The Legislature Today

Beginning January 13, 2014, airs weeknights at 6:30 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. on WV PBS. Weekdays at 6:00 a.m. on WVPBS.2. Also weekdays at 6:30 p.m. on WV Public 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.

Guests for the week of March 3, 2014:

March 3:     Ted Boettner,  West Virginia Center on Budget & Policy

March 4:     E. Gordon Gee, West Virginia University President

March 5:     Guests TBA

March 6:     Thom Stevens, Healthcare Lobbyist

March 7:     Governor Earl Ray Tomblin

Support for The Legislature Today comes from the West Virginia ALF-CIO, the voice for West Virginia workers.

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Public Education
9:39 pm
Wed January 8, 2014

Union Leader Says 2 Percent a Start in Teacher Pay Raise

West Virginia Education Association President Dale Lee
Credit WVEA

Governor Tomblin announced a 2 percent pay raise for teachers during his State of the State Address, but union representatives say the state needs more to keep quality teachers in the classrooms.

West Virginia Education Association President Dale Lee said he was glad to hear education is still a top priority for the governor this legislative session, but thinks more can be done for teacher pay.

“We will continue to work with the House and Senate to see if we can improve on that two percent realizing that it’s a starting point,” he said Wednesday.

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State of the State
8:39 pm
Wed January 8, 2014

Tomblin Focused on Fiscal Responsibility, Education

Governor Earl Ray Tomblin issues his State of the State Address in the House Chamber. Seated behind him are Senate President Jeff Kessler and newly elected House Speaker Tim Miley.
Credit Martin Valent/WV Legislature Office of Public Information

In his fourth State of the State address, Governor Earl Ray Tomblin touted his administration's accomplishments over the past year, including multiple multi-million dollar investments made by some major international corporations in the final months of 2012.

But his main focus was moving the state forward, his goals for the upcoming legislative session, and, perhaps most importantly, his thoughts on how to accomplish those goals in an obviously tight budget year.

“Governing, like gardening, takes planning, patience and foresight,” Tomblin began.

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Legislature
5:47 pm
Wed January 8, 2014

W.Va. House of Delegates Opens 2014 Session

House Speaker Tim Miley brings the House of Delegates to order.
Credit Aaron Payne

The 81st House of Delegates began its 60-day session Wednesday at the Capitol.

After most of the general housekeeping was taken care of, the delegates introduced 15 bills, both new and interim, to be sent to the various committees.

A few highlights of the bills introduced are:

HB 4003. Granting dual jurisdiction to counties where a student who lives in one county and attends school in another in order to enforce truancy policies.

HB 4009. Permitting institutions of higher education to perform background checks.

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News
2:03 pm
Wed January 8, 2014

Report: 3,000 Jobs Created in 2013

A graph from the report shows the forecasted employment growth by sector. The areas expeceted to see the biggest increase in job opportunities in coming years include professional and business services, construction and education and health services.
Credit WVU College of Business and Economics

The West Virginia University College of Business and Economics presented their state economic outlook to lawmakers Wednesday.

The report says West Virginia is seeing growth in the areas of employment and per capita personal income.

According to the study, approximately 3,000 jobs were added in the past year, with the natural resource and mining sector contributing most to the increase.

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Governor's Address
9:37 am
Wed January 8, 2014

The State of the State 2014

Governor Tomblin delivered the State of the State address Wednesday, January 8 at 7 p.m. You can watch the archived video of the address right here.

WV Legislature
8:43 pm
Tue January 7, 2014

Statewide Group Offers Legislature 11 Priorities to Benefit Children

Executive Director of the Healthy Kids and Families Stephen Smith hands the Our Children, Our Future Campaign's platform to Hallie Mason of the governor's office.
Credit Aaron Payne

The Healthy Kids and Families Coalition presented 11 issues known as the Our Children, Our Future Campaign to End Child Poverty and then hand-delivered them to legislators at the Capitol Tuesday. The group wants these issues made priority as the 60-day  session begins Wednesday.

Those 11 issues include:

1. Protect Funding for Family Support Programs

The goal is to keep Family Resource Networks and Starting Points Family Resource Centers across the state funded.

2. In-Home Family Education Programs/Early Childhood

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WV Legislature
7:24 pm
Tue January 7, 2014

Miley Annouces Creation of House Committee

House Speaker Tim Miley announces the creation of a new committee during a press conference in front of the House Chamber.
Credit Aaron Payne

House Speaker Tim Miley announced his intention to create a new committee in his chamber.

The House Committee on Energy is the second committee the speaker will create in his first term as the chamber’s leader.

Chaired by Delegate Kevin Craig of Cabell County, Miley said the industry is one of the most important to West Virginia’s economy and deserves the focus of its own committee.

Delegate Mike Caputo will serve as vice chair and said they already intend to introduce one bill creating a legislative oversight committee on energy worker safety.

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Legislature
2:38 pm
Tue January 7, 2014

W.Va. House GOP Wants Lower Taxes, Less Regulation

House Minority Leader Tim Armstead reveals his party's platform for the 2014 legislative session surrounded by his fellow delegates.
Credit Ashton Marra

Forty-eighth in job creation, 50th in median household income, 49th in K-12 achievement--all statistics House Minority Leader Tim Armstead said his party is looking to improve upon this legislative session during a press conference at the Capitol Tuesday.

This year, the Republican caucus is focused on growing the state’s economy through tax reform, setting priorities for existing revenue sources and strengthening education.

“They need to focus on putting people back to work,” Armstead said of the Democratic leadership in his chamber.

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Prison Overcrowding
5:24 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Kentucky Company Says Can House W.Va. Inmates for Less

Division of Corrections Jim Rubenstein
Credit Division of Corrections

A private prison company in Kentucky said Monday it can house West Virginia inmates for less than the state Division of Corrections.

