The Legislature Today

Beginning January 19, 2015. You can watch weeknights at 6:30 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. on WVPB. Weekdays at 6:00 a.m. on WVPBS.2. You can also listen weekdays at 6:30 p.m. on WVPB Radio.

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.

Monday, January 26 - Sen. Charles Trump (R) Morgan County, Chair, Senate Judiciary Committee; De. John Shott (R) Mercer County, Chair, House Judiciary Committee

Tuesday, January 27 - Sen. Jeff Kessler (D) Marshall County, Senate Minority Leader; Del. Tim Miley (D) Harrison County, House Minority Leader

Wednesday, January 28 - Sen. Mike Hall (R) Putnam County, Chair Senate Finance Committee; Del. Eric Nelson (R) Kanawha County, Chair, House Finance Committee

Thursday, January 29 - Sen. Dave Sypolt (R) Preston County, Chair, Senate Education Committee; Del. Amanda Pasdon (R) Monongalia County, Chair, House Education Committee

Friday, January 30 - TBA

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

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The Legislature Today
6:27 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

Finance Chairs Sen. Hall and Del. Nelson Talk State Budget

At the legislature today, there was confusion in the House Government Organization Committee this morning as lawmakers discuss a bill about an airport located in West Virginia but apparently governed by officials in Maryland.  

We also continue to meet the new leaders at this legislative session.  Joining us tonight the chairs of the powerful finance committees on The Legislature Today. 

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Government
2:47 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

W.Va. Lawmakers Pass Bill Allowing Well Pad Permit Transfers

Credit Ruhrfisch [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) / Wikimedia Commons

  State lawmakers have approved a bill letting companies transfer well permits for oil and natural gas drilling.

The change would help Southwestern Energy Co., which bought $5 billion in assets from Chesapeake Energy Corp. last October.

The House of Delegates fast-tracked the bill to a 96-0 vote Wednesday, instead of taking the normal three days.

The Senate did the same last week before a 31-0 vote.

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The Legislature Today
7:20 pm
Tue January 27, 2015

Comparative Fault Bill Passed in the House

At the legislature today, the first of many tort reforms bills was up for debate in the House of Delegates.  Republicans have said for years such legal reforms are necessary to make the state more business friendly. 

Also, lawmakers hear about a new idea to improve roads and highways. 

These stories, plus we’ll talk with the new minority leaders on The Legislature Today.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FPVbOQ1o9j4

Government
4:24 pm
Tue January 27, 2015

West Virginia Lawmakers to Send Energy Act Repeal to Governor

Credit The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

The Republican-run Legislature needs one vote to send a repeal of an energy portfolio to Democratic Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin.

The Senate cast a 33-0 procedural vote Tuesday to repeal the Alternative and Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard. The House needs another procedural vote to clear it.

Both chambers previously passed the repeal overwhelmingly.

The portfolio requires generating 25 percent of electricity with alternative power sources by 2025. Some coal-burning technologies qualify.

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Road Funding
2:15 pm
Tue January 27, 2015

Bill Would Give Counties Option to Fund Road Construction

Vice Chair of the Morgantown Chamber of Commerce Billy Atkins addressing the Senate Transportation Committee.
Credit Janet Kunicki / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

In a Senate Transportation Committee meeting Tuesday, Senators were presented with one possible solution for the lack of funding for state roads, one that would allow counties to be more involved in the construction and maintenance process.

Senate Bill 258 is also known as the “Letting Our Counties Act Locally Act” and comes as the result of two years of work from stakeholders in Monongalia County.

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The Legislature Today
6:57 pm
Mon January 26, 2015

Judiciary Chairs Discuss Tort Reform

  At the legislature today, a senator from Greenbrier County gave his colleagues an update on the water situation in his district.  A diesel fuel spill has fouled the drinking water for thousands of residents there.  And we’ll sit in on a meeting of the House Committee on Small Business, Entrepreneurship and Economic Development to hear how the state assists small business owners.  Also we’ll meet the new chairs of the judiciary committees.

The Legislature Today
7:02 pm
Fri January 23, 2015

Transferring Drilling Permits Between Companies, Profiling Sen. Boley, A Reporter Roundtable & More

As the first full week of the session comes to a close, bills are slowly moving through the legislative process. 

We’ll review the week with Jon Mattise of the AP and Mandi Cardosi of The State Journal, who are also covering the issues around the Rotunda.

And, we’ll profile Senator Donna Boley of Pleasants County.  A veteran lawmaker she has gone from the only Republican in the Senate to now, the only woman there.  

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The Legislature Today
8:52 pm
Thu January 22, 2015

Energy Portfolio Repeal Passes, A Rally for Abortion Rights & BOE Pres. Gayle Manchin

High drama in the House of Delegates as tempers flare over the repeal of a bill regarding alternative fuels and renewable energy, even though the bill passed overwhelmingly.

Pro-choice advocates rallied at the state capitol today over the newly introduced bill to restrict abortions in West Virginia.

And we’ll talk about the public education system with state Board of Education president Gayle Manchin.

Legislature
1:01 pm
Thu January 22, 2015

West Virginia House Passes Energy Act Repeal Overwhelmingly

Credit Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

  The Republican-run state House of Delegates has passed a repeal of an energy portfolio.

The House voted 95-4 Thursday to repeal the Alternative and Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard.

The portfolio requires generating 25 percent of electricity with renewable or alternative power sources by 2025. Some coal-burning technologies qualify.

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The Legislature Today
10:36 pm
Wed January 21, 2015

Speaker Tim Armstead, The Department of Transportation's House Budget Hearing & More

  Speaker Tim Armstead takes over as the first Republican to fill the top role in the House of Delegates for the first time since the Capitol has been in its current location. But what are his and his party's plans?

