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WV Legislative Update

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First this week, I want to correct some information from last week’s column regarding Governor Justice’s SAFETY WITH ACTION TODAY (SWAT) road reporting program for citizens with highway concerns.  The number provided to report by telephone was incorrect last week.  The correct number per the Governor’s press release is: 1-833-WV-ROADS.

Also, this is the first full week of school, so please exercise special caution when driving, as kids will be out and about at bus stops, school crossings and just about anywhere at any time.  And, please observe stopped school buses while kids are entering and exiting the vehicle.  Slowing down and watching out for our kids can spare you, kids, families, our communities and state from needless tragedies.

Last week was a time I’ve been looking forward to for several years.  Earlier in the summer, all the grandkids came for an extended visit.  However, Collin is five years older than his brother, Gavin and has wanted to come to WV for a visit on his own so we could spend some time.  This year, Jessica felt confident in allowing him to travel by air unattended, as he’s flown and traveled with family many times.  Despite airport delays in Atlanta, he had a great trip in both directions.  In the week he was here, we worked hard, fished, kayaked and thoroughly enjoyed his time in WV.  It was hard to see him leave last Saturday, but his first day of school began this Monday.

Braxton County Memorial Hospital has been blessed with a wealth of outstanding healthcare professionals throughout the years.  Last week, BCMH recognized and honored three outstanding hospital and healthcare professionals – Sue Stalnaker, RN; Ben Vincent, Administrator; and Dr. Jose Bordonada.

I’ve been blessed to know Sue, Ben and Joe for many years and each has had a profound positive influence on our hospital, Braxton County, and throughout our communities.  On a personal note, each one has been very special to me, Jean and out family over the years.

While Joe and Ben were honored posthumously, their service and Sue’s service are legacies that will endure.  Thanks to BCMH, Dr. Pierson, Cynthia Vincent, and Board President Barbara Adams for spearheading this well-deserved recognition for Sue, Ben and Joe as they provided decades of cumulative service to BCMH and thousands of patients and families that entered the doors of BCMH and received quality healthcare, compassion and service.

Major projects through DOH often are years in the planning stages and even then, many factors come into play before construction actually begins.  Such is the case with the upcoming replacement of the upper Gassaway Bridge that crosses Elk River on Rt. 4.  We successfully replaced the dilapidated and dangerous lower Gassaway Bridge several years ago, but the upper bridge is deemed structurally deficient and must be replaced.  With the aging infrastructure across our nation and state, we need to seize every opportunity in central West Virginia to upgrade and improve access for our residents, businesses and emergency services.

On Thursday September 6, DOH will hold an informational public meeting at the Gassaway Community Building.  The meeting will be from 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM, to provide the opportunity to review and comment on the available options for new bridge placement.  Written comments can also be submitted until October 9 and mailed to:

Mr. R.J. Scites, P.E.
Director of Engineering Division
WV Division of Highways
1334 Smith Street
Charleston, WV 25301

Projected costs for this project are between $3.3 million to $4.5 million, depending on the alternative for alignment that is finally chosen.  While this is a large sum of money, doing nothing could result in a twenty-three mile detour and an annual cost of approximately $11 million annually to motorists if the bridge became unsafe for vehicular use, according to a DOH study.  I urge all interested citizens to stop by during the above referenced hours on September 6 to express you opinions and obtain additional information, including projected start and completion dates, from DOH officials.

Finally, last week the House of Delegates spent sixteen continuous hours spanning two days to complete debate and eventually pass articles of impeachment on the remaining four WV Supreme Court justices.  By mid-week, Justice Robin Davis tendered her resignation, leaving Justices Loughry, Workman and Walker to face the actual impeachment removal trial in the State Senate.  On Monday of this week, the Senate will meet to lay out procedures and preliminary rules to be followed during the trial.  The permanent replacement positons for Justice Ketchum and Justice Davis will appear on the election ballot in November.

After listening to the evidence in the House, some of the articles did not appear to have sufficient documentation to merit a recommendation for removal.  However, out of the fourteen articles returned, I felt each justice had violated at least one or more of the articles, based on maladministration and other factors presented and voted accordingly.

Once again, this is a sad time for our State and the citizens that look to and count on the highest court in the judicial branch of state government for stability and fairness.  The House has made its recommendation.  Now it’s up to the Senate to make the final call on performing its constitutionally mandated obligation for removal or acquittal. 

In the interim between sessions, please send your inquiries to my home office:  151 Park Street, Gassaway, WV 26624.  My home number is 304,364,8411.  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.

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