Legislative Update – by – Delegate Brent Boggs - House Majority Leader - 04.30.12
With the arrival of May, garden activity is picking up all over our area. In most cases that also means lots of fence-building in an attempt to deter the ever present deer herds from a free lunch later in the season. Hopefully, the freezing temperature to summer heat and back again will give way to some traditional spring weather. Let’s also hope we’re spared the flooding that often occurs about this time of year.
Spring also brings some important milestones. Graduation ranks among the major life markers along the way. In the next few weeks, the 2012 college grads will be completing their degree requirements, and then on to their chosen field. A few weeks later, our high school graduates will be completing their studies and making some important decisions on further education, training or into the workforce. I’m very proud of our graduates and look forward to their future plans as they move into the next chapter of their lives.
On another issue, I’ve devoted considerable time and efforts during my tenure in the Legislature to the issue of broadband availability for residents of central West Virginia and other rural portions of our State. With my appointment to the Broadband Deployment Council by Speaker Thompson, I hope to continue that work with even more effectiveness for our residents. In recent months, broadband has been deployed to ever increasing numbers of our residents by Frontier. Additionally, the rebuilding of local cable systems and the offering of broadband service by Shentel provides another option to many for high speed internet. Even with those improvements in availability, a huge number of our residents remain unserved. As long as anyone is unserved, our job is not completed.
As we continue to address the availability issue, other significant concerns arise. For those that have a connection, increasing reports of unreliable service or frequent outages are becoming more common. Also compounding the problem is the lack of a clear regulatory path to address these complaints.
Another question that is beginning to surface is connection speed. As we move toward more accessibility, we can’t ignore the fact that connection speed increasingly limits our capabilities on the Internet. Even if we get every West Virginian access to high speed internet, the very definition of “high speed” is not well defined or even universal. We need to be mindful of this as decisions are made over the next several years so that West Virginians stay current with the product they are offered. This may not seem important today, but it will be a key to new opportunities into the next decade and beyond.
Throughout the past few weeks since the completion of the 2012 session, staff has been working on a comprehensive summary of all bills passed. Over the next several weeks, I will be sharing brief summaries of many bills signed by Governor Tomblin. During the 2012 Regular Session, a total of 2,029 bills were introduced (678 Senate bills and 1,351 House bills) and of those, 214 were passed by the Legislature. The Governor vetoed nine bills.
If you would like a printed copy of the Wrap-up, please contact me or call my assistant, Jennifer McPherson at 340-3942. We will mail you a copy promptly or send a PDF file document via email.
Conference Committee Report for SB 160 (Fiscal Year 2013 Budget Bill)
Budget Totals by Revenue Source
General Revenue $ 4,149,751,000
Road Fund $ 1,207,165,199
Other Funds $ 1,656,354,880
Regular Lottery $ 145,025,203
Excess Lottery $ 290,974,890
Federal Funds $ 3,792,019,112
Federal Block Grants $ 342,148,442
Total $ 11,583,438,726
Of the total of all funds, they come from the following sources:
General Revenue 35.61%
Federal Funds 32.54%
Other Funds 14.21%
Road Fund 10.27%
Federal Block Grants 2.94%
Excess Lottery 2.5%
General Revenue Surplus 0.58%
Disbursements from the General Revenue portion of the budget:
Health and Human Resources 20.9%
Higher Education 10.9%
Military Affairs and Public Safety 8.7%
Education and the Arts 0.82%
Tax and Revenue 0.73%
Veterans Affairs 0.28%
Claims Against WV 0.15%
Many programs receive all or a portion of their overall funding from sources other than general revenue. For instance, the Road Fund is dedicated to transportation and receives federal match funds.
How to Contact
Please send address your inquiries to the Capitol Office at: Building 1, Room 226-M, Charleston, WV 25305. Or, call the Capitol office at 304.340.3220 or my Assistant to the Majority Leader, Mr. Tom Bennett at 304.340.3262 or fax to 304.340.3213. If you have an interest in any particular bill or issue, please let me know.
For those with Internet access, my e-mail address is “Boggs34@aol.com”. You also may obtain additional legislative information, including the copies of bills, conference reports, daily summaries, interim highlights, and other information from the Legislature’s web site at www.legis.state.wv.us/. If you write or leave a message, please remember to include your phone number with your inquiry and any details you can provide. Additional information, including agency links and state government phone directory may be found at www.wv.gov and on the Facebook site of the West Virginia Legislature.
Remember to thank a veteran for their service to our nation and 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.