CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Bills that provide for the development of relief funding for small businesses affected by the water crisis and for the long-term medical monitoring for citizens have passed the state legislature.
Senate Bill 373 provides for the medical monitoring. In a letter on March 5 Secretary Tennant urged House of Delegates leadership to include medical monitoring (click here to read the letter), and was vocal in her support of the long-term program during her testimony before a US Senate Environment and Public Works subcommittee meeting in February.
“We have to make sure we know what the long-term impact on West Virginians is going to be,” Secretary Tennant said. “The fact that more people are drinking the water coming out of their faucet doesn’t mean that this is over. There could be problems caused by this chemical months or years down the road, and with this medical monitoring we will be able to know for sure.”
House Bill 4175 provides for the promulgation of rules to develop an emergency small business relief fund. The as yet unwritten rule would address how a business would become eligible, how much money each business could receive, and where the funding would come from.
“Every rule passes through the Administrative Law Division of the Secretary of State’s Office – and we would make every effort to make sure there are no delays in processing this rule. Businesses need relief funding quickly. Because about 96% of West Virginia’s economy is driven by small businesses, we have to do everything we can to help them. And we also have to remember all of their employees, many of whom work for minimum wage, who missed several days of shifts because of the water crisis.”
Secretary Tennant spoke in favor of HB 4175 before several committees at the State Capitol, and during her testimony before the EPW subcommittee also urged US Senators to remember the impact the chemical spill had on small businesses.