Aaron Payne

House Reporter

Aaron is a native of Winfield, W.Va. and 2012 graduate of Marshall University with a degree in Broadcast Journalism. While at Marshall, he spent most of his time covering news and sports at the student radio station, WMUL-FM. His work there was recognized by various outlets such as College Broadcasters, Inc., the National Broadcasting Society and the West Virginia Associated Press.

 

Since graduating, Aaron has worked several jobs in broadcasting. He produced news and sports shows for Huntington's Supertalk 94.1 FM and AM930, was the radio play-by-play voice for the 2013 Prospect League Champion "West Virginia Miners" baseball team and can occasionally be found under the basket at Marshall men's basketball games with a camera, shooting for HerdVision.

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House of Delegates
6:12 pm
Wed February 12, 2014

W.Va. Legislature Study Finds More Focus Needed on Mental Health of Veterans

The House Committee on Veterans Affairs looks at H.B. 4318, focusing on the mental health of veterans.
Credit Daniel Walker

The 2012 West Virginia Veterans Survey authorized by the Legislature found that between forty and fifty percent of the state’s veterans report suffering from symptoms of depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, and twenty percent reported giving serious thought to suicide. Only fifteen to twenty percent of these affected veterans reported seeking mental health treatment.

The House Veterans Affairs Committee looked at a bill that would require continuing education of veterans’ mental health.

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House of Delegates
5:59 pm
Wed February 12, 2014

House Passes Bill to Increase Minimum Wage in W. Va.

The House of Delegates passed H.B. 4283, increasing the minimum wage.
Credit Aaron Payne

In the governor’s State of the State address, Tomblin said that one of his goals for the legislative session is to provide a pay raise for groups such as teachers and state workers. The House of Delegates voted on a bill that would do the same for a different group in West Virginia; minimum wage workers.

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House Of Delegates
4:14 pm
Tue February 11, 2014

Abortion-Restricting Bill Rejected With Tie Vote

The vote to discharge a bill restricting abortion from committee is rejected as the result is a tie.
Credit Daniel Walker

A vote resulting in a tie is a rarity in the legislature but one occurred Tuesday in the House of Delegates.

There were no bills up for passage but, with it being “Pro-Life Day” at the Capitol, there was an attempt made to discharge House Bill 2364 from committee to be put to a vote on the floor.

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House of Delegates
5:01 pm
Mon February 10, 2014

House Close to Voting on Bill to Increase Minimum Wage in W. Va.

The House of Delegates will have a bill to increase minimum wage in West Virginia up for vote on Wednesday.
Credit Aaron Payne

Currently, the minimum wage is $7.25 per hour.

The House Finance Committee amended H.B. 4283 to increase minimum wage by 75 cents to $8.00 per hour by January of 2015 and then add another 75 cents by January of 2016 to total $8.75. The amendment delayed those changes from July 2014 and 2015 respectively so that businesses could have time to budget for the increase.

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House of Delegates
1:29 pm
Fri February 7, 2014

House Passes Bills to Make Land Records Electronic, Adds Requirement to Consumer Transactions

The House before voting on H.B. 4010 and H.B. 4220.
Credit Daniel Walker

After a brief delay, the House convened for its final floor session of the week.

House Bill 4010 creates the Uniform Real Property Electronic Recording Act. It was approved and recommend for enactment in all 50 states by the National Conference of Commissioners of Uniform State Laws.

Delegate Mark Hunt explained exactly what the Act would entail before it was voted on.

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Judiciary Committee
3:31 pm
Thu February 6, 2014

House Looking to Prohibit Candidates From Using Email to Solicit Public Employees

Members of the House Judiciary Committee look over H.B. 4414, relating to the solicitation of public employees by an elected officer of the state.
Credit Daniel Walker

With the primary election coming in May and the general election in November, the House Judiciary Committee took a look at current code that prohibits elected officials and candidates from soliciting public employees, discussing H.B. 4414, relating to the solicitation of public employees by an elected officer of the state.

