MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The state legislature will be on the road for interim committee meetings set to start Sunday on the WVU campus in Morgantown.
Most of the meetings are scheduled to take place at the Erickson Alumni Center and WVU College of Law. WVU President Gordon Gee is on the agenda Monday to address lawmakers in the newly constructed Reynolds Hall- home of the John Chambers College of Business and Economics.
Delegate Joe Statler, R-Monongalia, said lawmakers will setting priorities for next year’s legislative session. Statler said there will be time available for residents to speak to lawmakers about concerns.
“You won’t necessarily be able to talk during the meetings, but there’s going to be a lot of time between meetings that you can catch up with the chairmen of these meetings and give them your thoughts,” Statler said.
He said bringing concerns to lawmakers at an interim setting allows lawmakers more time to consider the issues in advance of the legislative session. The 60-day session moves very fast and it can be difficult to add issues while it is in progress, Statler said.
“All the legislators are not going to be from the immediate area, but they’re all very interested in talking to people about their concerns,” Statler said.
MORE See interim schedule here
It’s been nearly 10 years since any legislative interim meeting was away from Charleston. Lawmakers went to Wheeling for meetings in June 2013 and were Bridgeport in 2014.
“It’s kind of historic that we’re out from the Capitol and visiting the counties to see what’s there,” Statler said. “There are going to be a lot of interesting meetings.”
House Government Organization Committee Chairman Brandon Steele, R-Raleigh, said he’s looking forward to the meetings. He’ll chair a session that will include representatives from Westinghouse who will provide information to lawmakers about their micro technology nuclear reactor.
Steele backed a bill earlier this year that lifted a ban on nuclear power production in West Virginia.
“I know there’s been talk of trying to put one of those at WVU, which is a research reactor and it would give the capability of having a nuclear engineering program,” Steele said.
The first meeting Sunday is with the Joint Committee on Volunteer Fire Departments and Emergency Medical Services. Statler is the chairman of that committee and welcomes members of the public.
“We’re dealing with EMS and EMT services right now across the state, and we’re just a fraction away from volunteer fire companies being a big issue to us,” Statler said. “We need to find ways to help them stay afloat.”