The Legislature Today

Follow along with the action in both the Senate and House of Delegates with this Twitter list curated by @wvpublicnews. Members on this include our reporters from The Legislature Today, other members of the Capitol press corps, and lawmakers themselves.

At midnight on Saturday, March 8, The 81st West Virginia Legislature will adjourn. This post will be the home for The Legislature Today's online coverage right up until the final moments.

News Director Beth Vorhees, Senate Reporter Ashton Marra, House Reporter Aaron Payne, and Digital Editor Dave Mistich will curate this post by aggregating tweets, posting audio of important moments on the chamber floors.

Be sure to keep refreshing this page to see the latest.

The House passed the Water Resources Protection and Management Act on Wednesday. The Senate passes their version of the budget bill and calls for $125 million to be used from the Rainy Day Fund. Healthcare lobbyist Thom Stevens outlines some of the more than 200 bills this session relating to healthcare, including the late-term abortion bill and a bill that would make pseudoephedrine available by  prescription only.

The House Judiciary Committee deals with a constitutional amendment to partner with the establishment of a Future Fund and also deals with a bill that would change awards given from the Crime Victim's Compensation Fund, Members of the Senate bring their local issues to the floor and the Natural Resources Committee sees controversy over a bill relating to deer farming. Glynis Board delivers a special report on frack waste and what researchers think is best to do with it.

The Senate Health and Human Resources Committee amends and passes a House bill that would prohibit abortions after 20 weeks. The House Finance Committee removes an amendment to the water protection bill that would force the state Bureau for Public Health to monitor the health those affected by the January 9 spill by Freedom Industries. West Virginia University President E. Gordon Gee speaks about his appointment as permanent chief of the school and his vision for its future.

An update on Governor Tomblin's legislative agenda and members of the Senate Government Organization Committee discuss a House bill that would reform the state Ethics Commission and reduce the number of members it requires. House committees discuss bills from the Senate, including the Future Fund and pay raises for teachers. Ted Boettner of the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy about various issues, including taxes, the future fund, and the state budget.

Delegates from the House explain their feelings on how the session has gone thus far and Senators debate a bill that would establish a retirement program for private and small businesses that's backed by State Teasurer John Perdue.  Also, Phil Kabler of The Charleston Gazette and Dave Boucher of The Charleston Daily Mail discuss the state's finances, from the Governor dipping into the Rainy Day Fund to the budget hearings that will immediately follow the end of the regular session.

Bills relating to abortion, drilling waste, and the attorney general's office that were controversial in the House now make their way through the Senate. The House Judiciary Committee discusses expanding pretrial release programs. Soon-to-be-retiring Senator Brooks McCabe discusses the future of West Virginia through his thoughts on teacher pay raises, sustainable water quality, and the future fund.

The House of Delegates went through 60 items on their daily calendar on "Crossover Day," the last day for bills to be out of their house of origin. But, House Judiciary heard from environmental consulting firm Downstream Strategies as they examined Senate Bill 373, the bill that would regulate above-ground storage facilities. The Senate votes on 11 bills, debates three possible Constitutional Amendments, and also votes on the teacher pay raise bill.

A proposed amendment to the Crime Victim’s Compensation Fund divided the Senate Tuesday, but not necessarily on party lines. In the House, passionate debate arises on a bill that was introduced on the first day of session: The Government Fraud Protection Act (renamed from it's original incarnation known as The False Claims Act).  Paul Daugherty of Philanthropy West Virginia and Becky Cain-Ceperley of the Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation talk funding of non-profits and foundations looking to catalyze change around the state.

More than 20 bills pass through the Senate, but a couple bills brought the upper house's leadership to the podium to discuss next steps and, inevitably, they decide to lay the bills over until Tuesday. The House of Delegates deal with the collection of debts and their statute of limitations. U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin and Captain Tim Bledsoe of the West Virginia State Police discuss heroin use around the state.

The House of Delegates deal with a bill relating to conflicts of interest with the Attorney General's office and hold a public hearing on the future of toll collections in West Virginia. Senators in the Finance Committee decide to return to Gov. Tomblin's plans of a two percent pay raise for teachers after flirting with the idea of giving them a raise of $1,000. Capitol reporters Eric Eyre of The Charleston Gazette and Erin Timony of The State Journal talk with host Ashton Marra about the bill to limit sales of pseudoephedrine to prescription only and a bill that would prevent abortions after 21 weeks.  

The Senate amends a bill that would protect those seeking emergency medical attention for someone else experiencing a drug overdose and also discusses a bill that aims to reduce the variance gas prices across the state. The House  Judiciary Committee takes another look at the False Claims Act. Dr. Rahul Gupta of the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department talks medical monitoring and Gov. Tomblin's request to the CDC for more studies on the chemicals involved in the Jan. 9 chemical spill.

The Senate tackles issues related to corrections as well as roads. The  House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee takes a look at bills related to timber theft and fertilizers. Department of Agriculture Commissioner Walt Helmick talks about farming issues around the state and Cecelia Mason highlights the work of the West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and Blind. Also, the students of those schools give a performance for Senate members to close out our show.

The Senate passes a bill that would make pseudoephedrine available by prescription only. Committees in the state legislature's upper house also took up bill pertaining to the budget and drug testing of coal mine employees who work in safety-related positions. Members of the House consider legislation allowing businesses to reduce the number of hours an employee works to avoid layoffs. Also, state Superintendent of Schools Dr. James Phares talks with Ashton Marra about a teacher hiring bill passed in the House, another bill that would limit the timeline for the state to take control of a county school system, and how schools are ensuring the safety of students after the Jan. 9 spill into the Elk River.

Senators vote on seven bills, reject one, and also down amendments to the prescription-only pseudoephedrine bill. The House of Delegates passes a bill to expand the hours of alcohol sales at some businesses to include Sunday brunch. Senators Mike Green and Daniel Hall talk about Wyoming County's own water issues and what they're hoping to do to solve the problem.

The House of Delegates approves a bill that would provide benefits for businesses working with technologies not currently in West Virginia if they locate or expand in launch pads areas in the state. The Division of Corrections is honored through a resolution in the Senate, and  Jonathan Mattise of the Associated Press & Mandi Cardosi of The State Journal speak with Friday host Ashton Marra about the latest on the status of the chemical spill bill in the House, as well as the Attorney General's actions after reports of price gouging during the water crisis.

The House of Delegates passes a bill to make the sale e-cigarettes illegal to minors and addresses the issue of sexual abuse of minors. The
Senate deals with two issues--state purchasing and pseudoephedrine--that have been in mind since interims. Representatives of the Our Children, Our Future campaign to end child poverty discuss their legislative priorities with Beth Vorhees.

A 2012 study finds that many of the state’s veterans report suffering from symptoms of depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, and 20% reported giving serious thought to suicide. The Senate discusses firefighters who respond to well site fires and explosions. Marshall University president Dr. Stephen Kopp talks finances, the privatizing of public education and more.

Gov. Tomblin announces plans for in-home water testing, an abortion-restricting bill is rejected with a tie vote, the Senate looks to increase the sin tax to remedy a budget crunch, and The West Virginia Women's Commission outlines their legislative agenda.

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