Government

Government
9:08 pm
Tue July 29, 2014

W.Va. Attorney General Sues Obama Over Health Care Law Fixes

Credit Janet Kunicki / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

  West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey is suing President Barack Obama's administration over allegations of hand-picking which laws to follow.

The Republican's lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday.

The filing by Solicitor General Elbert Lin targets an Obama administrative fix to let some people temporarily keep unqualified plans under the Affordable Care Act.

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Regulations
4:11 pm
Tue July 29, 2014

Speaker to Governor: Spill Law Should Exempt Small Oil, Gas

Credit Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

West Virginia House Speaker Tim Miley wants Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin to limit regulation on small oil and gas operators in a law responding to a January chemical spill.

In a July 9 letter, Miley said small, non-Marcellus Shale wells are in "survival mode" and should be exempt from new aboveground tank inspections and registrations.

He says inspections could cost $2,000 per well annually.

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Protest
4:03 pm
Tue July 29, 2014

W.Va. DHHR Workers to Picket Over Large Caseloads

  West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources employees are picketing outside the agency's Fayette County office to raise awareness over what they call large, unmanageable caseloads.

The employees say they'll participate in an informational picketing on Tuesday afternoon. The West Virginia Public Workers Union says employees are carrying the large, unmanageable because of understaffing.

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Tunnel Fire
3:05 pm
Tue July 29, 2014

Repairs Set for I-77 Tunnel Along W.Va.-Va. Border

Credit Google Maps

  Some lanes of an Interstate 77 tunnel along the Virginia-West Virginia border where a truck fire occurred are being rerouted for repairs.

The northbound lanes of the East River Mountain Tunnel will be closed from 8 p.m. Tuesday through 8 a.m. Wednesday, and from 8 p.m. Wednesday through 7 a.m. Thursday.

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News
10:14 am
Tue July 29, 2014

Veterans Crisis Center Coming to Clarksburg

Louis A. Johnson VA Medical Center
Credit U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs / http://www.clarksburg.va.gov/

The long delays for veterans seeking medical care at VA hospitals have prompted The American Legion to plan a short-term crisis center in Clarksburg.

The veterans' organization will open a "crisis command center" at the Louis A. Johnson VA Medical Center on Aug. 5 and 6. A town hall meeting is set for Aug. 4 at American Legion Post 31 in Shinnston.

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Water Safety
9:32 am
Tue July 29, 2014

Secondary Intake Proposal Calls for Mountaintop Lake in Charleston

Credit Foo Conner / Flickr

  Two men have submitted a proposal calling for a mountaintop lake in Charleston that would serve as a backup drinking water source.

The proposal by Fred Stottlemyer and Joe Mullins seeks construction of an earthen dam to create an 800 million-gallon lake at Coonskin Park.

Stottlemyer is former public service district general manager. Mullins was an urban planner in the governor's office in the 1960s.

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Chemical Spill
9:22 am
Tue July 29, 2014

Freedom Industries Pays $11,000 Fine For January Spill

Credit Aaron Payne / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

  A company that spilled chemicals into West Virginia's largest water supply has paid an $11,000 fine for a pair of violations.

The Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration fined Freedom Industries $7,000 earlier this month for keeping storage tanks containing crude MCHM behind a diked wall that was not liquid tight.

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Settlement Reached
2:49 pm
Mon July 28, 2014

W.Va.'s Attorney General Announces a $950k Settlement with 3 Financial Groups

Credit West Virginia Attorney General's Office

West Virginia's attorney general has reached a $950,000 settlement with three companies over allegations of antitrust law violations.

Attorney General Patrick Morrisey announced the deal Monday. GE Funding Capital Market Services, Trinity Plus Funding Co., and Trinity Funding Co. were among 22 financial companies sued in 2009 by previous Attorney General Darrell McGraw.
 

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Same Sex Marriage
1:59 pm
Mon July 28, 2014

How Does The 4th Circuit Court's Gay Marriage Decision Affect West Virginia?

The U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va.
Credit Sean McCormick

In a historic move, a three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Monday Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional.

The decision was celebrated by pro-LGBT advocates in other states in the circuit, including West Virginia, but even they say it will take time before the decision impacts gay couples in the state.

As of now, 20 states and the District of Columbia issue licenses for same sex marriage. Many other states, districts and circuits are currently dealing with the issue in the court system.

The Decision:

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Contract Decision
11:10 am
Mon July 28, 2014

W.Va. Judge Lets IMG Deal with WVU Stand

Credit Swimmerguy269 / wikimedia Commons

A judge has denied a motion by West Virginia Radio Corp. to toss the media rights contract between West Virginia University and IMG College.

