Martin Valent / WV Legislative Photography

The state Supreme Court is suspending an appointment to a key Senate opening until the court rules whether a Democrat or Republican should fill the seat.

The court issued the stay on Friday.

Martin Valent / WV Legislative Photography

An opinion by Attorney General Patrick Morrisey says the vacancy left by a senator who was elected as a Democrat but flipped Republican should be filled by another Republican.

The Republican attorney general filed the opinion Tuesday regarding ex-Sen. Daniel Hall at the request of Republican Senate President Bill Cole.

Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Interim meetings at the state capitol are usually laid back. Lawmakers attend their meetings and sometimes meet with a spare group of lobbyists and constituents.

Sunday, however, the House Government Organization Committee Room was overflowing. Men and women in union t-shirts filled the audience seats, the hallway and even the stairwells outside. What drew the crowd? A proposed piece of legislation that would make West Virginia a Right to Work state.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

With safe crude oil transportation on everyone’s minds, Dave Mistich sat down with Peter Goelz a former managing director of the National Transportation Safety Board. We also take a look at some activity on the Senate floor that took place over a bill to cap damages for certain lawsuits.

Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

West Virginia senators have voted down a proposal to cap punitive damages from civil lawsuits in the state.

On Wednesday, two Republican senators broke party lines to help Democrats kill the measure in a 16-18 vote.

The proposal would have capped punitive damages from lawsuits at $500,000 or three times the compensatory damages, whatever is greater.

Republican Sens. Chris Walters and Daniel Hall voted against the bill alongside Democrats.

The bill was one of several legal reforms being pushed by the newly minted Republican legislative majority.

Martin Valent / WV Legislative Photography

West Virginia lawmakers have passed a bill letting the Legislature approve state plans to meet proposed federal carbon emission standards.

Senators passed a proposal 24-10 Wednesday requiring the GOP-led Legislature's vote before the state sends compliance plans to the Environmental Protection Agency. It requires a state feasibility report 180 days after EPA's rule is finalized.

The House passed a similar bill Feb. 6.

Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The Republican-led state Senate has cleared a bill to change legal protections when multiple parties are at fault in a lawsuit.

Senators voted 24-9 Monday to change comparative fault provisions, with several Democrats in favor.

Currently, if a party can't pay its share of damages and another party was deemed more than 30 percent responsible, the second entity may be required to cover all remaining damages.

West Virginia Legislature

The West Virginia Attorney General's Office has lost three top staff members to the Legislature.

The Charleston Gazette reports that senior deputy attorney general Marty Wright has accepted a job as the House Judiciary Committee's head lawyer.

Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., says that the current decline in coal-related employment is caused by many factors. But she says as a U.S. Senator, she would focus on the one she believes she can influence: environmental regulations.

In an interview with West Virginia Public Broadcasting, the candidate for U.S. Senate said the decline in coal jobs was caused by three things:

Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

West Virginia lawmakers are working out kinks in a budget that gives public workers raises and digs into reserves.
The House of Delegates and Senate are meeting this week to finalize the state spending plan for next fiscal year.
 House of Delet

Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The West Virginia Senate has passed a bill to increase the penalty for transporting narcotics into West Virginia.
The bill increases prison time from 1 year or more to up to 15 years. The bill states that individuals convicted of the felony charge may be fined up to $25,000.

Martin Valent / WV Legislative Photography

The West Virginia Senate has unanimously passed a bill to conserve and invest a portion of oil and gas revenues to use for future infrastructure and economic development.

The Future Fund Bill passed Friday sets aside 25 percent of the severance tax revenues collected from private oil and gas companies above a $175 million benchmark. This benchmark projects funds needed to sustain government operations.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, tempers flare in the State Senate over a bill that looks at trade practices.

Also, the House looks at taxpayer protections.

Those stories, and The Flatlanders perform as part of the Mountain Stage Song of the Week.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, a West Virginia University professor is keeping the memory alive of some poets who honored African American civil rights.

Also, an update on the gas well explosion in Pennsylvania, just north of the West Virginia border.

Those stories and more!

Janet Kunicki

During the Division of Corrections budget hearing, Commissioner Jim Rubenstein said the governor’s proposed budget for the division includes additional funding for provisions of Senate Bill 371, the governor’s prison reform bill. It includes increases for the transition of the Salem Industrial Home for Youth to the Salem Correctional Center.