Government

Flickr / davidwilson1949

With the Legislature's Joint Committee on Health holding a hearing last week to discuss issues related to medical marijuana, there remains a long road of discussion and debate.

Here's where a handful of key state legislators stand on the issue:

Tomblin to travel Europe promoting W.Va. industries

Oct 1, 2013
Govrnor Earl Ray Tomblin sitting in front of a blue background at a table with small, international flags in front of him.
Ashton Marra

Governor Tomblin announced a trip later this month touring 5 European countries to lobby business leaders for investment in West Virginia industries.

Mingo Co. Commissioner accepts deal, pleads guilty

Oct 1, 2013
Mingo County Commissioner David Baisden walking out of the U.S. District Courthouse in Charleston.
Ashton Marra

Mingo County Commissioner David Baisden pleaded guilty yesterday to a charge stemming from a federal investigation into corruption in the county. Baisden agreed to a plea bargain from federal prosecutors and will await his sentencing in January.

Adjutant General James Hoyer of the West Virginia National Guard
Dave Mistich

Adjutant General James Hoyer of the West Virginia National Guard said of the more than 2,300 full time guardsmen and women that would have gone back to work Tuesday, 1,150 of them were sent home because of the shutdown of the federal government.

Hoyer said jobs affected by the shutdown include everything from mechanics to pilots. He expressed frustrations over not being able to protect the pay of the men and women who he said are responsible for protecting the nation and state.

Rendering of replacement of Dick Henderson Memorial Bridge
Department of Transportation

Construction continues  to replace the Dick Henderson Memorial Bridge, which spans the Kanawha River between Nitro and St. Albans.

Officials with the Department of Transportation said the state looked at options for bridge repairs over the years and eventually lowered the weight limit to less than 10 tons. Over time, rust and deterioration became too much.  

Health care exchange begins enrollment in W.Va.

Oct 1, 2013

West Virginia’s Department of Health and Human Resources has been working for months to organize their federal-state partnered health insurance exchange beginning enrollment on October 1.

Likened to the travel website Expedia, the exchange will allow consumers to go online, compare plans from private insurance providers and choose the one that’s best for them, but the site will also determine your eligibility for coverage on state programs like Medicaid.

Marijuana
Flickr / eggrole

After three failed attempts to get a bill passed that would make marijuana available to those who would benefit from its medicinal properties, Del. Mike Manypenny (D-Taylor) continues to press on.

Director of the State Budget Office Mike McKown , Secretary of revenue Bob Kiss and Deputy Secretary Mark Muchow in the House Chambers.
Ashton Marra

Newly appointed Secretary of Revenue Bob Kiss and members of his department presented an overview of last year’s budget to lawmakers. Legislators scrutinized the governor’s last minute decision to cut almost $18 million from Medicaid to balance the budget at the end of the last fiscal year, but they were also given some crucial insight into the revenue numbers for this year.

Legislative auditors told an interim legislative committee the state's $38 million expansion of a statewide microwave communications network ignored West Virginia purchasing laws. Legislative leaders say they’re committed to reviewing the purchase process to prevent future misconduct.

Republican state leaders have been arguing for years that the state tax rates are preventing businesses from bringing jobs to West Virginia. Projected growth shows that while they may not come at the same rate those lawmakers want to see, jobs will come as the national economy turns around. There’s another factor, however, that’s starting to worry educators when it comes to the state’s economic future. And that’s the number of highly skilled workers ready to fill those positions.

In her first appearance before legislators, Department of Health and Human Resources Secretary Karen Bowling said the department is not yet prepared to release a detailed response to a performance review completed earlier this year. Instead, she shared some generalizations about major issues the department is trying to address. The biggest of those issues is hiring and retaining the necessary personnel to run the state’s largest agency.

Lawmakers delayed hearing a report from the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission Monday that showed only half of the state’s graduating seniors felt academically prepared to go on to college.

Chancellor Paul Hill was scheduled to present the report to the Legislative Oversight Committee on Education Accountability Monday, but the item was pushed until next month’s legislative interims because of time.

Ashton Marra

  The U.S. Attorney for Southern West Virginia is again charging Mingo County Circuit Judge Michael Thornsbury with conspiring to deprive a resident of his constitutional rights.

Here is the news release from U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin’s office:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                                                                          Sept. 19, 2013                   

GOODWIN CHARGES MINGO JUDGE IN SECOND CONSPIRACY

Are excess tax levies the answer to dwindling school budgets? One such proposal has caused friction in Kanawha county.

Courtesy Photo / West Virginia State Police

The West Virginia State Police remembered two officers Thursday who died in the line of duty just over a year ago. Thanks to House Concurrent Resolution 17 from this past legislative session, a stretch of roadway, a bridge and an interchange were named after the fallen troopers during a memorial near the site of the incident that took their lives.

A patch of pavement along Route 36 just inside the Roane County line served to be the place where Cpl. Marshall Lee Bailey took his last breath. It was also where Trooper Eric Workman sustained fatal injuries.  

Sen. Jay Rockefeller
State of West Virginia / State of West Virginia

New policy that that would cut in half the amount of permissible coal dust in underground mines is making its way through federal agencies in the form of proposed rule and regulation changes

The same stricter standards are proposed in legislation introduced this summer by Sen. Jay Rockefeller.

day in Bluefield to discuss the increasing cases of Back Lung disease, noting more than 2000 West Virginia miners have died of Black Lung over the last decade.

Gov. Tomblin
Dave Mistich

This morning Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin laid a wreath near the Fallen Firefighter’s Memorial on the State Capitol grounds to mark the twelfth anniversary of the attacks on September 11, 2001.

On this day 12 years ago, Governor Tomblin was serving as Senate President in the State Legislature. He said he first heard reports of the planes striking the World Trade Center as he was getting ready for the day while the legislature was in special session. Tomblin said he rushed to the Capitol and watched the rest of the day’s events unfold.

(We most recently updated this post at 4:02 p.m. ET.)

Amid reports that Syrian President Bashar Assad may be willing to give up his chemical weapons, as his strongest ally has suggested he do, the Obama administration expressed skepticism Tuesday.

U.S. Senator Joe Manchin
Courtesy Photo

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) continues to lobby for a bill he’s cosponsoring with Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) promoting a diplomatic solution to problems in Syria.

Manchin and Heitkamp have proposed a joint resolution that would give Syria’s president 45 days to agree to sign the Chemical Weapons Convention and comply with its provisions. The Convention prohibits the development, stockpiling or use of chemical weapons and requires they be destroyed.

At this point Manchin opposes the Obama Administration’s proposed limited military strike.

Dave Mistich

With the possibility of a U.S. attack on Syria still in limbo, a new poll released Monday by the Pew Research Center and USA Today suggests an overwhelming majority of Americans stand in opposition. A group sharing the same sentiment came together for a vigil in Charleston Monday night with hopes that Congress will hear their message.

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