2016 Legislative Session

Cigarette, tobacco
nikkytok / Dollar Photo Club

  Cigarettes are getting more expensive in West Virginia.

To balance the state budget, West Virginia will raise its cigarette tax by 65 cents to $1.20 a pack starting Friday. E-cigarette and other tobacco product taxes will also increase. The hike is expected to raise $98 million annually.

Legislature
Perry Bennett / WV Legislative Photography

While Republican West Virginia legislative leaders rammed a right-to-work bill into law this year, unions and business groups spent almost $1.8 million altogether battling over the policy.

Grassroots campaign reports say union groups spent $1.4 million in a failed bid to kill right-to-work. Pro-business groups spent about $374,500 to support the GOP on the policy abhorred by unions and Democrats. The fight was waged in TV ads and other media.

Doctor Patient Health Care Coverage
Fæ / wikimedia commons

The deadline for state employees, retirees and teachers to sign up for or change health insurance plans ended on Sunday, May 15, 2016.

Sunday marked the last day to adjust Public Employees Insurance Agency benefits.

West Virginia State Capitol
davidwilson1949 / wikimedia Commons

  West Virginia’s Secretary of Revenue Bob Kiss says there were few surprises for the state when it comes to tax collections in March, but not a lot of good news.

March 2016 saw no growth in personal income tax or sales tax revenue collections compared to March 2015. Severance tax collections were also down close to 40 percent compared to the same month in the previous year.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Governor Earl Ray Tomblin has signed a bill that requires voters to show some form of identification before casting a ballot at his or her polling place as well as creates an an automatic voter registration process system. 

W.Va. Lawmakers Head Home Without a Budget

Mar 16, 2016

On this West Virginia Morning, we get the latest on why the 2017 budget has not been completed, even though the 2016 legislative session has ended. We also hear from Liz McCormick about health-outcome rankings for West Virginia counties.

Protesters Gather At Capitol To Show Opposition

Mar 14, 2016
West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, we hear stories on the 2017 Budget, a voter ID bill which is on its way to the Governor's desk, repealing common core, and a protest of hundreds that formed at the Capitol over the weekend.

This has been a wild and historic session of the West Virginia Legislature. And every step of the way, West Virginia Public Broadcasting has provided in-depth and comprehensive coverage.

For the first time, West Virginians could see in real time exactly how their laws are made on The West Virginia Channel.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Editor's Note: For the latest updates on the final day of the legislative session, be sure to keep checking our live blog.

Updated Saturday, March 12, 2016 at 7:28 p.m.: 

Members of the Senate have concurred in the House amendments to House Bill 4014 after voting 27-4 during a Saturday evening floor session.

With the concurrence and passing vote, the bill now heads to Governor Tomblin for further consideration.

Martin Valent / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Editor's Note: For the latest updates on the final day of the legislative session, be sure to keep checking our live blog.

Update: Saturday, March 12, 2016 at 5:33 p.m.: 

Senate Bill 298--which would move alcohol sales in restaurants, private clubs, wineries and distilleries on Sundays from 1 p.m. to 10 a.m.--has passed the final needed approval in the House. Earlier Saturday, the Senate concurred with House amendments to the bill but had made a title amendment. The House has accepted the title amendment.

The bill would only allow for on-premise consumption and also requires each county to pass a referendum to allow for the move of the sale time. 

It now heads to Governor Tomblin's desk for possible signature. 

Live video of the floor sessions will be available via the West Virginia Channel. Also be sure to follow along with our news team on Twitter @wvpublicnews

For a look back on what's happened this session, take a look at this season's episodes of The Legislature Today.

The Legislature Today
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

With just one day left in this regular legislative session, both the 2016 and 2017 budgets remain unbalanced. 

Secretary of Revenue Bob Kiss details the House, Senate and Governor's proposals to fund state government, but the loss of several bills means none of the proposals can be approved for the 2017 fiscal year.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Editor's Note: For the latest updates on the final day of the legislative session, be sure to keep checking our live blog.

Update: Saturday, March 12, 2016 at 5:36 p.m.

The West Virginia Senate adopted House Concurrent Resolution 36, after it was adopted by the House of Delegates late Friday night.

Del. Josh Nelson of Boone County attempted to amend the resolution Friday to put it into an interim study, but his amendment failed after hours of debate.

The resolution calls for an Article 5 Convention of States to amend the U.S. Constitution for a singular purpose: to require Congress to balance the federal budget except in times of national emergency.

Brunch, Alcohol
MAT HAYWARD / Dollar Photo Club

Lawmakers have passed a bill to allow the Sunday sales of alcohol in restaurants, private clubs, wineries and distilleries at 10 a.m.

The Legislature Today
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

  As the 2017 budget deficit looms, members of both chambers are looking for ways to balance the budget in a tight fiscal year. 

Senate President Bill Cole says additional agency cuts should come from the Governor, but says using the state's Rainy Day Fund to help fund the deficit is a reasonable measure.

Capitol Dome, Capitol, Legislature
Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

A bill to bump up alcohol sales on Sundays from 1 p.m. to 10 a.m. is moving in the House even after Speaker Tim Armstead said it wasn’t a priority this session. Businesses across the state have cried out for the bill’s approval, calling it an economic development measure.

Earlier this week, House Judiciary amended Senate Bill 298 in committee; a bill that has been affectionately referred to as the “brunch bill” to include a provision requiring county voters approve of the time change through a referendum. 

Martin Valent / West Virginia Legislative Photography

The West Virginia Legislature has voted to reverse Governor Tomblin's veto of a bill to ban a certain second-trimester abortion method. 

Senators voted 25 to 9 Thursday morning, while House members voted 85 to 15 during an afternoon floor session to overturn the veto. 

Ban On Abortion Method Vetoed

Mar 10, 2016
West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, we’ll hear House Speaker Tim Armstead go over a few issues, including the 2017 budget. We'll also get updates on the drug testing of some welfare recipients, the postponement of the reduction of a severance tax, and Gov. Tomblin's veto of a ban of a certain type of abortion method.

Martin Valent / West Virginia Legislative Photography

West Virginia Republicans have rejected seven of Democratic Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin's appointees, including prominent Democrats and labor leaders.

The Senate Confirmations Committee dropped them from consideration Wednesday, angering Democratic senators. Tomblin spokesman Chris Stadelman said the governor was disappointed.

Perry Bennette / West Virginia Legislative Photography

A West Virginia push to ban a second-trimester abortion method has been vetoed.

Democratic Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin on Wednesday nixed the measure that would ban the commonly used abortion practice.

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