The Times West Virginian

Local News

June 22, 2014

Interim legislative session set in region

Local delegates plan to ‘showcase’ what Marion County has to offer for state

FAIRMONT — The West Virginia Legislature is planning a three-day interim session in North Central West Virginia Aug. 25-27.

House Majority Whip Mike Caputo, D-Marion, said that he and Delegates Linda Longstreth, D-Marion, and Tim Manchin, D-Marion, are working with the community to plan a tour for legislators that would “showcase” what Marion County has to offer.

“We’re in the initial planning stages,” Caputo said. “I think they’ll see the opportunity we have in Marion County, and the good things we’ve done, and the growth in the area.”

Caputo said these regional visits help legislators from other areas of the state better understand other regions of the state.

“It certainly helps when we’re trying to steer a worthwhile project,” Caputo said.

Manchin agreed.

“Every time we go to a different location of the state, legislators that aren’t from the area learn something about the economy, and to some extent it helps them understand when we try to describe what problems we have or what we’ve done well,” Manchin said.

“We’re always excited to showcase our area of the state to members of other places, just as they are when we’re given the opportunity to go there. Certainly I think we have a lot to be proud of up here.”

Caputo said that the interim meetings will all be open to the public. Interim committees will be meeting to talk about study topics to help plan legislation for the next session.

“Anything we couldn’t compromise on, or for some reason it never made it through the last legislative session, we’ll try to look at it and maybe try to perfect it for the next legislative session,” Caputo said.

Manchin said that the study topics allow the legislators more time to examine topics more deeply.

“We have more time to talk about it and have guest speakers,” Manchin said.

Manchin said that the sessions also provide area residents with the opportunity to sit in, and see what is on the forefront of the legislators’ minds.

“I think it’s very difficult for our people to travel all the way to Charleston and sit in on meetings,” Manchin said. “It will give them the opportunity to see that process and what we’re thinking and talking about.”

Caputo agreed, saying it will be nice for residents to have a chance to talk with legislators in “our backyard.”

“They’ll be able to meet first-hand with lawmakers from all across the state and share ideas with them, and kind of keep an eye on us as to what we’re doing and be a part of the process without having to be in Charleston to do it,” Caputo said.

Caputo said the regional session will also be educational for Marion County’s youth.

“It will be a good lesson in government for our youth in Marion County,” Caputo said.

Legislators are scheduled to arrive with their staffs Sunday, Aug. 24. It is expected legislators and their staff will total around 150 people.

“Every legislator will be there,” Caputo said. He said he also hopes Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin will be able to visit the area during the session.

Caputo said that regional interim sessions used to be more common in the past, and he’s glad to see the tradition revived.

“It’s nice to move around the state at least once a year because not everyone can go to Charleston and see how things work,” Caputo said.

Caputo said that when regional interim sessions are held, the Legislature only does one per year, continuing to hold the rest in Charleston.

“The staff have to get everything together, get the logistics together, hotel rooms, meeting room. … It’s difficult, but I think it’s well worth it,” Caputo said.

The other interim sessions, held once a month until the next legislative session in January 2015, will all be held in Charleston.

Email Colleen S. Good at cgood@timeswv.com or follow her on Twitter @CSGoodTWV.

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