The Legislature Today

  • Hosted by Andrea Lannom

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 and 11 p.m. - WVPB (main channel)
  • 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. - The West Virginia Channel

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

 

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

At the legislature today, protestors brave the snow and cold at the Capitol to rally against a bill that scales back the state's prevailing wage. The head of law enforcement for the Division of Natural Resources tells a Senate committee the pay scale set in code for his officers is making it difficult to recruit qualified individuals. And a special report about the city of Huntington's on going fight against drugs on The Legislature Today.

Senate Taking a Long Look at Charter Schools

Feb 13, 2015

At the legislature today, both chambers have started to move on Governor Tomblin's bill to aid the state's craft brewing industry. In the House, the bill received some minor changes in committee. Senators are still working to craft a bill that would allow charter schools in West Virginia weeks after the process began. And we'll talk with the senate president now that the session is passed the halfway point on The Legislature Today.

30 Days In, 30 To Go

Feb 12, 2015

At the legislature today, the House passed a Senate bill relating to deer farming in the state.  It’s an issue that’s been around a while.  In the Senate, the health committee amends a bill about immunization that gives the state more control over exemptions for vaccination.  And we’ll check in with legislative leadership for a update at the midway point on The Legislature Today. 

DEP Secretary Responds to New Storage Tank Bill

Feb 11, 2015

  At the legislature today, legislation limiting abortions is on its way to the Senate after the House passed the bill overwhelmingly today.  Uber, the international car service, wants to do business in West Virginia, but legislators have concerns.  And we’ll talk with the Secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection about the bill to roll back the aboveground storage tank law on The Legislature Today.

Ashton Marra

Members of the Senate's Transportation Committee took up a bill Wednesday that would allow ridesharing businesses to legally operate in West Virginia.

Ride-sharing companies, like Uber and Lyft, run through computer or smartphone software and allow anyone to connect with a local driver who uses a personal vehicle to provide taxi-like services.

Coal Mine Safety Debated in House and Senate

Feb 10, 2015

At the legislature today, emotional debate in both houses as the Senate takes up the Coal Jobs and Safety Act of 2015. In the House, Delegates focused on the legal remedies those hurt or killed in a mining accident will have. And we'll talk with Agriculture Commissioner Walt Helmick about his plans to grow the state's economy on The Legislature Today.

At the legislature today, Republican leaders are one step closer to realizing their tort reform goals this session as the Senate passes a bill imposing comparative fault. The amended bill heads back to the House for its approval. And on tourism day at the legislature, we'll meet the new Tourism Commissioner and find out her priorities to grow the number of visitors to the state. These stories and more coming up on The Legislature Today.

At the legislature today, the House approves a bill that inserts the legislature into the state Department of Environmental Protection’s plans to comply with US EPA carbon emission standards. That measure now goes to the senate where passage is expected. And a year after the Kanawha Valley water crisis, things are back to normal for the 300,000 West Virginians affected, but some residents of McDowell County are just getting clean water after years without it. A special report on water and more coming up on The Legislature Today.

Senate Debates Prevailing Wage Bill

Feb 5, 2015

At the legislature today, the bill to repeal the prevailing wage law isn’t on the senate floor yet, but an attempt to stop it from coming to the floor sparked debate about the measure.  In the house today, delegates adopted an amendment that would require the Governor to appoint two members of the West Virginia Board of Education that have school age children.  These stories and we’ll meet the Majority Leaders on The Legislature Today.

House Passes Judges' Non-Partisan Election Bill

Feb 4, 2015

At the legislature today, there was some intense debate on the house floor as lawmakers took up two bills that are priorities for the new majority. Also at the Capitol, labor unions rally against a Senate bill repealing the state's prevailing wage. And West Virignia's craft beer makers are seeking some regulatory relief. They have the backing of Governor Tomblin, but what do lawmakers think of the industry? We'll meet the chairs of the small business committees to find out on The Legislature Today.

Religious Exemption Pulled from Vaccinations Bill

Feb 3, 2015

  At the legislature today, as a measles outbreak makes national headlines, a senate committee considered a bill to provide  religious and medical exemptions for vaccinations. But after further discussion, the religious exemption is off the table.  We’ll talk about this and other health issues with the Chairman of the House Health Committee on The Legislature Today.

