Pretty soon lawmakers will be coming together in Charleston for the October Interim meetings. Again, these meetings provide the public and lawmakers alike to come together and discuss the issues relevant to West Virginia. Many of the issues we talk about in interim committees will be back before us in the form of legislation during the regular session.
These meetings also give lawmakers the ability to discuss a wide variety of topics to further expand the knowledge base of each member.
I am honored and proud to be a member of a new committee formed earlier this past summer by the Speaker of the House and President of the Senate. The Labor and Worker Safety Issues Interim Committee was formed and I am excited to be a part of this group. Each session it seems, labor issues, particularly pertaining to the safety of our hard working West Virginian blue collar workers, while discussed, is not nearly discussed enough. Both the House of Delegates and Senate have a minor committee that examine these issues but by including this topic into the interim committees, we lawmakers will be able to discuss these issues more in depth.
So far this summer, we have talked about safety issues pertaining to correctional officers in the regional jails, provisions to support American manufacturing in state purchasing and worker drug testing and rehabilitation programs, among the topics.
I have enjoyed hearing the different perspectives in relation to the issues facing our labor force and want to thank the legislative leadership for making this committee and making worker safety a priority, as I should always be. Nothing is more important to the economy of West Virginia than the hardworking men and women who make up the labor force. The greatest asset in West Virginia has been and always will be her people. I will always work tirelessly to ensure that these hard working individuals are given the protection they deserve and demand as well as the support from their elected officials they expect.
We also this past month talked a bit about Workers’ Compensation and I personally asked for individuals and groups to appear before us during the October interim meetings to discuss several issues and problems I’ve been told about regarding claims and benefits for employees in West Virginia. Also, recently the state Supreme Court made a ruling that a woman who injured herself while helping a co-worker lift a box of personal effects is not entitled to Workers’ Compensation even though the injury occurred at work. Justice Davis dissented, believing that this could have a chilling effect on employee morale and employees “would be foolish to show kindness toward a fellow employee with anything he or she isn’t specifically authorized to do.”
If you should have any questions or comments regarding any issues or bills before the legislature please feel free to contact me. To write me, my address is Delegate David Walker, State Capitol, Building 1, Room 203-E, Charleston, WV 25305. Or you may call me at (304) 340-3135. I encourage all my constituents to remain active and become part of the legislative process.