Kentucky’s Corrections Corporation of America said in a bid opened by the state Purchasing Division it can house up to 400 West Virginia prisoners in its Beattyville facility for $59.80 per day.

It costs the DOC around $65 per day to house prisoners at an in state facility according to division Commissioner Jim Rubenstein.

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WV Legislature
10:47 am
Fri December 13, 2013

Interims Mean Variety of Issues for Discussion

Credit wikimedia

Legislative interims wrapped up at the Capitol earlier this week and while we brought you some major headlines, like questions over Frontier’s broadband expansion project using federal grant monies and a proposed bill meant to make state purchasing laws more clear, here are a few more issues lawmakers were discussing.

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Celebration of Success Tour
4:29 pm
Thu December 12, 2013

Delegates to Tour West Virginia to Hear from Entrepreneurs

House Speaker Tim Miley
Credit WV Office of Legislative Services

The state House of Delegates already has a committee focused on improving the business climate in the state. It’s title, the Committee on Energy, Industry and Labor, Economic Development and Small Business. A mouthful, to say the least.

So, when Delegate Tim Miley became Speaker Miley in June, he proposed a change.

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Public Education
10:27 am
Thu December 12, 2013

Lawmakers Get an Education on Career Opportunities for Students

Assistant State Superintendent of Schools with the West Virginia Department of Education, Division of Technical and Adult Education Services, Dr. Kathy D'Antoni.
Credit WVDE

The Governor’s Education Reform Bill passed through the legislature and was signed into law earlier this year. That bill was seen as a major overall to the state’s public education system which critics said was failing West Virginia students, but was only meant to be the first step in reform.

From preschool to college and beyond, legislators have spent the past nine months hearing from the state Department of Education and the Higher Education Policy Commission about how they’re working to expand their reach and improve the quality of education students’ are receiving.

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Crimes Against Children
12:34 pm
Wed December 11, 2013

Committee to Introduce Bills Protecting Children

Delegate Linda Goode Phillips announces the Select Committee on Crimes Against Children will introduce four bills to the full legislature in 2014.
Credit Ashton Marra

A bi-partisan House committee focused on the issues of woman and children across the state will introduce four bills to the full legislature for its consideration in the upcoming session.

“If every Delegate is thinking properly, they’re going to do the right thing by voting for these,” said Delegate Linda Goode Phillips, chair of the Select Committee on Crimes Against Children.

“I think these are more from the heart, common sense bills. We want to protect the children.”

The bills were announced during a press conference at the Capitol Tuesday.

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Broadband Expansion
12:29 am
Tue December 10, 2013

Cost, Access to Frontier Broadband Project Questioned

Senator Bob Williams questions the cost of the BTOP expansion project during a Joint Committee on Technology at the Capitol.
Ashton Marra

The terms “router-gate” and “tower-gate” have been thrown around in committee meetings, in newspaper articles, on social media, to refer to what some are calling major mess ups by the previous and current administrations’ efforts to expand internet access across the state.

The funds those scandals misused came to West Virginia as a grant under the Federal Broadband Technology Opportunities Program, or BTOP. Legislative audits show that money was misused in various ways and now some are calling on the state to take a look at whether the expansion of the broadband fiber optic cable network has also been mismanaged.

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State Purchasing Laws
7:13 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

Bill Proposes Three Changes to Create 'Common Sense' Purchasing

Senator Herb Snyder
Credit WV Office of Legislative Services

Legislators are working on proposed legislation to reform the state purchasing laws that is expected to come before the full legislature during the 2014 session.

The bill was passed by a subcommittee and will be presented to the full Joint Committee on Government Organization in January for amendments before it is passed and considered by the full House and Senate.

Committee Chair Senator Herb Snyder said the draft bill has three basic provisions that will help make purchasing for all state spending units more clear.

The bill:

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Salem Correctional Center
10:27 am
Thu December 5, 2013

Salem Facility Transitions to Adult Prison

A panoramic view of a unit in the Salem Correctional Center.
Ashton Marra

After a lawsuit criticizing the Salem Industrial Home for Youth last year, the home was ordered closed and its juvenile residents transferred to other facilities throughout the state.

But that wasn’t the end for the Harrison County location. The Division of Corrections has worked over several months to transition the facility and its counselors from one for youth to one that now focuses on the rehabilitation of adult males.

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W.Va. Politics
5:16 pm
Mon November 25, 2013

Delegate Switches Parties to Run for State Senate

Del. Ryan Ferns announced he had switched parties and will run for the state Senate in 2014 as a Republican.
Credit Ashton Marra

Del. Ryan Ferns announced Monday he has switched parties and will run in 2014 for the state Senate as a Republican.

The former Democrat is in his second term in the House of Delegates and first made the announcement in his hometown of Wheeling, W.Va.

Ferns then traveled to Charleston, W.Va., where he, surrounded by Republican members of the state legislature, filed his pre-candidacy papers with the Secretary of State’s Office for the Senate seat.

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Legislature
1:21 am
Thu November 21, 2013

Five Things You Need to Know About W.Va.’s Proposed Marijuana Bill

Delegate Joe Ellington listens to a presentation of the draft medical marijuana bill in the House Chambers.
Credit Ashton Marra

Legislators got their first look at a bill that would legalize the medicinal use of marijuana in the state during interim meetings in Charleston. A controversial proposal, lawmakers are taking their time scrutinizing the legislation before they even decide to present it to the full legislature for consideration when they convene for the 2014 Regular Session in January.

The comprehensive bill is a compilation of medical marijuana laws from multiple other states and sets forth these five provisions:

1. Creation of a Patient Registry

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