WV Legislature

2014 Elections
11:59 am
Tue January 14, 2014

Which Candidates Filed First for the 2014 Election?

Fifty candidates file on the first day of filing period for 2014 elections.
Credit wikimedia

The first day that candidates could file for elective office in West Virginia drew one candidate for the U.S. Senate and four for the U.S. House.

Williamstown Democrat David Wamsley filed with the West Virginia Secretary of State's office yesterday for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by the retiring Sen. Jay Rockefeller.

 Filing for the 3rd District U.S. House seat held by 19-term Democrat Nick Rahall are Republican Cabell County Sen. Evan Jenkins and retired Army officer Richard Ojeda II, a Democrat from Logan County.

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W. Va. Legislature
8:06 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

Chemical Leak Impedes W. Va. Legislature

The House of Delegates with many empty seats for Monday's floor session.
Credit Aaron Payne

Entering the first full week of the second session of the 81st West Virginia Legislature, the normal process has been slowed by a coal cleaning chemical leaking into the water supply of over 300,000 West Virginians. While some work was done today, most of the legislatures’ efforts were toward the safety of the citizens.

The House of Delegates had only 43 members in attendance for its floor session on Monday, which did not allow for a quorum. The House was adjourned until 6 p.m. on Tuesday. Many committee meetings were rescheduled as well.

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4:56 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

House Finance Gets Initial Look at Govenor's Budget Proposal

House Finance Chair Brent Boggs and Deputy Secretary of Revenue Mark Muchow discuss the governor's budget proposal in front of the House Finance Committee.
Credit Aaron Payne

With the challenges of a tight budget year ahead, the first goal was immediately understood because balancing the state budget is mandated by the constitution.

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Public Education
9:39 pm
Wed January 8, 2014

Union Leader Says 2 Percent a Start in Teacher Pay Raise

West Virginia Education Association President Dale Lee
Credit WVEA

Governor Tomblin announced a 2 percent pay raise for teachers during his State of the State Address, but union representatives say the state needs more to keep quality teachers in the classrooms.

West Virginia Education Association President Dale Lee said he was glad to hear education is still a top priority for the governor this legislative session, but thinks more can be done for teacher pay.

“We will continue to work with the House and Senate to see if we can improve on that two percent realizing that it’s a starting point,” he said Wednesday.

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State of the State
8:39 pm
Wed January 8, 2014

Tomblin Focused on Fiscal Responsibility, Education

Governor Earl Ray Tomblin issues his State of the State Address in the House Chamber. Seated behind him are Senate President Jeff Kessler and newly elected House Speaker Tim Miley.
Credit Martin Valent/WV Legislature Office of Public Information

In his fourth State of the State address, Governor Earl Ray Tomblin touted his administration's accomplishments over the past year, including multiple multi-million dollar investments made by some major international corporations in the final months of 2012.

But his main focus was moving the state forward, his goals for the upcoming legislative session, and, perhaps most importantly, his thoughts on how to accomplish those goals in an obviously tight budget year.

“Governing, like gardening, takes planning, patience and foresight,” Tomblin began.

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5:47 pm
Wed January 8, 2014

W.Va. House of Delegates Opens 2014 Session

House Speaker Tim Miley brings the House of Delegates to order.
Credit Aaron Payne

The 81st House of Delegates began its 60-day session Wednesday at the Capitol.

After most of the general housekeeping was taken care of, the delegates introduced 15 bills, both new and interim, to be sent to the various committees.

A few highlights of the bills introduced are:

HB 4003. Granting dual jurisdiction to counties where a student who lives in one county and attends school in another in order to enforce truancy policies.

HB 4009. Permitting institutions of higher education to perform background checks.

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Governor's Address
9:37 am
Wed January 8, 2014

The State of the State 2014

Governor Tomblin delivered the State of the State address Wednesday, January 8 at 7 p.m. You can watch the archived video of the address right here.

WV Legislature
8:43 pm
Tue January 7, 2014

Statewide Group Offers Legislature 11 Priorities to Benefit Children

Executive Director of the Healthy Kids and Families Stephen Smith hands the Our Children, Our Future Campaign's platform to Hallie Mason of the governor's office.
Credit Aaron Payne

The Healthy Kids and Families Coalition presented 11 issues known as the Our Children, Our Future Campaign to End Child Poverty and then hand-delivered them to legislators at the Capitol Tuesday. The group wants these issues made priority as the 60-day  session begins Wednesday.

Those 11 issues include:

1. Protect Funding for Family Support Programs

The goal is to keep Family Resource Networks and Starting Points Family Resource Centers across the state funded.

2. In-Home Family Education Programs/Early Childhood

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WV Legislature
10:47 am
Fri December 13, 2013

Interims Mean Variety of Issues for Discussion

Credit wikimedia

Legislative interims wrapped up at the Capitol earlier this week and while we brought you some major headlines, like questions over Frontier’s broadband expansion project using federal grant monies and a proposed bill meant to make state purchasing laws more clear, here are a few more issues lawmakers were discussing.

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Celebration of Success Tour
4:29 pm
Thu December 12, 2013

Delegates to Tour West Virginia to Hear from Entrepreneurs

House Speaker Tim Miley
Credit WV Office of Legislative Services

The state House of Delegates already has a committee focused on improving the business climate in the state. It’s title, the Committee on Energy, Industry and Labor, Economic Development and Small Business. A mouthful, to say the least.

So, when Delegate Tim Miley became Speaker Miley in June, he proposed a change.