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House of Delegates
6:25 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

W. Va. House Passes Bill to Prevent Discrimination Against Pregnant Women In The Workforce

Discussion of Del. Folk's proposed amendments to the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act during Wednesday's House session.

On Wednesday the House passed bill 4284, also known as the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act.

The bill’s purpose would be to prevent discrimination against pregnant women in the workplace.

The following would be considered an unlawful employment practice:

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House of Delegates
5:48 pm
Tue February 4, 2014

House Takes Suggestions From Public Hearing, Moves Forward With Senate's Water Bill

The House Chamber during Monday's public hearing on S.B. 373, the "Water Bill."

The day after the House of Delegates’ public hearing on last month’s chemical leak and the safety of the water supply, lawmakers began the process of incorporating suggestions to strengthen Senate Bill 373.

While some speakers at the hearing felt that there were too many empty chairs at the hearing, Del. Don Perdue said the turnout from his fellow delegates was satisfactory.

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House of Delegates
11:32 pm
Mon February 3, 2014

Citizens Voice Concern With S.B. 373 During House Public Hearing, Want Tougher Water Protection

The House Chamber during the public hearing on S.B. 373, or the "Water Bill."

Before sending Senate Bill 373 through its Health and Human Resources, Judiciary and Finance Committees, the House of Delegates allowed citizens directly affected by the chemical leak to voice their concerns and offer suggestions to the bill in a public hearing in the chamber

While the stories and testimonies were different, the overall message was a call to action for lawmakers.

Some of the highlights of the points speakers made were:

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House of Delegates
4:23 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

House Defends Triple Committee Reference of Senate's Water Bill

Delegate Meshea Poore responds to criticisms of the House's decision to send Senate 373 through three committees.
Credit Daniel Walker

It took 12 days from its introduction for the Senate to pass Bill 373.

It has been several days since its introduction to the House and the bill has yet to be seen by its first committee.

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House Finance Committee
5:20 pm
Thu January 30, 2014

Poor W. Va. Road Conditions Explained During DOT Budget Hearing

Secretary of the Department of Transportation Paul Mattox delivers the proposed budget for FY 2015 to the House Finance Committee.
Credit Aaron Payne

Committee members heard from various offices that make up the department of transportation - the Division of Motor Vehicles, the Division of Highways, the State Rail Authority, the Division of Public Transit, the Public Port Authority, the Aeronautics Commission and the Office of Administrative Hearings.

Like in many other budget hearings, officials from each office laid out how they will handle their finances to deal with the upcoming tight fiscal years.

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House of Delegates
6:23 pm
Wed January 29, 2014

Delegates Reject H.R. 6, Allowing Absent Members on Active Duty to Vote

Delegate Richard Iaquina argues against H.R. 6, allowing participation in House proceedings and voting by electronic teleconferencing by members not physically present due to serving on active duty.
Credit Aaron Payne

The House currently has one member that cannot participate in voting or House activities due to military service. Delegate Joshua Nelson has been absent for the second session of the 81st Legislature while on active duty.

House Resolution 6 would allow participation for Nelson and future members not physically present while serving in the military in House proceedings and voting by electronic teleconferencing.

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House of Delegates
5:19 pm
Tue January 28, 2014

House Members Debate Constitutionality, Pass Three Bills

Delegate Kevin Craig urges passage of H.B. 4182, a supplemental appropriations bill.
Credit Aaron Payne

Three bills were voted on and passed by the House of Delegates Tuesday.

H.B. 2387

The bill relates to reasonable accommodations under the West Virginia Fair Housing Act for persons with disabilities who need assistive animals. The bill would not only include seeing-eye dogs, but also support animals that one might not think of such as therapy dogs for returning veterans with PTSD.

