ELKINS, W.Va. (WBOY) — Senate Majority Whip Ryan Weld and State Auditor JB McCuskey proved on Tuesday that mountaineers always go first with the accomplishment of being the first state in the nation to pass Senate Bill 548, adding a new layer of protection to West Virginia land.

Signed into law during the last legislative session, this bill is designed to make significant changes in the state’s tax sale process. Specifically, a registration process will be created before any purchases are made. The registration process is formatted explicitly to weed out “bad actors”, or any party that does not have commendable intent with West Virginia property.

The bill will also offer incentives to municipalities and parties purchasing dilapidated properties to either tear down or renew said properties. This is to encourage restoration and repopulation throughout the state.

Senate Majority Whip Ryan Weld gave his thoughts on the opportunity that sits with this bill and dilapidated properties across the state, “you know they’re not all located on a smaller street in a town like Elkins, sometimes they’re right on our main street in our downtown. So, this really, I think, is a tremendous opportunity to help cities around the state, whether you’re as big as Charleston, medium-sized like Elkins or you’re small like Wellsburg,” Weld said.

State Auditor JB McCuskey gave his thoughts as well, “I envision this place as being this ideally beautiful, incredible place that it can be again, but we have an enormous amount of blight that’s come from years of population decline that we need to reverse,” McCuskey said.

The bill will go into effect on June 9 of this year.