News

Maple Syrup
Mindmatrix / Wikimedia Commons

West Virginia Agriculture Commissioner Kent Leonhardt is kicking off International Maple Month in the state with a ceremonial maple tapping this week in Guthrie.

The Agriculture Department says the event is set for 10 a.m. Wednesday at the Gus R. Douglass Agriculture Center.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On West Virginia Morning, from the statehouse Samantha Godby reports on bipartisan support for discrimination protections for the LGBTQ community.

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

Dollar Photo Club

State funding to pay for indigent burials in West Virginia has run out five months before the end of the fiscal year, an official for a funeral directors group said.

Frederick Kitchen, West Virginia Funeral Directors Association president, told The Intelligencer and Wheeling News-Register that an increase in drug overdose deaths is to blame.

State of West Virginia

A West Virginia tax official says staff shortages driven by low salaries make it difficult for the state Tax Department to perform its duties.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports that assistant tax commissioner Danny Morgan told a legislative panel Friday that the department has lost 18 percent of its personnel since 2013.

Jesse Wright / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Gov. Jim Justice says his administration's review of state finances has identified about $120 million available to help close the budget gap in the current fiscal year.

The first-year Democrat says that includes using about $60 million from special revenue accounts and $60 million in re-appropriated funds, meaning unspent money from the last five years for the governor's office, Legislature, insurance commissioner and other state agencies.

Will Price / West Virginia Legislative Photography

As the owner of a construction company, Putnam County Sen. Glen Jeffries said Friday a bill to end a decades long practice in West Virginia of bonding employee wages in certain industries worried him. 

"This industry, they are vulnerable businesses, construction especially," he said on the chamber floor. "In a five year period, 38 percent of the businesses are still open. Thirty-eight percent."

WVU Tech
West Virginia University

U.S. Representative Evan Jenkins hosted a roundtable discussion in Montgomery Friday to talk about talk about plans for a new college that could be moving to the West Virginia University Institute of Technology campus.

Montgomery West Virginia, is a small city, with a population of about 1,600 people at last count.

The economy of the community is deeply connected to the WVU Tech campus, which completes its move from Montgomery to Beckley this year.

Until recently, it wasn’t clear what would happen to the campus after WVU Tech left.

On The Legislature Today, Gov. Jim Justice has sent lawmakers a second budget plan this session and now plans to sweep $120 million in one time monies to balance the 2017 budget.

Lawmakers also got their first look at the $610 million deficit that would be created by the Senate's current tax reform bill that would repeal the personal income tax and replace it with an expanded consumer sales tax. 

State Journal Managing Editor Ann Ali and MetroNews Statewide Correspondent Brad McElhinney recap the week's budget news.

Kelli Sobonya
Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

A bill increasing penalties for drug traffickers was largely the focus of the House floor session Friday. The bill is part of the House leadership’s plans to crack down on people selling drugs in West Virginia to curb the substance abuse epidemic.

House Bill 2648 would increase the penalties for trafficking or manufacturing a controlled substance while in the presence of a minor, making it a felony. The bill carries a penalty of a three year prison term without the ability to receive parole. 

Jesse Wright / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Gov. Jim Justice continued his Save Our State Tour Friday, making a stops in Wood County to discuss his budget plans.

Save Our State, or SOS, is what Justice has dubbed his plan to close a $497 million budget gap in the 2018 fiscal year and fund a $2 billion bond for road construction. 

WV Legislature Photography, Perry Bennett

More than 30 new faces joined the West Virginia House of Delegates this year and more than a few of them fit into the fastest growing generation in the country. Millennials are growing in numbers at the Capitol and are pushing their more senior counterparts to think a little differently. 

West Virginia State Car
wchstv

The Division of Natural Resources says it will save the state more than a half-million dollars by cutting 84 vehicles from its fleet.

Director Stephen McDaniel said in a news release Thursday that the cuts, which will start immediately and continue through the year, represent a 14 percent reduction in the fleet.

Roxy Todd/ WVPB

This week on Inside Appalachia, we’ll travel to Sugar Bottom Farm in Clay County West Virginia to meet Veteran Eric Grandon, the first veteran to go through the Veterans and Warriors to Agriculture program.

barges
FlickreviewR / Wikimedia Commons

  The Coast Guard says the Racine Lock and Dam on the Ohio River near Huntington has reopened to vessel traffic after a barge breakaway.

No injuries or spills were reported.

West Virginia Governor's Office

West Virginia's Ethics Commission has approved an agreement establishing a blind trust for two of Gov. Jim Justice's many businesses — majority interests in the Glade Springs resort in West Virginia, and Wintergreen Resort in Virginia.

The trust gives management control to Howard Burnette, an engineer, attorney and chief executive of The Daniel Group, a management company in Danville, Virginia.

classroom
Arria Belli / Wikimedia Commons

Bishop Michael Bransfield of the Wheeling-Charleston has released a letter elaborating on the decision to close Bishop Donahue High School at the end of the academic year.

    

In a letter published Thursday in The Intelligencer of Wheeling, Bransfield said issues that led to the decision to close the school included shrinking enrollment and the resulting financial burden to the diocese.

A drug-addicted gambler who left a West Virginia casino, robbed a bank, then returned to the blackjack table was sentenced Thursday to between five and 18 years in prison.

Kerry Johnson had been at the Mardi Gras Casino in Nitro for hours Aug. 2 when he put down a $25 chip to hold his spot. Prosecutors said Johnson then drove 13 miles to a Charleston bank and gave tellers a note saying he had a bomb and a weapon and robbed it of about $5,000.

barges
FlickreviewR / Wikimedia Commons

The Coast Guard says the Racine Lock and Dam on the Ohio River near Huntington is closed after a barge breakaway.

No injuries or spills were reported.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On West Virginia Morning, Governor Jim Justice took his Save Our State tour to Fairmont State University yesterday.  Anne Li will have the story and Iron and Wine has our Mountain Stage song of the week.

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

Kayla Kessinger
Perry Bennett / WV Legislative Photography

Members in the House voted on a bill Thursday that would terminate the West Virginia Women’s Commission and put roughly $150,000 back into the general revenue budget. 

The West Virginia Women’s Commission was created by the state Legislature in 1977. It’s a small, bi-partisan program under the state Department of Health and Human Resources that advocates, educates, and promotes women’s issues.

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