Senate Bill 12, reorganizing health boards, signed into law

Published: Mar. 17, 2021 at 5:14 PM EDT
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PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (WTAP) - Members of West Virginia health boards-who also are elected government members-are concerned about a bill that’s just been signed into law by the governor.

We reported earlier in the legislative session on Senate Bill 12, that allows elected members of city councils and county commissions, among other local governments, to get additional representation on county health boards.

Wood and six other counties make up the Mid-Ohio Valley Health Department, whose board already includes one member of each county’s commission.

A member of the current health board from Ritchie County says the new law could jeopardize the health department’s efficiency.

”There’s multiple instances around the state of working together to reduce costs,” says County Commissioner Steve Worden, “and I don’t see where that bill will encourage counties working together in the future. As we all know, financial aspects of many counties in the state are low.”

Supporters say the bill encourages more public input into health department practices, by allowing more elected officials representation on their boards.

Other representatives on the current health board have speculated the real purpose behind the bill is to convince boards to repeal regulations such as smoking bans in public buildings. The MOV Health Department has had such a regulation in place since the mid-2000′s.

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