Review: Week Two in the Legislature

By Del. Jonathan Pinson - Contributing Columnist



The second week of the 2022 regular legislative session is already in the books!

This week I spent much time working on several pieces of legislation which are focused at making our community safer.

First, I co-sponsored a bill that would protect our police officers and first responders. House Bill 2184 creates a felony criminal offense for anyone who injures a police officer or government employee due to the exposure of fentanyl or any other dangerous drug or chemical. Far too many officers have been injured or killed in the line of duty because criminals refused to warn officers of the dangerous drugs they have concealed on them or in their vehicles/homes. The chemicals and drugs that our police officers and first responders are encountering on the streets are dangerous, even in the smallest quantities. We must ensure that they are protected every way possible.

Secondly, I spent much time this week writing a bill that would increase the penalties for sexual assault predators. There are several things that I believe need to be addressed in our current laws relating to sex crimes. In the bill that I have drafted, the offense for first-degree sexual assault will be doubled to a minimum of 30 years in prison. Furthermore, I am advocating that a second conviction for first-degree sexual assault should be punishable by life in prison. Lastly, under my bill individuals found guilty for sex crimes would not be eligible for any “alternative sentencing.” This means no predator found guilty of sex crimes would EVER be on home confinement or any type of supervised release. They will stay in prison until they have served every day of their sentence.

Lastly, I’d like to share with you one discovery from several months of work that have gone into addressing many of the obstacles facing West Virginia DHHR and our foster care system. Tragically, West Virginia leads the nation per capita in the number of children in foster care. I believe that many of the negative issues we are experiencing are a direct result of a lack of communication and efficiency between the service providers and stakeholders responsible for caring for our foster children. More than HALF of the states in our country are using software that is designed to assist with their foster care system in data tracking, foster home recruitment and retention, and agency communication. We need to implement similar software in West Virginia! In December I learned Mason and Jackson counties are experiencing staggering vacancy rates of nearly 50% in their DHHR offices. This must be addressed! I believe that the implementation of software specifically designed to assist in this area will allow DHHR workers in being more efficient and productive as they serve in the field. Until we recruit and retain more DHHR workers to fill these vacancies it is vital that we help our current workers to be as efficient as possible!

I was adopted at 15 years old. I had the privilege of serving seven years as a police officer. My wife and I currently serve as foster parents and have already adopted one precious child out of the foster care system. With these past experiences in mind, it was such a blessing this week to get to work on legislation that directly affects so many people who are trying to serve our community!

As always, I will do my very best to represent our community well in Charleston. Please feel free to reach out to me anytime!

Until next week, keep smiling!


By Del. Jonathan Pinson

Contributing Columnist

Delegate Jonathan Pinson (R) represents the 13th District in the West Virginia House of Delegates. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author.

Delegate Jonathan Pinson (R) represents the 13th District in the West Virginia House of Delegates. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author.