West Virginia Legislature

Senate Finance Chairman Craig Blair, R-Berkeley, speaking during a Senate floor session.
Will Price / West Virginia Legislative Photography


State lawmakers from the Eastern Panhandle met Tuesday for the Berkeley County Chamber of Commerce's annual Legislative Wrap-Up Breakfast in Martinsburg, where education and the teacher pay raise took center stage.

April 20, 1963: W.Va. Legislature Meets at the Custom House in Wheeling

Apr 20, 2018
e-WV Encyclopedia / WV Division of Tourism via Steve Shaluta

On April 20, 1963, the West Virginia Legislature met in a special ceremonial session at the old U.S. Custom House in Wheeling.

It marked the 100th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln’s proclamation certifying that West Virginia would become a state.

The legislative event was a turning point for the building, which was more than a century old. During the Civil War, it’d been the capitol of the pro-Union Reorganized Government of Virginia and the location of West Virginia’s statehood debates.

Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Hundreds of West Virginians travel from the Eastern Panhandle to Maryland or Washington D.C. every weekday for work. These commuters catch the Maryland-based MARC train, or Maryland Area Regional Commuter.

But during this year’s West Virginia Legislative session, lawmakers debated the future of the MARC train in the state.

Maryland threatened to discontinue MARC service to West Virginia unless certain provisions were met.

Daniel Walker / West Virginia Public Broadcasting


For more than 85 years, the West Virginia Capitol building has housed the iconic crystal chandelier, illuminating the rotunda for generations of lawmakers and visitors who pass below -- its presence a fixture in the statehouse.

 

But now, it’s been taken down.

Saturday, March 10, marked the 60th and final day of the 83rd West Virginia Legislature's Second Regular Session. 

Update: March 11, 2018 at 12:31 a.m.

House Bill 4345, which would expand West Virginia’s medical marijuana law by increasing the number of dispensaries and growers, and providing for banking facilities related to the industry, died in the final minutes of the 2018 state legislative session. House leadership cited procedural delays in not bringing the bill up for a vote on the floor. The Senate had passed HB 4345 at about 6:30 Saturday evening.

On The Legislature Today, we bring you a special hour-long broadcast from the Capitol building in Charleston. Host Andrea Lannom chats with House Finance Chairman Del. Eric Nelson, R-Kanawha, and House Finance Vice Chairman Del. Mick Bates, D-Raleigh, on the status of budget discussions with only one day left in the regular 2018 state Legislative session. We also look back at some of the major issues that unfolded over the last two months in our reporter roundtable.

On The Legislature Today, the West Virginia Senate unanimously passed its version of the budget bill. The Senate's bill did not include the governor's revised revenue estimate of $58 million in its $4.38 billion budget. Both the House and Senate Finance Chairs said they hope to have the budget passed as quickly as possible. Host Andrea Lannom chats with Senate Majority Leader Ryan Ferns, R-Ohio, about the 2019 budget and whether we might see a budget passed before the 60th day.

Teachers and other state workers rally at the Capitol, Mar. 6, 2018.
Kara Lofton / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

West Virginia Superintendent of Schools Steven Paine told reporters Thursday afternoon that all nine days of the recent teacher and school employee work stoppage would need to be made up by each county school district. However, counties will have control and flexibility on how they do it.

West Virginia State Flag
Lulla / Dollar Photo Club

On March 8, 1963, the West Virginia Legislature adopted blue and “old gold” as the official state colors.

Many West Virginians think that blue and “old gold” have always been the state colors, but it didn’t occur officially until West Virginia’s Centennial celebration in 1963.

Prior to that, the state often used blue and gold in ceremonies because those were the official colors of West Virginia University. So, when the legislature adopted blue and “old gold,” it came as a surprise to many West Virginians that we didn’t already have official colors.

On The Legislature Today, the teachers strike is over and schools are back in operation, so now the story at the Capitol is the budget. Both the House and Senate are considering their versions during these last few days of the session. Host Andrea Lannom is joined by Senate Finance Vice Chairman Greg Boso, R-Nicholas, and House Finance Minority Vice Chairman Mick Bates, D-Raleigh, to discuss some differences and some areas where the two chambers can agree.

On The Legislature Today, an agreement among House and Senate conferees for a five percent pay raise for all of West Virginia’s public employees was announced Tuesday morning. Later that afternoon, both the House and Senate bodies approved HB 4145, giving teachers, school service personnel, and state troopers a five percent raise. Shortly after that, the bill was signed by Governor Jim Justice and will go into effect on July 1, 2018. Teachers erupted over the news that effectively began the end of a 9-day statewide teacher and school personnel work stoppage. Host Andrea Lannom speaks with Senate President Mitch Carmichael to hear the latest.

Kara Lofton/ West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Updated on Mar. 6, 2018 at 8:30 p.m.

After nine long days of a teacher and service personnel work stoppage, it looks like it’s come to an end. Lawmakers have agreed to a five percent pay raise for teachers as well as a five percent pay increase for all public workers.

On The Legislature Today, conferees from the Senate and House met for the first time Monday afternoon, following their appointment Saturday night to work out their differences in a salary bill for teachers, school personnel, and other state employees. We bring you an update from the eighth day of the work stoppage, the latest action from the House and Senate floors, and host Andrea Lannom chats with Bob Brown, a representative from the American Federation of Teachers – West Virginia chapter.

On The Legislature Today, there’s only one full week left of the 2018 West Virginia Legislative session. In these final days, tensions continue to run high over the teacher work stoppage and the legislative process addressing the issues of PEIA and teacher salaries. Host Andrea Lannom is joined by fellow statehouse reporter Jake Zuckerman of the Charleston Gazette-Mail to breakdown all the action of the week and what’s to come as we near the final hours.

