Last week, the Pseudoephedrine Prescription Bill and the West Virginia Future Fund were passed in the Senate and moved to the House for further consideration. Senate Bill 6 was debated and amended on the floor, while the Future Fund faced no opposition.
It’s no secret that our state struggles with methamphetamine addiction and as a result, meth production. The Senate is aware this bill won’t end meth addiction, but it will help end the danger of meth labs. Meth labs cannot only explode and cause innumerable damage to a house and a neighborhood, but the cost to clean up a meth lab is high, a price the state has been paying for way too long. Currently medications that are used in the production of meth are available over-the-counter. This legislation would limit the access to medications that contain ephedrine, pseudoephedrine and phenylpropanoloamine, in an effort to decrease meth production. Medications that contain these drugs would only be available with a prescription; however, the bill ensures that medications that treat the same symptoms, that are tamper-resistant and not used in the production of meth, will be available over-the-counter.
There were two amendments adopted on the floor of the Senate on third reading of the bill. One of the amendments allows leniency for people charged with possession of the medication without a prescription. If an individual who is charged with possession of a daily dose of the medication, they will have the opportunity to prove their intent was to use the medication for the manufactured purpose. If the person can prove their intent, the charges would be dropped and expunged from the person’s record. This leniency will only be given one time, essentially to serve as a warning.
Additionally, the West Virginia Future Fund passed the Senate last week unanimously after moving through its assigned committees with no opposition or debate. Senate Bill 461 will ensure a prosperous economic future for West Virginia by setting aside 25 percent of tax revenue over $175 million on oil and natural gas. The fund will generate interest and no money could be spent until 2020. Senate Joint Resolution 14 is an amendment to the state Constitution that the people of West Virginia would vote on in November. The joint resolution ensures that the fund can only be put towards four areas: enhancing education and workforce development, economic development and diversification, infrastructure improvements and tax relief measures.
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.