On The Legislature Today, host Andrea Lannom chats with West Virginia Commissioner of Agriculture Kent Leonhardt on the role agriculture plays in diversifying the state’s economy. We also hear the latest on the debate over Public Employees Insurance Agency issues.

Capitol Dome, Capitol, Legislature
Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

West Virginia officials say weaker results in January have caused state tax collections for the first seven months of the fiscal year to lag 1 percent behind original estimates.

Dollar Photo Club

The Justice Department is weighing whether to retry a West Virginia coal boss on charges of campaign finance fraud. A mistrial was declared Friday after the jury spent more than five hours deliberating the fate of 58-year-old James Lewis Laurita, of Morgantown. 

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Updated: February 8, 2018 at 9:34 a.m.


Conversations focused on the insurance provider for public employees continued Wednesday in the West Virginia House of Delegates. The chamber adopted a resolution asking the PEIA Finance Board to hold off on proposed changes for the upcoming year, as House Democrats also pushed to discharge a bill to the floor to repeal the board -- only to see no action on the measure.

Procter & Gamble Headquarters in Cincinnati, OH.
Derek Jensen / wikimedia Commons / user: Tysto

Officials from Procter and Gamble have announced additional products will be manufactured at the Martinsburg plant and, as a result, more employees will be needed.

Since construction began in 2015 for West Virginia’s Procter and Gamble plant, the organization estimated a need for 700 full-time employees to be hired by 2019.

On The Legislature Today, host Andrea Lannom chats with two senators who sit on the Senate Judiciary Committee – Sen. Mark Maynard, R-Wayne, and Sen. Mike Romano, D-Harrison. We explore a handful of issues with these two lawmakers. Also in this episode, we spotlight an entrepreneurial agribusiness – growing lavender on barren strip mines.

David J. Phillip / Associated Press

The West Virginia House has voted to make it a crime to waste game by leaving carcasses or just taking trophies such as heads, claws or feathers.

The bill, passed 56-39 on Monday, would set fines ranging from $500 to $2,500 for big game, meaning deer, bear, boars and turkeys. Hunting and fishing licenses would be suspended for five years.

West Virginia House of Delegates, January 2018.
Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

West Virginia's House has voted to let nursing aides give various prescription medications to patients at nursing homes.

Supporters of the bill, approved 55-44 on Tuesday, say the certified nurse aides would have to be trained every two years, work under the direction of a registered nurse, couldn't give opioids and other drugs listed as having high potential for abuse and could give injections only with pre-filled insulin.

Huntington Police Department

West Virginia's attorney general is calling for 150 more state troopers and 50 more investigators to help stem the flow of illegal drugs fueling the state's addiction crisis.

Attorney General Patrick Morrisey says a full overnight shift on the state's highways is important to a law-enforcement effort that's gotten "short shrift" on resources.

Authorities say a coal miner has been killed at an underground mine in northern West Virginia.

The West Virginia Office of Miners' Health, Safety and Training says the incident occurred shortly before 4 a.m. Tuesday at Wolf Run Mining LLC's Sentinel mine in Barbour County.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, we bring you stories from the GOP retreat at the Greenbrier Resort and another installment of our week-long Appalachian Innovators series.

Senate Judiciary Committee, May 2017.
Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

A West Virginia legislative committee has advanced a proposed amendment to the state constitution that would authorize lawmakers to restrict abortion rights.

The resolution, approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee by voice vote, would require two-thirds passage by both the Senate and House and a voter referendum to take effect.

On The Legislature Today, we take a closer look at state lawmakers’ efforts toward addressing child sexual abuse in West Virginia. Host Andrea Lannom has an in-depth discussion on the issue with a member of the West Virginia Task Force on Child Sexual Abuse – Emily Chittenden-Laird, Executive Director of the West Virginia Child Advocacy Network.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, we begin a new series of stories called Appalachian Innovators. When you think of Appalachian coalfields, images of stripped mountaintops might spring to mind. But what if these barren landscapes were covered with purple fields of lavender? Some people in West Virginia think lavender could give the state’s struggling economy a boost. Roxy Todd has the story.

On The Legislature Today, hundreds of teachers rallied at the Capitol. Teachers from selected counties staged walk-in's and walk-outs, and Governor Jim Justice cancelled a scheduled press conference where it was planned he would talk about education issues. Host Andrea Lannom chats with fellow statehouse reporters Brad McElhinny of West Virginia MetroNews and Ryan Quinn of the Charleston Gazette-Mail in another reporter roundtable.

Dave Mistich / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Hundreds of West Virginia teachers and school service personnel braved below freezing temperatures and rallied Friday at the state Capitol for better pay and benefits. While organized work stoppages came from those in Mingo, Logan and Wyoming counties, teachers from elsewhere around the state made their way to the the rotunda in Charleston.

