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
  • 6:30 p.m. weeknights on WVPB's statewide radio network .

The upcoming schedule of guests includes:

 

  • Monday, January 25 -  Gen. James Hoyer, West Virginia National Guard; Tom Huber, West Virginia Royalty Owners Association
  • Tuesday, January 26 -  Finance Chairs Sen. Mike Hall, Del. Eric Nelson; Sen. Chris Walters
  • Wednesday, January 27 - Energy Chairs Sen. Greg Boso, Del. Woody Ireland
  • Thursday, January 28 - Judiciary Chairs Sen. Charles Trump, Del. John Shott
  • Friday, January 29 - Sec. Jason Pizatella, Department of Administration 

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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Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

In a historic first day to the 82nd Legislative Session, Republicans are now the majority in the House, and Republican Delegate, Tim Armstead was elected as House Speaker.

West Virginia Legislature

West Virginia Republicans have named three options to replace state Sen. Clark Barnes, who has officially resigned to become Senate clerk.

The Republican candidates who will be considered for the vacancy are state Del. Allen Evans of Petersburg; West Virginia Farm Bureau President Charles Wilfong of Dunmore; and engineer Gregory Boso from Summersville.

Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Mercer County Sen. Bill Cole was elected to the Senate Presidency by a vote of 19-15 Wednesday with one Democrat crossing party lines to vote with the new Republican majority.

Sen. Bob Plymale of Cabell County voted for Cole instead of former Senate President and now Minority Leader Jeff Kessler, the Democratic nominee. Plymale declined to comment on the vote.

Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

  West Virginia lawmakers have begun a 60-day legislative session with Republicans in power for the first time in more than eight decades.

The Senate and House of Delegates gaveled in shortly after noon Wednesday.

As expected, Republican Bill Cole of Mercer County was elected Senate president. Republican Tim Armstead of Kanawha County was chosen as House speaker.

West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Governor Earl Ray Tomblin gave his fifth State of the State Address Wednesday night in the House Chamber before a joint meeting of the legislature as well as the Supreme Court, Constitutional officers and many, many others.

Tomblin touted the financial success the state is seeing from fiscally prudent decisions made in recent years. From the strength of the state’s more than $800 million Rainy Day Fund to the accomplishments in paying off worker’s compensation debt, Tomblin said the state is in good financial health.

Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The question of gubernatorial power in West Virginia was forced into the spotlight after two decisions by Governor Tomblin following the 2014 legislative session; two vetoes, to be more specific. Now lawmakers, the Governor’s Office and even the Attorney General are trying to figure out what’s next for these rejected bills.

Patrick Morrisey, W. Va. Attorney General
Janet Kunicki / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Attorney General Patrick Morrisey has filed motions to intervene in and dismiss a Kanawha County Circuit Court case challenging a new state gun control law.

The bill passed during this year’s legislative session strives to make gun ordinances uniform across the state.

In a release, Morrisey said the case should be dismissed because the City of Charleston did not name a defendant. Instead, the city is asking the circuit court judge to rule on the "validity" and "construction" of the new law.

Courtesy Photo / West Virginia Secretary of State's Office

Data gathered by The Pew Charitable Trusts’ Election Initiative is making waves Tuesday as the organization released four years of collected elections information, ranking all 50 states and the District of Columbia on their performances in the 2008, 2010 and 2012 elections.

According to their indicators, West Virginia is improving, but not as quickly as state elections leaders might hope.

Although it’s only the first step in a long road on Capitol Hill, Senator Joe Manchin’s Chemical Safety and Drinking Water Protection Act was passed unanimously by the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works Thursday.

 “He knows full well what happens when a community is upended because some kind of chemical gets into the drinking water supply and he went to work,” said Committee Chair Sen. Barbara Boxer of Calif.

Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The House and Senate have come to an agreement on the state's budget for the next fiscal year. The process was stalled earlier in the week.

