2017 Legislative Session

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On the is West Virginia Morning, we’ll hear about House legislative action on two bills -- one on sales tax reform and one to allow for the furlough of state employees in the event of a budget impasse that results in a government shutdown.

We also hear about a race in Jefferson county that combines fitness with a bit of history, and we we feature Mountain Stage’s Song of the Week.

Legislature
Perry Bennett / WV Legislative Photography

Newly signed laws are intended to extend broadband internet service to parts of West Virginia lacking it and help the state better prepare for major flooding.

The broadband measure says it's a primary goal of the Legislature and governor to make every community and rural area accessible and establish equitable access to 21st-century technology.

It establishes a council to gather data on existing service, including internet speeds, and annually map them.

Dollar Photo Club

West Virginia is establishing a new Office of Drug Control Policy to coordinate statewide funding, reporting and data about drug use, overdoses, addiction treatment, needs and statewide policy.

The law approved by the Legislature and Gov. Jim Justice requires health care providers, pharmacies, medical examiners, police, prosecutors and emergency responders to report suspected or actual overdoses, medical treatments, use of overdose antidotes and drug poisoning deaths.

tanning bed
SlimVirgin / Wikimedia Commons

West Virginia has outlawed indoor tanning by anyone under 18.

The law approved by the Legislature and signed by Gov. Jim Justice says tanning facility owners face a misdemeanor charge and $100 fine for a first offense.

Prison Bars
Schavda / wikimedia Commons

Gov. Jim Justice has signed new laws to criminalize "revenge porn" and to establish a mechanism for reducing criminal records for non-violent felonies down to misdemeanors.

The new crime laws are among dozens of measures the governor has signed so far this week following the Legislature's 60-day regular session.

Woodburn Hall
http://history.wvu.edu/r/images/homepage/13223

Gov. Jim Justice has signed a law revamping state oversight of West Virginia's colleges and universities, giving some schools more autonomy from West Virginia's Higher Education Policy Commission.

Institutions exempted from certain regulatory requirements are West Virginia University, including West Virginia University Potomac State College and West Virginia University Institute of Technology, Marshall University and the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine.

Legislature
Perry Bennett / WV Legislative Photography

Nearly two weeks after West Virginia's Democratic governor vetoed the state budget approved by the Republican-controlled Legislature, negotiations have yet to resolve disagreements on tax changes and spending cuts.

However, Gov. Jim Justice says he'll call legislators back to a special budget session "soon."

wikimedia

Parents or guardians who cause the death of a child in West Virginia will face tougher penalties under a law signed by the governor.

Gov. Jim Justice signed Senate Bill 288, known as "Emmaleigh's Law," into law Wednesday. It sets a sentence of 15 years to life for fatal child abuse caused by a parent, guardian, custodian or other person allowed by the parent to commit the abuse.

Canabis Oil Medical Marijuana
Adobe Stock

Gov. Jim Justice signed a law Wednesday making West Virginia the 29th state to allow the use of marijuana for certain medical conditions.

The law lets doctors prescribe cannabis to patients who are terminally ill or have seizures, cancer, chronic pain, post-traumatic stress disorder, AIDS and other specified conditions.

Doctor's Exam Room
Tinton5 / Wikimedia Commons

Physician assistants are urging Gov. Jim Justice to withdraw his veto of legislation that would revise their scope of practice in West Virginia and authorize they work in collaboration rather than under supervision of a doctor.

The bill approved by the Legislature would have removed the requirement that physician assistants maintain current certifications from the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants.

Evzio Naloxone Auto-injector
Clark Davis / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

  A new state law authorizes school nurses and other trained and authorized personnel at West Virginia schools to administer drugs to counteract opioid overdoses by students without having to first contact parents.

The bill passed unanimously by the House and Senate and signed by Gov. Jim Justice comes as West Virginia recorded 844 overdose deaths last year, more than 700 involving at least one opioid such as heroin, fentanyl or prescription painkillers.

hydrocodone pills
Toby Talbot / AP

With more than 30,000 West Virginians already in drug treatment, lawmakers have voted to spend $24 million from recent court settlements with opioid distributors increase inpatient beds to help address the state's addiction crisis.

West Virginia House of Delegates
Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

With the passage of their budget bill behind them, members of the House are working their way through a number of bills left on their agenda this legislative session. West Virginia Public Broadcasting took a closer look at two of the bills approved in the chamber Thursday.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

A bill to legalize medical marijuana in West Virginia is heading to Gov. Jim Justice for a signature.

Members of the House accepted Senate technical amendments to the bill Thursday night, sending it on for gubernatorial approval. 

Deer
Scott Baue / U.S. Department of Agriculture

West Virginia lawmakers have voted to allow Sunday hunting on private land across the state with the written consent of the owner.

The House has voted 92-5 for the bill that bars counties from prohibiting Sunday hunting.

West Virginia Legislative Services

West Virginia's House has voted to make it a crime to publicly display, distribute or threaten to disclose sexually explicit or intimate images of someone else without their consent.

Judiciary Committee Chairman John Shott says the purpose is to criminalize "revenge porn."

Tim Armstead, Eric Nelson
Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Members in the House of Delegates have approved their budget bill for fiscal year 2018 – bringing $140 million additional dollars in revenue and making $75 million in cuts to government agencies. The House’s budget is largely based on revenue brought in under a Senate bill that was drastically changed by the chamber’s finance committee.

Will Price / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Senators voted 20-14 Wednesday, approving their Senate plan for the 2018 fiscal year. 

The bill, which contains no new revenue or a draw down from the State's Rainy Day Fund according to Senate Finance Chair Mike Hall, relies on about $160 million in cuts to government spending. 

Greyhound Racing
AngMoKio / wikimedia Commons

The days of dog track racing could be numbered in West Virginia.

At the state's two tracks, there are usually more dogs than there are spectators. The tracks are among the last remaining greyhound racing facilities in the U.S. The races could soon end if the governor signs a bill doing away with state subsidies that benefit breeders and handlers at racetracks.

Tim Armstead, Steve Harrison
Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

The House of Delegates has passed a Senate bill that would legalize medical marijuana in the state. But the bill has seen a number of changes since the 28 to 6 vote last week in the upper chamber.

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