From the Desk of Senator Facemire – February 19th, 2014
The Senate is considering important legislation for all West Virginians this legislative session. Senate Bill 6 and Senate Bill 461 are being debated and will continue to be in the remaining days of the session.
Last week, Senate Bill 6 was passed out of the Judiciary Committee and will soon be debated on the floor. The pseudoephedrine bill requires a prescription for any medication containing drugs that can be used in the production of methamphetamine. In the past, similar bills have been considered, however the controversy surrounding pseudoephedrine prescriptions has caused previous legislation to fail twice before, in 2011 and in 2012.
West Virginia is among 24 states that have tried and failed to pass pseudoephedrine prescription bills, while only a few have succeeded. Oregon was struggling with a meth problem similar to the one plaguing our great state. Oregon passed legislation similar to Senate Bill 6 and as a result has seen a 90 percent decrease in meth labs. Senate Bill 6 poses many questions and the Senate is determining the most effective solution that would combat the meth problem.
Senate Bill 461, creating the West Virginia Future Fund, is also under consideration in the Senate. The Future Fund will set aside 25% of revenue made over $175 million from West Virginia’s natural gas industry until 2020. The funds would generate interest overtime and would ensure the economic future of West Virginia. The bill is modeled off of similar legislation North Dakota passed in 2011. North Dakota’s Legacy Fund has grown to over $1 billion dollars. Other states have also passed legislation to accumulate interest on natural resource tax revenue to fund education and other state programs. The Senate Economic Development Committee passed Senate Bill 461 and it is now up for consideration by the Finance Committee.
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 Senator Douglas Facemire Capitol, Building 1, Room 217W, State Capitol Complex, Charleston, WV 25305. Or you may call me at (304) 357-7845. I encourage all my constituents to remain active and become part of the legislative process.