100 days of the Justice Administration

461

On Inauguration Day, Governor Justice shared his vision for transforming West Virginia, and after 100 days, the Governor and his team have taken steps to bring greatness to our state.

The Governor’s primary focus continues to be passing a budget that will put West Virginia on a pathway to prosperity. Governor Justice took office and inherited a $500 million budget deficit. He put forward a plan to create 48,000 jobs and fill the budget hole with as little pain as possible. Public polling shows that a super majority – 74% – of West Virginians support the Governor’s Save Our State (S.O.S) Plan.

It’s a choice between the Governor’s plan for prosperity and NO plan from the other side.

When Republicans in the Legislature sent up a budget that had no plan to create jobs, cut public education, cut our state’s most vulnerable citizens, cut public safety, and took $90 million from the Rainy Day fund… Governor Justice vetoed it.

The Governor is committed to passing a responsible budget that won’t cripple West Virginia, and will bring new jobs to the Mountain State.

Since his inauguration, the Governor has stayed focused on creating and saving West Virginia jobs. In his inauguration speech, Governor Justice outlined his plans to improve our schools, explode tourism, fix our roads, support our veterans, root out waste in government, and combat the drug epidemic. In the first 100 days, Governor Justice has made significant progress in all of those areas, but the work is only beginning.

Here are just some of highlights of the first 100 days of the Justice Administration.

Job Creation

  • Saved 1,700 jobs connected to greyhound racing.
  • Protected 1,500 jobs at Ohio Valley Medical Center.
  • 28 small businesses were created in WV in the first 100 days.
  • Bidell Gas Compression brought 131 jobs to the Northern Panhandle.
  • WVDEP issued the 401 Certification for EQT’s Mountain Valley Pipeline, a 303-mile natural gas pipeline that runs through West Virginia to Virginia and will create 4,500 jobs.
  • H.T. Hackney Company brought 70 warehouse jobs to Milton.
  • Recalled 12 state foresters who were laid off last year.
  • Proposed the establishment of the Save Our State Fund, money to market our state and invest in infrastructure to lure companies to West Virginia and spur economic development. This proposal was blocked in the Legislature, but the Governor is trying to insert it into the final budget.

Public Schools

  • Ended the A to F grading system of public schools.
  • Appointed reformers to the State Board of Education that will listen to educators.
  • Eliminated unnecessary bureaucracy by getting rid of RESAs and OEPA, saving taxpayers $5 million.
  • Signed legislation to provide more school calendar flexibility for local school districts.
  • The Governor’s plan to give classroom teachers a 2% pay raise was killed by the legislature. He is not giving up on giving teachers a raise.

Broadband

  • Signed legislation to expand broadband access in West Virginia.

Roads

  • Road bond resolution passed and now the voters can give it approval.
  • Passed legislation to increase financing (GARVEE Bonds) for immediate road construction in the amount of $500 million.
  • Signed bills to extend Design Build and Public Private Partnership (P3) procurement methods to modernize and increase efficiencies in the processes by which roads are designed and constructed.

Fighting The Drug Epidemic

  • Championed legislation to stiffen penalties on out-of-state drug dealers.
  • Signed the Second Chance Employment Act to give people on the right path a shot at reentering the workforce.
  • Created the Office of Drug Control Policy.
  • DHHR distributed 6,359 Naloxone Rescue kits statewide to non-EMS first responders.
  • The Governor proposed a 5% successful bidders fee on all road projects to fund the creation of drug treatment centers, this idea was opposed by the Legislature. Governor Justice has made it clear that this is critical to beating back the drug epidemic.
  • Signed legislation to assist in building drug treatment beds throughout the state with money from past and future pill-mill settlements.

Medical Cannabis

  • Signed bipartisan medical cannabis legislation into law. It allows seriously ill West Virginians to use and access medical cannabis for treatment.

Higher Education

  • Passed legislation to give greater freedom and flexibility to West Virginia University, Marshall University, the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine, and other four-year colleges and universities.
  • The Governor vetoed the Republican budget which made major cuts to WVU, Marshall and all other colleges and universities and community and technical colleges.
  • Saved the Osteopathic School from privatization ensuring that they will continue to produce quality doctors for rural West Virginia.

Tourism

  • Signed legislation to restructure and streamline the state Division of Tourism.
  • Passed legislation to give the Division of Tourism more flexibility to promote West Virginia and facilitate economic development in the industry.
  • Passed legislation that replaces outdated MAPP program with modern cooperative advertising program that allows for increased cooperation among the state’s tourism regions and industry partners.
  • Economic Development Authority approved $25 million bond for the Cacapon Resort State Park lodge expansion project.
  • Signed the Amtrak tourism promotion bill. The first step toward bringing 7-day service to WV.
  • Sunday Hunting on private property is now the law of the land. The estimated economic impact for the state for hunting seven days a week is over $9 million.
  • The introduction of announced Saturday trout stockings at our state parks to encourage fishing and outdoor recreation.
  • The Governor’s plan to increase funding for tourism advertising was cut by Republican lawmakers.

Rooting Out Government Waste

  • Eliminated 334 state vehicles.
  • Swept agency accounts across state Government and found $60 million to help to close the FY 2017 budget shortfall.
  • Started freeing up precious public safety funding by consolidating common operations, streamlining functions and ultimately by combining central office headquarters for agencies within the Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety.
  • Launched an anti-waste initiative that has already developed more than a dozen proposed reforms to the way state government solicits, awards and ensures compliance with state contracts.
  • Proposed legislation to place a five-day pay cap on lawmakers for a special session. It was rejected by the Republican leadership.

Public Safety

  • Put in place measures that keep illicit substances out of our prisons and jails.
  • Vetoed Republican budget that would’ve cut $1 Million from State Police and cut $7.6 Million from Corrections.
  • The Justice Administration is implementing enhanced mental health and crisis intervention training to reduce violence in WV prisons and jails.

Veterans

  • Improved the grounds of the Don C. Kinnard veterans cemetery.
  • Expanded the Department of Veterans Assistance’s suicide-prevention program, Mountain State 22, into five West Virginia communities.
  • Governor Justice pushed for legislation to exempt 100% of military retirement from the state income tax. It was rejected by the Republicans.

Combating Poverty

  • Signed legislation to create a pilot project operated by West Side Revive Comprehensive Community Development Initiative. The program is aimed at helping people in the West Side of Charleston rebuild their community and spur economic development.