After gaining a further and complete understanding of the intent behind a letter asking the Governor to consider holding a special session on water protection, House Speaker Tim Miley said he is no longer concerned that any of the delegates involved sought to slow down the pending legislation.
“First and foremost, it is the intent and goal of the House of Delegates to pass a comprehensive bill that restores public confidence and prevents any future occurrence of contaminants entering our water supply,” Speaker Miley said. “We expect what is adopted will address all concerns expressed by our constituents and others who were adversely affected by the water crisis.
“To the extent I perceived that any delegate lacked such a desire or purpose is the result of misunderstanding and mis-communication internally. It is now clear that I was unnecessarily concerned.
“I realize now the letter sent to the Governor by certain delegates should not have been interpreted by me to indicate a lack of desire or willingness to pass Senate Bill 373 during the regular legislative session. Rather, the request was to consider the possibility of a special session – to be held when the Legislature is still in town, preparing the budget, so at no additional cost to the taxpayer – only in the event additional time is needed on a particular aspect of the state water protection solution.”
Kanawha County Delegate Meshea Poore serves on the House Health committee, which passed a version of SB 373 and sent it to the House Judiciary Committee, on which Poore also serves. She also is the House Chair of the Legislative Rule-Making Committee, which would consider agency rule changes resulting from the legislation.
“Having worked on the legislation in both the Health and Judiciary committees, and as a delegate whose entire district was and continues to be deeply affected by the water crisis, I am acutely aware of the complexity of both the problem and the possible solutions,” Poore said. “I wanted to give the Governor ample notice that there may be a need to set aside some time following the regular session to focus solely on a few specific issues related to water protection and those affected by the crisis.”
Speaker Miley said he is comfortable with that notion.
“I am confident we will adopt solid water protection legislation during the regular session that takes the steps needed to protect our state’s water supply. However, if there are some elements of the water protection effort that need further scrutiny, a brief special session during the week legislators are already in town to work on the budget is something I would hope the Governor will consider.”