Member's Press Release

Release Date: 12/11/2018
Contact: Senator Roman Prezioso at (304) 357-7961

Roman Prezioso

Senate Democrats Welcome Bipartisan Approach; Announce Priorities for 2019 Session

CHARLESTON, WV— The fourteen members of the Senate Democrat Caucus set out their legislative priorities today, focusing on issues that are non-partisan in nature and will help drive West Virginia forward. “We take the new majority leader at his word, that he wants to work with us, and we hope the session will focus on issues that help unite and advance all West Virginians rather than partisan bills that drive wedges not only in the legislature but in our communities,” said newly re-elected Senate Minority Leader Roman Prezioso (D-Marion).

The caucus legislative priorities focus on restoring stability to the middle class, improving the education system, addressing the opioid epidemic and protecting public health, fostering economic development in the state, and making common-sense election, ethics and finance reforms. “We know that improving education outcomes is the long-term answer to West Virginia’s problems,” said Senate Minority Whip Corey Palumbo (D-Kanawha). “But we also have to address the pressing issues that face our communities in the short term by addressing the drug crisis and bringing more opportunity to every county.”

The Democrat Caucus set out the following legislative priorities for 2019:

  • Ending state income taxation of social security and implementing a West Virginia Earned Income Tax Credit to help put more money in the hands of retirees and working families
  • Improving salaries and benefits for public employees and implementing policies demonstrated to improve education outcomes, such as reducing class size in elementary schools and increasing services to children under age four
  • Improving mental health and drug addiction services throughout the state, while re-thinking the approach to fighting the addiction crisis and other public health concerns
  • Creating a West Virginia state bank, which could more efficiently handle state debt, as well as generate access to capital for small businesses and entrepreneurs in West Virginia
  • Establish an independent redistricting commission to take the political pressure and partisan gamesmanship out of drawing districts for the legislature and Congress.

    With the increase to fourteen members, the Senate Democrats are expected to increase their representation by one member on most Senate committees and the caucus hopes these critical ideas will move through the legislative process early in session in order to allow ample time for discussion. “While these policy ideas are bold, they are not partisan,” Prezioso concluded. “In fact, I expect some Senate Republicans will support and co-sponsor every single one of these initiatives. I am hopeful that we can move together as a united Senate to address problems facing West Virginia.”

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