Guest column: Quickly approaching the halfway mark of the legislative session

We are reaching the halfway mark for the legislative session here in Charleston and I am proud of the progress the Senate has made thus far, but, as always, there is still work to be done. My fellow lawmakers and I will be working to pass as much legislation as possible to improve the state during this important second half of session.

Senate Bill 125 passed this week; it would permit the Monongalia County Commission to impose the removal of a special district tax for the benefit of the “University Town Center” which comprises approximately 1,450 contiguous acres of land. This tax increment financing (TIF) is effective in only two other districts in the state: Ohio County and Clarksburg. The TIF has been very effective in Ohio County and has helped bring more money in to Cabella’s and the surrounding businesses.

If the bill passes the House, it will provide $28 million for construction of a new interchange along Interstate 79 giving direct access to the University Town Center, which currently only has one entrance. The bill will also help advance and expand the local water, sewer and road systems. Finally, the bill will provide $16 million for a new baseball stadium, likely to be used by the West Virginia University Baseball Team and potentially minor league baseball teams. I am confident the House will give this bill its full consideration, as it will help to boost the economy of Monongalia County.

Senate Bill 372 also passed this week, creating a criminal offense for those who intentionally interfere with or prevent a person from calling for the assistance of emergency service personnel. The bill is specifically intended to protect those in situations of domestic violence.

I am proudly one of the sponsors of Senate Bill 468. This bill will create the West Virginia Animal Abuse Registry, requiring those convicted of crimes of animal abuse to register. The bill will also create a Central Abuse Registry Fund and defines how the money in the fund will be used. It is currently pending in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

I am excited for the second half of session and the increased amount of legislation that will be considered for passage. I continue to work to help West Virginia reach its full potential and give all West Virginians the opportunities they deserve.

I encourage all of my constituents to contact me with any questions or concerns. To write me, my address is Senator Rocky Fitzsimmons, State Capitol, Building 1, Room 204-W, Charleston, WV 25305. You can also call me at 304-357-7918 or e-mail me at