We are approaching the final week of session here in Charleston. Crossover day has passed and the Senate is now only considering legislation that has been sent over from the House of Delegates. The Senate was able to pass a substantial amount of legislation over to the House before the conclusion of Crossover Day. I am confident that the House will take initiative to pass some of these important bills on to the Governor for signature before the end of session.
Some of the bills we’ve sent over to the House that I believe will have the greatest positive impact on West Virginia include the Future Fund bill and the Water Resources bill. The House-version of the Project Launchpad bill has also been sent over to the Senate for consideration. I’ve discussed these bills in detail in previous columns and I am proud to report that these bills are making significant progress in the Legislature.
The Future Fund bill, which creates a special-revenue, interest-bearing account in the state treasury, has been introduced in the House and is currently being considered by the Judiciary Committee. The Water Resources bill, which increases regulations to protect state water resources, has passed through the House Health and Human Resources Committee and is now being considered by the House Judiciary Committee. Finally, the Project Launchpad bill, which aims to increase jobs and introduce new technology to the state, has passed through the House and is now being considered in the Senate Finance Committee.
The Senate has also taken a focus on trying to increase the salaries of our teachers. We passed Senate Bill 391 last week which will increase teachers’ salary in the state across the board by $837. While this increase is modest, it is the first step in a bigger picture that will increase teachers’ salary over the course of many years that will result in a more competitive wage for teachers. If we want the best and brightest teaching our youth, we must be able to offer them the competitive salaries they deserve.
A bill has also passed through the Senate that will increase salaries for State Police forensic lab employees. West Virginia is currently spending roughly $5 million holding inmates in prison who are waiting on forensic testing for their case before they can go to trial. If we are investing more money on employing more forensic lab employees and paying them a more competitive salary, we can avoid holding so many inmates in prisons that may be innocent, therefore saving money long-term.
As always, I am proud to serve the great people of the 12th district and work hard to ensure a bright future for the Mountain State
To write me, my address is Senator Sam Cann, State Capitol, Building 1, Room 218-W, Charleston, WV 25305. You can also call me at 304-357-7904. I encourage all of my constituents to contact me with any questions or concerns.