Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Fireworks in the House Over RFRA Amendments

Four amendments for House Bill 4012, the West Virginia Religious Freedom Restoration Act, were debated on the House floor Wednesday morning. The bill creates a judicial test for lawsuits against the state or government entities to ensure the protections of an individual’s “sincerely held religious beliefs.”
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West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources

The West Virginia Medical Examiner's Office has been working to crackdown on the backlog of cases and to seek accreditation.

WVVA-TV reports Commissioner for the Bureau of Public Health Dr. Rahul Gupta 

  oversees the Charleston office and says they've been addressing policies, procedures and staffing criteria in order to get the department accredited.

Jill Upson / Twitter

A West Virginia report says $55 million in two welfare programs was spent out of state in a year.

The House released the Department of Health and Human Resources report Wednesday at Republican Del. Jill Upson's request.

The report says that of $457.2 million in benefits, $52.5 million was spent out of state on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or food stamps, from November 2014 through October 2015.

Neighboring Kentucky, Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia comprised 90 percent.

About $1 million was spent in North Carolina and Florida each.

Dollar Photo Club

School-based fluoride rinse programs have been available to West Virginia schools for decades. Advocates argue they are still one of the cheapest and most effective tools schools have for preventing tooth decay. However, they are not well utilized. Recently, the Bureau for Public Health, which funds these programs, has begun a push to get more schools to take advantage of them.

At Mount Hope Elementary School in Fayette County, health educator Rosalie McCauley passes out toothbrushes and plastic cups of bubblegum-flavored fluoride mouth rinse to students.

Abortion Courts
Dollar Photo

Abortion opponents in Mississippi, West Virginia and several other states are filing bills to ban an abortion procedure commonly used in the second trimester.

Courts have already blocked similar laws in Kansas and Oklahoma.

Elk River Rescue
WCHSTV

A woman has died after driving her car into the Elk River.

The Charleston Police Department said in a news release that the unidentified driver of the car ran an intersection and passed through the parking lot of a tire warehouse at high speed Wednesday.

Freedom Industries
Aaron Payne / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A former Freedom Industries executive is due in federal court for sentencing on a pollution charge in a chemical spill that fouled the drinking water supply of 300,000 West Virginians.

Dennis Farrell pleaded guilty in August to a deal that includes up to two years in prison and a $200,000 fine. His sentencing is set for Thursday in Charleston.

Wikimedia Commons

On February 11, 1923, eight gangsters were arrested in Harrison County for their involvement in Black Hand activities. Black Hand was a name given to underworld extortion techniques, such as threatening lives in exchange for money. During the early 20th century, it was most commonly associated with Italian and Sicilian mobsters who extorted money from their fellow countrymen who had emigrated to the United States.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, we take a look at our changing school system in West Virginia that has had to endure cuts and layoffs in part because of a declining population of students.

Between a repeal of the Common Core based education standards, a cut in the school aid formula and teacher layoffs, it’s a busy time in education in West Virginia. State Superintendent of Schools Dr. Michael Martirano address all three issues in a special extended interview.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Members of the House of Delegates are considering a bill to change voting requirements in West Virginia. The House Judiciary Committee discussed the bill at length Wednesday that would require voters to show a photo ID before casting a ballot.

For two hours Wednesday morning, the House Judiciary Committee discussed House Bill 4013, which would require a person in West Virginia who desires to vote to present a valid photo ID at the polls.

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February 11 at 8:30pm

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