Government

It’s Friday, which means we're joined by veteran statehouse reporters to discuss the latest action from the West Virginia Legislature. Host Suzanne Higgins is joined by Jake Zuckerman and Ryan Quinn of the Charleston Gazette-Mail and Brad McElhinny of WV MetroNews.

WV State Police Cruiser
WCHS-TV

Two West Virginia State Police Troopers have been discharged following an internal investigation into the beating of a 16-year-old Martinsburg resident in November.

 

A spokesperson for the West Virginia State Police says Michael Kennedy and Derek Walker, who both held the rank of Trooper First Class, have been discharged from the force. Their discharge is effective as of Thursday. Both Kennedy and Walker had been suspended without pay.

Office of Gov. Jim Justice

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice has selected a registered lobbyist working on behalf of the governor’s family companies to fill a vacancy left by the resignation of a state senator.

Paul Hardesty of Logan County will replace former Sen. Richard Ojeda in the state Senate’s 7th District, which covers Boone, Lincoln, Logan and parts of Mingo and Wayne counties.

John Deskins, Director of the West Virginia University Bureau of Business and Economic Research, joins host Suzanne Higgins for a discussion on the state’s economy, areas of growth, labor force participation, and the employment growth forecast in West Virginia. We also have stories from reporters Randy Yohe and Danite Belay.

Cecelia Mason / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A House Delegate has sponsored a resolution that would add West Virginia to states that are signing up to support a constitutional amendment for congressional term limits.

On last night’s episode of The Legislature Today, senior reporter Dave Mistich spoke with Senate Finance Chairman Craig Blair and House Minority Finance Chairman Mick Bates about the current fiscal situation in West Virginia -- including a look at possibilities for the nearly $186 million-dollar surplus announced in December’s revenue report. We hear an exerpt from the interview on this West Virginia Morning.

Senate Finance Chair Craig Blair and House Finance Minority Chair Mick Bates join Senior Statehouse Reporter Dave Mistich to talk budget issues. We also bring you coverage from the West Virginia Department of Education’s budget hearing in House Finance and the latest on the community and technical college tuition assistance bill, SB 1.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Taking a quick glance at Gov. Jim Justice’s legislative agenda, many onlookers are wondering how the budget will shape up by the end of session. With proposals for new spending and rollbacks on taxes currently yielding high-dollar price-tags, getting to a balanced budget remains unknown.

But politics are a part of policy making -- and everything becomes a negotiation.  

On this West Virginia Morning, Gov. Jim Justice made clear in his 2019 State of the State Address that he wants to see medical marijuana in West Virginia. But he also said he would never support recreational marijuana use. Senate President Mitch Carmichael and House Speaker Roger Hanshaw joined host Suzanne Higgins on The Legislature Today last night for a discussion about some of the top issues this legislative session, including the debate over marijuana. We have an excerpt from that interview.

The Senate President and House Speaker join us for a conversation about some of the top issues this session, and we take a closer look at medical marijuana with a special report from Senior Statehouse Reporter Dave Mistich.

Beth Walker
Will Price / West Virginia Legislative Photography

After a year of scandal involving lavish spending that led to the entire bench of the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals being impeached, the court gave a budget presentation to the Senate Finance Committee. While Supreme Court Chief Justice Beth Walker outlined the entire court system’s budget and the implementation of new spending policies Tuesday, attention was heavily focused on a recent transaction to a women’s clothing and lingerie retailer.

Senate Education Chair Patricia Rucker, R-Jefferson. Jan. 15, 2019.
Will Price / WV Legislative Photography

Senators in the Senate Education Committee Tuesday unanimously approved Senate Bill 1 -- “Increasing access to career education and workforce training.”

On this West Virginia Morning, during this past weekend, a horrific fire in Clay County claimed the lives of four foster children. It put the spotlight on a child welfare system in crisis. West Virginia lawmakers have been working throughout interim session to address the significant needs of the state's foster care system. Now, they bring that work into the regular state Legislative session. Glynis Board brings us a closer look at the crisis from the front lines.

Over the weekend, a horrific fire in Clay County claimed the lives of four foster children. It's put an intense and more immediate spotlight on a child welfare system in crisis. Lawmakers have been working throughout interim sessions on addressing the significant needs of the state's foster care system, and now they bring that work into the regular session.

Office of Gov. Jim Justice

A resolution introduced in the West Virginia Senate seeks to require that the Legislature’s upper chamber confirm Supreme Court appointments made by the governor. The proposal comes following a year of scandal surrounding the state’s high court, which lead to three appointments by the goveror.

