West Virignia Legislature

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Gov. Jim Justice took questions from a legislative conference committee Thursday that is working on a compromised version of his tax reform plan, a rare appearance at the statehouse.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Small-scale farmers in the region often find it challenging to keep their land sustainable while staying competitive in the marketplace. 

The Ohio Valley ReSource's Nicole Erwin visited a farm that’s doing both with a method called rotational grazing. She found that this “new” approach grows from some very old ideas.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin has vetoed a budget plan that would take more than $180 million from the state’s Rainy Day Fund. 

In his veto message, Tomblin called the  budget “irresponsible”, saying it relies too heavily on one-time monies and leaves a significant shortfall for the 2018 and 2019 fiscal years.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Governor Earl Ray Tomblin has signed a bill that requires voters to show some form of identification before casting a ballot at his or her polling place as well as creates an an automatic voter registration process system. 

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin has signed a bill that requires the state Department of Health and Human Resources to apply for permission to drug test TANF recipients.

TANF is the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program that provides government benefits to working, low-income families.

Martin Valent / West Virginia Legislative Photography

During a session that has largely focused on how lawmakers will close a nearly $400 million budget gap, the Senate will vote on a bill Wednesday that will cut taxes for both the coal and natural gas industries. 

The Legislature Today
West Virginia Public Broadcasting


The GOP majority in both chambers have received plenty of criticism and support this legislative session for taking on controversial issues like Right-to-Work and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

 

West Virginians on either side of the issue have made their stances known through social media campaigns and rallies at the statehouse, and many opposed are turning those feelings into political fuel for the upcoming primary and general elections.

 

Curtis Wilkerson with Orion Strategies discusses a poll recently conducted by the firm about both legislative and political issues.

Martin Valent / West Virginia Legislative Photography

A senator who is a pastor has filed a lawsuit to prevent the West Virginia Senate from working this Sunday.

Sen. John Unger filed the lawsuit Wednesday against Senate President Bill Cole in Kanawha County Circuit Court.

The Legislature Today
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Senators want to raise the state’s tobacco tax by $1, but Governor Tomblin says that could cause a loss of business in the border counties. Still, Tomblin says if the measure is approved by the House of Delegates he "probably could" sign it.

Martin Valent / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Members of the West Virginia Senate voted  24 to 9 Monday to approve a bill allowing West Virginians over the age of 21 to carry a concealed weapon without a permit. 

The bill has already been approved by the House of Delegates, but Senators included changes that will now need to be reconsidered by the lower chamber before it heads to Governor Tomblin for a signature. 

The Senate Finance Committee has approved a bill to increase the tobacco tax on cigarettes by $1 a pack. 

West Virginia University Health Sciences Executive Dean Dr. Clary Marsh says the increase will be enough to discourage West Virginia smokers and will likely increase the health outcomes for vulnerable populations like pregnant women and children.

Dr. Marsh discusses the tobacco tax, as well as what WVU is doing to combat substance abuse in West Virginia.

Martin Valent / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Members of the West Virginia Senate approved a bill to create a government-owned middle mile network, expanding access to broadband Internet in the state. 

The measure passed 29-5 during Thursday's Senate floor session.

Martin Valent / West Virginia Legislative Photography

On an 18-16 vote, which was not along party lines, senators approved a bill that allows online fantasy sports leagues to operate in West Virignia.

Ted Boettner with the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy discusses the group's latest report detailing Governor Tomblin's 2017 budget proposal. 

Boettner explains previous tax cuts alongside the declining severance tax collections have hurt the state budget for years in a row. He also focuses in on the importance of funding higher education.

Martin Valent / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Updated 2/9/2016: The West Virginia Senate approved a three-year pilot drug testing program, 32-2. For more, click here.

Original story:

 Members of the West Virginia Senate are set to vote on a bill to drug test the recipients of public assistance. 

Senate Bill 6 creates a three-year pilot program to drug test recipients of TANF benefits. TANF stands for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.

Martin Valent / West Virginia Legislative Photography

On a party-line vote Monday, members of the Senate Committee on Government Organization approved a bill to repeal the state's prevailing wage. It was reported to the floor Monday as well, setting it up for a vote Thursday. 

Martin Valent / WV Legislative Photography

Senate bills that appear to have died in the House are being revived, so to speak, by Senators. Members of the Judiciary Committee made major changes to a fireworks bill Monday.

House Bill 2646 as approved by the House would allow consumer exploding or display fireworks currently banned in West Virginia to be sold at certain retail locations.

The original bill created retailer fees on top of the sales tax and dedicated 20 percent of the collections to be split between veterans programs, the state Fire Marshal’s Office and Volunteer Fire Departments.

Martin Valent / West Virginia Legislative Photography

After approving a bill to give nationally certified teachers in low performing schools a pay raise Wednesday, Democratic Senators attempted to get an across the board raise for all teachers in the state by amending a governor's bill. 

House Bill 2478 would reduce state funds dedicated to replacing county school buses one time, in the upcoming fiscal year. The bill was presented on behalf of Gov. Tomblin as a way to balance the 2016 budget.