Government

Palosirkka / wikimedia Commons

State and local officials are seeking the dismissal of a lawsuit challenging West Virginia's ban on gay marriage.
 
     The Charleston Gazette reports that the West Virginia Attorney General's Office and Kanawha County Clerk Vera McCormick asked a federal judge this week to dismiss the case.

An advisory panel is recommending two Mingo County public defenders as potential candidates to replace former Circuit Court Judge Michael Thornsbury.
 
     The Judicial Vacancy Advisory Commission submitted the names of Teresa McCune and Jonathan Jewel to Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin on Tuesday.

A gun rights group has gone to court in an attempt to stop enforcement of Charleston's gun ordinances.
 
     The West Virginia Citizens Defense League asked Kanawha Circuit Court on Tuesday to issue an injunction against the ordinances.
 

The National Park Service will be closing the Ajax Spring located off of Fayette Station Road after recent mandatory testing indicated the water does not meet the minimum requirements for drinking water.  Despite the fact that the spring is posted as a non-potable water source, there are concerns that residents in the local community use the spring water for household use. 

David Benbennick / wikimedia Commons

The Williamson office building that formerly housed a pain clinic is being given to the West Virginia State Police.

U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin said Monday that the agency also will receive $340,000 in cash proceeds forfeited by one of the operators of Mountain Medical Care Clinic.

The pill mill was shut down in 2010 following a federal investigation that ended with several criminal convictions.

A former state Supreme Court candidate has withdrawn from consideration as an appointed circuit judge in Mingo County.

Tish Chafin wrote to the state Judicial Vacancy Advisory Commission on Thursday. Commission member Kent Carper tells The Charleston Gazette that Chafin sought the position out of concern that solid candidates wouldn't apply.

The executive director of the state Ethics Commission admits the panel violated West Virginia's open meetings law.
 
     The violations occurred Thursday when the commission failed to send the required notice of two meetings to the Secretary of State's Office. One was devoted entirely to open meetings laws.
 
     According to state code, notice of public meetings must be approved and listed online for five business days to be legal.
 

WV Office of Legislative Services

The state House of Delegates already has a committee focused on improving the business climate in the state. It’s title, the Committee on Energy, Industry and Labor, Economic Development and Small Business. A mouthful, to say the least.

So, when Delegate Tim Miley became Speaker Miley in June, he proposed a change.

The West Virginia Division of Highways will be closing a section of Interstate 77 in Mercer County to allow for controlled blasting of a slipping hillside.

            The I-77 northbound slow lane between mile post 3 and 3.5 has been closed to traffic since December 2, 2013 due to the instability of the hillside. After consulting with a contractor, the WVDOH has decided to address the issue by bringing down the hillside with explosives.

Enrollment in West Virginia's health insurance marketplace has jumped by more than 500 percent in the past month.
 
     Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield says about 1,200 West Virginians have enrolled in plans through the federal exchange as of Monday. That's up from 198 people on Nov. 13.
 
     Highmark is the only private insurer participating in West Virginia's health insurance marketplace.
 
     Meanwhile, about 75,000 people have enrolled in the state's expanded Medicaid program, 12,000 more than the state projected.
 

Ashton Marra

A bi-partisan House committee focused on the issues of woman and children across the state will introduce four bills to the full legislature for its consideration in the upcoming session.

“If every Delegate is thinking properly, they’re going to do the right thing by voting for these,” said Delegate Linda Goode Phillips, chair of the Select Committee on Crimes Against Children.

“I think these are more from the heart, common sense bills. We want to protect the children.”

The bills were announced during a press conference at the Capitol Tuesday.

Secretary Karen Bowling / Department of Health and Human Resources

Changes are in the works at the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources in response to an audit that found the agency is inefficient.
 
     DHHR Secretary Karen Bowling plans to break the agency into three divisions covering human services, health services, and insurance and strategic planning. Each division would oversee several bureaus within the agency. Deputy secretaries would be appointed to lead the divisions.
 

Many in-state students at West Virginia's public higher education institutions don't earn a degree after six years.
 
     An annual graduation report shows fewer than half of in-state freshmen enrolled in fall 2005 earned their degrees six years later.
 
     West Virginia University was the exception. The university's 2012 six-year graduation rate was 56 percent.
 
     Marshall University's six-year graduation rate was 44 percent, followed by Shepherd University, 43 percent; and West Liberty University, 41 percent.
 

Cecelia Mason

West Virginia's state superintendent says fewer 16-year-old students dropped out of high school after the compulsory attendance age was raised to 17.
 
     West Virginia State Superintendent James Phares told lawmakers on Tuesday that the number of 16-year-olds who dropped out of school in the 2012 school year declined by 52 percent from the previous year after the law went into effect.
 

Ashton Marra

The terms “router-gate” and “tower-gate” have been thrown around in committee meetings, in newspaper articles, on social media, to refer to what some are calling major mess ups by the previous and current administrations’ efforts to expand internet access across the state.

The funds those scandals misused came to West Virginia as a grant under the Federal Broadband Technology Opportunities Program, or BTOP. Legislative audits show that money was misused in various ways and now some are calling on the state to take a look at whether the expansion of the broadband fiber optic cable network has also been mismanaged.

WV Office of Legislative Services

Legislators are working on proposed legislation to reform the state purchasing laws that is expected to come before the full legislature during the 2014 session.

The bill was passed by a subcommittee and will be presented to the full Joint Committee on Government Organization in January for amendments before it is passed and considered by the full House and Senate.

Committee Chair Senator Herb Snyder said the draft bill has three basic provisions that will help make purchasing for all state spending units more clear.

The bill:

Heavy rainfall over the past few days has lead to road closures in many areas around the state, including roads in Berkeley, Braxton, Boone, Clay, Kanawha, Mason, Putnam, Cabell, Lincoln, Logan, Mingo, Wayne, Roane, Wood, Harrison, Marion, Marshall, Ohio, Tyler, Upshur, Randolph, Nicholas counties.

Update: Monday, December 9, 2013 at 10:55 a.m.

The country’s largest organization of wartime veterans, the American Legion will host a town hall meeting in Huntington tonight.

Members of the American Legion’s System Worth Savings Task Force plan to listen to concerns of veteran’s about the care they receive at the VA Medical Center in Huntington. Periodically the team visits VA Medical Centers is different regions of the country to evaluate the care being given, part of each trip includes a sit down with veterans from the area and specifically ones who have received care at the VA.

Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia

A Fairmont attorney is days away from making judicial history in West Virginia.

prweb.com

With the opening of an envelope and the reading of a few numbers, the state Purchasing Office completed a bid opening Thursday for the Division of Corrections.

The request for proposals, known as an RFP in government jargon, asked national companies or state corrections departments to bid on sending West Virginia inmates to their out-of-state facilities in the hopes of curbing the state over crowding problem.

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