CHARLESTON – As part of a joint House-Senate effort, House Speaker Rick Thompson and other members of the House leadership have introduced legislation that would create monthly House and Senate workgroups dedicated to learning how West Virginia can be more aggressive in attracting jobs.
“I see tremendous potential in legislative work groups that focus on specifically what the Legislature can do – in cooperation with other interested businesses and state agencies – to bring more jobs to West Virginia,” Speaker Thompson said. “Every legislator wants to generate more jobs in our state, and these groups would serve as a valuable resource.”
Senate President Jeff Kessler, D-Marshall, said the Senate will be introducing a companion bill.
“I am always looking for ways the Legislature can be proactive, and this concept is both proactive and innovative. It fits perfectly with the Senate leadership’s goals in moving the state forward,” President Kessler said. “I am very encouraged by the initiative and believe it will be very well received in the Senate.”
House Bill 3013 would authorize the Senate President and House Speaker to appoint job creation workgroups that could work independently or in cooperation with the Department of Commerce, the West Virginia Development Office, or other executive office or agency of the state, to obtain information to assist the Legislature’s efforts to take effective action to increase and attract jobs in West Virginia. Their activities would include, but not be limited to, meeting with existing businesses and organizations to further develop resources currently available to expand upon and grow job opportunities within the state. If the legislation passes, the Speaker and President will appoint a group of different House and Senate members each month to spend a day visiting a particular company, city or region to learn about how certain businesses prosper and expand and about various tactics local and state governments have used to attract businesses.
“We want members to travel to areas, both in state and out of state, to learn first-hand what makes different business models successful and how government can positively affect the process,” Thompson said. “In doing this, I think members will truly be energized and come back to the Legislature with some bold and interesting ideas.”
Senate President Kessler said he believes there will be a great deal of interest in the process.
“Members will see this as a unique learning experience and be eager to serve on these workgroups,” Kessler said. “By the end of the year, I envision having some creative, meaningful proposals as a result.”
Co-sponsors of House Bill 3013 are Majority Leader Brent Boggs, D-Braxton; Speaker Pro Tem Randy Swartzmiller, D-Hancock; Majority Whip Mike Caputo, D-Marion; Judiciary Chairman Tim Miley, D-Harrison; Education Chairwoman Mary Poling, D-Barbour; Finance Chairman Harry Keith White, D-Mingo; Health Chairman Don Perdue, D-Wayne; Government Organization Chairman Jim Morgan, D-Cabell; Senior Issues Vice Chairman Ricky Moye, D-Raleigh; and Energy, Industry & Labor Chairman Dan Poling, D-Wood.
The House bill has been referred to the House Finance Committee.