CHARLESTON, W.Va. – West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie E. Tennant issued the following statement regarding the signing of House Bill 4175, the Small Business Emergency Act.
The bill was proposed in response to the forced closure of businesses in the wake of the January 9 chemical leak in the Elk River, which tainted the water supply for approximately 300,000 people in nine counties.
The bill puts into place the process by which rules will be promulgated to determine how the emergency funds will be funded and how they will be disbursed. Those rules will have to be evaluated and approved by the Secretary of State, and Secretary Tennant promised quick action when they are submitted.
“There will be no delay in the Secretary of State’s Office in getting these small businesses the help they so desperately need,” Secretary Tennant said. “Through no fault of their own, they lost several days of business and had to invest in bottled water just to get customers in their doors. The economy of West Virginia is dependent on these small businesses and their employees and we have to do everything we can to make sure they keep their doors open. Once these rules are received by the Secretary of State’s Office we will move quickly in evaluating them so these small business owners can begin going through the process of obtaining relief funds.”
Secretary Tennant spoke in favor of HB 4175 before several committees at the State Capitol, and during her testimony before the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works subcommittee also urged US Senators to remember the impact the chemical spill had on small businesses.