The Legislature Today

The Legislature Today is West Virginia's source for daily legislative news and information.  The only live television program covering the West Virginia Legislature, the broadcast features reports from the Senate, House and committee meetings with in-depth interviews and analysis of the legislative process in West Virginia.

The Legislature Today can be seen weeknights on:

  • 6:30 p.m. - WVPB (main channel)
  • 10 p.m. - The West Virginia Channel
  • 11:30 p.m. - WVPB
  • 6:30 a.m. (next day) - The West Virginia Channel

The Legislature Today can also be heard at 6:30 p.m. weeknights on WVPB's statewide radio network.

 

Subscribe to The Legislature Today Podcast for daily downloads of the program.

Support for The Legislature Today comes from the West Virginia High Technology Foundation

  

And also from AARP, Bringing Real Possibilites to Life

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The Legislature Today
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

With just one day left in this regular legislative session, both the 2016 and 2017 budgets remain unbalanced. 

Secretary of Revenue Bob Kiss details the House, Senate and Governor's proposals to fund state government, but the loss of several bills means none of the proposals can be approved for the 2017 fiscal year.

The Legislature Today
West Virginia Public Broadcasting


The Finance Committees in both chambers have approved their versions of the bill, and the Senate as a whole will vote on the budget tomorrow, but it will look very different from the one taken up in the House.

 

Speaker Tim Armstead says his chamber still has a reasonable budget before them, despite the lack of any revenue increasing measures.

The Legislature Today
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Additional funding for the state's highway system is in doubt after removed from a House Committees agenda. 

Delegates also inch closer to a vote the could set up a drug testing process for West Virginians who apply for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families benefits.

The Legislature Today
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

At a public hearing in the House of Delegates, speakers unanimously favored a bill to allow alcohol sales on Sunday mornings, but the hearing might not fully represent the feelings of West Virginians according to a recent poll.

The chamber's Finance Committee will spend its third day discussing a bill that increases Division of Motor Vehicle Fees and some taxes to fund roads. The bill has already been approved in the Senate.

The Legislature Today
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A Kanwaha County Circuit Judge has ruled that West Virginia Supreme Court Justice Brent Benjamin should not be given state dollars to fund his re-election campaign.

The lawsuit was brought against Benjamin by Beth Walker, one of four challengers in the race. Benjamin was attempting to participate in the state’s public campaign financing program, a program that is only available to candidates running for Supreme Court seats, but this is the first time a candidate’s participation has been challenged.

Charleston attorney Anthony Majestro from the firm Powell & Majestro discusses the implication of the case.

The Legislature Today
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

After members of the House Finance Committee voted to kill a bill that would have increased the state's taxes on tobacco products, including a $1 increase per pack of cigarettes, Commissioner of the Bureau for Public Health and West Virginia Chief Health Officer Dr. Rahul Gupta reacts to the legislative decision.

The Legislature Today
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Senate Majority Leader Mitch Carmichael and House Majority Leader Daryl Cowles discuss the future of a bill approved in the Senate Wednesday that raises taxes and fees to fund infrastructure. The two also focus in on the difficulties lawmakers face in balancing the 2017 budget.

The Legislature Today
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Fiscal issues top the concerns of members of the minority party leading up to the end of this legislative session. 

Senate Minority Leader Jeff Kessler and House Minority Leader Tim Miley discuss the most pressing issues facing lawmakers with just 11 days left to consider legislation.

The Legislature Today
West Virginia Public Broadcasting


The GOP majority in both chambers have received plenty of criticism and support this legislative session for taking on controversial issues like Right-to-Work and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

 

West Virginians on either side of the issue have made their stances known through social media campaigns and rallies at the statehouse, and many opposed are turning those feelings into political fuel for the upcoming primary and general elections.

 

Curtis Wilkerson with Orion Strategies discusses a poll recently conducted by the firm about both legislative and political issues.

The Legislature Today
West Virginia Public Broadcasting


The West Virginia Religious Freedom Restoration Act was approved in the House more than two weeks ago and, in that time, Senate leaders have said little about the bill. The chamber's Judiciary Committee took up the legislation Friday evening, but some Senators say they’re waiting to see a final bill before throwing their support behind it.

 

The Legislature Today
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Del. Mick Bates of Raleigh County discussed his party's proposals in the House to increase road funding. Those proposals have failed so far this session, but now Bates and other members of the House are waiting to see what Senators will do with a bi-partisan bill that would increase some fees in order to generate revenue.

Senators cast their final votes on a bill to remove the permitting and safety training requirements to carry a concealed weapon in West Virginia. Members of the body also discuss a possible tobacco tax increase.

In the House, Delegates vote to allow West Virginia University Institute of Technology to transfer its headquarters out of Fayette County.


It’s been a little over a week since Delegates approved a bill creating the West Virginia Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Known as RFRA, the bill creates a judicial standard for cases where a person’s religious freedoms are infringed upon by a government entity.

 

The bill has been assigned to a Senate committee, but has yet to make its way onto an agenda. Still, that hasn’t stopped members of the upper chamber from voicing their thoughts about the bill on floor this week.

 

The Senate Finance Committee has approved a bill to increase the tobacco tax on cigarettes by $1 a pack. 

West Virginia University Health Sciences Executive Dean Dr. Clary Marsh says the increase will be enough to discourage West Virginia smokers and will likely increase the health outcomes for vulnerable populations like pregnant women and children.

Dr. Marsh discusses the tobacco tax, as well as what WVU is doing to combat substance abuse in West Virginia.

Two southern West Virginia Senators discuss the economic impact the decline in the state's coal industry is having not just on the overall state budget, but the county level budgets as well which have led to cuts in programs and services as well as school layoffs.

Sen. Bill Laird of Fayette County and Sen. Ron Stollings of Boone County join us.

Ted Boettner with the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy discusses the group's latest report detailing Governor Tomblin's 2017 budget proposal. 

Boettner explains previous tax cuts alongside the declining severance tax collections have hurt the state budget for years in a row. He also focuses in on the importance of funding higher education.

The West Virginia Religious Freedom Restoration Act's approval in the House of Delegates caused a firestorm on social media as many businesses spoke in opposition, but groups backing the bill say its important to West Virginia.

Jill Rice with Opportunity West Virginia and Allen Whitt with the Family Policy Council of West Virginia debate the bill that's now being considered in the Senate. 

In the second year of Republican control of the statehouse, lawmakers have voted both a second and third times to override Tomblin vetoes.

A simple majority in both chambers voted Friday to make the prevailing wage repeal and Right-to-Work bills law.

Attorney General Patrick Morrisey discusses the latest in his case challenging the Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan. The U.S. Supreme Court issued a stay in the case this week which essentially freezes the implementation of the carbon reducing rules.

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.

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