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Martin Valent / West Virginia Legislative Photography

With a projected $80 million budget gap by the end of this fiscal year, lawmakers are considering bills to ensure a balanced budget is maintained.

Members of the Senate approved four of Governor Tomblin's supplemental appropriation bills for fiscal year 2015, the current budget year, intended to help close the gap.

Office of Governor Earl Ray Tomblin

  Federal regulators say CSX Transportation has agreed to a long-term plan for cleaning up and restoring the area around a fiery oil train derailment in southern West Virginia.

Under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency order released Friday, CSX must submit a comprehensive plan within three weeks.

Investigators have not determined what caused 27 of the CSX train's 109 cars to go off the tracks during a Feb. 16 snowstorm in Mount Carbon.  

Office of Governor Earl Ray Tomblin

  Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin said Friday the statewide State of Emergency remains in place after heavy snowfall and flooding across the state.  

"Although temperatures are expected to rise and water levels continue to decline, I encourage drivers to remain cautious while traveling," Gov. Tomblin said in a news release. "I am extremely proud of our state's response to this massive winter storm, and I'd like to thank all first responders, the West Virginia National Guard, local and state road crews, and all West Virginians who have worked hard to help combat this storm."

Dave Mistich / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Frigid temperatures that followed heavy rains and snow have set several records across West Virginia.

The National Weather Service says the thermometer in Elkins bottomed out at 10 below zero Friday morning, breaking the March 6 record of zero set in 1901.

In Clarksburg, the temperature dipped to 3 below, smashing the mark of 7 above set in 1960.

Huntington's low of zero broke the record of 5 above set in 1960 and Parkersburg hit 3 above to eclipse a record that stood since 1960.

Charleston's reading of 5 above broke a 98-year-old record.

Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

West Virginia lawmakers have overridden a veto on a bill prohibiting abortion 20 weeks after conception.

The Senate's 27-5 vote Friday cemented the ban into law. The House voted Wednesday. Overriding policy vetoes requires a simple majority.

Democratic Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin vetoed the bill Tuesday, citing constitutionality concerns.

Cecelia Mason / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

More than 66,000 customers in West Virginia remained without power following the latest winter storm.

Appalachian Power reported nearly 30,900 outages as of 6:30 a.m. Friday. That's about 3 percent of its more than 1 million customers in West Virginia.

About 35,300 Mon Power customers also were without electricity Friday morning. That's nearly 7 percent of its more than 525,200 customers across the state.

Cecelia Mason / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Public schools are closed in all but one West Virginia county due to the recent winter storm.

The exception Friday is in Hancock County.

While the temperature dipped to record lows, Hancock County schools Superintendent Sue Smith says the roads were clear and dry, and bus drivers had no trouble getting around Friday morning.

Hancock County missed three days of school earlier this week due to bad weather. With 13 missed days already, the school year isn't scheduled to end until June 16 in order to fulfill the state's minimum mandate of 180 days in the classroom.

Clindberg / wikimedia Commons

The National Park Service is hoping to turn a renovated Camp Brookside in Brooks in to a future education institute.

The camp was originally built in the 1940s as a summer camp for children of Electro Metallurgical Company workers in Alloy. It was bought by the National Park Service in 1993.

Officials received funding in 2012 to restore the mess hall, seven cabins and the caretaker's residence. Those restorations are nearing completion.

On this West Virginia Morning, we bring you the latest on developments in the House and a public hearing that took place yesterday about Senate Bill 347, the West Virginia Firearms Act of 2015, which would allow adults to carry a concealed firearm without a permit.

West Virginia Legislature

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin has signed a bill changing legal protections when multiple parties are deemed at fault in a lawsuit.

Thursday, the Democratic governor approved a comparative fault bill passed by the Republican-run Legislature.

Martin Valent / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Members of the Senate Finance Committee took up a bill Thursday they see every year, a bill to settle some of the state’s small claims law suit debts. This year lawmakers found out they owe substantially less than previous years, though, because of a reform bill passed two years ago.

House Bill 2876 is short titled the Court of Claims bill. The court hears citizen claims of damages against the state and awards compensations in verdicts to pay for anything from pothole damages to wrongful death suits.

At the legislature today, after the Senate worked on the Charter Schools bill for weeks during the session, the bill is now in the hands of the house which has just nine days to consider it.  We’ll have an update.  And the number of damage claims against the state for potholes are rising. What one lawmaker says can be done about the condition of West Virginias roads.  These stories and more coming up on The Legislature Today.

Perry Bennett / WV Legislative Photography

The Charter Schools bill made its way into the House Wednesday. The House Education Committee debated the bill until almost midnight that night. It ultimately passed and will soon be on first reading in the full House.

courtesy

Flood waters that left residents stranded in their homes have receded in most places, according to emergency services in some southern West Virginia Counties. The flood warning issued by the National Weather Service  remains in effect until 6:45 p.m. Thursday for parts of West Virginia.


Courtesy Chris Bostic / via Facebook

  Heavy rains followed by snow have pushed streams and rivers out of their banks across West Virginia.

Flood warnings are in effect through Thursday evening for much of the state.

The National Weather Service says moderate flooding was reported along the Bluestone River between Spanishburg and Pipestem. The river was 5 feet above flood stage at Spanishburg but was expected to recede later Thursday.

skiing, snowmaking, ski resorts
Wikimedia Commons

West Virginia's residents are tired of winter. The state's ski resorts are not.

The four major ski resorts — Canaan Valley, Snowshoe Mountain, Timberline and Winterplace — picked up a half-foot or more of snow on Thursday.

West Virginia Ski Areas Association spokesman Joe Stevens says it's a boost to late-season skiing in what's already been a strong year.

Stevens says the timing of the storm was good for the industry. Highway crews will be able to plow interstates and other roads leading to the resorts before skiers arrive for the weekend.

Submitted Photo / WVDOT

Students are getting another break from classes across West Virginia as a late-winter storm pummels the state.

Public schools in all 55 counties were closed Thursday. At least 18 counties had sent students home early on Wednesday after heavy rains sent creeks onto roads.

Several higher education institutions also canceled classes, including West Virginia University, Marshall University, Fairmont State University and Bluefield State College.

But WVU went ahead with student elections. Voting was held Thursday as scheduled in the Mountainlair in Morgantown.

Cecelia Mason / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A late-winter storm has knocked out electricity to about 80,000 customers in West Virginia.

FirstEnergy reported about 41,000 customers without power at midday Thursday. Appalachian Power has about 39,000 outages. Both utilities say many roads remain impassible and are hampering power-restoration efforts. They are bringing in crews from out-of-state affiliates.

Brianhayden1980 / wikimedia Commons

A federal appeals court has invalidated a sweeping gag order in the case of a former coal company executive accused of violating safety standards at a West Virginia mine where an explosion killed 29 men.

A three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued the order Thursday, three days after hearing arguments on the issue.

U.S. District Judge Irene Berger's order prohibited just about anyone, including victims' relatives, from speaking publicly about former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship's case. She also kept most court filings secret.

Matt Harvey / The Exponent Telegram

A co-defendant has been sentenced in a drug case involving a former Bridgeport mayor.

Angela Davis of Bridgeport received an eight-month prison sentence on Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Clarksburg. The Exponent Telegram reports that U.S. District Judge Irene M. Keeley rejected a defense request for probation or a split sentence of house arrest and incarceration.

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