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A Closer Look at Criminal Justice Reform Legislation

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Assistant News Director Glynis Board leads a discussion with activist Robert Grossman of Morgantown on one of several criminal justice reform bills that have been considered this session. We also bring you the latest updates from the House of Delegates and Senate.

Senior Statehouse Reporter brings us up-to-date on legislative action:

  • The Campus Self Defense Act – HB 2519 – was rejected by the Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday evening
  • Several other controversial bills have died or been delayed
  • Latest on the Budget Bill – SB 150/HB 2020
  • Latest on the pay raise bill – HB 2730
  • Remarks in the Senate over construction delays for Herbert Hoover High School and Clendenin Elementary School
  • Latest on the foster care overhaul bill – HB 2010
  • Latest on the “last dollar in” community and technical college bill – SB 1

HB 2083 passed the Senate and now goes back to the House for concurrence of the amended bill. The legislation would provide an identification card for released inmates who don't have a West Virginia driver's license.
Other criminal justice reform bills this session include notifying former felons about their right to vote and exempting drug felons from a lifetime ban of receiving federal food benefits. Assistant News Director Glynis Board spoke with activist Robert Grossman who's been outspoken on SB 152 – a criminal offense expungement bill. It will be on Second Reading, the amendment stage, in the Senate Thursday.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mh0-kUlnklE

SB 152 is one of several bills related to criminal justice reform being considered this legislative session, but efforts to adapt systems exist outside of the legislature as well. The state Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation is expanding work release programs to help more nonviolent drug offenders transition into the workplace. West Virginia Public Broadcasting visited a frozen tree factory in Wheeling that has recently embraced incarcerated workers.

Liz McCormick is WVPB's Eastern Panhandle and education reporter/producer. Liz is a native of Charleston, West Virginia and received her B.A. in Communications from Shepherd University in 2014. You can connect with Liz via email at emccormick@wvpublic.org or on Twitter @LizMcCormickWV