CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Residents in nine West Virginia counties would qualify for vouchers to help with expenses related to January’s water emergency if a bill Kanawha County Delegate Patrick Lane (R-Kanawha, 38) has introduced at the State House is approved.

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Del. Patrick Lane (R-Kanawha, 38)

“There are families out there who live paycheck to paycheck in West Virginia and they can’t afford another $200, $300, $400 worth of expenses due to water or their sewer bill that’s not being covered or those sorts of things,” said Lane.

His bill was originally proposed as a $1,000 tax credit for customers of West Virginia American Water Company in parts of Boone, Cabell, Clay, Jackson, Kanawha, Lincoln, Logan, Putnam and Roane counties — the areas that spent days under a do-not-use water order from West Virginia American Water Company following a Jan. 9 leak of crude MCHM and PPH at Freedom Industries along the Elk River.

The total cost of such a credit was estimated at $480 million.

Because the state cannot afford that, Lane has reworked the language in the bill to, instead, provide a one-time, $250 voucher to affected residents — costing the state an estimated $25 million.

As proposed, those vouchers could be picked up at local departments and would be redeemable for bill payments through public water and sewer providers or spent on household items at stores that currently accept WIC.

“They could use it for any goods, any essentials, water, food, those sorts of things.  It doesn’t have to be a WIC-approved product, but a WIC retailer has to accept it,” explained Lane.  He said the voucher could also be applied to the higher water or sewer bills that follow extensive water system flushing.

Lane’s bill, HB 4192, was pending in the House Finance Committee.

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  • rick

    For 25 million dollars...this one will surely die on the vine.

  • Wirerowe

    On Hoppy's show delegate Lane did not know the bill number but he seemed to know Hoppy's phone number to get on the show.


      And Hoppy bailed him out--- "Just Google it" Hoppy quickly inserted.

  • Jephre

    Just a thought - when all of the lines were flushed, I wonder if the sewage treatment plants were able to filter out the chemicals before the water was re-released into the rivers?

    • Polly the Pundit

      Good question!!!

  • Tim A

    Is this voucher just for those that are currently receiving tax payer assistance?

    • hilljack

      Probably, like the extra SNAP funds they received during the Derechio storm to replace the food they lost. I hope they include all citizens effected this go round, not just the ones that receive assistance already.

      • the truth

        Federal money, I can tell you a complete boondoggle also to the average tax payer. Earl Ray is not going to let anything loose from his pot of gold.

      • Tim A

        Me too. My family has expensed just as much and I too have to shift my priorities to deal with the matter.