WATCH: Gov. Tomblin's 2015 State of the State Address


Governor Earl Ray Tomblin gave his fifth State of the State Address Wednesday night in the House Chamber before a joint meeting of the legislature as well as the Supreme Court, Constitutional officers and many, many others.

Tomblin touted the financial success the state is seeing from fiscally prudent decisions made in recent years. From the strength of the state’s more than $800 million Rainy Day Fund to the accomplishments in paying off worker’s compensation debt, Tomblin said the state is in good financial health.

From fiscal health Tomblin moved to industry noting the growth in the state’s Marcellus Shale region. The governor said he’ll ask for a study focused on worker safety at drilling sites, similar to initiatives the state has taken on in the past for coal miners.

But more than worker safety, Tomblin said he has directed the state Department of Revenue to begin exploring the option of selling drilling rights to gas companies on public lands . 

2015’s address was far less focused on education than in previous years. Tomblin spoke of the importance of a skilled workforce and the part community and technical colleges play in that development, but as far as the state’s public schools, the governor made mention of only one piece of legislation.

Tomblin said that bill would make it easier for professionals to transition into the classroom without returning to school for a teaching degree. 

Tomblin  will also present the recommendations of his Juvenile Justice Task Force in the form of legislation.

The group completed their recommendations in December, taking on the juvenile prison system in the state much like the Justice Reinvestment Act of 2013 took on the adult prison system.

The bill requires all 55 county schools systems hire a truancy diversion specialist to work with students and their families on issues outside of school that may lead to multiple absences.

With a $4.5 million price tag, the bill is expected to cut down juvenile commitments by 40 percent in 5 years and save some $59 million.