The Legislature Today

M-F at 6 p.m. on TV, Radio & Digital. Re-airs at 7 p.m. on The WV Channel

The Legislature Today is West Virginia's source for daily legislative news and information.  The only live television program covering the West Virginia Legislature, the broadcast features reports from the Senate, House and committee meetings with in-depth interviews and analysis of the legislative process in West Virginia.

The Legislature Today airs weeknights at these times and locations:

The Legislature Today can also be heard at 6 p.m. weeknights on WVPB's statewide radio network.

 

Subscribe to The Legislature Today Podcast for daily downloads of the program.

Thanks to our 2019 sponsors for The Legislature Today:

AARP | Charleston Gazette-Mail | Lumos NetworksMarshall University | Orion Strategies | West Virginia University

Aaron Payne

House Bill 4135 would establish the first Thursday in May as the West Virginia Day of Prayer.

Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Five of Governor Tomblin’s bills were introduced in the Senate Tuesday, many of which were highlighted in his State of the State Address earlier this month:

U.S. Senator Joe Manchin joins Governor Earl Ray Tomblin and other state legislative leaders to discuss proposed state and federal legislation following the January 9th chemical spill, the Senate expresses concerns over the small business recovery bill passed by the House last week, the House passes a bill to increase penalties for littering, and Finance Chairs Sen. Roman Prezioso and Del. Brent Boggs discuss various aspects of the state's finances.

Subscribe to the podcast for daily downloads of the program.

House Bill 4014 will increase the criminal penalties for littering in West Virginia.

Part of the bill divides the level of offense by the quantity of the waste into the categories of “not exceeding 100 pounds or 27 cubic feet,” “greater than 100 pounds in weight or 27 cubic feet in, but less than 500 pounds in weight or 216 cubic feet” and “greater than 500 pounds in weight or 216 cubic feet.”

Ashton Marra

After more than a week since a chemical spill on the Elk River, some West Virginia American Water customers are still questioning the quality of the water running out of their taps.

“Make no mistake, the discharge of chemicals or other contaminants is unacceptable and neither I nor anyone standing here with me today will tolerate it in West Virginia,” Governor Tomblin said after he thanked the people of West Virginia for their patience as he and emergency officials worked to restore water service to more than 300,000 West Virginians.

Ashton Marra makes her debut as the Friday host of The Legislature Today and brings us more on the Joint Commission of State Water Resources holds it's first hearing since the January 9 chemical leak at Freedom Industries, the House Finance Committee hears a budget presentation related to senior citizens, and The State Journal's managing editor Ann Ali and The Charleston Daily Mail's statehouse reporter Dave Boucher discuss the chemical leak and related legislation as well as other issues.

Ashton Marra

The Joint Commission on State Water Resources held its first hearing Friday morning as it’s investigates last week’s chemical spill into the Kanawha. This week, they heard from a state water quality expert and a union leader about where the state’s regulations on containment are lacking.

Senate Majority Leader and the Commission’s co-chairman Senator John Unger introduced legislation to manage and protect the state’s water resources Thursday, but Friday, his commission was focused on getting answers about how to prevent spills from happening in the future.

The House of Delegates passes HB 4175, which would provide funding to small businesses in the wake an emergency, Senate Majority Leader John Unger introduces a bill that would require above ground storage facilities of chemicals to be inspected, Attorney General Patrick Morrisey faces off with the Senate Finance Committee over abortion in a budget hearing, and Minority Leaders Sen. Mike Hall and Del. Tim Armstead speak about issues important to their party this session.

Ashton Marra

Friday marks eight days since a chemical leaked from a storage tank on the Elk River contaminating the water supply of 300,000 West Virginians, and some are still unable to use their water.

At the Capitol, lawmakers and state leaders are already investigating the spill and looking into new regulations to prevent others from happening in the future. The first piece of legislation to regulate the chemical industry was introduced Thursday in the Senate.

Dave Mistich / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

House Bill 4175 was introduced yesterday and sent to the new Committee on Small Business, Entrepreneurship and Economic Development. The committee approved the bill to be sent to the finance committee, which today approved it to be sent to the floor. The delegates voted unanimously to suspend the second and third readings of the bill to allow immediate action.

Senator Ron Stollings discusses potential health and environmental regulations that could come as a reult of last week's chemical spill by Freedom Industries, the House Banking and Insurance Committee holds their first meeting of the session,  and an interview with the new Speaker of the House of Delegates, Tim Miley.

Subscribe to the podcast for daily downloads of the program.

Aaron Payne

The House Committee on Banking and Insurance met to hear presentations from state agency heads. Commissioner of Insurance Michael Riley and Commissioner of the Division of Financial Institutions Sally Cline presented to and fielded questions from the delegates.

Provided

Lawmakers are already asking themselves what they can do to prevent a chemical leak like the one on the Elk River from happening again in the future.

