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WV Legislative Update

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In my efforts to inform through this space, I always attempt to balance the positive and negative, while keeping the information I provide in a timely manner as received throughout the week, whether at the Capitol, home in central West Virginia, or on the road at meetings and fact-gathering events.  I must say that some of the information out of the Capitol last Thursday definitely marked a sad day for our State.

First, the impeachment investigation by the Legislature began at 10 AM with the House Judiciary Committee interviewing witnesses, reviewing investigative reports of potentially illegal acts, fiscal irresponsibility, and a host of other issues conducted by one or more justices on the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals.  Only a day earlier, Justice Ketchum resigned prior to the proceedings set to begin.  The facts need unearthed and as more details emerge as a result of this investigation, it casts a dark shadow over the integrity of our State’s highest court.  The Judiciary investigation lasted until 8 PM Thursday and all day Friday.  The Judiciary Committee will reconvene this Thursday for an unspecified number of days.  Evidence gathered will be reported to the full House when the Judiciary investigation is complete.

One hour earlier on Thursday, I was attending a combined meeting of the Select Committee on Flooding and the Joint Committee on Government and Finance.  The meeting was called to hear sworn testimony from former and current officials from the WV Development Office, Department of Commerce and Rise WV, who had been issued subpoenas to testify regarding the alleged mismanagement of flood relief aid from the 2016 flood.  As the meeting went continuously until late afternoon, the facts that emerged were disturbing.  For instance, over $21,000 was spent on a multi-day retreat at Stonewall Resort by Commerce officials; the fact that after two years, less than 10 houses were completed for residents in need; of the $149 million that is available for flood aid, only $1.4 million has been spent – mostly on meetings, and an out-of-state consultant.  Many residents in need have been waiting an extended period for promised assistance.  Under questioning by committee members, blame was often pointed toward the federal regulations and red-tape, but it is becoming apparent that the folks in charge were either not equipped to handle the program, grossly negligent, or just incompetent.  Our citizens deserve better and the fact that it took this long for the Governor’s office to make changes is also disturbing.

This is a terrible and serious lapses in responsibility by a state agency and one that is especially damaging to thousands of West Virginians have been waiting for over two years for assistance. Meanwhile, top officials in the Department of Commerce have either been fired or resigned, with more changes likely. 

As previously mentioned Governor Justice has now placed the program under the oversight of General Hoyer and the WV National Guard.  Aid is now moving - quickly and efficiently.  The Adjutant General’s staff is following through with his orders and he’s monitoring events multiple times daily.  This is great news, indeed.

The other good news coming out of the committee investigation the affirmation of the outstanding job that volunteer groups, churches, and faith-based organizations have led the way since the flood in meeting most of the needs to date:  the after-flood mud removal; bridge repair and replacement; removal of carpet, drywall and furniture; assistance in remodeling and in some instances, building an entire new home.  This is truly the spirit of helping those in times of need and all West Virginians owe a debt of gratitude to all those that volunteered in any capacity to assist those who were in need.

To conclude this week, I received confirmation from Speaker Armstead that he has appointed me as one of the three members of the House of Delegates to serve on the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Higher Education.  I appreciate the support of both Speaker Tim Armstead and Minority Leader Tim Miley in agreeing to my appointment.  The other House members are Education Committee Chairman Espinosa (Jefferson Co.)  and Delegate Atkinson (Roane Co.)

I have great respect and admiration for WVU, as our flagship land grant institution and for Marshall, our other major university.  They are both vital to our economy, research, medical care, development and education in West Virginia.  However, Glenville State and each of our other regional colleges and universities also contribute greatly to the greater good of all West Virginians.  This certainly includes our vital community and technical colleges.

Aside from central and southern West Virginia, I sometime hear those representing other regions of the state asking “Do we have too many colleges and universities in West Virginia?”  This usually comes from those that live in the shadow of or in close proximity to either WVU or Marshall.  I believe the question we should be asking is: “What can we do to increase the college-going and college graduation rates in West Virginia?  How can we make certain that no one of any age is denied the opportunity for a college education, due to finances, geography and responsibilities to families and employment? How can we make all our institutions stronger and more versatile to provide a well-educated workforce?’

I do not know the timeframe, format or plans are for the commission, but I look forward to the challenge.

Please send your inquiries to my home office:  151 Park Street, Gassaway, WV 26624.  My home number is 304.364.8411; the Capitol office number is 304.340.3142.  If you have an interest in any particular bill or issue, please let me know.  For those with Internet access, my legislative e-mail address is:

You may also obtain additional legislative information, including the copies of bills, conference reports, daily summaries, interim highlights, and leave me a message on the Legislature’s web site at www.legis.state.wv.us/.  When leaving a message, please remember to include your phone number with your inquiry and any details you can provide. Additional information, including agency links and the state government phone directory, may be found at www.wv.gov. Also, you may follow me on Facebook at “Brent Boggs”, Twitter at “@DelBrentBoggs” , as well as the WV Legislature’s Facebook page at “West Virginia Legislature” or on Twitter at twitter.com/wvlegislature.

Continue to remember our troops - at home and abroad - and keep them and their families in your thoughts and prayers.  Until next week – take care.

Thanks you for honest comments, Mr. Boggs.

Its a sad state when volunteers can be credited with a better job than paid WV employees.

No wonder we have financial, legislative, highway, issues at every turn in the road. 

And to think, that the governor has to burden the National Guard with administration of a flood recovery program? 

Obvious we have incompetent individuals in many positions throughout the state bureaucracy. Are there ever, ever any state employees actually fired, for unacceptable job performance or plain incompetence?

Look at route 5 west of I-79 for a wonderful example of DOH failure.  The DOH county office is a mile from the ‘rollercoaster’ ride. All those state employees have to ride it 10, maybe 20 times a week just doing their jobs.  How can they not see it?

This rollercoaster is the ‘welcome center’ to Braxton and Gilmer county.
Its been a mess for over 20 years.  The rough, bumpy railroad tracks too.

Yes, that’s what the Gilmer Federal Prison employees who commute deal with.  It’s a great welcome, great first look, for prospective Glenville State College students and staff as well.

Comment by A failed state of the state report.  on  07.17.2018
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