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

Tuesday, January 20 - Sen. Jeff Kessler (D) Marshall County, Senate Minority Leader; Del. Tim Miley (D) Harrison County, House Minority Leader

Wednesday, January 21 - Sen. Mike Hall (R) Putnam County, Chair Senate Finance Committee; Del. Eric Nelson (R) Kanawha County, Chair, House Finance Committee

Thursday, January 22 - Sen. Dave Sypolt (R) Preston County, Chair, Senate Education Committee; Del. Amanda Pasdon (R) Monongalia County, Chair, House Education Committee

Friday, January 23 - TBA

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House Finance Committee
3:56 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

Water Resource Protection Bill Passes Final House Committee Reference

The House Finance Committee approved S.B. 431, relating to issuance and renewal of certain driver's licenses and federal ID cards.

The House Finance Committee removed several of the sections added by the other House committees in the water resource protection bill.

One of which was related to medical monitoring which the committee determined was a redundancy because Dr. Letitia Tierney from the DHHR explained during the meeting her office plans to pursue testing whether it is in the bill or not.

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The Legislature Today
7:08 pm
Mon March 3, 2014

Update on the Governor's Legislative Agenda, Future Fund, Teacher Raises, & WVCBP's Ted Boettner

An update on Governor Tomblin's legislative agenda and members of the Senate Government Organization Committee discuss a House bill that would reform the state Ethics Commission and reduce the number of members it requires. House committees discuss bills from the Senate, including the Future Fund and pay raises for teachers. Ted Boettner of the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy about various issues, including taxes, the future fund, and the state budget.

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House of Delegates
5:40 pm
Mon March 3, 2014

Committees Approve Bills to Create Future Fund, Increase Teacher Salaries

The House Judiciary Committee discussed and approved S.B. 431, creating the Future Fund.
Credit Daniel Walker

The House Judiciary Committee looked over Senate Bill 461 which would create the Future Fund.

No substantive changes were suggested by the committee.

While none of the delegates opposed the idea of setting aside extra money from severance tax from natural resources for the sake of future projects, there were concerns the language of the bill would allow future legislatures to change the code and use the money for other purposes.

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Chemical Leak
2:04 am
Mon March 3, 2014

Delegates Advance Water Legislation after Debating 50 Amendments

Credit West Virginia Legislature

Members of the House Judiciary Committee spent more than 9 hours debating and discussing 50 amendments to Senate Bill 373 Sunday into Monday.

The bill is meant to regulate above ground storage tanks and protect the state’s water resources in response to the January 9 chemical spill at Freedom Industries in Charleston that resulted in the contamination of 300,000 West Virginians’ drinking water.

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The Legislature Today
7:19 pm
Fri February 28, 2014

Delegates React to Session So Far, Treasury-Backed Retirement Plan, and Phil Kabler & Dave Boucher

Delegates from the House explain their feelings on how the session has gone thus far and Senators debate a bill that would establish a retirement program for private and small businesses that's backed by State Teasurer John Perdue.  Also, Phil Kabler of The Charleston Gazette and Dave Boucher of The Charleston Daily Mail discuss the state's finances, from the Governor dipping into the Rainy Day Fund to the budget hearings that will immediately follow the end of the regular session.

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House of Delegates
6:03 pm
Fri February 28, 2014

Three Senate Bills and Where the House Stands

The House will work on many Senate bills before the end of the session at midnight on March 8th.
Credit Aaron Payne

Senate Bill 373: The Water Protection Bill

The House has had S.B. 373 for nearly a month and Thursday, a bipartisan group of delegates sent a letter to Governor Tomblin requesting a special session with the sole focus on this bill.

One senate leader was not pleased with the request. Senate Majority Leader John Unger said he and his colleagues would refuse an extended session because he feels the House has had the bill long enough.

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Senate
4:31 pm
Fri February 28, 2014

State Treasurer Backs Retirement Program for Private, Small Businesses

State Treasurer John Perdue speaks to the Senate Pension Committee Friday.
Credit Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The Senate Pensions Committee took up House Bill 4375 creating the West Virginia Voluntary Employee Retirement Accounts Program.

The program would be available to businesses with up to 100 employees who do not have a current retirement system.

Employers or employees could voluntarily opt into the program, automatically deducting a retirement contribution from their paycheck each month, but employers would not be required to contribute to those plans.

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The Legislature Today
7:18 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

Controversial House Bills Now in The Senate, Pretrial Release Programs, Sen. Brooks McCabe, & More

Bills relating to abortion, drilling waste, and the attorney general's office that were controversial in the House now make their way through the Senate. The House Judiciary Committee discusses expanding pretrial release programs. Soon-to-be-retiring Senator Brooks McCabe discusses the future of West Virginia through his thoughts on teacher pay raises, sustainable water quality, and the future fund.

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Senate
5:33 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

Abortion, Drilling Waste, Attorney General: Where Does the Senate Stand?

Credit Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Bills that were hotly debated in the House are expected to receive just as much attention in the Senate as members of the Legislature near their final week of the session.

One of those includes a bill allowing commercial solid waste authorities to dispose of solid waste and drill cuttings from the Marcellus shale industry.

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Corrections
4:03 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

Senate Bill to Expand Pretrial Release Programs in W.Va. Approved By House Committee

Senator Donald Cookman answers delegates’ questions about S.B. 307.
Credit Aaron Payne

Among the seven bills discussed by the House Judiciary Committee Thursday was Senate Bill 307, authorizing community corrections programs to operate pretrial release programs. Those programs could range from work release to decreasing the cost of an issued bond.

