Government

Dollar Photo Club

The Justice administration is calling for several measures to address the state's drug crisis, including tougher penalties for bringing illicit narcotics into West Virginia, a method for nonviolent drug felons to clear their records and an increase in addiction treatment.

Gov. Jim Justice says residents are suffering because there aren't enough treatment options in West Virginia.

Will Price / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Senators will vote on a bill Wednesday that regulates the use of drones in the state. The bill has been years in the making, according to its lead sponsor.

Senate Bill 9 sets a number of guidelines for both the personal and professional use of drones, or unmanned aircraft. 

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

The House voted on two education-related bills Tuesday – one that would give The West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and Blind access to the School Building Authority and another aimed at giving higher education institutions more control of their own affairs.

Underground Mine, Miners, Mining
Robert PEnergy / wikimedia commons

Authorities say a worker took a fatal fall at a West Virginia mine owned by Gov. Jim Justice.

Patrick Graham is vice president for Southern Coal Corp. He says a worker at the company's Bishop Preparation plant in McDowell County died about 10:30 p.m. Monday.

West Virginia Legislative Services

West Virginia's House of Delegates has agreed unanimously to prohibit nepotism in government hiring and working conditions.

The House, voting 98-0, has voted for an amendment to the state Ethics Act Another that would prohibit public officials or employees from favoring relatives or people they live with in awarding or influencing government jobs.

Will Price / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Senators approved a bill Monday to clarify West Virginia’s right-to-work law that the Legislature passed last year. The law has yet to take effect because it’s been tied up in a court case in Kanawha County.

Will Price / West Virginia Legislative Photography

The Senate’s Select Committee on Tax Reform has started discussing the latest version of its bill to repeal West Virginia's personal income tax and replace it with an expanded consumption tax. 

The income tax provides nearly $2 billion in annual revenue for the state, but supporters of the provision say a broader sales tax on goods and services at a higher rate could replace that revenue, encouraging economic growth in the state. 

The committee discussed the bill for a second time Monday morning, but still have not been presented with a fiscal note detailing the shift of revenues. 

The U.S. Senate confirmed Wilbur Ross to serve as President Trump’s Secretary of Commerce on a 72-27 vote Monday night -- with U.S. Senator Joe Manchin, of West Virginia, voting against the billionaire businessman, citing Ross’ business dealings in the state.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

A bill aimed at giving the state’s two largest universities more control over their own affairs advanced in the House of Delegates Monday.

House Bill 2542 is a large bill, 33 pages in fact, with several provisions. But its main intent is to give the state’s higher education institutions more flexibility in hiring and salary rates.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Gov. Jim Justice has unveiled a revised budget plan to close the projected $500 million state deficit by raising taxes on sugary soft drinks and cigarettes, revising pension contributions and reducing previously proposed fractional sales and corporate tax hikes.

He's still calling for major highway reconstruction to boost the state economy, funded by bonding seeded with revised taxes and fees. He says it would create 48,000 jobs.

Elementary Classroom
Douglaspperkins / Wikimedia Commons

Parents, alumni and supporters of a Wheeling-area Catholic high school are asking for donations to try to keep the school open for the next school year.

The Intelligencer and Wheeling News-Register report that a 10-member committee is working on a five-year strategic plan to improve the financial stability of Bishop Donahue High School in McMechen.

In 1958, voters sent Byrd to the U.S. Senate, where he would remain from 1959 until his death in 2010 at age 92.
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online. / Sen. Robert C. Byrd, US Senate, 1964 Civil Rights Act, Senate Appropriations Committee

Panelists will discuss the longtime senator from West Virginia, the late Robert C. Byrd, at a free program at Marshall University this spring.

Among the panelists will be Marshall assistant professor C. Damien Arthur, who is currently working on an analysis and political biography of Byrd. Arthur says a closer look at Byrd reveals a fascinating person who loved West Virginia, the U.S. Senate and the U.S. Constitution.

WVU Tech in Montgomery, West Virginia
WVU Tech

Some child advocates say a plan by a nonprofit group to convert a southern West Virginia campus into a college specifically for children transitioning out of the foster care system is not a good idea.

Tina Faber is based at West Virginia University in Morgantown and runs a state program called Mentoring with Oversight for Developing Independence with Foster Youth, or MODIFY.

She told the Charleston Gazette-Mail that it's very important for children in foster care to live a normal life and to be with peers who aren't foster children.

Jennifer Garner
Cliff Owen / AP

Actress Jennifer Garner says growing up "surrounded by generational, rural poverty" in West Virginia inspired her to become an advocate for early-childhood education.

Garner spoke at a meeting of the National Governors Association on Saturday about programs that bring educators into the homes of low-income parents to help them get their kids ready for kindergarten. At one point, her microphone was cut off and she said, "It's like the Oscars!"

Cynthia Goldsmith / CDC/ Dr. Terrence Tumpey

West Virginia's health officer says the flu outbreak has increased statewide and is expected to peak in a few weeks.

Dr. Rahul Gupta, state health officer and commissioner of the Bureau for Public Health, says flu activity is widespread in the state.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Delegates are beginning to consider bills that would cut some state agencies, no matter how big or how small they are. Members of one committee Friday looked at a bill that would put an end to an agency that receives about $150,000 in annual funding.

House Bill 2646 would get rid of the West Virginia Women’s Commission. It’s a small state agency with just two employees, one of whom works part-time. The House Government Organization Committee considered the bill Friday morning – where its sponsors defended the proposal.

Bill Crouch
Clark Davis / WV Public Broadcasting

State officials were in Huntington Friday to highlight an organization that could be impacted by cuts, if budget proposals aren’t passed by the legislature.

WV has a budget crisis. Governor Jim Justice’s budget proposal includes more than $450M in tax increases to cover the majority of a $500M deficit. But still programs like the Intellectual Developmental Disabilities Waiver are at risk.

Rock Creek Development Park
Clark / WV Public Broadcasting

One of the last goals of former West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin’s administration, was to try to help southern West Virginia economically. Tomblin hopes he’s found a unique way to do that.

Space, that’s one of the things companies look for when they consider locating in West Virginia. They want plenty of it before they’ll commit to moving factories and warehouses to the state, but former Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin said the lack of flat land is often a challenge for those working to diversify West Virginia’s economy.

Governor's Office

Former state tourism commissioner Amy Shuler Goodwin is running for mayor of Charleston.

Goodwin announced her candidacy at a news conference Thursday.

A federal appeals court has refused to rehear the case of former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship in the deadliest U.S. mine disaster in four decades.

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals handed down the order Friday.

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