Senate Joint Resolution 8 was introduced Monday and referred to the chamber’s Judiciary Committee. Republican Patricia Rucker is the lead sponsor of the resolution.

Two statehouse reporters join host Suzanne Higgins for a look back at the first three days of the 2019 West Virginia Legislative session. We also meet some of the legislature’s newest members, and we chat with Politifact about Gov. Jim Justice’s State of the State address.

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West Virginia's public high school four-year graduation rate last school year was 90 percent, up from 89 percent the previous school year.

401(K) 2012 / www.401kcalculator.org

Enrollment plans in West Virginia through the federal online health insurance marketplace has declined again this year.

Jada Reeves (center) as she was recognized by Gov. Jim Justice during his 2019 State of the State Address.
Will Price / West Virginia Legislative Photography

A fifth-grade teacher has been named West Virginia's Teacher of the Year for 2019.

The state Education Department said in a news release that Jada Reeves of Bradley Elementary in Mount Hope was presented the award on Thursday. It includes more than $15,000 and the use of a new car.

Gov. Jim Justice gave his third annual State of the State Address Wednesday night. We'll have coverage of his speech and reaction from both the Senate and House Minority Leaders. We also bring you the latest on Sen. Richard Ojeda, D-Logan, who announced his resignation from the state Senate to run for United States President.

Will Price / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Sen. Richard Ojeda, D-7th, spoke to his colleagues on the Senate floor to announce his looming departure to focus on a run for the Democratic nomination for president in 2020. In a typically passionate tone, Ojeda criticized Republican leaders for failing to run bills he believes would have been helpful to all West Virginians.

“I’m sure everybody has heard quite a few rumors out there. I just wanted everybody to know there is truth to the rumor,” Ojeda said Thursday.

On this West Virginia Morning, Gov. Jim Justice promised to capitalize on West Virginia’s recently reported economic turnaround in his third State of the State address. Justice focused on education, roads, the state’s drug problem, and rollbacks on taxes. Dave Mistich reports.

Fact-Checking Jim Justice's State of the State Address

Jan 9, 2019
Gov. Jim Justice, R. W.Va., delivers his annual State of the State speech on Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019, in Charleston, W.Va.
Tyler Evert / Associated Press

Gov. Jim Justice delivered his third State of the State address tonight, proposing the elimination of a state tax on Social Security benefits, a 5 percent pay raise for state employees including teachers, and millions of dollars more for substance abuse and other social services.

Gov. Jim Justice, R-W.Va., delivers his annual State of the State speech, Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019, in Charleston, W.Va.
Tyler Evert / Associated Press

In his third State of the State address, Gov. Jim Justice promised to capitalize on West Virginia’s recently reported economic turnaround -- focused on education, roads, the state’s drug problem and rollbacks on taxes.

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Another West Virginia city has given preliminary approval for an ordinance that would include “sexual orientation” and “gender identification” to legally protected classes.

News outlets report the Beckley Common Council approved a first reading of the ordinance Monday in a 4-3 vote.

Will Price / West Virginia Legislative Photography

This is a developing story and will be updated.

West Virginia state Senator Richard Ojeda says he will resign from his seat next week to focus on winning the Democratic nomination for president in 2020.  

President Trump delivered the first Oval Office address of his presidency Tuesday night — and it came in the midst of a protracted partial government shutdown.

There were a lot of questions going into the address, but there were at least as many afterward — especially, and most importantly: What now?

So what did we learn from the president's address and the rare Democratic response? Here are seven insights:

John Raby / AP Photo

Republican leaders in the West Virginia Legislature outlined their priorities for the 60-day session, which kicks off today at noon. Senate President Mitch Carmichael and House Speaker Roger Hanshaw gathered members of their respective caucuses Tuesday and came up with four main priorities.

PolitiFact West Virginia’s State of the State 2019

Jan 8, 2019
West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice speaks at a Salute to Service charity dinner in conjunction with the PGA Tour's Greenbrier Classic at The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va., Tuesday, July 3, 2018.
Chris Jackson / Associated Press

As Gov. Jim Justice prepares to deliver his State of the State address on Wednesday, PolitiFact West Virginia thought it would be worthwhile to take a look at the state of the state as seen through our recent fact-checks.

President Trump has suggested that he might resort to using "emergency" powers to build his border wall if he is not able to reach agreement on funding with congressional Democrats.

"We are looking at it very strongly," Trump told reporters on Sunday. "We're looking at a national emergency, because we have a national emergency."

The president does have broad powers to act in a crisis situation, but those powers are not unlimited. And critics say Trump should be careful about invoking them in this instance.

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