Jim Morgan: Knowledge of issues important
I would like to give myself a disclaimer before I continue with this article. I have no "crystal ball" or magic way to view into the future. I do have experience from past legislative sessions and a knowledge of issues that will be important to the State of West Virginia as we look forward.
The Legislative and Executive branches will be working on laws and policies that will address the important, influential issues for the citizens of this state. A brief look might include the economy and budgeting, education reform, employment stability, healthcare, and how we use and extract fuels for all kinds of energy.
In an election year when a governor is elected, the session meets, as proscribed by the constitution, on the second Wednesday in January and then adjourns for 30 days. This allows time for the governor to prepare a budget for presentation to the legislature. We are fortunate to have been able to reduce certain business and personal taxes in past years. However, the coming years will become more challenging if demand for fossil fuels decreases and neighboring states continue to expand gaming, drawing from West Virginia venues.
I believe we will have new legislation to assist with the major problem of prescription drug abuse and the traffic in illegal drugs. This might include a multi-state online prescription drug registry and extra training for physicians in pain management.
During recent interims, the Joint Government Organization committee heard from the cities that are participating in the pilot home-rule project that continuation is strongly desired. I plan to propose legislation that will add a few more cities and continue the program.
We will continue to provide tax breaks to companies in an effort to provide more job opportunities. There is always the question, "Do tax breaks actually increase new jobs?" I believe I have legislation prepared that would require agencies to report certain information to the Department of Revenue that would track jobs of all kinds and be reported at certain time intervals and published on the internet.
These are just some of the issues that may come to the Legislature. Consider that over 2,000 bills are introduced each year, and you will see that we will cover lots of subjects. That is why it is important to continue to have seasoned, experienced legislators who favor a balanced approach to restore, rejuvenate and revitalize the great State of West Virginia.
Jim Morgan, a resident of Huntington, is a Democratic candidate for the West Virginia House of Delegates from the 16th District.
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