Government

Robert Thompson
Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Members of the House of Delegates are looking for ways to help grow the state’s agriculture industry. A bill in the chamber’s Agriculture Committee would require the state to purchase more locally grown food.

House Bill 2566 creates the West Virginia Fresh Food Act. As introduced, the bill would require state funded institutions to purchase at least 20 percent of their produce from West Virginia farmers.

Isaac Sponaugle
Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Members in the House of Delegates have considered a number of bills this legislative session that increase the penalties for breaking various laws. At least three of those bills have focused on drug crimes which Republican lawmakers say is in response to the state’s substance abuse epidemic.

Will Price / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Senators are looking to make changes to the way some employees will pay their union dues or club fees.

Senate Bill 239 would require an employer to have the written consent of an employee to withhold any amount from their paycheck for contributions to a political candidate or candidate committee. That consent would have to come through a form submitted to the Secretary of State’s Office and is only good for 12 months.

Patrick Morrisey, W. Va. Attorney General
Janet Kunicki / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

West Virginia's attorney general has appealed a judge's ruling blocking the state's new right-to-work law from taking effect while the court challenge against it continues.

Attorney General Patrick Morrisey has asked the state Supreme Court to vacate the preliminary injunction, arguing that the state AFL-CIO and other unions that sued won't face irreparable damage.

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Fatal drug overdoses in West Virginia continued to rise last year, as its overdose death rate still far outpaces any other state.

Citing a Feb. 13 analysis by the West Virginia Health Statistics Center, The Register-Herald reports that at least 818 people in the state died of drug overdoses in 2016 — four times the number that occurred in 2001 and a nearly 13 percent increase over last year.

Ibrahim.ID / wikimedia Commons

Seven more municipalities across West Virginia are joining in on lawsuits against several drug distributors accused of fueling the local opioid epidemic by shipping far too many painkillers there.

WSAZ-TV reports that five of the plaintiffs are in the Tri-State and Kanawha Valley area: the cities of Logan, Montgomery, Summersville, the town of Wayne and Nicholas County.

Jesse Wright / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice says he agrees with the state's U.S. senators that they can't kick West Virginians off Medicaid "and leave them in the cold."

Justice, responding Tuesday to a proposal by congressional Republicans to replace the Affordable Care Act, says he's asked his health secretary to examine the specifics, how it would affect West Virginia and what regulatory changes could help residents.

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks during a campaign stop Thursday, May 5, at the Morgantown Event Center.
Jesse Wright / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

An appearance in southern West Virginia by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders that was canceled last month has been rescheduled for this weekend.

WVVA-TV reports Sanders will speak Sunday at Mount View High School in Welch. The event is being hosted by MSNBC.

Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia

Gary Johnson has been named permanent administrator of the state Supreme Court.

The court announced Johnson's appointment Monday. He had been serving as acting administrator since his appointment in January to replace Steve Canterbury.

West Virginia's U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito has joined with three Republican colleagues criticizing the House proposal to replace former President Barack Obama's health care law, saying they won't support a plan that doesn't have stability for individuals and families enrolled in expanded Medicaid.

In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, they say the proposed replacement drafted in the Republican-controlled House also lacks needed flexibility for states.

Ashton Marra

A bill being considered by the state Senate would make it a crime to abandon a deer, fish or other game animals caught in West Virginia.

The Senate Natural Resources Committee forwarded the bill Monday to the Judiciary Committee.

Martin Valent / West Virginia Legislative Photography

A bill that would exempt the mass release of West Virginia hunters' contact information to the public is making its way through the state Legislature.

With little debate, the Senate Natural Resources Committee forwarded the bill Monday to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

A legislative audit released earlier this year encouraged lawmaker to get rid of the state’s certificate of need process. A Certificate of Need is essentially approval from the state to open a new hospital, clinic or health related facility. Senators have introduced bills to get rid of the process, but delegates are trying to save it.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Delegates have approved a bill that its sponsors hope will expand access to mental and behavioral health medications.

House Bill 2509 allows physicians to prescribe certain controlled substances through telemedicine technologies – like over a video call. Doctors are currently prohibited from prescribing certain types of medications over telemedicine systems, including narcotics like oxycodone and morphine—drugs that have been abused in recent years in the state.

Martin Valent / WV Legislative Photography

West Virginia's Senate has passed a bill to deny parental rights to rapists whose victims consequently have babies.

The amendment approved 33-0 Monday would define a child conceived in a sexual assault as an abused child under the state law intended to protect them from abusive parents.

A woman who reported her 3-year-old daughter missing in West Virginia in 2011 has been indicted in her death.

A grand jury on Monday indicted 34-year-old Lena Marie Lunsford Conaway.

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State revenue figures show West Virginia's tax collections for February exceeded estimates by $10 million but still leave the government's estimated shortfall for the fiscal year at $123 million.

Revenue Secretary Dave Hardy notes the Justice administration has identified unspent funds to use and avoid tapping the state's rainy day fund.

Todd Harrell / West Virginia National Guard

Charleston airport officials have proposed a $290 million emergency infrastructure project for rebuilding and extending Yeager Airport's runway following a 2015 landslide at the safety-overrun area.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports the proposal calls for lengthening the runway from about 6,800 feet to 8,000 feet, and adding 1,000-foot safety zones at each end.

Huntington Police Department

The Huntington City Council has agreed to transfer $325,000 from a police overtime budget to use for regular salaries for the next fiscal year.

The Herald-Dispatch reports Saturday's move will allow for the hiring of five police officers.

Maple Syrup
Mindmatrix / Wikimedia Commons

West Virginia Agriculture Commissioner Kent Leonhardt is kicking off International Maple Month in the state with a ceremonial maple tapping this week in Guthrie.

The Agriculture Department says the event is set for 10 a.m. Wednesday at the Gus R. Douglass Agriculture Center.

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