OPINION

THE ROWAN REPORT: Bill shows importance of tourism

Mineral Daily News-Tribune
Del. Ruth Rowan

By Del. Ruth Rowan

March 1, 2021, marked the 20th day of the 85th Legislature. We are now one third of the way through the session.

787 House bills had been introduced as of Feb. 26, 2021. Twenty-five of those bills have passed the House. Two more of these bills have passed through both houses and are headed to the Governor.

           One of the bills that has passed both houses is HB2019. This bill elevates the West Virginia Economic Development Office and the West Virginia Tourism Department to cabinet level offices. This move has no negative fiscal impact to the state but demonstrates the importance of economic development and tourism in our state.

            Last year Curator Randall Reid-Smith of the West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History came to tour and view all of the great things going on in this historic part of the state. We rode the Potomac Eagle, listened to the Ukulele Club at the Co-Op and ate lunch at the River House. After that we traveled the newly named section of Cold Stream Road—Gun Smith Trace—over the North River Mills Historic Trace. Starting at Fort Edwards in Capon Bridge, we ended our day at Ashby’s Fort in Fort Ashby.  We have so much right here to be proud of and show off to the rest of the state and to the rest of the world. Elevating the departments of Economic Development and Tourism will help us to achieve this goal and help us shine.

          Another bill that passed the House was HB2001, the Jumpstart Savings Act. This bill creates a program where individuals can contribute to a savings account to invest in the future career of a child. The beneficiary of this account can later access these state tax-free savings to pay for tools, equipment, certifications, apprenticeship expenses or supplies needed for a trade, occupation, or to open a new business. 

           Our young people have different goals as they graduate from high school. Some plan to go to college. Others may plan to attend beautician school or auto mechanic school where they need specific equipment and training instead of books and professors.  HB2001 will help those students as they prepare for a trade and assist them in starting their own business.

           I will be in Charleston until April 16, 2021. While I am here at the Capitol it is best to reach me by phone:  304-340-3157, or email:  ruth.rowan@wvhouse.gov.