal mine every day (I will still be working my job some, but not as often during the session). During the first week we had a hearing on our state government over-spending on wireless routers by cisco. The government spent money on the routers, versus running fiber-optic line which is in the long run turning out to be a very bad investment. You see, fiber optic does not get outdated like the routers do. Our government spent almost $20,000 dollars per router on routers that are now costing about $4000 dollars over some internet sites.
We also had a hearing on the economic outlook of our state. I have to say, it was not up to par. They are expecting construction to grow 5% according to the report, but what the report does not tell you is that it is gaining 5% back up to what it was several years ago. Natural gas is expected to grow, with coal staying about the same or a slight growth. I can assure you that I will be fighting tooth and nail for pro-coal legislation.
I submitted a bill called the “WV Coal, Oil, and Natural Gas use Act”. This bill in a nutshell says that any coal or other natural resource that is extracted and used within our borders will be governed by West Virginia Regulatory agencies versus the EPA. So instead of our permits being held up with the EPA, they will come straight from WV DEP for in state use. This will free up permits, and hopefully get some of our people back to work. I believe our state agencies are very well capable of issuing the proper permits.
Also, I am working on a bill to amend West Virginia’s “Cap and Trade” law that is hurting our coal industry by forcing our power plants to use alternative energy, which is very expensive. What my bill says is that the “Cap and Trade” legislation will be ineffective while there is still coal being imported into the United States. I think it is an outrage that our government forces us to use alternative energy sources, putting our miners out of work, and forcing power plants to purchase coal from different countries. The purpose of my bill is to make the “Cap and Trade” bill ineffective and help get our coal market up again. This is only the first step that I will be taking, with the ultimate goal being a full repeal of this job killing bill.
Also, as promised, I signed onto a bill protecting the constitutional rights of our law abiding citizens. This bill says that we, as West Virginians, will not tolerate an infringement on a law abiding person’s right to keep and bear arms. Our fore-fathers knew what they were doing when they drafted our constitution and as long as I am serving, I will not tolerate an infringement on the second amendment. The second amendment is not only about hunting; it is about personal protection as well.
My office is located at 6R in the capitol. I welcome any of our citizens anytime. It is an absolute honor to represent the very best people in our state and country. Please email me at Joshua.firstname.lastname@example.org with any concerns. God bless you, and God bless West Virginia.
Montani Semper Liberi.