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The Recurring Fairness Act And An Online Medicaid Storybook

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On this West Virginia Morning, republican state leadership say a Fairness Act could be a “turning point” for gay and trans rights in West Virginia. But the state has yet to push one through the legislative process. Also, we learn about an online storybook that highlights Medicaid success stories.

The state agency responsible for overseeing the oil and gas industry had budget shortfalls last year and had to cut staff. A group of lawmakers, environmental advocates, and representatives of private property owners are calling for the state legislature to fully-fund the agency. Duncan Slade has more.

Almost a third of West Virginians rely on Medicaid for their health coverage. That includes single moms, caretakers, students and every kind of West Virginian under the sun. A collective of healthcare advocacy groups want to highlight these folks. Their stories include accessing essential health services like delivering a baby or seeing a therapist.

As different as their needs were, Appalachians For Medicaid says these patients had the peace of mind that they wouldn’t be strapped with outrageous hospital bills. The group created an online storybook giving voice to those in West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Ohio. Health reporter June Leffler spoke with Jessica Ice. She is the executive director for West Virginians for Affordable Healthcare and collaborated on the project.

When Governor Jim Justice announced his support for a Non-Discrimination Act during a gubernatorial debate last year, Republican leaders called it a “turning point” for gay and trans rights in West Virginia. Advocates say that legislation to protect these rights has widespread, bipartisan support in the legislature and throughout the state. Yet, despite being introduced almost every year for the last two decades, the bill rarely ends up reaching the floor for a final vote. Emily Allen reports.

The Portland-based band Fruition made their Mountain Stage debut with songs from Wild As The Night. The companion album, Broken At The Break Of Day was released in January 2020. Roots rockers Fruition show their stylistic influences in our Mountain Stage Song of the Week titled, "Dawn.”

West Virginia Morning is a production of West Virginia Public Broadcasting which is solely responsible for its content.

Support for our news bureaus comes from West Virginia University, Concord University, and Shepherd University.

Our Appalachia Health News project is made possible with support from CAMC and Marshall Health.

West Virginia Morning is produced with help from Glynis Board, Dave Mistich, Caitlin Tan, Jessica Lilly, Eric Douglas, Emily Allen, June Leffler, Duncan Slade and Roxy Todd.

Andrea Billups is our news director. Liz McCormick is our producer this week.

Teresa Wills and Chuck Anziulewicz are our hosts.

Listen to West Virginia Morning weekdays at 7:43 a.m. on WVPB Radio or subscribe to the podcast and never miss an episode. #WVMorning