CHARLESTON, W. Va. (WOWK) — It’s been a very busy day at the West Virginia Capitol, with Saturday being the last day of the 2020 Legislative Session. Lawmakers are trying to pass dozens of bills at the last minute. One of the most prominent items now approved was the state senate fully-funding 17 -million dollars more for foster care, after cutting it to 5 million just days ago.
“Overall it was just a wonderful day. It was bipartisan, it was 34 to nothing. And again, we’re helping fix what I think is a broken foster care system,” said State Sen. Ron Stollings, (D) Boone.
Advocates for foster and kinship care say it will help families.
“Having any additional funding is always helpful. I mean children who come into the system, often come in with trauma, with significant needs. We see families who are driving children to therapy multiple times a week,” said Marissa Sanders, WV Foster, Adoptive & Kinship Parents Network.
Another big item this year went down to defeat, as the House voted down creation of an Intermediate Court of Appeal, that would handle appeals between the Circuit and Supreme Courts:
“If we want to bring big employers who bring big wages, to West Virginia, we need this court,” said Del. Tom Azinger, (R) Wood.
“But the truth is the state doesn’t need to spend the money on all those lawyers for yet another layer. Sometimes you might have three lawyers, six lawyers, nine lawyers,” said Del. Chad Lovejoy, (D) Cabell.
Meanwhile, a bill aimed at lowering prescription drug price passed both chambers and heads to the Governor.
“People have to decide every day if they are going to buy groceries, pay their utility bills, or but their prescription drug medications. We hear from our members every day,” said Gaylene Miller, AARP of West Virginia.
A bill to lower the co-pays for diabetics on insulin in West Virginia, has now passed both chambers as well.
“Every so often lawmakers break for a brief recess, then come back to work. There is a lot to get done and time is running out. The legislative Session must end at midnight Saturday night,” said Mark Curtis, 13 News Chief Political Reporter.