Law & Order

Bipartisan Bill Would Prop Up Coal Miners’ Pensions

Oct 4, 2017
Becca Schimmel

A bipartisan Congressional group from the Ohio Valley and beyond introduced a new bill to save pensions for retired union coal miners throughout the region.

 

Prison Bars
Schavda / wikimedia Commons

The prosecution of a highway bribe kickback scheme in federal court has netted $510,000 in restitution for the state of West Virginia.

Prison Bars
Schavda / wikimedia Commons

A former administrative law judge has been sentenced to four years in prison for taking bribes from a Kentucky lawyer in a $600 million Social Security fraud case.

Glynis Board / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The Herbert Henderson Office of Minority Affairs visited Weirton, West Virginia, Thursday, Aug. 17, to hear concerns of minority residents in the Northern Panhandle. Some residents are worried about violence erupting in the state in response to neo-nazi rallies in Charlottesville.

Coal Stock Pile
www.mine-engineer.com

Political leaders in West Virginia and Kentucky are joining a coalition of states threatening to sue California over a program the state is pushing that would drop investments in coal.

Greenbrier Valley Airport

The Greenbrier Valley Airport has been awarded a $550,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Republican U.S. Rep. Evan Jenkins says the money will be used to buy an aircraft rescue and firefighting vehicle, improving safety for passengers and crews.

Airport Director Stephen Snyder thanked federal and state officials for the working to obtain the grant. In his words: "Without funding at the federal and state level, these projects would be impossible."

The airport in Lewisburg serves the Greenbrier, Homestead and Snowshoe Mountain resorts.

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

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is traveling to Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia this weekend to urge fellow senators to oppose Senate health care legislation and retain the Affordable Care Act.

Jesse Wright

Governor Jim Justice has not included a budget bill on his call for a special session set to begin Thursday.

Justice’s office released the call that includes five bills Wednesday afternoon.

Jim Justice
Steve Helber / AP

Tax liens show Gov. Jim Justice's coal companies still owe cash-strapped West Virginia $4.4 million in unpaid state taxes due at least a year ago.

Glynis Board / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, each year more than 600,000 people return to our neighborhoods after serving time in federal and state prisons. Another 11 million cycle through local jails. And many people end up cycling right back into prison.

Why? And what is life like upon release?

The office of the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of West Virginia coordinates a program designed to help communities understand that experience, and maybe shed some light on some of the contributing factors to high recidivism rates.

Cecelia Mason / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

West Virginia county officials may hire the state House of Delegates majority leader as the county's new economic development executive director.

The Journal reports that Morgan County commissioners will decide at an Oct. 20 meeting whether to hire Republican Delegate Daryl Cowles.


Wiki

All police officers in Charleston will soon be outfitted with body cameras.

WCHS-TV reports all officers who interact with the public will have body cameras by the end of fall. Currently, only a handful of officers wear them.

Lt. Steve Cooper says officers think the body cameras will make their job easier. Police say they hope the cameras are an added layer of protection for officers and the public.

A federal grant is being used to pay for the cameras, which cost about $1,000 each.

Gage Skidmore

Two of the Republican Party's top leaders have hesitated to support a bill that would preserve the pensions and health care benefits for thousands of retired union coal miners.

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump are both popular in Appalachian coal communities. But McConnell in the past has blocked a bill that would rescue the pensions and health benefits of more than 13,000 retired coal miners in Kentucky. Trump has been silent on the bill, which Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton has endorsed.

Associated Press

The American Civil Liberties Union is decrying attempts by West Virginia local governments to restrict panhandling as unconstitutional.

The Journal reports that in a letter to the City of Martinsburg and Berkeley County last week, Jamie Lynn Crofts of the ACLU of West Virginia said the proposal would violate First Amendment free speech rights.

People who have been affected by cuts to West Virginia's Medicaid Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities waiver program may join a lawsuit against the state Department of Health and Human Resources.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports that U.S. District Judge Thomas Johnston granted class-action status to a lawsuit filed by Mountain State Justice on behalf of five disabled residents over the cuts.

The program provides disabled Medicaid recipients in West Virginia money for in-home services and community-based programs.

Mylan CEO Heather Bresch holds up an EpiPen while testifying on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2016, before the House Oversight Committee hearing on EpiPen price increases.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais / Associated Press

Even the federal government is apparently paying too much for EpiPens, along with angry patients and insurers.

The skyrocketing price of the life-saving allergy shot, which has triggered a storm of criticism, is only part of the problem. Now the federal government, responding to Congressional inquiries, says Medicaid has for years been paying too much for EpiPens because the emergency shot is classified incorrectly as a generic medicine.

AP Photo

A defiant Don Blankenship declared himself an "American political prisoner" on his blog, blaming others for the 2010 mine explosion that killed 29 men and landed the former West Virginia coal operator in federal prison.

The ex-Massey Energy CEO posted the 67-page booklet Tuesday and said he'll distribute it to 250,000 people.


West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Dr. Robert Rupp weighs in on the importance and power of political debates both nationally, and here in West Virginia. He’s a member of the State Election Commission and a professor of political science at West Virginia Wesleyan College. Rupp spoke with Ashton Marra about the first presidential debate and what West Virginia’s candidates for governor can take away from it before they hit the air waves tonight. 

Little Blue Run Coal Ash Impoundment
Wiki

The U.S. Senate passed a bill today to address water infrastructure challenges. It also incorporates provisions that affect coal ash regulations.


Glynis Board / West Virginia Public Broacasting

The NAACP’s annual state convention took place over the weekend on the campus of Wheeling Jesuit University featuring a panel discussion where speakers tackled some of the biggest racial issues facing the state.


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