Data Show Kentucky Coal Miners May Face Holding Pattern For Black Lung Benefits

Feb 26, 2020

On this West Virginia Morning, black lung continues to plague the region as miners who dedicated their lives to the coal industry are now left in holding patterns.

A controversial and sweeping tax reform overhaul met its demise Tuesday in the West Virginia Senate when the second – and most essential – part of a two-pronged plan to wipe out tangible personal property taxes was rejected. Dave Mistich has more.

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 33 percent of West Virginia women, and 41 percent of West Virginia men experience intimate partner physical or sexual violence and-or stalking in their lifetime. In West Virginia, an estimated 1/3 of all homicides are linked to domestic violence.

On Tuesday night’s episode of The Legislature Today, host Suzanne Higgins spoke with Del. Sammi Brown, D-Jefferson. Brown is a member of the House Judiciary Committee, and she’s known to be outspoken on domestic violence issues.

Higgins and Brown discussed some successful domestic violence legislation this session – but also looked at some bills that may not make it to the governor’s desk this year. Here’s an excerpt from their interview, taped live at the Capitol.

As the epidemic of black lung disease continues to affect miners across the Ohio Valley, a review of state records in Kentucky shows that sick miners there could have a harder time getting benefits. Two years ago, Kentucky lawmakers made a controversial change to the rules for black lung benefits. Now, data show that since that change, the percent of Kentucky miners diagnosed by state-approved experts as having the disease fell by half. Sydney Boles has the story.

The Ohio Valley ReSource is made possible by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and West Virginia Public Broadcasting.

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.