week two, jan. 2016
Good morning and welcome to Week 2 of the Legislative Hubbub!

This week we have dug deep through the nearly 800 bills introduced in the House to pull out the ones that we're going to be keeping a close eye on.

We're especially eager to follow the Small Business Investment Act (expanding crowdfunding opportunities for WV businesses) and HB 4194 (requiring every high school to provide a computer science class).

The Hub is hiring for an economic diversification project coordinator to support southern coalfields communities (find out more about the job opening here!), and it got us thinking about what specifically the Legislature is doing that would diversify the southern economy.

We're two weeks into the session and the array of proposed solutions is still pretty limited. Let's get to it, West Virginia legislators.

Whether we find that special sauce for economic diversification or not, we do know that welcoming, open communities are a key to community and economic growth. We're seeing some activity that has given us pause about whether this is a value - and understanding - that our elected officials share.

We're two weeks in and things are getting more complicated - and more interesting. Dig in, give us your feedback, and enjoy.

Stephanie Tyree
West Virginia Community Development Hub

Photo by WV Legislative Photography
Women make up 51% of the state's population, but less than 15% of the state legislature.

Shortly after her appointment, Senator Cline said: "We need to have more women to run for office."

New Proposal Would Reward Producers for Supplying Food Banks
More than 6 million pounds of fresh produce goes unharvested or unsold in America each year.

One new piece of legislation would provide tax credits to producers who donate unsold produce to food banks.

"Crazy," or Just Visionary? House and Senate Ideas to Change Our State's Fortunes

Requiring every high school in WV to teach computer science is just one bold bill proposal introduced in the House.

"It's crazy, but I think it will work." What wild idea for a tourist attraction has Senator Craig Blair dreaming big?
"We cannot ignore the unprecedented shift that has taken place in our state," said Governor Tomblin in his State of the State address.

But what help are our elected officials actually proposing to spark development in communities ravaged by coal?

Hampering Progress, Some WV Legislators Continue Efforts to Legislate Discrimination
Photo by Tom Hindman/Gazette Mail
Though jobs and industry dominates debate about how to make West Virginia more prosperous, policies that permit discrimination are hampering the state's ability to attract, and keep, residents.

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West Virginia Community Development Hub
Charleston & Fairmont