On Monday, the Roads and Transportation Committee met and discussed HB 2007. HB 2007 would eliminate the courtesy patrol programs operated by the Division of Highways and the Parkways. The courtesy patrol is an organization that assists stranded motorists, changes flat tires, removes hazards from the roadways, provides gas or directions, and offers a helping hand to those need. They work 16 hours a day, every day. It was stated that the courtesy patrol is the “primary eyes and ears on the road for Amber Alert.” The bill was approved by the committee and sent to the Finance Committee.
On Tuesday, the Industry and Labor Committee discussed HB 2009, HB 2103, HB 2171. HB 2009 would limit the definition of electrical contractor to “a person who in any capacity for compensation, other than as an employee of another, undertakes, offers to undertake, purports to have the capacity to undertake or submits a bid to construct, alter, repair, add to, subtract from, improve, move, wreck or demolish any building, highway, road, railroad, structure or excavation associated with a project, development or improvement, or to do any part thereof, including the erection of scaffolding or other structures or works in connection therewith, where the cost of the undertaking is $2,500 or more. Contractor includes a construction manager who performs management and counseling services for a construction project for a professional fee.” HB 2103 would raise the threshold amount required for a construction job to be performed by someone with a contractor’s license from $2,500 to $4,000. HB 2171 would permit contractors to perform work on a construction project without having a contractor’s license when the total cost of the project is less than $5,000.
On Tuesday, the Agriculture Commissioner Kent Leonhardt addressed the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee. He spoke about new sciences and technologies available to the agriculture industry and how he wants to bring them to West Virginia. Leonhardt talked about the Veterans to Agriculture Program. He said it has been very beneficial for veterans, but believes more needs to be done with this program. He requested a $250,000 budget for the program. He stressed the critical need for veterinarians in the state. He said there is currently one state veterinarian, but wants there to be three. He said we need a state veterinarian station in Charleston. He also stressed the importance of education in agriculture. Programs, such as FFA, are key to educating the children that will keep agriculture going in our state. He also spoke about his vision of turning STEM to STEAM- Science, Technology, Engineering, Agriculture, and Mathematics. He recognizes many want the “A” in STEAM to mean Art, but he said agriculture is art. He said, there is “no reason that agriculture and art can’t work closely together.”
If you have any questions, please call Delegate Jeff Eldridge at 304-340-3113 or Delegate Zach Maynard at 304-340-3152.