Chris Schulz Published

Digital Documents, Tourism School Announced By Justice Administration

A hand can be seen holding up a cell phone in front of a car dashboard. Outside of the windscreen can be seen a road curving to the right.Nils Kahle/iStockphoto

The West Virginia Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is expanding its digital services with documents on motorist’s phones. 

West Virginians renewing their registration online can now get a digital registration card stored in their smartphone wallet as part of the digital services and “Skip the Trip” initiative. 

DMV Commissioner Everett Frazier joined Gov. Jim Justice during his regular briefing Wednesday, Jan. 24, to announce the new digital service as part of “an ongoing commitment to modernization.” Frazier also announced that this spring, West Virginia plans to join a growing number of states offering digital identification on mobile phones.

“These free services offers immediate access to vehicle information eliminating … the need of rummaging through your glove compartment or your center console there,” he said.

Frazier said the mobile ID will allow secure and easy identification at participating businesses and government agencies, but he advised motorists to keep the physical copies of their documents on hand when possible, especially when traveling out of state.

“Some states may not recognize it,” he said. “But for your security and stuff we’re going to continue to offer everything the same way we do it but this is gonna be in addition to.”

Senate President Craig Blair, R-Berkeley, also joined the briefing to praise the department’s work to help move the state into the 21st century.

“I can’t wait for the day whenever I can hold my phone up to the license plate, renew the tags and not have to take the time to go to the DMV,” he said.

Training For Tourism

Justice was also joined by Tourism Secretary Chelsea Ruby to announce the applications for the Governor’s School for Tourism are now open.

“That’s starting this summer,” Justice said. “You know with tourism booming in our state and getting better and better and better, we need to train people, because these jobs, these jobs are great jobs, and they’re great paying jobs and everything.”

Ruby said the state is experiencing an explosion in tourism and in tourism jobs, with projections showing as many as 21,000 annual job openings in the next four years in the tourism industry.

“But what we’re running into is that our growth in the tourism industry is happening faster than we’re building that workforce,” she said.

The 10 day program designed for 9th and 10th graders will allow students to meet with people in various jobs in the tourism industry ranging from outdoor recreation, arts and culture to hospitality and lodging and culinary arts. 

“They will visit every corner of the state, they will go to all of our travel regions,” Ruby said. “They’ll go to two national parks, a number of state parks … They’re going to really get a taste of what those jobs in West Virginia are like.”

In a press release after the briefing, Justice’s administration said the School for Tourism will accept one freshman or sophomore student from each county, as well as one student from each of the state’s five charter schools and a student from the West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and the Blind. 

15 Days Done

With 15 days completed, the 60-day legislative session is now one quarter of the way through.

Later in the briefing, Justice was asked for his opinion on the legislation’s activity so far, specifically the trend to focus on bills that appeal to conservatives.

“As stuff goes through the process, you know, it’s got to go through the House, it’s got to go through the Senate,” he said. “Wherever it originates a lot of different bells and whistles have to happen and everything before it comes to me. To pre-judge on my part, you know, before it gets to me. I mean, that’s really not very fair.”

Justice continued on to say that he believed God has a place in the state’s schools, and that students – the state’s top resource – need to be protected.

“Those kids are our resource and our gift, and so we should protect them with all in us,” he said. “I’m not going to pre-judge anything until I see it, so we’ll wait till it gets to me.”

Justice was also asked to defend his budget and tax cut proposals after public criticism.

“I really think what you’ve got is a very liberal group that I hope to goodness that they’re bright enough to be able to understand, and say your truth, but without a question, it adds up,” he said. “The math works, that’s all there is to it, you know, and from the standpoint of tax cuts, yeah, I want tax cuts. We’ve got it 23 times since I walked in the door … Why in the world would I do something at the eleventh hour, you know, on and my parting note and do something to mess up all the good stuff that we’ve already done?”