Government, WVPA Sharing

Opinion: A more productive W.Va. legislative session?

From Ed Given, editor of the Braxton Citizens’ News: 

… It was the West Virginia Press Association’s Legislative Look-ahead where reporters and editors quiz panelists about topics that will be discussed during the upcoming session, which in this case began Wednesday with the Governor’s State of the State address. …

It was interesting to hear about how the industry hopes to fix the issues dealing with medical marijuana and industrial hemp, both of which could apparently boost the state’s economy.

Probably more surprising to me was that several legislators and panelists felt that there would be much discussion and maybe even a push to legalize recreational marijuana. I found the reasoning behind one argument very surprising. A common topic of discussion is the availability of a labor force. It seems that many professions are not able to fill their vacancies because so many fail the marijuana portion of the drug test. They argued that the states that have legalized the substance have not seen any adverse effects from it and apparently past use doesn’t impair a worker except on a drug test. It will be very interesting to see if that argument can gain any momentum.

The one concept that I did find very encouraging was that representatives of both political parties said time and time again that they expected to see more bi-patrician agreements this session than in recent history. I certainly hope that will be the case. I have complained in this space and elsewhere that elected officials were not elected just to represent their party. They were elected to be the people’s representative.

All too often, on the state and national level, the party seems to take precedence over what is in the best interest of the people. Maybe, just maybe, our state elected officials are beginning to come to realize that the people of this state are fed up with the petty bickering. We want to see action, not words. I can only hope this is the case. I am anxious to see how it plays out when the session starts. Now if our national leaders were just a little more in touch with reality and what is best for the people… oh well, one can dream can’t he?

Read the entire column at

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