The Department of Transportation gives a budget presentation in the House Finance Committee and concerns remain over the quality of roads affected by drilling the Marcellus Shale.

That and more on this episode of The Legislature Today.

Legislature
7:00 pm
Wed January 21, 2015

Road Maintenance from Marcellus Shale Drilling Concerns Delegates

The House Finance Committee hears budget requests from the Department of Transportation.
Credit Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The House Finance Committee met Wednesday to hear the budget requests from various agencies within the Department of Transportation. But one of the many concerns the Delegates had was the state of roads due to Marcellus Shale drilling.

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Legislature
6:00 am
Wed January 21, 2015

Hog Farming on Inactive Mountaintop Removal Sites Could Bring More Jobs to Southern W.Va.

Mountaintop removal site at Kayford Mountain, West Virginia.
Credit Kate Wellington / creativecommons.org

The term “pork barrel” often refers to a government appropriation for local projects secured primarily to bring money to a representative's district. But in the House Tuesday, Delegates heard of a different kind of pork project. The discussion during the House Committee on Agriculture was centered on using old mountaintop removal sites for hog farming.

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The Legislature Today
7:50 pm
Tue January 20, 2015

Sen. Bill Cole, Unexcused School Absences, The Prevailing Wage & Hog Farming on MTR Sites

Senate President Bill Cole joins us to talk about legislative priorities after the Republican takeover following November's midterm election. 

The chair of the Senate Committee on Labor pulled a bill from the committee's agenda Tuesday, Senate Bill 245, a bill that aims to repeal the state's prevailing wage requirement.   

Also, members of the House Agriculture committee handle a bill that looks to use old mountaintop removal sites for hog farming.

Labor Issues
7:25 pm
Tue January 20, 2015

Should West Virginia Repeal the Prevailing Wage?

Sen. Daniel Hall chairing the Senate Committee on Labor meeting Tuesday.
Credit Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The chair of the Senate Committee on Labor pulled a bill from the committee's agenda Tuesday, Senate Bill 245, a bill that aims to repeal the state's prevailing wage requirement. 

Prevailing wage is a defined hourly wage, overtime and benefits used in government contracts established by regulatory agencies. Once those wage standards are set, anyone bidding on a state government contract must pay workers on their project at that level.

Senate President Bill Cole introduced similar legislation in 2014 repealing the wage requirement and said he still believes in repeal because it would be a cost savings to the taxpayers of West Virginia.

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Education
6:35 pm
Tue January 20, 2015

Senate Bill Would Increase Number of Permitted Unexcused Absences

Sen. Chris Walters
Credit West Virginia Legislature

Senate Bill 256 was introduced to the full chamber Tuesday. Sponsored by Sen. Chris Walters of Putnam County, the bill aims at increasing the number of unexcused absences a student can have before the state court system intervenes.

“Currently, West Virginia has one of the most aggressive numbers and that’s five statewide," Walters said.  "Once a child reaches five unexcused absences then he arrives into the court system and can be placed in a facility.”

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Government
5:55 pm
Tue January 20, 2015

West Virginia Abortion Ban Bill Filed Again After Last Year's Gubernatorial Veto

Credit Flickr / davidwilson1949

  A Democrat has refiled a proposal banning abortions after 20 weeks gestation in West Virginia, despite its veto last year.

On Tuesday, Fayette County Del. David Perry reintroduced the bill Democratic Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin vetoed.

It bans abortions after 20 weeks, except for expectant women in medical emergencies.

Before last year's election, the Democratic-run House and Senate passed the proposal overwhelmingly.

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The Legislature Today
7:42 pm
Mon January 19, 2015

Gov. Tomblin Discusses Budget Shortfall, Legislative Priorities with GOP Control

Governor Earl Ray Tomblin joined us to speak about another tight budget year and how his legislative agenda will play out in a GOP-controlled statehouse.

A piece of legislation that would repeal a 2009 energy bill progressed through both chambers at the state house Monday, but that bill is changing shape as it makes its way through both chambers. 

Also, as session began last week there were some tense moments during a discussion of rules in the House of Delegates.

Legislature
3:47 pm
Mon January 19, 2015

A Tense First Day in the House of Delegates

Credit West Virginia Legislature

January 14th marked the first day of the 82nd Legislative Session. For the first time in 80 years, Republicans took majority in the House, but on that first day, the Democrats, now in the minority, came out swinging.

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Government
3:30 pm
Mon January 19, 2015

West Virginia Lawmakers Again Push Non-Discrimination Bill

Credit Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

  West Virginia lawmakers are again promoting a bill to prohibit employers and landlords from discriminating against people based on sexual orientation.

At a Fairness West Virginia news conference Monday, Senate Minority Leader Jeff Kessler and other Democratic officials discussed the legislation that Kessler has supported for years.

Appalachian Electric Power executive Charles Patton also spoke in support of it.

West Virginia law prohibits discrimination in employment and housing based a variety of factors, from race and religion to blindness or disability.

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Legislature
2:59 pm
Mon January 19, 2015

Energy Portfolio Repeal on Fast Track at Statehouse

Sen. Mitch Carmichael on the Senate floor.
Credit Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A bill that's caused a bit of an uproar in the House and Senate progressed through both chambers at the state house Monday, but that bill is changing shape as it makes its way through both chambers. 

The Alternative and Renewable Energy Act was approved by lawmakers in 2009 under the guise of Governor Joe Manchin. Backed by the coal industry, the law requires electric utilities in the state to produce 25 percent of their energy using alternative and renewable resources, like solar or wind, by 2025.

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