WV Legislature

Senate
4:13 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

Senate Moving Forward on Two Major Interim Issues

Members of the Senate during a floor session.
Credit Ashton Marra

Senators unanimously passed a bill requiring a prescription for pseudoephedrine through committee and will soon vote as a whole on a bill reforming state purchasing procedures. Both issues were studies during the previous interim session.

Senator Greg Tucker sponsored the prescription only bill which makes pseudoephedrine a controlled substance, requiring a prescription for its purchase. The bill made it through Senate Judiciary after three hours of debate.

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House of Delegates
5:59 pm
Wed February 12, 2014

House Passes Bill to Increase Minimum Wage in W. Va.

The House of Delegates passed H.B. 4283, increasing the minimum wage.
Credit Aaron Payne

In the governor’s State of the State address, Tomblin said that one of his goals for the legislative session is to provide a pay raise for groups such as teachers and state workers. The House of Delegates voted on a bill that would do the same for a different group in West Virginia; minimum wage workers.

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Fracking Safety
5:48 pm
Wed February 12, 2014

Fire Marshal: W.Va. Firefighters Not Required to Train on Well Site Fires

Crews battle a fire at a gas well in Greene County, Pa., on Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014.
Credit KDKA-TV

News broke Tuesday of a gas well explosion and fire in Greene County, Pennsylvania, injuring one worker while a second is still missing.

The well was just miles from the West Virginia border, close to the first Senatorial District from which Senator Jack Yost hails, a district that’s full of well sites of its own.

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Podcast
9:09 am
Wed February 12, 2014

Gov. Tomblin Announces TAP Water Testing, Sochi Native Resides at Marshall, & More

On this West Virginia Morning, Governor Tomblin has a plan to test residential tap water for chemical contamination. Also, an athlete from Sochi Russia talks about her hometown. Those stories and more from the legislature.

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House Of Delegates
4:14 pm
Tue February 11, 2014

Abortion-Restricting Bill Rejected With Tie Vote

The vote to discharge a bill restricting abortion from committee is rejected as the result is a tie.
Credit Daniel Walker

A vote resulting in a tie is a rarity in the legislature but one occurred Tuesday in the House of Delegates.

There were no bills up for passage but, with it being “Pro-Life Day” at the Capitol, there was an attempt made to discharge House Bill 2364 from committee to be put to a vote on the floor.

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Senate
2:57 pm
Tue February 11, 2014

Senator: Increased Sin Tax Could Help in Budget Crunch

Sen. Robert Plymale, D-Cabell.
Credit WV Legislative Photography

Senate Bill 534 was introduced in the Senate Tuesday to increase the excise tax on cigarettes and other tobacco products.

The proposal would mean a $1 increase in taxes on a pack of cigarettes to $1.55 total. On all other tobacco products, the tax increases from 7 percent of the wholesale price to 50 percent.

“From a polling standpoint, people say they don’t have a problem with increasing cigarette taxes,” said Senator Bob Plymale, the bill’s lead sponsor.

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House of Delegates
5:01 pm
Mon February 10, 2014

House Close to Voting on Bill to Increase Minimum Wage in W. Va.

The House of Delegates will have a bill to increase minimum wage in West Virginia up for vote on Wednesday.
Credit Aaron Payne

Currently, the minimum wage is $7.25 per hour.

The House Finance Committee amended H.B. 4283 to increase minimum wage by 75 cents to $8.00 per hour by January of 2015 and then add another 75 cents by January of 2016 to total $8.75. The amendment delayed those changes from July 2014 and 2015 respectively so that businesses could have time to budget for the increase.

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Chemical Leak
3:46 pm
Fri February 7, 2014

Lawmakers, State Official React to Latest Press Conference

Director of the WVDHSEM Jimmy Gianato testifies before the Joint Legislative Oversight Commission on State Water Resources.
Credit Ashton Marra

Director of the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management Jimmy Gianato testified before the Joint Legislative Oversight Commission on Water Resources Friday, answering questions about the state testing water quality in homes.

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House of Delegates
1:29 pm
Fri February 7, 2014

House Passes Bills to Make Land Records Electronic, Adds Requirement to Consumer Transactions

The House before voting on H.B. 4010 and H.B. 4220.
Credit Daniel Walker

After a brief delay, the House convened for its final floor session of the week.

House Bill 4010 creates the Uniform Real Property Electronic Recording Act. It was approved and recommend for enactment in all 50 states by the National Conference of Commissioners of Uniform State Laws.

Delegate Mark Hunt explained exactly what the Act would entail before it was voted on.

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Food Stamps
4:55 pm
Thu February 6, 2014

Senator Calls on Congress to Change SNAP Benefits

Senator Ron Stollings decided against continuing his legislation relating to the U.S. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and is opting for a resolution instead, calling on Congress to change the benefits nationwide.

