Paul Espinosa

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Some West Virginia lawmakers say they'll introduce legislation intended to better protect children from sex abuse following a task force report indicating one in 10 are victims before they turn 18.

The group's recommendations include training all public school personnel to recognize and respond to suspected abuse and clarifying the state's mandatory reporting laws.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

At the start of this legislative session, Republican leaders warned that public education could be on the chopping block, seeing reductions that the system has historically been protected from. During a recent press conference, both House Speaker Tim Armstead and Senate President Mitch Carmichael said they’ll work to mitigate the harm to classrooms and teachers, but funding will be reduced. The House’s Education Chairman says with those funding reductions, lawmakers are working to give county school systems more flexibility in how they spend their limited dollars.

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.

At The Legislature Today, although the budget has been the top priority for lawmakers this session, it’s implications trickle down into all areas of state government, including education.

Del. Paul Espinosa and Sen. Kenny Mann, chairs of the House and Senate Education Committees, say even though there may be less money for schools, they are working through bills to give counties more flexibility in how they spend that funding.

Perry Bennett / WV Legislative Photography

During both the 2015 and the 2016 state Legislative sessions, the House of Delegates pushed a bill that would make the West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and Blind eligible for funding from the West Virginia School Building Authority, or SBA. In 2015, it was vetoed by then-Governor Tomblin, and in 2016, it never made it out of the Senate’s Finance committee. Now, members in the House are trying once again this year, with House Bill 2123.