West Virginia is suffering, but there's no urgency at the Capitol.
We're closing in on the halfway point of the 2016 legislative session and we've got to wonder: What do we have to show for the last month of work by our Legislature?
Certainly there's been a huge amount of activity on the most controversial bills. You know the ones we're talking about; the bills that, for better or worse, are blowing up the news cycle every day.
But if you were expecting the same level of activity on bills relating to community and economic development, you're going to have to keep waiting.
The economic climate throughout much of West Virginia is stark. And it's getting worse every day. Boone County announced this week that it's laying off 77 school employees. Over the past two weeks, nearly 1,000 West Virginia miners have been put on notice that their mines are closing. Even the Department of Commerce has warned that it is going to have to start cutting jobs if state budget cuts continue.
Out here in West Virginia's communities we're hearing the alarm bells going off. But in the Legislature, all the energy is going into the exact same bills that were fought and killed (or vetoed) last year.
It's starting to look like the tail is wagging the dog at the West Virginia Legislature.
We want our legislators prioritizing bills that would have a significant, demonstrable and beneficial impact on community and economic development for West Virginia. We need innovation. We need proposals that respond to the urgency of the moment in our communities.
West Virginia Community Development Hub