MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The past two co-sponsors of an important bill across the North Central West Virginia region no longer serve in the House of Delegates, so Del. John Williams (D – Monongalia, 51) has chosen to take up the mantle.
Williams plans to address the DOH funding formula with a new bill, ready to be introduced on the first day of the regular legislative session.
“There is a (DOH funding) formula,” he said Tuesday on WAJR’s Morgantown AM. “It’s hard to get a hold of, and when you do get a hold of it, you see that formula isn’t even always followed. Right now, DOH dollars are just sort of willy nilly, arbitrarily assigned.”
The young Democrat, preparing to enter his third term in office, co-sponsored legislation with Del. Joe Statler (R – Monongalia, 51) last year, but Statler fell just short of re-election in November.
“This DOH funding formula would give money based on mileages — the mileage count of state roads in a DOH district as well as how many vehicles are in that district,” he said.
The bill was first introduced in 2015 by then Del. Brian Kurcaba (R – Monongalia, 51). It hasn’t amounted to much in past years, but Williams said it’s something he knows his district is interested in — particularly through this year’s formation of the North Central West Virginia Caucus on Roads.
“This session, I’ll introduce it to try and get it passed in the 2019 legislative session,” Williams said.
That informal caucus is made up of officials in DOH District 4. The six-county district includes Preston, Monongalia, Marion, Harrison, Doddridge, and Taylor counties, though officials don’t necessarily represent each county in the caucus.
But their complaints, initially launched this summer, were heard loud and clear by sitting elected officials and prospective candidates alike.
“For whatever reason, these things have happened over the years,” Williams said.
He later added, “When there is a fair and equitable solution on the table, we have to pursue it.”
Williams is hopeful that he can build a coalition around this legislation, leading to a successful passage.
The regular session begins Jan. 9.