The first complete week of the 81st Legislature has drawn to a close. All the committees on which I serve have had organizational meetings, and several of the committees have already passed out legislation. The Senate passed its first bill, a juror qualification bill, on Feb. 20. As is the case, everything starts slowly, but each day the process heats with more and more bills passing until the last day of the session in the middle of April. It takes time for bills to move through the committees and onto the floor for a vote. Most bills when introduced are given two committee assignments (called double referenced), and then they must be read on three different days on the Senate floor, so it takes some time to reach the final vote. The system is designed to cause thought and contemplation before a final vote, which may seem to be a slow process, but it is a good process nevertheless.
I have introduced several pieces of legislation that are important to me and our district this session. There is at least one particular bill that I have introduced which I believe could provide a successful tool in shaping the future of some of our communities. The bill is called the Creative Communities Act. It was introduced in the Senate last year, but it died in the House at the end. The bill operates on the premise that the creative arts and the industry that surrounds it is a great way for some communities to create a viable and strong economic future. This point has historically proven to be true for Lewisburg and Fayetteville, and I know that there are at least two other communities in this district which could benefit from this act. I believe that this bill would, in the end, attract an even younger populous for our region. Around the state this could have an impact on many communities as they seek to become vibrant once again.
Not everything is just bills introduced and passed. Two communities in our district were honored with a special preservation grant this past week which I was able to attend in the Governor’s Press Room. The old spring house at Blue Sulphur Springs and the Sears kit house on the grounds of the Courthouse in Lewisburg were both given grants to preserve their structures. Both have played a large part in the history of the region in their own ways, and it is important to keep them intact. Several folks from Greenbrier and Monroe counties were present for the day.
On a sad note, Senator Laird and I wish to express our sincere condolences to the family of Mark Pino who passed away this past week. Mark was the son of Delegate John Pino and Mrs. Mary Pino. Delegate Pino represents our region powerfully in the House. Mary Pino was a Hayes from Greenbrier County, and she still has many family members in Greenbrier County. Our thoughts and prayers are with Mark’s wife and children and with Delegate John Pino and his wife and family.
One final note this week. Senator Laird and I are doing a weekly half hour TV show about what is taking place in the Senate. We have guests each week, and we try to keep our constituents informed. Presently the program is running on Public Access TV in several counties and it can be accessed at www.wvcapitolreport.com. We are in the learning stage with TV media, but I think you can learn much by watching. It is one way we attempt to remain a strong voice for a proud people.
(Greenbrier County’s Miller, along with Senator Bill Laird of Fayette County, represents the 10th Senatorial District.)
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