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House of Delegates
5:44 pm
Mon January 27, 2014

House Passes Bill to Enhance Penalties on Child Pornography Possession

The House before passing H.B. 4006, relating to the possession and distribution of child pornography.
Credit Aaron Payne

H.B. 4006 adds those who access with intent to view as those who can be convicted of possession of child pornography. The bill would also add enhanced penalties for such offenses with aggravating circumstances. If the material contains more than 500 images of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct, the offense is a felony punishable by a sentence of 18 months to five years and a fine of 10,000 dollars.

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House of Delegates
4:18 pm
Fri January 24, 2014

House Finance Committee Asks Questions About Chemical Leak During DEP Budget Hearing

DEP secretary Randy Huffman presents the budget to the House Finance Committee.
Credit Aaron Payne

Cabinet Secretary of the West Virginia DEP Randy Huffman presented the proposed budget to the committee, relating how the organization would deal with the governor’s 7.5 percent cut.

Huffman assured there would be no loss in personnel. However, paying the personnel a fair and competitive wage was a challenge.

Delegate Ron Walters asked how proposed water protection legislation would affect the DEP financially.

“We’re doing an inventory, right now,” Huffman said.

“We’re going to try in the next few days to get an estimate.”

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House of Delegates
4:16 pm
Thu January 23, 2014

House Passes "Felicity's Law" Hoping to Protect Children from Vicious Dog Attacks

Delegate Allen Evans introduces Felicity Jenkins, the namesake of H.B. 2757, to the House of Delegates.
Credit Daniel Walker

Felicity was a two-year-old-girl from Grant County who wandered away alone from a birthday party and was viciously attacked by two dogs. It took repeated surgeries for her to recover from her injuries. Because there was no criminal negligence on the part of the dogs’ owners, no legal action could be taken by her parents in a criminal or private case under current law according to the W. Va. Supreme Court of Appeals.

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House of Delegates
5:05 pm
Wed January 22, 2014

W. Va. House Focuses on Future Disasters With Proposed Legislation

House Speaker Tim Miley brings the House to order before adopting HCR 42, asking Congress to revisit the "Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012."
Credit Aaron Payne / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

As the legislature continues to work on how to deal with the effects of the chemical spill, the House of Delegates looked at proposed legislation dealing with future disasters in terms of preparedness and flood insurance.

The House Committee on Veterans Affairs and Homeland Security discussed House Bill 4147. The bill deals with what can be done in a State of Preparedness.

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House of Delegates
4:15 pm
Tue January 21, 2014

House Passes Bill to Establish West Virginia Day of Prayer

Judiciary Chair Tim Manchin explains H.B. 4135 to his colleagues. The bill would establish the first Thursday in May as the "West Virginia Day of Prayer."
Credit Aaron Payne

House Bill 4135 would establish the first Thursday in May as the West Virginia Day of Prayer.

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House of Delegates
5:20 pm
Mon January 20, 2014

House Passes Bill to Increase Penalties for Littering In West Virginia

House Bill 4014 will increase the criminal penalties for littering in West Virginia.

Part of the bill divides the level of offense by the quantity of the waste into the categories of “not exceeding 100 pounds or 27 cubic feet,” “greater than 100 pounds in weight or 27 cubic feet in, but less than 500 pounds in weight or 216 cubic feet” and “greater than 500 pounds in weight or 216 cubic feet.”

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House Finance Committee
2:11 pm
Fri January 17, 2014

Focus on W. Va. Senior Citizens in Committee Budget Hearing

Robert Roswell presents the W. Va. Bureau of Senior Services' proposed budget to Chairman Brent Boggs and the rest of the House Finance Committee.
Credit Aaron Payne

The Commissioner of the West Virginia Bureau of Senior Services Robert Roswell told the House Finance Committee how the governor’s state budget cuts are affecting senior citizen services and programs around the state.

“Within this budget, when we submitted it, we looked at where we could make cuts that we would do the least damage to services, to delivery of services,” Roswell said. “But, we made previous cuts and we’re, pretty much, in a position where when we cut funds now, we cut services.”

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