CHARLESTON, W.Va. — So far, Gov. Jim Justice has signed 55 bills into law including a bill to market and improve the quality and frequency of the Cardinal Passenger Train.
The West Virginia Legislature passed House Bill 2856 last week and the governor signed it into law on Wednesday.
The bill declares the Legislature’s intent to improve the marketing, quality and frequency of passenger rail service of the Cardinal Passenger Train, doing business as AMTRAK. The passenger rail service’s route goes from Huntington to White Sulphur Springs.
The bill seeks to improve the quality and frequency of service, including a provision of daily passenger service at the earliest opportunity.
Under the bill, the commissioner of the Division of Tourism and the Tourism Commission have powers to achieve that policy.
The bill said the goal is to advance and improve the availability of rail service in the state, saying it could be beneficial to local tourism including the Boy Scouts of America’s Summit Bechtel Reserve in Fayette County.
The bill also would create a special revenue account, the Cardinal Passenger Train Enhancement Fund, to receive appropriations and donations.
Delegate John O’Neal, R-Raleigh, was the lead sponsor of the legislation. Southern West Virginia delegates who also were sponsors of the bill were Delegates Roy Cooper, R-Summers; George Ambler, R-Greenbrier; Tom Fast, R-Fayette; and Kayla Kessinger, R-Fayette.
The governor also signed into law this week House Bill 3106, which would increase the number of limited video lottery terminals.
Under the bill, the Lottery Commission could authorize the placement of up to 9,000 video lottery terminals in restricted-access, adult-only facilities in West Virginia. Video lottery retailers can have no more than seven video lottery terminals.
The bill also requires a public hearing before placing video lottery terminals and reduces the number of approved locations of these terminals.
Delegate Jason Barrett, D-Berkeley, is the lead sponsor of this bill. Southern West Virginia delegates who also were sponsors are Ambler, Marty Gearheart, R-Mercer, and Joe Ellington, R-Mercer
Another bill signed into law is House Bill 2506, which allows for overlapping mixing zones, which means two companies can have discharge points near each other, and changes the way to calculate permit limits for drinking water criteria to harmonic mean.
Currently, discharges are calculated by a method that averages the seven lowest flowing days past a particular discharge point over a 10-year period.
Under the bill, the secretary for the Department of Environmental Protection has the authority to propose rules for legislative approval and implement water quality standards.
The secretary will calculate permit limits using harmonic mean flow and allow for mixing zones to overlap but not to go beyond a half mile upstream of a public water supply. Where mixing zones overlap, the secretary will require signage saying that zones overlap in that area.
Delegate Mark Zatezalo, R-Hancock, was the lead sponsor. Southern West Virginia delegates who also sponsored the legislation are Kessinger and Ambler.
The governor also signed into law House Bill 2766, which establishes the Adult Drug Court Participation Fund.
This new special revenue fund would collect money from people participating in an adult drug court program to pay costs associated with maintaining and administering the program.
Delegate John Shott, R-Mercer, is the lead sponsor of this legislation. Kessinger also is a sponsor of the bill.