Legislative Update – by – Delegate Brent Boggs - House Majority Leader - 04.23.12
Any week is a great one when you get to spend a little time with your grandkids. While we were able to spend a few days two weeks ago with Collin and Gavin in South Carolina, last Thursday night Jean and I took Kenzie and Carson to the Ringling Bros. Circus. We figured they’d wear out about midway through the performance, but I think the adrenaline kicked in at some point. If you’ve not taken twin 3 ½ year olds to an event, be prepared. They had a great time and Jean and I enjoyed their happiness even more. We are very blessed.
While we may have had an overall mild winter, the weather did take a great toll on our roads in terms of slips and slides. I spent a considerable time over the weekend visiting many of the sites in preparing to follow up with DOH. In the process we did enjoy meeting with folks in Burnsville at the 79er for a breakfast sponsored by the Burnsville Lions Club. Great turnout, great breakfast and for a great civic group that serves the community.
Early voting begins this week on Wednesday, April 25 in advance of the Primary Election on May 8. For many that have jobs that require leaving early in the morning and usually not returning home until late (I am in that category with the railroad work) this has proved much more convenient and proves more beneficial for workers and employers. Whether you vote early or wait until Election Day, be sure to exercise your right to vote for the candidates of your choice.
I appreciate the inquiries received from constituents last week regarding the bridge painting activities on the I-79 bridge over Elk River between Sutton and Gassaway. Representatives of the Painters and Allied Trades were distributing the information for a few hours last week. Apparently they were unaware that I have been working with their own leaders to convince WV DOT officials to do more to see that all West Virginia firms and WV workers have a fair shot at any and all contracts awarded on these highway projects involving federal roadways.
What the brochure did not include was the fact that this is an issue that I have been working on for quite some time. In fact, the organization will likely be revising and issuing a correction in the next few days, according to one of their managers whom I spoke with over the weekend.
As for the issue itself, the WV Department of Transportation and the Purchasing Division must do more in terms of performing due diligence before they award these contracts. While I understand they cannot limit contract bids to in-state firms, my concern is that the out-of-state bridge painting firms that seem to land most of the contracts are apparently all part of a family owned operation out of Florida that operates under multiple names. Furthermore, they apparently have been cited for violations in other states for violating wage laws, safety and other violations.
WV DOT needs to review the background of these companies, inquire as to if they have pending violations or fines, and make a determination if their past record justifies awarding a contract. When multiple firms’ bids – union and non-union alike – fall in the same general range and one Florida firm operating under different names consistently outbids competitors, this certainly sends up red flag to me and others.
This is not a union verses non-union issue. We are simply working to convince DOT to institute a policy of due diligence of background of all firms when reviewing bids so that the playing field is fair and level for all our skilled West Virginia workers. Just like when our West Virginia companies bid on out-of-state contracts and expect fair consideration, we need to insure a fair opportunity to secure local jobs here in West Virginia.
Finally, my assistant Jennifer McPherson’s parents - Butch and Debbie McPherson- celebrated their 33rd wedding anniversary on Saturday, April 21. Butch and Debbie are residents of Burnsville and are active in their church and community. I wish them a very happy anniversary as they celebrate (in Butch’s words) “33 years of total bliss”. Congratulations Butch and Debbie!
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.