Before sending Senate Bill 373 through its Health and Human Resources, Judiciary and Finance Committees, the House of Delegates allowed citizens directly affected by the chemical leak to voice their concerns and offer suggestions to the bill in a public hearing in the chamber
While the stories and testimonies were different, the overall message was a call to action for lawmakers.
Some of the highlights of the points speakers made were:
-Incorporate suggestions made by agencies such as the Chemical Safety Board and Downstream Strategies into the bill
-Do not allow any loopholes
-Develop a system of accountability for regulation enforcers
-No more trading the health of the people for industry
After two hours and over 50 speakers, Chairman of the House Health and Human Resources Committee and moderator for the hearing Don Perdue thanked everyone for their attendance and says he hopes people feel like their government listens to them.
“I hope we’re going to be able to do at least a part of what you ask,” Perdue said. I pray that we listen from now on because it sounds like we weren’t.”
The House will now begin to incorporate the public’s suggestions as the bill will make the first of three Committee stops in Health and Human Resources.
Video of the full hearing can be found here.