Guest column: Starting to see some results

As we approach the fourth week of the Legislative session, we are beginning to see results from the groundwork laid out at the beginning of session. I am working diligently to support legislation that will benefit the great people of the 1st district.

This week, Senate Bill 335, a bill I cosponsored, passed unanimously. This bill would exempt the Weirton Medical Center from Certificates of Need for health care facilities in Hancock County. The Medical Center is only a couple hundred yards from the Hancock County line, so exempting this certificate would give Weirton Medical Center the jurisdiction they need to provide medical care to the residents of Hancock County. I am pleased to see this bill passed through the Senate and am hopeful for House passage.

I have also been working to sponsor important bills that I am optimistic about and I look forward to watching their progress during the remainder of the 60-day session. One of these bills is Senate Bill 434 which would prohibit an increase for motor vehicle insurance premiums for accidents in which the insured person is not at fault. As a driver of a motor vehicle, you should never be punished by your insurance company for an accident that you are not responsible for, and this bill, if passed, would help ensure that this wouldn’t happen.

Additionally, I have cosponsored Senate Bill 435, which was introduced and passed unanimously by the Senate this week. This bill will continue the Municipal Home Rule Pilot Program. The Pilot Program was created in 2008 to give cities more control over decisions made within their city. The four cities which are currently participating in the program: Charleston, Huntington, Bridgeport, and Wheeling will be automatically included in the continuation of program. The Home Rule Pilot Project is set to expire on July 1, 2013, but Senate Bill 435 would continue the program another five years and would allow up to fourteen (14) class I, II, III and IV cities to be accepted into the program. I am hopeful that the House of Delegates will take action upon and pass this bill.

Senate Resolution 24, sponsored by 17 Senators, was introduced in the Senate this week. It opposes the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the Constitution in the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission case. This 2010 court case ruled that the First Amendment prohibited the government from restricting independent political expenditures by corporations and unions.

As you can tell, there are many exciting things happening in the Senate and I expect the pace to continually increase as session progresses.

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

(Fitzsimmons, a Democrat from Wheeling, represents the First Senatorial District of West Virginia)