2016 Legislative Session

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Members of the House took up a bill Wednesday that would give coal producing counties more control over how they spend those revenues.

House Bill 4668 increases the threshold of coal severance taxes counties can use to pay salaries and employee benefits. State law says only a fourth of those severance dollars can be used to pay personnel, but the bill would increase the allowable share from one-fourth to one-half.  

The Legislature Today
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Fiscal issues top the concerns of members of the minority party leading up to the end of this legislative session. 

Senate Minority Leader Jeff Kessler and House Minority Leader Tim Miley discuss the most pressing issues facing lawmakers with just 11 days left to consider legislation.

Martin Valent / West Virginia Legislative Photography

During a session that has largely focused on how lawmakers will close a nearly $400 million budget gap, the Senate will vote on a bill Wednesday that will cut taxes for both the coal and natural gas industries. 

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

The House of Delegates approved a bill that expands addiction treatment available in regional jails.

House Bill 4176 would create a program for inmates in regional jails suffering from an addiction to opioids, allowing them to receive medical treatment with the drug Vivitrol coupled with counseling.

Martin Valent / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Senators approved a bill to allow ride sharing companies to operate in West Virginia. The vote on House Bill 4228, commonly referred to as the Uber bill, was unanimous.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Members of the House have approved a bill that would halt the state-funded updates casino games. 

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, Liz McCormick reports on the ban of a certain type of abortion, which is being voted on today. Also, Roxy Todd has a story about opposition to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and Glynis Board takes us to a juvenile detention center in Wheeling that was visited by some members of the Wheeling Symphony.

courtesy Fairness West Virginia

This story was updated March 2, 7:40 pm: House Bill 4012 died on a 7 to 27 vote by the West Virginia Senate. The bill, known as the Religious Freedom Protection Act, would have established a process for courts to follow when people or businesses claimed that government action was infringing upon their religious beliefs.

17-year old Davis Kimble, a young activist who had spoken out against the bill earlier this week, had this response to the Senate's decision:"I think this serves as a victory for not only minorities across the state, but also for passionate community leaders who stood up and made their voices heard. It's a shame we had to fight this fight, but it shows a willingness on the part of our state legislatures to hear the people's voices and do what's best for the state and its wonderful people."

Martin Valent / West Virginia Legislative Photography

The Senate is advancing a bill that would reduce the state’s overall severance tax on coal to 3 percent over the next two years.

Senate Bill 705 was written by the Senate’s Finance Committee and was read a first time on the floor Monday evening, but only after being debated by members of the full chamber. 

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Members of the House of Delegates have killed a bill that would have reduced the state’s consumer sales tax while removing exemptions for certain types of professional services.

The Legislature Today
West Virginia Public Broadcasting


The GOP majority in both chambers have received plenty of criticism and support this legislative session for taking on controversial issues like Right-to-Work and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

 

West Virginians on either side of the issue have made their stances known through social media campaigns and rallies at the statehouse, and many opposed are turning those feelings into political fuel for the upcoming primary and general elections.

 

Curtis Wilkerson with Orion Strategies discusses a poll recently conducted by the firm about both legislative and political issues.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Members of the House of Delegates passed a bill that would ban a commonly used second-trimester abortion method.

Senate Bill 10 passed 86 to 13  in the House Monday. 

This bill bans dilation and evacuation, or D&E, abortions. It allows those procedures to take place, however, in cases of medical emergencies. Some OBGYNs have testified before lawmakers that the bill takes away one of the safest options for women and interferes with the doctor-patient relationship.

Martin Valent / West Virginia Legislative Photography

More than two weeks after it was approved by the House of Delegates, senators are beginning to move on a bill that would codify a judicial standard for cases where plaintiffs argue the government has infringed on their religious freedoms. 

On first reading in the Senate on Monday, House Bill 4012 has seen some changes since it was approved in the House Feb. 11.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, we take a look at a conference that brought together thousands of scholars and researchers to help create solutions for improving our health. Ashton Marra also brings us an update on the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, Liz McCormick keeps us up to date on a ban of certain types of abortions, which is being voted on in the West Virginia House of Delegates today and Clark Davis reports on Presidential candidate Paul Farrell.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

The House Finance Committee has approved a bill that would close loopholes in the state's sales tax.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Members of the House will vote on a bill Monday that would ban a commonly used second-trimester abortion method.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

A House committee has advanced a bill that would halt the state-funded updates to casinos and casino games.

Martin Valent / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

State Senators have approved a bill that would protect doctors who refuse to prescribe painkillers when they think a patient might be addicted to the medication. 

Martin Valent / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee took up the West Virginia Religious Freedom Restoration Act for the first time Friday evening, more than two weeks after the House of Delegates approved the legislation.

As anticipated by some members of the body, the committee began considering a strike and insert amendment, replacing the House version of the bill with new provisions, but before the proposed changes were even handed to lawmakers, some members of the chamber were unsure of how they would vote on the final version.

The Legislature Today
West Virginia Public Broadcasting


The West Virginia Religious Freedom Restoration Act was approved in the House more than two weeks ago and, in that time, Senate leaders have said little about the bill. The chamber's Judiciary Committee took up the legislation Friday evening, but some Senators say they’re waiting to see a final bill before throwing their support behind it.

 

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