WV Legislature

House of Delegates
7:52 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

Government Fraud Prevention Act Downed by House

Delegate John Shott speaks in opposition of H.B. 4001, the Government Fraud Prevention Act.
Credit Daniel Walker

House Bill 4001 was introduced on the first day of the session as the False Claims Act. However, opponents of the bill referred to it as the “sue-and-settle” bill.

The bill offers monetary compensation to whistleblowers who bring forward information regarding fraudulent claims made against the government. That is, if the case is successful.

Read more
Crime Victim's Compensation
3:54 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

Senators Debate State Money for Meth Lab Clean-up

Members of the Senate listen to introductions during a floor session.
Credit Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A proposed amendment to the Crime Victim’s Compensation Fund divided the Senate Tuesday, but not necessarily on party lines.

The fund is used to reimburse innocent victims of crime who have suffered personal injury and who have incurred out-of-pocket losses as a result of a criminal act.

Currently, the state is compensating property owners from the fund who have to clean up illegal meth labs after renting or leasing their space.

Republican Senator Mitch Carmichael said the account is suffering because of the lab clean up costs.

Read more
House of Delegates
6:05 pm
Mon February 24, 2014

W.Va. House Looking to Double-Tap (Debt) Zombies

The House Banking and Insurance Committee discusses H.B. 4360, relating to consumer credit protection.
Credit Daniel Walker

A rule (#2: Double-Tap) for dispatching zombies in the movie Zombieland is essentially being applied by the House of Delegates in regard to killing “Zombie Debts” with H.B. 4360.

Zombie debts are defined as debts attempted to be collected in which the statue of limitations has passed.

Read more
Senate
3:51 pm
Mon February 24, 2014

Senate Ramps Up Voting as Session Winds Down

Senate President Jeff Kessler oversees a floor session Monday, Feb. 24, 2014.
Credit Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Members of the state Senate had 25 bills on their morning calendar Monday, passing almost all unanimously. Those bills included:

Senate Bill 623

The bill requires employers in the mining industry to report all positive drug and alcohol tests to the Office of Miners' Health, Safety and Training. Currently, notification is only required if a miner is discharged.

Senate Bill 476

Read more
House Judiciary
5:24 pm
Fri February 21, 2014

Public Hearing Held on a Bill Relating to the Future of Toll Collection in W. Va.

The House Judiciary Committee held a public hearing on a bill that would affect the way tolls are collected in the state.

House Bill 4156 as introduced would create the Safe and Efficient Parkway Act, authorizes electronic collection and enforcement of tolls.
 
The bill would only apply to the current tolls on the turnpike in regard to enforcement as it is already equipped with the technology such as photographing license plates to detect violations.

Read more
Chemical Leak
4:28 pm
Fri February 21, 2014

Environmental Official: Coal Companies Don't Want Stigma of MCHM

At the statehouse Friday, members of the Joint Legislative Oversight Commission on State Water Resources continued their hearings on the Elk River chemical spill with testimonies from representatives of the state Department of Environmental Protection.

DEP Chief of Homeland Security and Emergency Response Mike Dorsey told lawmakers he’s been working to remediate the site since the initial incident in January.

Read more
County Pay Raises
4:15 pm
Fri February 21, 2014

Committee Moves Bill to Allow County Employee Pay Increases

Senators Donna Boley and Greg Tucker on the Senate floor.
Credit Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A Senate committee Friday approved Senate Bill 379 to remove a salary cap for county employees, if the county finds they have the funds.

Originally the bill required a 12 percent pay raise, but it was amended to ensure lawmakers weren’t passing an unfunded mandate.

“We are not voting for an increase for elected officials. We are lifting a cap in which they can work with their own money. So, this is no state money,” Sen. John Unger said during the meeting.

Read more
Teacher Pay
11:26 am
Fri February 21, 2014

Senators Remove Across the Board Teacher Pay Raise

Senate Finance Chair Roman Prezioso discusses legislation with Senator Doug Facemire on the state Senate floor.
Credit Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Members of the Senate Finance Committee Friday morning voted to remove language from a bill increasing teachers' salaries by $1,000 across the board.

Members of the Senate Education Committee voted last week to increase the raise from the initial 2 percent promised by Governor Tomblin during his State of the State Address in January. 

Read more
House Judiciary
6:08 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

False Claims and Taxpayer Protection Act Once Again Approved to House Floor

House Judiciary Committee discusses H.B. 4001, creating the False Claims and Taxpayer Protection Act.
Credit Daniel Walker

House Bill 4001 was reported to the floor earlier in the session from the House Judiciary Committee. However, concerns from the business sector lead House leadership to request the bill be sent back to address those concerns.

Read more
Gas Prices
4:14 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

Senate Debates Bill on Unfair Trade Practices

Senate President Jeff Kessler at the podium during a floor session.
Credit Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Legislators stood Thursday to speak to legislation that has not yet made it to the floor. Senate Bill 368 was introduced by Senator Herb Snyder early in the session repealing unfair trade practices.

The bill focuses on a section of code written in the late 1930s. At the time, many states and the federal government put laws in place that prevented major retailers from undercutting the prices of mom and pop stores, forcing them out of business.

Read more
Drug Overdoses
4:03 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

Bill to Protect Overdose Victims Advances in Senate

Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee consider Senate Bill 419, the Overdose Prevention Act.
Credit Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Senators amended a bill in committee Thursday they felt contained too many loopholes for people seeking emergency assistance during a drug overdose.

Senate Bill 419 is known as the Overdose Prevention Act.