The purpose of the program is to decrease the cost of counties having to hold these people in jails. Pilot programs have been implemented in a few counties such as Ohio and Wood.

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The Legislature Today
7:51 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

House Looks at Senate Water Protection Bill, Charleston CVB Hopes to Shake Water Stigma, & More

The House of Delegates went through 60 items on their daily calendar on "Crossover Day," the last day for bills to be out of their house of origin. But, House Judiciary heard from environmental consulting firm Downstream Strategies as they examined Senate Bill 373, the bill that would regulate above-ground storage facilities. The Senate votes on 11 bills, debates three possible Constitutional Amendments, and also votes on the teacher pay raise bill.

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House of Delegates
6:09 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

Downstream Strategies Issues New Water Protection Report to Judiciary Committee

Downstream Strategies President Evan Hansen presents a new report to the House Judiciary Committee.
Credit Aaron Payne

Senate Bill 373 relating to water resources protection was sent to the House nearly one month ago to go through three committee stops. Two weeks ago the bill made it through the Health and Human Resource Committee with amendments to be sent to the Judiciary Committee. Wednesday, the second committee used its meeting to hear from Downstream Strategies President Evan Hansen.

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House of Delegates
8:33 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

Bill to Restrict Abortion Past 20 Weeks Passes House

The House passed H.B. 4588, protecting unborn children who are capable of experiencing pain by prohibiting abortion after twenty weeks.

A motion to discharge House Bill 2364 or the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act from committee and put it up for immediate vote was rejected on February 11th.

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House of Delegates
7:52 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

Government Fraud Prevention Act Downed by House

Delegate John Shott speaks in opposition of H.B. 4001, the Government Fraud Prevention Act.
Credit Daniel Walker

House Bill 4001 was introduced on the first day of the session as the False Claims Act. However, opponents of the bill referred to it as the “sue-and-settle” bill.

The bill offers monetary compensation to whistleblowers who bring forward information regarding fraudulent claims made against the government. That is, if the case is successful.

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The Legislature Today
7:46 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

Senate Debates Meth Lab Clean-Up Amendment, Government Fraud Protection, & Philanthropy

A proposed amendment to the Crime Victim’s Compensation Fund divided the Senate Tuesday, but not necessarily on party lines. In the House, passionate debate arises on a bill that was introduced on the first day of session: The Government Fraud Protection Act (renamed from it's original incarnation known as The False Claims Act).  Paul Daugherty of Philanthropy West Virginia and Becky Cain-Ceperley of the Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation talk funding of non-profits and foundations looking to catalyze change around the state.

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The Legislature Today
7:30 pm
Mon February 24, 2014

U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin & State Police Captain Tim Bledsoe Discuss Heroin Use in The State

More than 20 bills pass through the Senate, but a couple bills brought the upper house's leadership to the podium to discuss next steps and, inevitably, they decide to lay the bills over until Tuesday. The House of Delegates deal with the collection of debts and their statute of limitations. U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin and Captain Tim Bledsoe of the West Virginia State Police discuss heroin use around the state.

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House of Delegates
6:05 pm
Mon February 24, 2014

W.Va. House Looking to Double-Tap (Debt) Zombies

The House Banking and Insurance Committee discusses H.B. 4360, relating to consumer credit protection.
Credit Daniel Walker

A rule (#2: Double-Tap) for dispatching zombies in the movie Zombieland is essentially being applied by the House of Delegates in regard to killing “Zombie Debts” with H.B. 4360.

Zombie debts are defined as debts attempted to be collected in which the statue of limitations has passed.

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The Legislature Today
9:10 pm
Fri February 21, 2014

The Future of Toll Collections, Teacher Pay Raises, & Capitol Reporters Eric Eyre and Erin Timony

The House of Delegates deal with a bill relating to conflicts of interest with the Attorney General's office and hold a public hearing on the future of toll collections in West Virginia. Senators in the Finance Committee decide to return to Gov. Tomblin's plans of a two percent pay raise for teachers after flirting with the idea of giving them a raise of $1,000. Capitol reporters Eric Eyre of The Charleston Gazette and Erin Timony of The State Journal talk with host Ashton Marra about the bill to limit sales of pseudoephedrine to prescription only and a bill that would prevent abortions after 21 weeks.  

House Judiciary
5:24 pm
Fri February 21, 2014

Public Hearing Held on a Bill Relating to the Future of Toll Collection in W. Va.

The House Judiciary Committee held a public hearing on a bill that would affect the way tolls are collected in the state.

House Bill 4156 as introduced would create the Safe and Efficient Parkway Act, authorizes electronic collection and enforcement of tolls.
 
The bill would only apply to the current tolls on the turnpike in regard to enforcement as it is already equipped with the technology such as photographing license plates to detect violations.

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The Legislature Today
6:54 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

Drug Overdose Protection, False Claims Act, & Dr. Rahul Gupta on the Need for Medical Monitoring

The Senate amends a bill that would protect those seeking emergency medical attention for someone else experiencing a drug overdose and also discusses a bill that aims to reduce the variance gas prices across the state. The House  Judiciary Committee takes another look at the False Claims Act. Dr. Rahul Gupta of the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department talks medical monitoring and Gov. Tomblin's request to the CDC for more studies on the chemicals involved in the Jan. 9 chemical spill.

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