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Public Education
10:27 am
Thu December 12, 2013

Lawmakers Get an Education on Career Opportunities for Students

Assistant State Superintendent of Schools with the West Virginia Department of Education, Division of Technical and Adult Education Services, Dr. Kathy D'Antoni.
Credit WVDE

The Governor’s Education Reform Bill passed through the legislature and was signed into law earlier this year. That bill was seen as a major overall to the state’s public education system which critics said was failing West Virginia students, but was only meant to be the first step in reform.

From preschool to college and beyond, legislators have spent the past nine months hearing from the state Department of Education and the Higher Education Policy Commission about how they’re working to expand their reach and improve the quality of education students’ are receiving.

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Crimes Against Children
12:34 pm
Wed December 11, 2013

Committee to Introduce Bills Protecting Children

Delegate Linda Goode Phillips announces the Select Committee on Crimes Against Children will introduce four bills to the full legislature in 2014.
Credit Ashton Marra

A bi-partisan House committee focused on the issues of woman and children across the state will introduce four bills to the full legislature for its consideration in the upcoming session.

“If every Delegate is thinking properly, they’re going to do the right thing by voting for these,” said Delegate Linda Goode Phillips, chair of the Select Committee on Crimes Against Children.

“I think these are more from the heart, common sense bills. We want to protect the children.”

The bills were announced during a press conference at the Capitol Tuesday.

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Broadband Expansion
12:29 am
Tue December 10, 2013

Cost, Access to Frontier Broadband Project Questioned

Senator Bob Williams questions the cost of the BTOP expansion project during a Joint Committee on Technology at the Capitol.
Ashton Marra

The terms “router-gate” and “tower-gate” have been thrown around in committee meetings, in newspaper articles, on social media, to refer to what some are calling major mess ups by the previous and current administrations’ efforts to expand internet access across the state.

The funds those scandals misused came to West Virginia as a grant under the Federal Broadband Technology Opportunities Program, or BTOP. Legislative audits show that money was misused in various ways and now some are calling on the state to take a look at whether the expansion of the broadband fiber optic cable network has also been mismanaged.

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State Purchasing Laws
7:13 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

Bill Proposes Three Changes to Create 'Common Sense' Purchasing

Senator Herb Snyder
Credit WV Office of Legislative Services

Legislators are working on proposed legislation to reform the state purchasing laws that is expected to come before the full legislature during the 2014 session.

The bill was passed by a subcommittee and will be presented to the full Joint Committee on Government Organization in January for amendments before it is passed and considered by the full House and Senate.

Committee Chair Senator Herb Snyder said the draft bill has three basic provisions that will help make purchasing for all state spending units more clear.

The bill:

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1:21 am
Thu November 21, 2013

Five Things You Need to Know About W.Va.’s Proposed Marijuana Bill

Delegate Joe Ellington listens to a presentation of the draft medical marijuana bill in the House Chambers.
Credit Ashton Marra

Legislators got their first look at a bill that would legalize the medicinal use of marijuana in the state during interim meetings in Charleston. A controversial proposal, lawmakers are taking their time scrutinizing the legislation before they even decide to present it to the full legislature for consideration when they convene for the 2014 Regular Session in January.

The comprehensive bill is a compilation of medical marijuana laws from multiple other states and sets forth these five provisions:

1. Creation of a Patient Registry

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3:35 pm
Wed November 20, 2013

New Committee to Focus on Small Businesses

House Speaker Tim Miley announced the creation of a new committee focused on small business, entrepreneurship and economic development.
Credit Ashton Marra

In his first press conference as Speaker of the state House of Delegates, Speaker Tim Miley announced the intended formation of a new committee in his chamber, the committee on small business, entrepreneurship and economic development.

The committee will be separated from the one already in existence in the House which is focused on the energy industry and labor. Miley said this new committee is important because small businesses are the backbone of future economic growth in the state.

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Public Education
2:55 pm
Wed November 20, 2013

Enrollment Declining in W.Va. Schools

State Superintendent of Schools Dr. James Phares before an Education Committee in the House Chambers.
Credit Ashton Marra

The state superintendent said enrollment numbers in public schools statewide are down and the Department of Education is now left trying to figure out where those students have gone.

Superintendent Dr. James Phares reported to a Joint Committee on Education, student enrollment has decreased by more than 1,200 student since last year.

Harrison County led the enrollment decrease losing 283 in the last five years.

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Frack Water Disposal
10:14 pm
Tue November 19, 2013

Recycling Frack Fluids Growing Alternative to Injection Wells

Senator John Unger chaired the Legislative Oversight Commission on state Water Resources.
Credit Ashton Marra

State lawmakers say they’re starting to broaden their focus of the state’s water resources from not just protecting it, but also managing it.

During a legislative interim meeting in Charleston, legislators considered the thoughts of scientists and industry leaders regarding waste water management in the natural gas sector.

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2:06 pm
Tue November 19, 2013

Industry Says Students Need Soft Skills to Succeed

Karen Price, president of the West Virginia Manufacturer's Association, told legislators more middle skill jobs will be available in the coming years, but the state needs more technically trained employees to fill those positions.
Credit Ashton Marra

More than 42,000 West Virginians are employed by the manufacturing industry and state lawmakers were told that number is expected to grow in the coming years, but industry leaders say the state needs to focus on educating those workers now.

President of the West Virginia Manufacturer’s Association Karen Price said the problem with the state’s manufacturing industry is not a job shortage, but a labor shortage.

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West Virginia Morning
8:56 am
Tue November 19, 2013

How a Cracker Plant Impacts Air Quality & the State's Inmate Population is Shrinking

Credit Ashton Marra

Our friends at Allegheny Front explore how a cracker plant has impacted the air quality in Houston and legislators receive an update on the effect of the Governor's prison reform bill from this past session.