News

On The Legislature Today, education takes the spotlight in both the House and Senate as lawmakers debate bills making major changes in the state’s Pre-K through 12 system.

Senators are set to debate a Common Core repeal on the floor this week, which a Democratic member says is redundant and unnecessary. In the House, members focus on ways to give county school systems more flexibility in light of coming funding cuts.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Governor Jim Justice was in Huntington Wednesday to discuss what he says is a need for improved infrastructure in the state.

As part of the Save Our State Tour, Governor Jim Justice was at the Marshall University Engineering School Wednesday. His mission was to point out the construction and engineering jobs that would be created if his $2.8 billion roads plan succeeds in the state. Justice said changes have to be made throughout the state and that’s including a crumbling infrastructure.

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It might sound like an infomercial, but whole-body vibration (WBV) in lieu of traditional exercise may be a real thing in the future. In WBV, a person sits, stands or lays on a machine with a vibrating platform. When the machine vibrates, muscles contract and relax multiple times during each second, which causes them to work in a low-impact way. Experts think WBV could be a good alternative to exercise, particularly for the morbidly obese. 

 

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On West Virginia Morning Ashton Marra talks with Del. Rupie Phillips of Logan County -- the Legislature's only Independent and Anne Li reports from the Green Bank Observatory in Pocahontas County about one family's efforts to save it after the National Science Foundation announced it is reviewing the property's viability.

That's on West Virginia Morning from West Virginia Public Broadcasting -- telling West Virginia's story.

Brian Blauser / Mountain Stage

 

On this week's brand new Mountain Stage broadcast, West Virginia super pickers Johnny Staats & Robert Shafer return with a new self-released record in tow titled Music from the Mountains, featuring this upbeat performance titled "El Cumbanchero." 

Ellie White of Barboursville, West Virginia, and her family launched a campaign called Go Green Bank Observatory to persuade the National Science Foundation to not divest from Green Bank Observatory.
Jesse Wright / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A powerful space-exploration facility in operation since the 1950s is under threat. Residents of the tiny West Virginia community in which it resides and its extended family of scientists and educators are rallying to save it.

 

Nestled in the hills in Pocahontas County, West Virginia, is the Green Bank Telescope. At 485 feet tall and about 300 feet across, it’s the largest fully-steerable telescope in the world, and it belongs to Green Bank Observatory.

On The Legislature Today, Republican Legislative leaders have expressed no intention to increase funding for the state's Public Employee's Health Insurance Agency, the healthcare coverage for government employees. That means potential increases in premiums and costs for those covered under the plan.

Dept. of Administration Sec. John Myers and PEIA Director Ted Cheatham discuss the funding for PEIA.

Will Price / West Virginia Legislative Photography

The Senate’s Transportation Committee has voted to advance a bill that would hike some taxes and fees to help increase funding for the state’s roadways. 

The bill was presented to lawmakers by Gov. Jim Justice, but is not part of his plan to generate more than $1 billion in revenues for a bond initiative. 

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Yesterday the Congressional Budget Office released a report that analyzes the House of Representative's proposed replacement of the Affordable Care Act. The office projects that the new bill would leave 24 million people uninsured by 2026.

Such an increase could have big consequences for the more than 2 million people addicted to pain medication across the United States, including more than 200,000 in the Ohio Valley Region. 

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Toby Talbot / AP

A Raleigh County doctor accused of illegally distributing painkillers to three patients who later died has backed out of a plea deal.

Dr. Michael Kostenko was expected to enter into a deal with prosecutors on Monday and plead guilty to one count of distribution. Instead, Kostenko pleaded not guilty.

Ed Evans
Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

The West Virginia Courtesy Patrol is a state funded roadside assistance service. But as members in the House continue to look for places to cut to balance the 2018 budget, delegates have set their sights on the program’s $5 million budget.

The courtesy patrol has been around for almost 20 years. It’s a non-profit of the Citizens Conservation Corp through a contract with the West Virginia Division of Highways.To-date, the patrol has received over 3 million calls and employs nearly 100 people.

Sarah Tucker
http://wvctcs.org

West Virginia's Community and Technical College System chancellor, Sarah Tucker, is testifying this week before a congressional subcommittee.

Tucker will appear before the U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies at a hearing on STEM education, or science, technology, engineering and math.

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U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin plans to participate in four town hall meetings being organized by constituents this week.

The West Virginia Democrat says in a news release that first two meetings will be held Thursday morning at the Robert C. Byrd Health Sciences Center in Martinsburg and that evening at the LaBelle Theater in South Charleston.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On West Virginia Morning, Republican leaders at the statehouse have unveiled a draft of their proposed state spending plan and Ashton Marra talks with two GOP delegates about their own budget proposal.

That’s on West Virginia Morning from West Virginia Public Broadcasting – telling West Virginia’s story.

Will Price / West Virginia Legislative Photography

While Republican legislative leaders haven’t unveiled an actual bill, they have unveiled a more detailed plan for balancing the state’s budget. Senate President Mitch Carmichael and House Speaker Tim Armstead announced those plans during a press conference Monday

The plan is based on a premise Carmichael calls "novel" in state government: spending only the amount of money the state actually has. 

On The Legislature Today, days before Republican Legislative leaders previewed their plan to balance the 2018 budget, members of the House Liberty Caucus came up with a solution of their own.

Delegates Pat McGeehan and Michael Folk introduced their budget bill Thursday in the House of Delegates. It makes cuts to "government bureaucracy" in Charleston, smooths payments to the teacher's retirement system, and cuts Gov. Jim Justice's $105 million "SOS Fund" to not just find a balance, but include a 2 percent pay raise for teachers. 

The delegates discuss their plan and why it should be considered a "blueprint" for their fellow Republicans.

Eric Householder
Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

The West Virginia Department of Commerce gave the House and Senate Finance committees a presentation Monday morning to explore the state's competitiveness in attracting businesses.

The Commerce department also asked for a significant increase in its funding. However, that request collided with the reality of the state’s dire budget situation.

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The West Virginia Department of Highways Power company and FirstEnergy Corp. are preparing for the winter storm expected to hit West Virginia and the Northeast tonight and tomorrow.

The National Weather Service is expecting up to 20 inches of snowfall in the mountainous regions of the eastern part of the state.  Up to a foot of snow is possible in parts of northern West Virginia starting Monday night.

Two Boone County public school employees are suing because they say their paycheck deductions didn't properly go toward paying for requested supplemental retirement and supplemental insurance coverage.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports that a lawsuit was filed recently in Boone Circuit Court against the Boone school board, the school system's current and former superintendents and Stephen Green, the system's director and coordinator of support services.

Will Price / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Members of the Senate Select Committee on Tax Reform have approved their bill to restructure the state's tax code. 

The committee substitute for Senate Bill 335 was passed out of the committee Monday morning, the first step in its process to completion.

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