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oxycontin
Toby Talbot / Associated Press file photo

The federal judge overseeing the bankruptcy case of OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma set a June 30 deadline to file claims against the company. That includes governments, entities such as hospitals and, for the first time, individuals with personal injury claims. There is no guarantee that people who became addicted to opioids or their families would receive any money, and the judge emphasized that those claims would be open only to people who believe they were harmed by Purdue.

Joanne C. Sullivan

On a sunny day in early September, hundreds of Wheeling residents, state lawmakers, and the Pride of West Virginia, West Virginia University’s marching band, all came out to Main St. in Wheeling to celebrate an important milestone in the city’s history: 250 years.


This week lawmakers debated tax breaks, sought remedies for a foster care system in crisis, passed a resolution calling for a convention of states and much more. Host Suzanne Higgins is joined by statehouse reporters to recap a week of legislative action.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

The West Virginia House of Delegates has passed a bill that would allow voters with certain disabilities to vote electronically in the upcoming election. 

Eric Douglas / WVPB

“Montani Semper Liberi ⁠— Mountaineers Are Always Free” is West Virginia’s state motto, but it is more than that. It is a belief system that is not just true about the Mountain State. It rings true throughout Appalachia and even mountains on other continents. 

On this episode of Inside Appalachia, we're taking another listen to a show that we aired last summer. It delves into how the natural environment has influenced our lives. 

Capitol, West Virginia State Capitol
Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

 

For The Legislature Today, reporter Brittany Patterson spent a day at West Virginia University’s Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources speaking with students studying petroleum and natural gas engineering. 

The industry is an economically important one across the state. According to the state tax department, in 2019, the state received $146 million in severance taxes from natural gas.

 

On The Legislature Today, we discuss West Virginia children in crisis and a foster care system under the microscope. The new Senate Select Committee on Children and Families had its first meeting where the dire needs of the state's 10,000 homeless students and 7,000 foster children are the focus. Reporter Roxy Todd also joins our program to lead a discussion with state lawmakers on the issue.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

The West Virginia House of Delegates passed a bill Thursday that would roll back certain fire safety regulations. Some lawmakers said this move will increase the risk of electrical home fires, while the bill’s proponents said it would save constituents some money.  

Updated at 3:20 p.m. ET

The Environmental Protection Agency is dramatically reducing the amount of U.S. waterways that get federal protection under the Clean Water Act — a move that is welcomed by many farmers, builders and mining companies but is opposed even by the agency's own science advisers.

E-Cigarette Use By W.Va. Youth On The Rise

Jan 23, 2020
Electronic Cigarette, E-Cigarette, E-Cig, Vapes, Vape
Pixabay

A report released today from the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources [DHHR] details the rise of e-cigarette use in West Virginia youth in the past two years.


Janet Kunicki/ WVPB

Across West Virginia, abuse and neglect cases have resulted in the removal of thousands of children from their family homes. Close to 7,000 have become foster children. Recently, state lawmakers introduced new legislation to address some of the problems. 

West Virginia Public Broadcasting spoke with several foster families about their experience. Here are several ways they said they would like to see changes in the foster care system. 

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, energy and environment reporter Brittany Patterson spoke with Del. Bill Anderson, chairman of the House Energy Committee, and House Energy Committee member, Del. Mike Caputo on last night’s episode of The Legislature Today. They spoke about the role coal is likely to play in the future of West Virginia’s energy mix.

We hear an excerpt from the interview, taped live at the Capitol.

Brian Blauser/ Mountain Stage

Award-winning bluegrass group Balsam Range made their first appearance on Mountain Stage last March with songs from their newly released album Aeonic.

When we learn our history, we see things that reflect our past. Paintings of famous battles and statues of men who were heroes to some. But how we interpret our legacy changes. Time can warp our notion of a once righteous cause.

There are examples around the world of ways we have edited our past. In the U.S., recent decisions to move Confederate monuments and take down Confederate flags. But the effort to cleanse the past is global.

West Virginia Public Broadcasting’s energy and environment reporter Brittany Patterson returns to lead a conversation on West Virginia’s struggling coal industry. We’re also joined by senior reporter Dave Mistich and reporter Emily Allen to discuss the latest news from the Capitol.

Will Price / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Would a gathering of delegates from each of the fifty states, tasked with amending the United States Constitution, be focused on a singular topic? Or would such a convention turn into a free-for-all — leaving the country’s supreme legal document susceptible to reckless changes?

Natural gas pipe for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline sits in a yard Feb. 27, 2019, near Morgantown, W.Va.
Larry Dowling / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

West Virginia’s top official says the state is prepared to do “anything” to help the state’s struggling oil and natural gas industry. 