GOP Legislators Looking for a Winning Formula in 2018

Feb 2, 2018
Donald Trump
PBS Newshour

Congressional Republicans have gathered at a West Virginia resort in search of a winning election-year agenda. The best they have to offer in 2018 may be a recitation of the tax cuts approved in 2017 — and the threat of another government shutdown is looming.

The legislators had forums on topics such as infrastructure, national security and the economy — but noticeably not on immigration, the major issue that bedevils them.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Gov. Jim Justice says the West Virginia Public Employees Insurance Agency finance board will conduct public hearings this month on his proposal to change its policy to reduce premiums for families that have two state incomes, including teachers.

Gloria Triplett, a reading specialist at East Chapmanville Elementary School, holds signs Friday, Feb. 2, 2018, during a teacher rally at the West Virginia Capitol in Charleston, W.Va.
John Raby / Associated Press

Before a gallery packed with teachers, West Virginia's Senate approved a bill Friday to give them annual pay raises of 1 percent over a four-year period, a move that both teachers and many senators said wasn't enough.

The bill passed on a 33-0 vote after a lengthy discussion. One senator was absent.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, during the course of the past week, teacher rallies have sprung up around the state, as the West Virginia Education Association and the American Federation for Teachers continue discussions with members about possible strikes or walkouts.

On The Legislature Today, we bring you an in-depth look at the West Virginia’s Community and Technical College System and a bill that creates a grant program specifically for its students. That bill, Senate Bill 284, passed the West Virginia Senate unanimously and makes CTCs free for in-state students, if multiple requirements are met. It is now up for consideration in the House.

Will Price / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Over the course of the week, teacher rallies have sprung up around the state, as the West Virginia Education Association and the state chapter of the American Federation for Teachers continue discussions with members about possible strikes or walkouts. While increases to PEIA premiums and deductibles are some elements feeding those talks, teacher pay has been another flash point.

Bobak Ha'Eri / wikimedia Commons

President Donald Trump's address to Republican congressmen at The Greenbrier resort in southern West Virginia drew several hundred protesters with signs and chants criticizing him and calling for living wages, protecting Medicaid and Medicare, defending immigrants and decrying hate speech.

Trump Says Republicans Had a Bumper Year

Feb 1, 2018
Gage Skidmore / AP Photo

President Donald Trump used a speech before GOP lawmakers Thursday to pat fellow party members on the back and take digs at Democrats just days after calling for bipartisan unity.

Trump also urged the passage of an immigration framework that has been lambasted by Democrats and some members of his party, making clear that he sees no room for compromise.

On The Legislature Today, host Andrea Lannom has an in-depth conversation with Chelsea Ruby, Commissioner of the West Virginia Division of Tourism. Governor Jim Justice has proposed to nearly triple the tourism budget, bringing the agency’s current $6 million budget to $20 million.

Pence Touts Tax Cuts, Slams Manchin in West Virginia

Jan 31, 2018
Vice President Mike Pence, left, and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan of Wis., attend the State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives Tuesday, Jan. 30.
Win McNamee / AP/White House Press Pool

Vice President Mike Pence paid a visit Wednesday to a truck dealership in West Virginia, touting the tax cuts enacted by the Republican-controlled Congress while slamming the state’s Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, who voted against the plan.

Updated at 1:15 a.m. ET Thursday

An Amtrak train carrying House and Senate Republicans to their annual retreat in West Virginia struck a garbage truck Wednesday morning near Charlottesville, Va.

At least one person was killed, according to a statement released by White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

The Latest: Rail Crossing at Crash Site Has Warning Signals

Jan 31, 2018
Train tracks, train
John Collier / Wikimedia Commons

This is a developing story. Keep checking back for more details.

Updated at 4:02 p.m.

The railroad crossing where a train carrying Republican lawmakers struck a trash truck is equipped with two advance warning signs, two roadway gate arms, two mast-mounted flashing lights and a bell to warn of an approaching train.

Those details are included in a U.S. Department of Transportation Inventory Form dated Jan. 3 describing the warning system at the crossing near Crozet, Virginia.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

In his State of the State Address, Governor Jim Justice made clear his intention to make West Virginia’s community and technical colleges free for in-state students. A bill to accomplish that was introduced shortly after this year’s legislative session began. The main goal of the bill is to cultivate a strong workforce in West Virginia. Liz McCormick takes a closer look.

West Virginia Legislative Services

West Virginia's House has passed a bill that says clergy in the state don't have to perform marriages that don't conform to their "sincerely held religious beliefs" and cannot be sued for refusing.