Sen. Chris Walters

Martin Valent / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee took up the West Virginia Religious Freedom Restoration Act for the first time Friday evening, more than two weeks after the House of Delegates approved the legislation.

As anticipated by some members of the body, the committee began considering a strike and insert amendment, replacing the House version of the bill with new provisions, but before the proposed changes were even handed to lawmakers, some members of the chamber were unsure of how they would vote on the final version.

Martin Valent / West Virginia Legislative Photography

The Senate's Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure has approved a bill that aims to expand access to broadband internet services across West Virginia, even though industry representatives continue to express opposition to the bill. 

On this Snowmaggedon edition of The Front Porch:

1. A huge snowball fight breaks out over Right to Work, and whether it is right for West Virginia

2. Does Sen. Chris Walter's bill to expand broadband internet access stand a snowball's chance in hell? Should it?

Wv Broadband Mapping Project

West Virginia has some of the lowest rates of broadband access at some of the slowest speeds in the nation.

Sen. Chris Walters, R-Putnam, wants state government to build a sort of fiber-optic interstate highway and then lease it to private providers. The goal is to bring high internet speeds at cheaper costs.

On The Front Porch podcast, Walters gave ten reasons for building the network:

West Virginia Legislature

Senate Bill 256 was introduced to the full chamber Tuesday. Sponsored by Sen. Chris Walters of Putnam County, the bill aims at increasing the number of unexcused absences a student can have before the state court system intervenes.

“Currently, West Virginia has one of the most aggressive numbers and that’s five statewide," Walters said.  "Once a child reaches five unexcused absences then he arrives into the court system and can be placed in a facility.”