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New Tax Proposals & Medical Cannabis Make it Through Committees

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On the Legislature Today, members of the House Finance Committee consider two bills that would help balance the 2018 budget, one to lower the overall sales tax rate while getting rid of some exemptions, the other to capture some dollars from the state's Road Fund and increase the beer barrel tax.

Across the rotunda in a Senate committee, members have advanced a bill to create a medical marijuana program in West Virginia, allowing doctors to prescribe the illegal drug for medicinal use.

Delegates voted 97-2 Friday in favor of a bill that aims to expand high speed broadband internet access, especially in rural West Virginia. The bill is revenue neutral and permissive- meaning it doesn’t require any expansion, but offers communities ways to increase access for themselves.

Senators voted on a bill that would make a significant change in how education standards and statewide assessments are approved for the public school system. Democrats on the floor argued that the bill is unconstitutional and takes powers away from the state board at a substantial cost to the taxpayer.

And we take a deep dive into an industry some lawmakers believe could attract big investment to West Virginia-- industrial hemp.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fUWNg4NHNt4&feature=youtu.be

Ashton Marra covers the Capitol for West Virginia Public Radio and can be heard weekdays on West Virginia Morning, the station’s daily radio news program. Ashton can also be heard Sunday evenings as she brings you state headlines during NPR’s weekend edition of All Things Considered. She joined the news team in October of 2012.