Legislative column: A part of small town USA goes global

I am happy to report the House of Delegates passed HB 2387 “relating to reasonable accommodations under the West Virginia Fair Housing Act for persons with disabilities who need assistive animals.” The bill defines “assistance animal” as “any service animal or emotional support animal with or without specific training or certification, or both, which is kept and used by a person with a disability to perform one or more major life activities or to enhance the effects of its master’s disability.” Also, it provides that the person with a disability requesting special accommodations provide supporting material documenting their need for the animal. Exceptions to HB 2387 are applied when the animals pose potential harm to people or to property. Now, HB 2387 will be sent to the Senate for further consideration. Passage of these types of bills is important all of the time. However, it is especially important during these cold winter months when handicapped individuals have difficulty performing certain tasks. Additionally, individuals with conditions that affect them emotionally or mentally can greatly benefit from the warmth of a pet during the winter, which often heightens cases of depression and anxiety.

The Oak Glen Lady Golden Bears volleyball team visited the Capitol this week. Delegate Ronnie Jones and I were pleased to welcome this successful team to the Capitol and present them with a House of Delegates honorary citation recognizing them for their outstanding achievements. These talented girls have been state champions for three consecutive years. They also claim the titles of sectional champions, regional champions, VFW Invitational Champions, O.V.A.C. Regular Season Champions, and O.V.A.C. Tournament Champions. Varsity head coach Ethel Riser and assistant coach Allison Bailey give the team motivation and support. Congratulations to the Lady Bears, I wish them all the very best and I look forward to hearing of all their future successes.

Finally, a part of Hancock County made history during this year’s Super Bowl. The scoreboard that stood for many years at the Newell Memorial Field, home of the Oak Glen Golden Bears, was purchased and used in a Coca Cola commercial. Having been a player on that field and a part of the chain gang crew, I have viewed that Coca Cola scoreboard for many years and was sad to see it taken down when the new field was built. However, it was nice to know its final stand was viewed by millions of people. Even though only our community likely knew its background, I believe it generated some excitement. It was heartwarming to see a piece of our home received by such a large-scale audience.

Contact information: Facebook page: Randy Swartzmiller, or follow me on Twitter: @WV_Delegate; or my e-mail: rswartzmiller@gmail.com or write to: Randy Swartzmiller, State Delegate, Room 242, Building 1 State Capitol Complex Charleston, WV 25305; or call my Capitol Office: (304) 340-3138 or Mobile: (304) 479-5140

(Swartzmiller is the speaker pro tempore of the House of Delegates, and represents the 1st District, including Hancock County and parts of Brooke County)