Speaking at the annual winter meeting of the Independent Oil and Gas Association of West Virginia on Wednesday, Jan. 22, Gov. Jim Justice told the crowd of drillers and producers that his administration believes the industry is vital to the state’s economic health and that he’s in lockstep with the industry in supporting legislative relief. 

Richard Ojeda
Will Price / West Virginia Legislative Photography file photo

A former Department of Veterans Affairs employee has been sentenced to six months in prison for leaking the medical records of Richard Ojeda as the former Army major was running for Congress in West Virginia.

Jeffrey Miller of Huntington was sentenced Tuesday in federal court. Miller, 40, had pleaded guilty to accessing the medical records of six veterans when he was working for the VA’s benefits administration.

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey is shown Thursday, March 3, 2016, at the state Capitol in Charleston, W.Va.
John Raby / AP file photo

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey filed for reelection Tuesday, highlighting his work on the opioid crisis, church sex abuse and opposition to the Affordable Care Act.

Morrisey, a Republican, formally turned in his 2020 candidacy paperwork with a gaggle of GOP lawmakers at the secretary of state’s office. He framed his bid for a third term as a way to handle “unfinished business.”

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, energy and environment reporter Brittany Patterson spoke with Angie Rosser, Executive Director of the West Virginia Rivers Coalition, and Dave McMahon, of the West Virginia Surface Owners' Rights Organization, during last night’s episode of The Legislature Today.

ALYSSE GAFKJEN

Mountain Stage is adding two new shows to an already extensive live event schedule. Be sure to sign up for our e-mail newsletter for updates and follow along on social media for more artist announcements.

W.Va. Schools Chief: Plan To Cut History Classes Should Be History

Jan 22, 2020
West Virginia Department of Education

West Virginia's public schools superintendent wants the state Board of Education not to reduce the number of social studies courses required for high school graduation.

Superintendent Steve Paine said in a statement Monday that he will make the recommendation based on an overwhelming response to the proposal.

Adobe Stock

New testing by the Environmental Working Group has identified the presence of toxic fluorinated chemicals, broadly known as PFAS, in the tap water of dozens of cities across the U.S. where contamination was not previously known. 

Capitol, West Virginia State Capitol
Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Delegates on the West Virginia House Judiciary Committee passed a bill to create a foster child’s bill of rights Tuesday morning.

We begin a two-part series on West Virginia’s energy sectors. West Virginia Public Broadcasting’s energy and environment reporter Brittany Patterson looks at the forecast for oil and natural gas production and includes perspective from environmentalists and private property owners. Also, host Suzanne Higgins speaks with statehouse reporter Emily Allen for the latest in legislative action.

Downtown Richwood, WV, at dawn after hours of heavy rain flooded the little town.
Kara Lofton / West Virginia Public Broadcasting file photo

The West Virginia House of Delegates unanimously passed a bill Tuesday, Jan. 21, from members of its interim committee on flooding, hoping to speed up the process for rebuilding homes after natural disasters. 

Will Price / West Virginia Legislative Photography

The introduction of a proposed state constitutional amendment that would repeal a tax on manufacturing equipment and Inventory sparked conversation Tuesday in the West Virginia Senate. 

Senate Joint Resolution 8, titled the “Manufacturing Growth Amendment,” was introduced Tuesday in the Senate. Such an effort has become a perennial issue in recent years — and offered in various forms — under the GOP-controlled legislature, but has yet to clear both chambers. 

This year at the Legislature, energy and environment issues will no doubt be hot topics of debate. From water quality regulations to natural gas to the state's coal industry — tell us what YOU want to know more about.

Your question might be selected as the topic of a news report during this legislative session.

Weirton’s Serbian Heritage Is A Chicken Blast

Jan 21, 2020
Emily Hilliard / West Virginia Humanities Council

Every summer Wednesday since 1969, members of the Serbian Eastern Orthodox Church Men’s Club have gathered at the Serbian Picnic Grounds along King’s Creek outside of Weirton, West Virginia. In a long, cement block building, they mill about in the dawn light, eating donuts, drinking coffee, and reading the morning paper. They’re here for a weekly fundraiser they call a “Chicken Blast,” for which they roast 300-400 chickens and sell them to the Weirton community.


Will Price / West Virginia Legislative Photography

The West Virginia Senate passed a bill that protects victims of sexual assault and rape from being required to submit to certain physical exams. Senate Bill 125 cleared the upper chamber Tuesday on a 33-0 vote.

The measure would prevent a court from ordering a victim of sexual assault from submitting to a medical examination evaluating the reported assault. Additionally, a victim’s refusal to submit to such examinations could also not be used as a basis to exclude evidence gathered from other relevant examinations of the victim.

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