Monongalia County circuit judge Thomas Evans on Thursday set aside the motion for summary judgment against WVU and others.
 

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Public Education
11:00 am
Mon July 28, 2014

W.Va. Schools Will Soon Receive A Through F Grades

Credit Cecelia Mason

The process of implementing a new performance-based system for accrediting the state's public schools will begin in September.

The Dominion Post reports the state Office of Educational Performance Audits will conduct on-site reviews in each of Monongalia County's public schools in mid-September. Schools across the state will be reviewed over the next two years.
 

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Transportation
2:59 pm
Sat July 26, 2014

Two Firefighters Treated After W.Va.-Va. Tunnel Blaze

Credit Google Maps

A tractor-trailer fire filled an Interstate 77 tunnel with black smoke, backed up traffic for miles and sent two West Virginia firefighters to a hospital.

The Bluefield Daily Telegraph reports that the fire in the East River Mountain Tunnel near West Virginia's border with Virginia was extinguished by 5:50 p.m. Friday, more than 2 1/2 hours after it was reported. 

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Lawsuit Filed
1:47 pm
Fri July 25, 2014

Manchin Sued by Brother Over Loan

U.S. Senator Joe Manchin.

U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin is being sued by one of his brothers, who says the West Virginia Democrat and another brother never repaid a $1.7 million loan intended to keep the family's carpet business afloat.

Dr. John Manchin II filed the lawsuit in Marion County against the senator and Roch Manchin.
 

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Testing Opposition
10:09 am
Fri July 25, 2014

PETA Opposes Using Animals in W.Va. Testing

Credit People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals

An animal rights group opposes plans to conduct testing on animals of chemicals that spilled into West Virginia's largest water supply using animals.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals voiced concerns in a letter Thursday to Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin.

Wednesday, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials promised additional tests on rats, worms and zebra fish. They will cost up to $1.2 million and take up to a year.

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Law & Order
9:09 am
Fri July 25, 2014

Kanawha Commissioners to Seek Prosecutor's Removal

Credit Marcus Constantino (@AMTino) / Charleston Daily Mail

  Kanawha County commissioners have agreed to begin removal proceedings against Prosecutor Mark Plants.

The commission voted Thursday to file a petition, citing the costs of paying a special prosecutor to handle certain cases in his place. Once filed, the state Supreme Court would appoint a panel to rule on it.

Plants and his office are barred from handling cases involving crimes of violence by a parent or guardian, abuse and neglect cases, and violations of domestic violence protection orders.

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Local Government
9:01 am
Fri July 25, 2014

Huntington to Hire Additional Police Officers

Credit Huntington Police Department

  The city of Huntington is reallocating $500,000 in its budget to hire 10 police officers to fight drug problems in neighborhoods.

The city council unanimously approved the move Thursday. It will transfer funds from the city's insurance program and the street paving budget.

Mayor Steve Williams told the council that Huntington residents are scared to take their children outside. He says the hirings will send a message to drug dealers to get out.

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Politics
4:40 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

Casey, Mooney Talk Business Policy at Forum

Nick Casey (left), Alex Mooney (right)

  Democrat Nick Casey and Republican Alex Mooney say the global warming debate is better left to scientists.

During Thursday's West Virginia Business & Industry Council forum at the Charleston Civic Center, they added that other countries should step up in reducing carbon emissions.

It marked the first forum featuring both party candidates in this fall's 2nd Congressional District election.

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Government
9:29 am
Thu July 24, 2014

U.S. Plans W.Va. Refunds Under Affordable Care Act

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell
Credit Office/Sen. Jay Rockefeller

More than $900,000 in refunds from insurance companies are headed to 8,300 consumers in West Virginia.

Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell announced the payments Thursday, crediting the Affordable Care Act.

Burwell said the refunds in West Virginia will average $177 per family.

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Government
9:23 am
Thu July 24, 2014

Process Slow for Picking Huntington Police Chief

Credit cityofhuntington.com

  Huntington remains without a permanent police chief four months after Skip Holbrook announced his resignation.

Mayor Steve Williams says the selection process for Holbrook's replacement has gone slower than he anticipated.

Williams says he underestimated the time required to conduct background checks of candidates.

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Civic Engagement
3:30 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

Keys to Grassroots Policy Success: Wide Net, Narrow Focus

Citizens participate in the Northern West Virginia Regional Policy Workshop and Community Training in Clarksburg
Credit Sarah Lowther Hensley

If you spend any time at the West Virginia state capitol during the annual 60-day legislative session, you’ll notice many voices clamoring for the attention of our state’s part-time lawmakers.  All citizens are welcome to approach legislators with ideas and requests, but average citizens generally don’t have the time or the know-how to impact state policy decisions.  One grassroots initiative has been working to change that. 

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