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

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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.

House Judiciary
6:08 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

False Claims and Taxpayer Protection Act Once Again Approved to House Floor

House Judiciary Committee discusses H.B. 4001, creating the False Claims and Taxpayer Protection Act.
Credit Daniel Walker

House Bill 4001 was reported to the floor earlier in the session from the House Judiciary Committee. However, concerns from the business sector lead House leadership to request the bill be sent back to address those concerns.

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The Legislature Today
7:11 pm
Wed February 19, 2014

Senate on Corrections and Roads, Schools for the Deaf and Blind, Ag Commissioner Helmick, & More

The Senate tackles issues related to corrections as well as roads. The  House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee takes a look at bills related to timber theft and fertilizers. Department of Agriculture Commissioner Walt Helmick talks about farming issues around the state and Cecelia Mason highlights the work of the West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and Blind. Also, the students of those schools give a performance for Senate members to close out our show.

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The Legislature Today
7:17 pm
Tue February 18, 2014

Senate Passes Rx-Only Pseudoephedrine Bill, House Tries to Prevent Layoffs, & Dr. James Phares

The Senate passes a bill that would make pseudoephedrine available by prescription only. Committees in the state legislature's upper house also took up bill pertaining to the budget and drug testing of coal mine employees who work in safety-related positions. Members of the House consider legislation allowing businesses to reduce the number of hours an employee works to avoid layoffs. Also, state Superintendent of Schools Dr. James Phares talks with Ashton Marra about a teacher hiring bill passed in the House, another bill that would limit the timeline for the state to take control of a county school system, and how schools are ensuring the safety of students after the Jan. 9 spill into the Elk River.

House Finance
5:43 pm
Tue February 18, 2014

Bill to Keep West Virginians Working Passes in House Finance Committee

The House Finance Committee goes over H.B. 4409, creating the Valued Employee Retention Program.
Credit Daniel Walker

House Bill 4409 creates the Valued Employee Retention Program with the goal of giving employers incentive to reduce workers’ hours rather than laying them off.

It requires employers to enter an agreement to submit a plan explaining how instead of laying off their employees they would reduce their hours. In exchange, the employee could get unemployment benefits proportional to the amount of hours that they’ve been reduced.

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Privacy Concerns
9:21 pm
Mon February 17, 2014

Senator: Data Collection System Keeps Personal Information Confidential

Members of the state Senate gathered in the chamber for a floor session Monday.
Credit Ashton Marra

Senators took up Senate Bill 420 Monday to amend the state P-20W Longitudinal Data System.

The system collects statistics from K-12, colleges, universities and community colleges tracking student achievement.

The bill adds child care and workforce data to the system giving a broader view of a student’s success. It also requires the information be brought to the Legislative Oversight Committee on Education Accountability to ensure transparency.

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The Legislature Today
7:17 pm
Mon February 17, 2014

Rx-Pseudoephedrine Amendments Fail, Brunch Bill Passes House, Sens. Green & Hall on Wyoming Water

Senators vote on seven bills, reject one, and also down amendments to the prescription-only pseudoephedrine bill. The House of Delegates passes a bill to expand the hours of alcohol sales at some businesses to include Sunday brunch. Senators Mike Green and Daniel Hall talk about Wyoming County's own water issues and what they're hoping to do to solve the problem.

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House of Delegates
6:01 pm
Mon February 17, 2014

'Brunch Bill' for Alcohol Sales Passes W.Va. House

Delegate John Overington speaks to his amendment that would make 2 a.m. the new time for last call.
Credit Daniel Walker

The bill that incited the most debate during Monday’s floor session was one that would allow private licensees to begin alcohol sales at 10:30 a.m. on Sundays instead of 1:00 p.m. as dictated by current code. Aaron Payne reports.

House Bill 4454 would allow restaurants and tourism destinations such as a bed and breakfast to serve alcoholic beverages as part of Sunday brunch.

Supporters of the bill said that it could boost profits from tourism in the state.

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The Legislature Today
11:47 pm
Fri February 14, 2014

House Approves Launch Pad Act, Corrections Honored by Senate, and Jonathan Mattise & Mandi Cardosi

The House of Delegates approves a bill that would provide benefits for businesses working with technologies not currently in West Virginia if they locate or expand in launch pads areas in the state. The Division of Corrections is honored through a resolution in the Senate, and  Jonathan Mattise of the Associated Press & Mandi Cardosi of The State Journal speak with Friday host Ashton Marra about the latest on the status of the chemical spill bill in the House, as well as the Attorney General's actions after reports of price gouging during the water crisis.

House of Delegates
5:55 pm
Fri February 14, 2014

House Approves W. Va. Launch Pad Act

Delegate Doug Skaff speaks in support of H.B. 4343, the West Virginia Launch Pad Act.
Credit Daniel Walker

House Bill 4343 provides economic benefits for businesses working with technologies not currently in West Virginia if they locate or expand in launch pads areas in the state.

These benefits would begin on January 1, 2015 and last until December 30, 2030 and include state and local tax relief and assistance in moving a business here.

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Prison Overcrowding
4:43 pm
Fri February 14, 2014

Should the Division of Corrections Become a Separate State Department?

Senate President Jeff Kessler presents DOC Commissioner Jim Rubenstein with a proclamation declaring Feb. 14, 2014, Division of Corrections Day at the Legislature.
Credit Janet Kunicki / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The Division of Corrections was honored in the Senate Friday with a resolution declaring February 14, 2014, Corrections day at the legislature.

Commissioner Jim Rubenstein was joined by his Cabinet Secretary Joe Thornton and other members of the Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety to receive the honor.

“On this day, it is important for this Legislature to remember that the starting annual salary for an entry level correctional professional in West Virginian is $22,584,” said Sen. Bill Laird.

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