Energy Committees Now Have Major Legislative Status

Feb 2, 2015

At the legislature today, the senate re-visited West Virginia’s Medical Liability Act to add another health care position to the list of professions protected by a cap on malpractice awards.   We’ll meet the new chairs of the Energy Committees in both houses.  Once minor committees, these now have a new status at the legislature.  And we’ll give you a preview of tonight’s television documentary about children in poverty on The Legislature Today. 

Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Members of the West Virginia Senate approved four bills Monday, including three related to the healthcare field.

SB 6- Relating to medical professional liability

The bill works to give healthcare administrators more protection when it comes to some hiring practices or staffing issues. The loophole has allowed administrators to face medical malpractice suits without the award cap put in place by the state’s Medical Professional Liability Act. Senate Judiciary Chair Charles Trump explained the definition changes in Senate Bill 6, in addition to some new sections, bring administrators back under the $250,000 cap.

At the legislature today, when their party took over control of the House and Senate, Republicans promised tort reform. Several bills are moving through the legislative process including one about nursing home administrators that was up for amendments on the senate floor today.  And we’ll find out more about West Virginia’s prevailing wage law.  It’s also a target of the majority.  We’ll talk with a fiscal policy expert and one of our statehouse colleagues covering the issue on The Legislature Today. 

Daniel Walker / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

At the end of every floor session, senators and delegates are allowed to give remarks to the entire body.  In the House Thursday, these remarks led to extended debate about jobs in the north and the lack of them in the south; about drug addiction and education, and the debate lasted for nearly an hour.

At the legislature today, lawmakers were updated on a bill that passed two years ago and its effect on overcrowding in the state's jails and prisons. But correction officials say it will take more money to continue implementing the new law.

And does the state Public Service Commission have too much control over your local water utility? Some small public service districts say yes.

These stories plus a look the education issues facing lawmakers on The Legislature Today.

Larry Dowling / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

During the Governor’s State of the State Address earlier this month, Tomblin detailed some of his main priorities for this legislative session. The governor detailed the measures he would ask lawmakers to take to balance this year’s budget, bills he would introduce to improve the state’s business climate and juvenile justice system. But he also touched on a bill he hopes will incite the growth of an already burgeoning industry in West Virginia, craft brewing.

For Brian Arnett of Mountain State Brewing Co. located in Thomas and Morgantown, craft brewing--especially here in West Virginia--is something way more than just yeast, barley and hops.

“It’s a full on revolution. It’s people that want to know a story behind what they’re consuming and they like they story and they like the different flavors and the provided variety and flavors and things they would not get otherwise,” said Arnett.

West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The Senate Finance Committee continued budget hearings Thursday with state Division of Corrections. Since the passage of the governor’s Justice Reinvestment Act in 2013, the Commissioner of Corrections told lawmakers overcrowding is becoming less and less of an issue, but the division is still asking for a budget increase.

Commissioner Jim Rubenstein presented the governor’s proposed budget for his division for the upcoming fiscal year. In it, the governor is suggesting a budget increase of about $1.8 million from general revenue funds.

Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Members of the Senate voted on Senate Bill 8 Wednesday, authorizing a performance audit of the state Division of Highways. The bill, which was welcomed by the Department of Transportation, met some opposition on the chamber floor. 

DOT Secretary Paul Mattox told members of both House and Senate committees last week he was all for the bill which authorizes an outside organization to come in and audit the ten DOH districts, looking for areas of inefficiency, better practices, and better allocation of funds, among other criteria. 

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. 

Tower for drilling horizontally into the Marcellus Shale Formation for natural gas, from Pennsylvania Route 118 in eastern Moreland Township, Lycoming County, Pennsylvania, USA
Ruhrfisch [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)

  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.

Comparative Fault Bill Passed in the House

Jan 27, 2015

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

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.

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.

Judiciary Chairs Discuss Tort Reform

Jan 26, 2015

  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.

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.  

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.

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.

  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.

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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