Government

A company involved in the problematic federal health care exchange website has a contract to design a system to manage West Virginia state government accounts.
 
     CGI Group subsidiary CGI Federal is the developer of the complex U.S. government website that's been hit by technical problems, resulting in long waits for Americans to sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.
 

West Virginia's Head Start preschool program is no longer available in every county due to federal budget cuts, state officials said Tuesday.

The federally funded program helps prepare low-income children for elementary school and also provides them with meals and health care. The programs are a legacy of President Lyndon B. Johnson's 1960s war on poverty.

Ashton Marra

The governor, the legislature, even a special commission on highways are all looking for ways to fund state roads. A select committee on Infrastructure is trying to find ways to save money and increase efficiencies by combining the Division of Highways and the governing authority of the state’s Turnpike, but simply combining the two would create serious legal implications for the state.

State correctional facilities map
Division of Corrections

A West Virginia Department of Agriculture spokesman says the agency hasn't yet selected a site for a hog farm that would help feed state inmates.

Ashton Marra

An audit of the Bureau for Children and Families says the Department of Health and Human Resources needs to focus on the safety of Child Protective Service workers making home visits throughout the state.

Legislative auditors presented their review of the bureau to lawmakers with six recommendations on how to improve safety for workers monitoring cases and conducting investigations outside of their county offices.

Those include:

West Virginia’s Division of Corrections Commissioner Jim Rubenstein told lawmakers the state is considering sending inmates to out of state facilities to curb overcrowding issues.

So far, two facilities are interested in taking inmates, one in Tennessee and one in Texas.

Rubenstein assured legislators on the Legislative Oversight Committee on Regional Jails and Correctional Facilities Monday while the state does have a Constitutional provision that bans sending inmates out of state involuntarily, it is within the law if they volunteer to be transferred.

region1workforcewestvirginia.org

West Virginia historically has one of the lowest workforce participation rates in the nation according to statistics from WorkForce West Virginia, but the director of research for the organization told lawmakers it may be more than an older population contributing to that number.

Director Jeff Green defined workforce participation as the percentage of the population over the age of 16 actively seeking employment or already employed.

Secretary of Revenue Robert Kiss
Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A representative of Governor Tomblin reported to legislators no programs had to be cut and no employees had to be laid off as a result of the federal government shutdown, but with an agreement from Congress that only funds the government through the first of the year, the administration is still worried the state could run into the same issues again.

The governor and his staff are now asking state lawmakers to consider taking legislative action to prevent future problems when there’s a lack of federal funding.

Twelve Senators are reaching across the aisle on a deal to end the government shutdown and increase the federal debt limit before Thursday, the day the country would likely default on its debts if Congress doesn’t act. One of the 12, Senator Joe Manchin said default is not an option.

Thomas J. Piccard
AP

A press conference Thursday afternoon gave the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other authorities a chance to address concerns about a shooting that took place Wednesday at the Federal Courthouse in Wheeling.

Ashton Marra

As the state moves closer to paying off its bond debt associated with the West Virginia Turnpike, lawmakers are starting to consider what to do with the roadway. The ideas being discussed in the halls of the Capitol, however, always make their way a few miles down I-77 to the state Parkways Authority’s headquarters.

A bill originally introduced during the 2013 Legislative Session is being hashed out by legislators during interim meetings. Co-sponsored by Senator Bill Cole of Mercer County, he says it helps diminish the burden on the Turnpike counties.

Ashton Marra

The state Board of Education learned more Wednesday about the search process for a new state Superintendent of Schools. At their October meeting, the board heard from an outside attorney hired to oversee the process.

Victor Flannigan of the Charleston law firm Pullin, Fowler, Flanagan, Brown & Poe is heading up that process and told Board members they are now looking to hire a consulting firm to compile candidates nationwide for the job.

Ashton Marra

The state Board of Education voted to take a year to study the possible the implications of the closure and consolidation of a small Fayette County High School. Meadow Bridge houses students grades 7 through 12 and was set to be closed within the next three years, but the Board’s decision is now forcing the county to reassess that plan and also reassess their upcoming school bond.

Rachel Lippman / St. Louis Public Radio

The United Mine Workers of America has reached a settlement with Peabody Energy and Patriot Coal that will help to cover health care benefits for retired miners.

Background:

WDTV

A former Wheeling police officer reportedly fired up to 30 shots into the federal courthouse Wednesday afternoon before he was shot and killed by security officers at the building.

Update: Wednesday, October 9, 2013 at 10:22 p.m.

Federal informations released Wednesday by the U.S. Attorney's Office charge former Mingo County Chief Magistrate Dallas Toler and Mingo County Prosecutor Michael Sparks in separate cases. They are the latest charges in a string of federal indictments in Mingo County, recently leading to guilty pleas from a circuit judge and county commissioner.

Miracle Boy, a film about a young boy who is injured in a farming accident and then bullied by other boys, took home Best Short film at the West Virginia Filmmaker’s Festival this past weekend.  Producer Jason Brown said he will always be a West Virginia filmmaker despite his Georgia address. The movie  was shot in Greenbrier County.

Ashton Marra

A majority of the furloughed West Virginia National Guard members and support staff are returning to work this week because of a movement in Congress to extend military pay to reserve members.

But the state’s top-ranking Guard official said a return to work doesn’t mean those members, and the overall safety of the state, won’t continue to be affected by the federal government shut down.

“The Guard in West Virginia will overcome obstacles and we’ll make things happen to take care of our people in this state, but we shouldn’t have to operate this way.”

West Virginia Agriculture Commissioner Walt Helmick said Tuesday the partial federal government shutdown won't affect his agency's operations.
 
     Helmick said  in a news release that the Department of Agriculture is continuing daily inspections at livestock slaughter and processing facilities.
 
     The department also is continuing surveillance of egg and dairy products, testing poultry flocks for disease and conducting other routine activities.
 

West Virginia Citizen Action Group says it will appeal the approval of a $1.1 billion deal for the sale of the Harrison Power Station.

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