Government

Will Price / West Virginia Legislative Photography

House Bill 2620, creating the West Virginia Drug Overdose Monitoring Act, would provide an office to gather data about the drug epidemic in West Virginia. Senate Judiciary Chair Charles Trump called that office a “hub.”

This would be a tool for the state to track concerns over drug abuse and overdoses throughout the state, as well as connect with other states to determine how they deal with similar concerns. Sen. Mike Woelfel said it is time for the Legislature to solve the problem.

Twitter / @wvgovernor

Gov. Jim Justice has announced he will veto a bill that would have effectively put an end to the greyhound racing industry in West Virginia, according to its supporters. 

Justice traveled to Wheeling to announce the veto of Senate Bill 437 Saturday morning.

Saturday, April 8 marks the 60th and final day of the 83rd West Virginia Legislature's First Regular Session. 

Bashar al-Assad
REMY DE LA MAUVINIERE / AP

West Virginia’s congressional delegation today came out in support of President Donald Trump's decision to take action in Syria.

Images of devastation began to surface earlier this week after what U.S. officials and observers described as a chemical weapons attack on civilians in Syria by the regime of Bashar al-Assad. An agreement was reached in 2013 with Assad and Russia that all chemical weapons in Syria be destroyed.

Opioids
Toby Talbot / AP Photo

A West Virginia mayor has joined the ranks of at least 11 communities suing some of the biggest U.S. drug distributors, bidding to make them pay for the damage done by addiction in a state already ravaged by the decades-long decline of coal.

Welch Mayor Reba Honacker says she'd like to establish a local rehabilitation center with any money her Appalachian city of 1,900 might gain from the lawsuit.

The West Virginia Office of Miners' Health, Safety and Training says that a miner injured in February at the CK Mine No. 5 in Mingo County has died from complications related to his injuries.

According to the office, Dennis J. Fillinger of Harts, West Virginia, died Thursday. He was struck by a piece of falling rock about 9:30 p.m. Feb. 23.

Allen Loughry has been selected to serve a four-year term as chief justice of the West Virginia Supreme Court.

The court says in a news release that it marks the first four-year term for a chief justice since 1888. Chief justices typically serve one-year terms.

College Class, Lecture Hall
Xbxg32000 / wikimedia commons

West Virginia officials have extended the application deadline for the need-based Higher Education Grant Program through May 1.

The Higher Education Policy Commission and Community and Technical College System say the deadline has been pushed back because of a federal technology issue.

Underground Mine, Miners, Mining
Robert PEnergy / wikimedia commons

West Virginia's tax collections from coal and natural gas production in March topped $40 million, exceeding original budget estimates by $13 million and showing some recovery from last year.

State Revenue Secretary Dave Hardy says that gain was partly offset by corporate net income tax, consumer sales tax and business and occupation taxes that were more than $8 million below estimates altogether.

West Virginia House of Delegates
Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

With the passage of their budget bill behind them, members of the House are working their way through a number of bills left on their agenda this legislative session. West Virginia Public Broadcasting took a closer look at two of the bills approved in the chamber Thursday.

Will Price / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Senators have approved a bill that was the subject of intense debate in the House earlier in the session—getting rid of the state’s Women’s Commission-- and once again, the chamber’s female members took a stand supporting the measure. 

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

A bill to legalize medical marijuana in West Virginia is heading to Gov. Jim Justice for a signature.

Members of the House accepted Senate technical amendments to the bill Thursday night, sending it on for gubernatorial approval. 

Deer
Scott Baue / U.S. Department of Agriculture

West Virginia lawmakers have voted to allow Sunday hunting on private land across the state with the written consent of the owner.

The House has voted 92-5 for the bill that bars counties from prohibiting Sunday hunting.

Prison Bars
Schavda / wikimedia Commons

An official says a West Virginia inmate has died after being assaulted by another inmate.

West Virginia Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety spokesman Lawrence Messina told media in a statement that a fight occurred between the Mount Olive Correctional Complex inmates on Wednesday evening and led to the death of 30-year-old Earl Parsons.

West Virginia Legislative Services

West Virginia's House has voted to make it a crime to publicly display, distribute or threaten to disclose sexually explicit or intimate images of someone else without their consent.

Judiciary Committee Chairman John Shott says the purpose is to criminalize "revenge porn."

Tim Armstead, Eric Nelson
Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Members in the House of Delegates have approved their budget bill for fiscal year 2018 – bringing $140 million additional dollars in revenue and making $75 million in cuts to government agencies. The House’s budget is largely based on revenue brought in under a Senate bill that was drastically changed by the chamber’s finance committee.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Protect West Virginia and it’s partners gathered on the Capitol steps to denounce the state Legislature’s budget proposals today, arguing that they would be, quote, “disastrous for West Virginia families, businesses and communities.” 

Steven Smith Protect West Virginia representative said, We will not accept any proposal that mortgages the future of our state and hands this problem over to the next generation.”

Will Price / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Senators voted 20-14 Wednesday, approving their Senate plan for the 2018 fiscal year. 

The bill, which contains no new revenue or a draw down from the State's Rainy Day Fund according to Senate Finance Chair Mike Hall, relies on about $160 million in cuts to government spending. 

Greyhound Racing
AngMoKio / wikimedia Commons

The days of dog track racing could be numbered in West Virginia.

At the state's two tracks, there are usually more dogs than there are spectators. The tracks are among the last remaining greyhound racing facilities in the U.S. The races could soon end if the governor signs a bill doing away with state subsidies that benefit breeders and handlers at racetracks.

Perry Bennet / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Both the House and Senate will be presented with their respective 2018 budget plans on the floor Wednesday, and in the House, that budget will rely on nearly $140 million in new revenue.

The revenue comes from getting rid of certain exemptions to the state’s sales tax in an effort to lower the overall rate down the road.

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