A passion for tax law and a desire to help her state propelled a West Virginia University law student into the limelight during Gov. Bob Wises State of the State speech Wednesday night.

Andrea Ramezan Jackson, 24, was recognized by Wise for proposing legislation to separate the state from the federal tax code so it can continue to collect the tax on estates valued at more than $1 million.

The federal estate tax will be repealed in 2010, to return in 2011,said Ramezan Jackson, who hails from Glenville.West Virginias estate tax, like those of many states attached to the federal tax system, will be phased out in 2005 if we dont enact some type of legislation.

My proposed type of legislation detaches West Virginias estate tax system from the new federal changes,she added.States are allowed to set up their own independent tax system.

Ramezan Jackson said continuing the century-old tax would affect no more than 1 percent of millionaire-plus estates in a given year but keep much-needed revenue flowing into the governments coffers at a time when they are running low.

My reason for proposing the legislation is that at a time of fiscal crisis where West Virginia is facing severe budget deficits, there is no reason to cut a significant, historical tax that could bring the state $60 million over the next three or four years,she said.Furthermore, this is not a new tax or a tax increase.

Ramezan Jackson, in her third and final year in the College of Law, drafted the bill last semester in a Lawyers in Legislation course taught by WVU President David C. Hardesty Jr. Hardesty, a former lawyer and graduate of the school, teaches the course every fall.

Each student in the class had to draft a piece of legislation pertaining to a particular issue of interest, said Ramezan Jackson, who is also editor-in-chief of the West Virginia Law Review.

I have a passion in the area of tax law and ran across literature explaining how18 states and the District of Columbia have decoupled from the federal tax system over this issue,she said.

It was the first time Ramezan Jackson had drafted a bill, an experience she found rewarding.

I feel very fortunate to have been given that opportunity while still in law school,she said.It definitely gave me a new perspective outside the normal academic experience.

And what of being recognized by the governor during his most closely watched speech of the year?

To draft legislation and get it proposed and recognized by the governor was a very fortunate and exciting experience,she said.

Ramezan Jackson, who also has a bachelors degree in finance, plans to pursue a masters of law degree in taxation after graduating in the spring. She then plans to join a legal firm and practice tax law.

She lives in Morgantown with her husband, Brent Jackson, a pharmaceutical sales representative. Her parents are Dave and Janette Ramezan.