Negotiations between legislative leadership and the governor centered on two issues: how much money to pull from the state Attorney General's Consumer Protection Fund and how much money they could use to expand the Aged and Disabled Waiver Program for seniors.

WV Office of Legislative Services

House Speaker Tim Miley has told members of the West Virginia House of Delegates to prepare for a special session at the end of the week.

Wednesday Governor Tomblin announced an extension of the budget session which would have ended Thursday.

Miley told members they will instead put a compromised budget bill to a vote Friday afternoon and adjourn. Then, he believes, the governor will call the extraordinary session.

Here is a list of bills Miley said will likely be taken up during that session:

Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Members of the legislature are feeling the backlash of bills that failed on the final night of the session. There are three specific bills that are putting not only this year’s, but also next year’s budgets in jeopardy. Jeopardy of a lowered bond rating, something lawmakers do not want to let happen.

On the final night of the legislative session there were two bills that needed to pass—Senate Bill 344 and 345—in order to supplement the finances of some pretty important programs.

Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Senators and Delegates worked late into the night, as usual, on the final day of the session voting on bills. The frenzy, however, was too much for some issues. Here are a few of the bills that got lost in the mix and didn’t pass before the midnight deadline.

SB 6

At midnight on Saturday, March 8, The 81st West Virginia Legislature will adjourn. This post will be the home for The Legislature Today's online coverage right up until the final moments.

News Director Beth Vorhees, Senate Reporter Ashton Marra, House Reporter Aaron Payne, and Digital Editor Dave Mistich will curate this post by aggregating tweets, posting audio of important moments on the chamber floors.

Be sure to keep refreshing this page to see the latest.

Aaron Payne

With today being the next-to-last day of the regular session, time is running out for lawmakers to complete legislation to be sent to the governor. The House voted on 23 Senate items ranging from rules bills, to education and assisting veterans.

S.B. 477

Several bills were debated during the afternoon House session but the one receiving the most discussion was Senate Bill 477.

The House passed the Water Resources Protection and Management Act on Wednesday. The Senate passes their version of the budget bill and calls for $125 million to be used from the Rainy Day Fund. Healthcare lobbyist Thom Stevens outlines some of the more than 200 bills this session relating to healthcare, including the late-term abortion bill and a bill that would make pseudoephedrine available by  prescription only.

Senate Bill 376 would require onsite employees at certain works construction projects to complete an Occupational Safety and Health Administration approved ten-hour construction safety program.

Similar measures have been struck down in the past due to fears the program would decrease worker productivity.

Before the vote, one of the sponsors of a similar bill introduced on the House Delegate Phil Diserio gave an impassioned speech about why this measure needed to be taken.

Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Senators voted on their version of the budget bill Thursday.

It included the governor’s recommended pay raises for school service personnel and State Police forensic lab technicians, but Senate Bill 306 only accounts for the $837 teacher pay raise passed by the upper chamber. The House has changed that bill to include a $1,000 across the board raise.

But Finance Chair Senator Roman Prezioso explained the Senate has not yet voted on House Bill 4333, known as the Haircut Bill for short. The bill adjusts lottery appropriations of about $40 million to balance the budget.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning we revisit an Inspiring West Virginian segment that profiles two of the world’s leading paleoclimatologists; that, legislators debate everything from deer farming to golf courses, and Cabell County School Board officials hope their new school is the next step in education.

Daniel Walker

There is little doubt that the bill aimed to protect water resources in the state, in response to the Jan. 9 spill of MCHM into the Elk River by Freedom Industries, has been the most closely watched and widely discussed bill of the session.

Although the Senate passed SB 373 less that two weeks after its introduction, its passage  in the House took far longer--a result of a triple committee reference that offered a chance for roughly 60 delegates to offer amendments to the bill. Delegates also labored over 20 amendments on the bill's Third Reading Wednesday night before deciding to send the bill back to the Senate.

Here's a few highlights from Wednesday night's floor session leading up to SB 373's passage:

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