The Eastern West Virginia Economic alliance met in Charleston last week. Joining us remotely were Eileen Johnson from the Hampshire County Development Authority, and Lyn Goodwin from the Morgan County Development Authority. Foremost on the agenda was infrastructure and site readiness for local economic development.
A bill introduced this session, HB4002 creating a new program called the “Certified Sites and Development Readiness Program,” addresses the concerns brought out in this meeting. It provides funding for infrastructure upgrades to prepare sites for future economic development. Matching grants of up to a 50% match could be provided to be spent on improving sites, making them ready for future development.
Traveling from Hampshire County this week were firefighters G.T. Parsons, Jerry Loudon, Tad Malcolm, and Chuck Shanholtz. They were joined by many other firefighters from across the state to voice their concerns about issues facing our volunteers. One of their main concerns is the recruitment and retention of firefighters. They are working on a bill with members of the Senate to create the Fire Service Recruitment and Retention Fund. Included in the bill would be awards that would be given for length of service and to companies responding to a number of emergency and nonemergency calls.
Our firefighters are so very important to our communities. The rate at which we are losing them is frightening. Imagine how close your nearest fire company is from your home. Now think about the consequences if it wasn’t there and you had to call the next closest fire company.
Chris Mullett, the CEO of Burlington United Methodist Family Services, and members of the Mineral County Day delegation met with Jeff Pack, Commissioner of Social Services for DHHR, to discuss concerns in the foster care system. Chief among concerns were finding good placements for some of our most vulnerable children; and having enough staff to cover areas of concern. The entire state is experiencing this problem. It has been addressed during past legislative sessions and will appear again this year.
Among bills going through the Committee on Health and Human Resources is HB4252. The purpose of this bill is to help insulin dependent diabetics by reducing the copay cap on insulin for a 30-day supply from $100 to $35. Many people dependent on insulin are elderly or on a fixed income. Passage of this bill would give relief to many households making tough financial decisions.
Friday, Jan. 21, 2022, was the tenth day of session. The best way to reach me while I am in Charleston is: Phone: 304-340-3157, or Email: ruth.rowan @wvhouse.gov.
This article originally appeared on Mineral Daily News-Tribune: The Rowan Report: Meetings included reps from BUMFS