After interim study and recommendation by the Joint Committee on Health, it originally provided immunities for certain offenses for a person who seeks medical help for him or herself or aide for another person who is experiencing an overdose, but some senators were worried the immunities were too broad.

Read more
Paving Cycle
4:54 pm
Wed February 19, 2014

Senator Says Rainy Day Fund Could Be Used to Improve Roads

Members of the West Virginia Senate.
Credit Ashton Marra

At the legislature Wednesday, one Senator urged his colleagues to take action on a hotly debated topic, the condition of the state roads. He’s asking fellow lawmakers to take action this session to improve paving across West Virginia.

Senator Robert Plymale stood at the end of the upper chamber’s morning floor session to bring attention to an issue often talked about in the legislature, but one he says lawmakers have failed in recent years to take action on.

Read more
"Green Rolling Hills"
3:41 pm
Wed February 19, 2014

WATCH: W.Va. Schools for Deaf and Blind Perform for Lawmakers

Members of the state Senate listen as students from the W.Va. Schools for the Deaf and Blind perform "Green Rolling Hills" before a floor session.
Credit Ashton Marra

Students from around West Virginia who attend the state Schools for the Deaf and Blind visited the Capitol today to perform a medley of songs centered on their home state.

Located on 79 acres in Romney in Hampshire County, the school was established in 1870. Today enrollment totals about 120 children and teens.

Read more
West Virginia Morning
7:26 am
Wed February 19, 2014

Wyoming County Water Problems, Rx-Only Pseudoephedrine in Senate, & House's Valued Employees Bill

On this West Virginia Morning, state legislators are striving to find ways to fix some water problems in Wyoming County.

Also, the State Senate continues to debate prescription drug legislation, and the House looks at a bill to protect employees from being fired.

Read more
Budget Woes
6:18 am
Wed February 19, 2014

Senate Kills Two Budget Proposals Leaving $17 Million Gap

Members of the Senate Transportation Committee met Tuesday at the Capitol.
Credit Ashton Marra

Two bills proposed by the governor to fill general revenue budget holes died in a Senate committee Tuesday. The failure now leaves about a $17 million gap for the Finance Committee Chairs to plug at the end of session.

Subcommittees of Senate Transportation and Infrastructure held the two bills without making a decision for almost a month.

The first, Senate Bill 329, would take about $4 million from the state Special Railroad and Intermodal Enhancement Fund and deposit them instead in the general revenue budget for Fiscal Years 2015 and 2016.

Read more
Drug Tests
6:52 pm
Tue February 18, 2014

Bill Advances Closing Loopholes in Coal Miner Drug Testing

Credit Martin Valent / WV Legislative Photography

In the Energy, Industry and Mining Committee Tuesday, Senators took up a bill meant to close loopholes in the drug testing system for mine workers in safety positions.

There is already a notification system in place for any worker who fails, refuses to submit to or attempts to falsify a drug test.

Notification is sent to the state Office of Miner’s Health Safety and Training which keeps a record and may block that person’s next attempt to obtain a mining job.

Read more
House Finance
5:43 pm
Tue February 18, 2014

Bill to Keep West Virginians Working Passes in House Finance Committee

The House Finance Committee goes over H.B. 4409, creating the Valued Employee Retention Program.
Credit Daniel Walker

House Bill 4409 creates the Valued Employee Retention Program with the goal of giving employers incentive to reduce workers’ hours rather than laying them off.

It requires employers to enter an agreement to submit a plan explaining how instead of laying off their employees they would reduce their hours. In exchange, the employee could get unemployment benefits proportional to the amount of hours that they’ve been reduced.

Read more
Meth Labs
4:58 pm
Tue February 18, 2014

Senate Passes Bill Requiring Prescriptions for Pseudoephedrine

The tally board detailing the Senators' votes on Senate Bill 6, requiring a prescription to purchase pseudoephedrine.
Credit Ashton Marra

Senators put the highly anticipated prescription only pseudoephedrine bill to a vote Tuesday, but only after receiving a last minute amendment on the floor.

Senate Judiciary Chair Corey Palumbo moved to amend the bill to address someone buying cold medicine in another state and bringing it back to West Virginia.

The amendment allows a court hearing before being tried on a drug charge when a person without a prior drug conviction is caught with less than 3.6 grams, or the federal daily limit.

Read more
Privacy Concerns
9:21 pm
Mon February 17, 2014

Senator: Data Collection System Keeps Personal Information Confidential

Members of the state Senate gathered in the chamber for a floor session Monday.
Credit Ashton Marra

Senators took up Senate Bill 420 Monday to amend the state P-20W Longitudinal Data System.

The system collects statistics from K-12, colleges, universities and community colleges tracking student achievement.

The bill adds child care and workforce data to the system giving a broader view of a student’s success. It also requires the information be brought to the Legislative Oversight Committee on Education Accountability to ensure transparency.

Read more
House of Delegates
6:01 pm
Mon February 17, 2014

'Brunch Bill' for Alcohol Sales Passes W.Va. House

Delegate John Overington speaks to his amendment that would make 2 a.m. the new time for last call.
Credit Daniel Walker

The bill that incited the most debate during Monday’s floor session was one that would allow private licensees to begin alcohol sales at 10:30 a.m. on Sundays instead of 1:00 p.m. as dictated by current code. Aaron Payne reports.

House Bill 4454 would allow restaurants and tourism destinations such as a bed and breakfast to serve alcoholic beverages as part of Sunday brunch.

Supporters of the bill said that it could boost profits from tourism in the state.

Read more

Pages