OPINION

THE ROWAN REPORT: Session at halfway point

Mineral Daily News-Tribune
Del. Ruth Rowan

By Del. Ruth Rowan

Thursday, March 11, 2021, marked the halfway point for this year’s legislative session. Fifty-four House bills have passed the full House and 22 bills have completed legislation. The Governor has signed six of those bills. 

Among those bills was HB2906. This was a great bill for the West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and Blind as it increased the discretion of the School Building Authority to spend up to 10% of their annual construction and major improvements budget for projects at vocational programs throughout the state as well as WVSDB.  At present the limit is 3%.

          February 24, Deaf Awareness Day, was supposed to be the day the students from WVSDB were to perform for the House of Delegates. Because of the pandemic the students were unable to perform in person. What they did this year was to put together a video tour of their school with a vocal presentation from their show choirs—Mountaineer Melodies and Tapestry—playing in the background. Their video went out not only to the House but also to the Governor and the West Virginia Department of Education.

          Another bill to pass the House this week was HB2916.  This bill creates the West Virginia Semiquincentennial Commission and Fund. This commission and fund will support the celebration of the 250th anniversary of our nation’s founding. The commission will plan, develop and carry out programs and activities appropriate to commemorate the semiquincentennial of the founding of our nation. It will encourage civic, historical, educational, economic, and other organizations throughout West Virginia to organize and participate in activities to expand the understanding and appreciation of the United States of America.   

          Some of you may remember the excitement of the Hampshire County Semiquincentennial Celebration we had in 2012. There was a parade and lots of venders, reenactors, and plenty of activities for everyone.  In 2013 West Virginia celebrated their 150th –Sesquicentennial—Anniversary. That was another historic event. Several Hampshire countians traveled to Charleston to participate in the parade on a float proudly stating, “Hampshire County—West Virginia’s Oldest County.”  After enduring a year of stay at home conditions and social distancing, celebrating our nation’s 250th birthday will be a very welcome event. 

          I will be in Charleston until April 17.  Until then the best way to reach me is:  email:  ruth.rowan@wvhouse.gov, or phone:  304-340-3157.