Stollings’ bill directed the state Department of Health and Human Resources to apply for a waiver with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The waiver would prohibit the purchase of soda and junk foods with SNAP benefits, or food stamps.

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Judiciary Committee
3:31 pm
Thu February 6, 2014

House Looking to Prohibit Candidates From Using Email to Solicit Public Employees

Members of the House Judiciary Committee look over H.B. 4414, relating to the solicitation of public employees by an elected officer of the state.
Credit Daniel Walker

With the primary election coming in May and the general election in November, the House Judiciary Committee took a look at current code that prohibits elected officials and candidates from soliciting public employees, discussing H.B. 4414, relating to the solicitation of public employees by an elected officer of the state.

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House of Delegates
6:25 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

W. Va. House Passes Bill to Prevent Discrimination Against Pregnant Women In The Workforce

Discussion of Del. Folk's proposed amendments to the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act during Wednesday's House session.

On Wednesday the House passed bill 4284, also known as the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act.

The bill’s purpose would be to prevent discrimination against pregnant women in the workplace.

The following would be considered an unlawful employment practice:

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House of Delegates
5:48 pm
Tue February 4, 2014

House Takes Suggestions From Public Hearing, Moves Forward With Senate's Water Bill

The House Chamber during Monday's public hearing on S.B. 373, the "Water Bill."

The day after the House of Delegates’ public hearing on last month’s chemical leak and the safety of the water supply, lawmakers began the process of incorporating suggestions to strengthen Senate Bill 373.

While some speakers at the hearing felt that there were too many empty chairs at the hearing, Del. Don Perdue said the turnout from his fellow delegates was satisfactory.

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Pseudoephedrine Legislation
4:44 pm
Tue February 4, 2014

Senate Furthers Bill to Decrease Meth Labs in W.Va.

Credit Martin Valent / WV Legislative Photography

The Senate Committee on Health and Human Resources was the first to take action on Senate Bill 6 Tuesday, regulating the sale of drug products used in the manufacturing of methamphetamine.

Senate Bill 6:

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House of Delegates
11:32 pm
Mon February 3, 2014

Citizens Voice Concern With S.B. 373 During House Public Hearing, Want Tougher Water Protection

The House Chamber during the public hearing on S.B. 373, or the "Water Bill."

Before sending Senate Bill 373 through its Health and Human Resources, Judiciary and Finance Committees, the House of Delegates allowed citizens directly affected by the chemical leak to voice their concerns and offer suggestions to the bill in a public hearing in the chamber

While the stories and testimonies were different, the overall message was a call to action for lawmakers.

Some of the highlights of the points speakers made were:

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Senate
4:10 pm
Mon February 3, 2014

Senate Passes Bill Requiring CPR Training for High School Students

Credit Ashton Marra

The upper chamber passed four bills Monday. They include:

Senate Bill 267

The bill ensure that state courts have jurisdiction over prosecuting unauthorized or fraudulent uses of state purchasing cards when used out of state. Penalties include 1-5 years of imprisonment and/or a fine of up to $5,000.

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Senate
6:34 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

Kessler’s Future Fund Takes New Shape

Senate President Jeff Kessler discusses Senate business with staffers during the 2014 Legislative Session.
Credit Ashton Marra

Senate President Jeff Kessler introduced his Future Fund legislation into the Senate Friday. The proposal this year, however, is slightly different from years past.

Senate Bill 461 creates the statutory framework for the fund:

-Provides 25 percent of any revenues collected from oil and gas severance taxes over and above $175 million be automatically placed in Future Fund, up from $70 million baseline proposed last year

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House of Delegates
4:23 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

House Defends Triple Committee Reference of Senate's Water Bill

Delegate Meshea Poore responds to criticisms of the House's decision to send Senate 373 through three committees.
Credit Daniel Walker

It took 12 days from its introduction for the Senate to pass Bill 373.

It has been several days since its introduction to the House and the bill has yet to be seen by its first committee.

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Childhood Obesity
1:32 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

Teachers Support Senate Bill to Get Students Moving

Senate Majority Leader John Unger
Credit WV Legislature

With the Success of the Feed to Achieve Act last year, Senate Majority Leader John Unger is now looking to take on childhood obesity with new legislation. He introduced the Move to Improve Act into the Senate Thursday.

“Move to Improve goes into our middle schools and our elementary schools and really tries to instill in our students the importance of good nutrition and physical activity,” Unger said.

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Senate
4:25 pm
Wed January 29, 2014

Senate Calls for Loan Program to Aid Small Businesses

The West Virginia Senate
Credit Martin Valent / WV Legislative Photography

The House’s bill to aide small businesses during states of emergency saw significant changes in the Senate Wednesday, giving lawmakers more control of the aide program.

The original West Virginia Small Business Emergency Act included a laundry list of potential aide written into emergency rule by the director of the Department of Homeland Security and approved by the governor

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