Government

Cecelia Mason / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Members of the Martinsburg City Council are expected to take up an ordinance Wednesday that will prohibit discrimination against the LGBT community in their city.

RayNata / wikimedia

Eighty-seven people face charges stemming from a drug investigation in North Central West Virginia.

Ten police agencies began arresting the suspects Tuesday morning. Bridgeport police chief John Walker tells media outlets that 40 people were in custody as of 11 a.m.

Douglas R. Lyall

Nearly 47 years after being injured in a land mine explosion in Vietnam, a West Virginia veteran has finally been awarded the Purple Heart.

Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

In early 2002, President George W. Bush signed the No Child Left Behind Act, a sweeping education reform bill. The new law required all states to test all children and set federal benchmarks for student achievement in order to receive federal funding. 

West Virginia implemented the reforms and West Virginia Department of Education Chief Accountability Officer Michelle Blatt said the state did see some incremental improvements under the law. Still, she said, one size fits all from Washington did not work in West Virginia. 

“It didn’t matter if you started in one place and really grew a long way," she said, "there were still sanctions if you didn’t meet the bar that they set.”

 

Now, some 13 years later, members of Congress are thinking of turning that legislation on its head by passing a reauthorization that is essentially a rewrite. 

National Governors Assocaition

Members of Congress will continue to debate a long-term plan to fund the nation’s Highway Trust Fund as the U.S. Senate takes up the bill once again Monday. The fund, which expires Friday, dedicates dollars for highways and railways across the country for six years, but only provides funding for three of those years.

Without any deal, states could take a major hit on the infrastructure projects they already have underway.

“I have to stop somewhere about 350 road projects immediately. It would cost us about $1.2 billion immediately,” Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe said Saturday. “It would be a disaster.”

Jodyperry / wikimedia Commons

Fairmont State University and Pierpont Community & Technical College are banning tobacco use on their shared campus.

Both schools' governing boards have approved adoption of a tobacco-free, smoke-free and vapor-free campus. The Times West Virginian reports that the new policy is effective Aug. 1.

Pierpont Board of Governors chairman James Griffin says the board wanted to create a healthier environment for students.

Wikipedia / en.wikipedia.org

Marshall University's handling of American Indian remains is under investigation by the U.S. Department of the Interior.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports that the agency is investigating whether Marshall is in compliance with the federal Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, or NAGPRA.

David Tarler is in charge of training, civil enforcement and regulations for the National NAGPRA Project. He says federal officials want to determine whether Marshall officials have properly inventoried remains and artifacts collected over the years.

Wikimedia Commons

The Department of Health and Human Resources has proposed changing rules governing West Virginia's pain clinics to close loopholes.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports that the changes include requiring a pain clinic's physician-owner to have at least a 25 percent ownership stake in the practice.

The existing rules require a "dedicated physician-owner" to have "care and control" of each practice. But there's no minimum ownership stake.

coalfieldsexpresswayauthority.com

A slumping coal industry has put a Coalfields Expressway project in southern West Virginia on hold.

The state planned to build a section of the four-lane highway in McDowell County through a public-private partnership with a coal company. The company would convert a mined area into roadbed.

Coalfields Expressway Authority executive director Richard Browning says discussions about the project have stopped because of a depressed coal market.

Brianhayden1980 / wikimedia Commons

Attorneys for former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship want evidence about the 2010 explosion at the Upper Big Branch mine kept out of his criminal trial this fall.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports the attorneys filed a motion late Friday asking a federal judge to instruct jurors that the trial does not concern the explosion that killed 29 miners, its cause or who was responsible.

Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin welcomed 23 governors from across the country to West Virginia for the National Governors Association's summer meeting at the Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs Friday.

Over the course of two days, governors will hold meetings focused on a variety of topics NGA Chair and Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper said many states deal with: economic development, health care, workforce development and education.

Sen. Joe Manchin and the acting administrator of the Federal Railroad Administration will meet with state and local officials to discuss rail safety.

Manchin and Sarah Feinberg will hear Friday from military representatives, first responders and industry representatives. The venue will be the Center for National Response, a former highway tunnel in eastern Kanawha County that is used for anti-terrorism activities and other drills.

Brian Turner

The U.S. attorney in Louisville says an Internet drug company operating in West Virginia has agreed to forfeit $450,000 from the illegal sale of prescription drugs as part of a guilty plea.

The plea agreement says Aracoma Drug Co. electronically received invalid prescriptions from NationalRXRPartners for prescription drugs to be dispensed to people who filled out questionnaires over the Internet.

A Murray Energy subsidiary has been cited by federal regulators for an accident that killed one worker and injured three others at a mine in Marshall County.

A report released Wednesday by the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration says McElroy Coal. Co. didn't adequately support the roof, face and walls where miners work or travel.

Love Krittaya, Wikimedia Commons

West Virginia’s 55 schools districts can now apply for state funding to help combat excessive absences in public schools.

 

The West Virginia Department of Education is accepting applications from county boards of education for funding to hire a local truancy diversion specialist.

Those county level specialists will work directly with students who have the highest number of absences, providing them individual attention to get them back in the classroom.

wikimedia commons

The Cabell-Huntington Health department played host to a two-day training session this week. Its goal: to help local health officials get acquainted with conducting a syringe exchange program. 

The first of two trainings conducted by the Harm Reduction Coalition of New York City focused on why a syringe exchange program is right for the Huntington area. The program will allow addicts to exchange their old syringes for new ones.  

Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia

E-filing is expanded again, now to its third county in the state.

West Virginia Judiciary’s Unified Electronic Filing System, or e-filing for short, started in Marion County in August 2013, and then in April of this year, it expanded for the first time to Jefferson County. On Tuesday, it expanded again to Monroe County.

WOWK

Federal prosecutors are asking a judge to schedule a guilty plea hearing for the top executive charged in a massive chemical spill last year.

In Charleston federal court Wednesday, prosecutors filed the request for former Freedom Industries President Gary Southern's hearing.

region1workforcewestvirginia.org

West Virginia's unemployment rate has risen for the fifth consecutive month.

According to The Exponent Telegram, WorkForce West Virginia on Tuesday announced that the state's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose to 7.4 percent in June.

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wikimedia / Wikimedia

The founder of a Hampshire County company faces up to three years in prison after pleading guilty to a tax charge.

Jolin Concrete Industries, Inc. founder and majority owner Joseph H. Frye admitted in federal court that he understated the company's taxable income on an income tax return filed for the 2012 tax year.

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