LEWISBURG, WV (WVNS) – Last week, Republican Vince Deeds was sworn in as one of West Virginia’s newest senators, representing Greenbrier, Summers, Monroe, Fayette and Nicholas counties in the state senate.

Deeds won the 10th district seat formerly held by former state senate minority leader Stephen Baldwin back in November.

He told us he is already begun drafting his first bill, a proposal based on his years of experience in law enforcement,  that would change possession of any amount of meth, heroin or fentanyl to a felony.

“Essentially right now it (possession) is a misdemeanor. It’s a cite-and-release. You write them a ticket and release them and there’s no accountability right then,” said Deeds. “There actually is no treatment.”

Deeds said making possession of these drugs a felony would allow the cases to go through Drug Court, which can offer certain offenders a chance to enter rehabilitation rather than being incarcerated.

He also wants to help make significant changes to the state’s Department of Health and Human Resources, which he said has become too bureaucratic and ineffective.

“I believe there will be a restructuring of the Department of Health and Human Resources,” the Senator told 59News. “Whereas we will be able to have better services to the people who are engaged in those services, whether it be Child Protective Services, Adult Protective Services or Social Services.”

Deeds will now be part of the state legislature that will determine how the state spends a multi-billion dollar surplus. He believes the state can offer a new tax-cut program without cutting benefits.

“We have the most unique, and greatest opportunity, probably in the history of this state,” Deeds explained. “That’s everyone, every citizen’s tax money that’s set in there. So now we have to either return it back to its rightful owner, the taxpayers, or we have to provide certain benefits that they desire.”

Deeds is asking folks who live in his district to get in touch with him and other local legislators and let them know about what they want the state’s new tax-cut program to look like.