On The Legislature Today, protesting teachers returned to the Capitol, ignoring their union leadership and extending a work stoppage for a fifth day statewide. Acting on a revised revenue forecast from Gov. Jim Justice, the House of Delegates moved swiftly Wednesday night to pass a new 5 percent pay raise package for teachers, service personnel and state police, with raises for additional state employees to be addressed in the budget bill. But a fix for PEIA is still the issue.

On The Legislature Today, leadership of the West Virginia Education Association, the American Federation of Teachers – West Virginia Chapter, and the West Virginia School Service Personnel Association met with Gov. Jim Justice on the fourth day of a statewide teacher and school personnel work stoppage over salaries and health care benefits.

Shortly after the live taping of our broadcast, Gov. Justice held a press conference announcing the work stoppage would end Thursday and called for a 3 percent pay increase for all state employees this year with an additional 2 percent hike for those who work in education, including teachers and service personnel. Follow our story here for the latest.

On The Legislature Today, thousands of teachers and state workers again showed-up at the Capitol to protest low salaries and rising health care costs, as their work stoppage entered a third school day – tomorrow will be the fourth. We bring you the latest on the work stoppage. Also, in this episode, we look at a variety of health-related legislation and chat with Sen. Tom Takubo, R-Kanawha and Sen. Ron Stollings, D-Boone.

On The Legislature Today, capitol security estimates 2,000 teachers poured into the Capitol Thursday – the first of a 2-day teachers' work stoppage. All 55 West Virginia county school systems were closed because of the work stoppage over teacher salaries and Public Employee Insurance Agency costs. Host Andrea Lannom brings you the latest from the event, and she chats with House Minority Leader Tim Miley, D-Harrison and Del. Ron Walters, R-Kanawha on current action at the statehouse.

On The Legislature Today, we take a closer look at energy legislation moving through this session. Host Andrea Lannom chats with Senate Energy, Industry and Mining Committee Chairman Sen. Randy Smith, R-Tucker, as well as Executive Director of the West Virginia Rivers Coalition Angie Rosser.

On The Legislature Today, the looming statewide teacher work stoppage is scheduled for later this week, and there are several related issues before the Finance and Education Committees. Host Andrea Lannom chats with Del. Paul Espinosa, R-Jefferson, Chairman of the House Education Committee and member of the House Finance committee. Also joining the conversation is Del. Larry Rowe, D-Kanawha, member of both the House Education and Finance Committees.

On The Legislature Today, host Andrea Lannom is joined by Senate President Mitch Carmichael and Senate Minority Leader Roman Prezioso to discuss the latest in the issues over teacher pay and the Public Employee Health Insurance Agency.

Thousands of state employees and supporters rallied at the Capitol Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018 demanding higher wages and for a long-term fix to rising health insurance premiums.
Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Updated Feb. 25 7:30 p.m.

According to the state Department of Education's website Sunday night ,schools will be closed in at least 51 of West Virginia's 55 counties Monday.

Original story:

 

A statewide walkout has been announced for teachers and other state employees for Thursday and Friday next week. The announcement was made during a weekend rally at the state Capitol in Charleston.

We bring you a special episode of The Legislature Today. West Virginia Public Broadcasting’s Executive Producer Suzanne Higgins sits down with Elaine McMillion Sheldon, producer and director of the Oscar nominated documentary film Heroin(e), Huntington Fire Chief Jan Rader, and Family Court and former-longtime Drug Court Judge Patricia Keller.

On The Legislature Today, details about an estimated $84 billion investment by a Chinese energy company have been slim since Governor Jim Justice and Commerce Secretary Woody Thrasher made the announcement last fall. In this episode, we'll talk to a lead scientist at West Virginia University who describes a long-time relationship between the university and this energy company.

On The Legislature Today, the West Virginia House of Delegates passed a salary bill providing pay raises for state police, teachers, and school service personnel. But will it be enough to avert a teachers' strike amid growing frustrations over salaries, problems with the state's insurance provider and teacher vacancies? We hear from the presidents of both the West Virginia Education Association and the West Virginia chapter of the American Federation of Teachers to help answer these questions.

On The Legislature Today, the West Virginia House of Delegates spent nearly four hours in session debating amendments to the teacher, school personnel, and police pay raise bill. We also look at clips from an emotional public hearing on a bill that proponents say will crack down on fraud within assistance programs, like SNAP. Host Andrea Lannom also chats with Minority Vice Chair of House Finance, Del. Mick Bates, D-Raleigh, on a handful of issues moving under the Capitol dome.

On The Legislature Today, we bring you another reporter roundtable where we discuss some of the biggest issues from the week. Host Andrea Lannom is joined by reporters Jake Zuckerman of the Charleston Gazette-Mail and Brad McElhinny of West Virginia MetroNews.

On The Legislature Today, Governor Jim Justice held a press conference addressing issues linked to PEIA and teacher pay. In the Senate, lawmakers debated abortion rights, and in the House, tempers flared as the 2018 state Legislative session hit the half-way mark.

Will Price / West Virginia Legislative Photography

The West Virginia Senate has voted against revising a proposed state constitutional amendment that would authorize lawmakers to restrict abortion rights.

The resolution advanced by the Senate Judiciary Committee would require two-thirds passage by both the Senate and House and a voter referendum to take effect.

On The Legislature Today, host Andrea Lannom chats with West Virginia Commissioner of Agriculture Kent Leonhardt on the role agriculture plays in diversifying the state’s economy. We also hear the latest on the debate over Public Employees Insurance Agency issues.

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