In the Senate, Majority Leader Senator John Unger chairs the Joint Legislative Oversight Commission on State Water Resources. He is looking into the commission’s power to investigate the incident and propose regulations for the industry.

Transportation Secretary Paul Mattox talks funding and construction for roads to the Senate Committee on Transportation, the Office of Legislative Information stays busy while the House of Delegates reorganizes plans in the aftermath of last week's chemical spill, and Senate President Jeff Kessler touts his plans for a future fund with hopes to keep the state in sound financial shape.

Subscribe to the podcast for daily downloads of the program.

Aaron Payne

While the legislature’s process has been slowed due to the chemical leak, one office down in the basement of the Capitol continues its function of keeping the public informed.

“We’re essentially called the Office of Public Information or Legislative Information,” Director Drew Ross said.

Paul Mattox
Janet Kunicki / West Virginia Public Broadcasting (File Photo)

The state portion of road funding comes from three sources- the gasoline tax, registration fees and a tax on newly purchased vehicles.

Secretary of the Department of Transportation Paul Mattox predicts those revenue sources will remain consistent over the next five years, but findings from the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Highways say to maintain and expand the current system, the state would need an additional $1.3 billion each year.

So, members of the Senate Committee on Transportation are looking for ways to meet that projected need.

Chemical Leak Impedes W. Va. Legislature

Jan 13, 2014
Aaron Payne

Entering the first full week of the second session of the 81st West Virginia Legislature, the normal process has been slowed by a coal cleaning chemical leaking into the water supply of over 300,000 West Virginians. While some work was done today, most of the legislatures’ efforts were toward the safety of the citizens.

The House of Delegates had only 43 members in attendance for its floor session on Monday, which did not allow for a quorum. The House was adjourned until 6 p.m. on Tuesday. Many committee meetings were rescheduled as well.

The recent chemical spill and water crisis were the focus of The Legislature Today. Governor Earl Ray Tomblin and General James Hoyer discuss the current situation with Beth Vorhees. 

Subscribe to the podcast for daily downloads of the program.

West Virginia Legislature

West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin will be the first guest on this season of The Legislature Today. He will discuss the recent chemical leak.

The episode will be taped live today, and will air this evening at 6:30 on West Virginia PBS. The show airs Weekdays while the the legislature is in session.

You can also hear the show at 6:30 on West Virginia Public Radio, or listen live on the internet.

Aaron Payne

With the challenges of a tight budget year ahead, the first goal was immediately understood because balancing the state budget is mandated by the constitution.

WVEA

Governor Tomblin announced a 2 percent pay raise for teachers during his State of the State Address, but union representatives say the state needs more to keep quality teachers in the classrooms.

West Virginia Education Association President Dale Lee said he was glad to hear education is still a top priority for the governor this legislative session, but thinks more can be done for teacher pay.

“We will continue to work with the House and Senate to see if we can improve on that two percent realizing that it’s a starting point,” he said Wednesday.

Martin Valent/WV Legislature Office of Public Information

In his fourth State of the State address, Governor Earl Ray Tomblin touted his administration's accomplishments over the past year, including multiple multi-million dollar investments made by some major international corporations in the final months of 2012.

But his main focus was moving the state forward, his goals for the upcoming legislative session, and, perhaps most importantly, his thoughts on how to accomplish those goals in an obviously tight budget year.

“Governing, like gardening, takes planning, patience and foresight,” Tomblin began.

W.Va. House of Delegates Opens 2014 Session

Jan 8, 2014
Aaron Payne

The 81st House of Delegates began its 60-day session Wednesday at the Capitol.

After most of the general housekeeping was taken care of, the delegates introduced 15 bills, both new and interim, to be sent to the various committees.

A few highlights of the bills introduced are:

HB 4003. Granting dual jurisdiction to counties where a student who lives in one county and attends school in another in order to enforce truancy policies.

HB 4009. Permitting institutions of higher education to perform background checks.

WVU College of Business and Economics

The West Virginia University College of Business and Economics presented their state economic outlook to lawmakers Wednesday.

The report says West Virginia is seeing growth in the areas of employment and per capita personal income.

According to the study, approximately 3,000 jobs were added in the past year, with the natural resource and mining sector contributing most to the increase.

Governor Tomblin delivered the State of the State address Wednesday, January 8 at 7 p.m. You can watch the archived video of the address right here.

Aaron Payne

The Healthy Kids and Families Coalition presented 11 issues known as the Our Children, Our Future Campaign to End Child Poverty and then hand-delivered them to legislators at the Capitol Tuesday. The group wants these issues made priority as the 60-day  session begins Wednesday.

Those 11 issues include:

1. Protect Funding for Family Support Programs

The goal is to keep Family Resource Networks and Starting Points Family Resource Centers across the state funded.

2. In-Home Family Education Programs/Early Childhood

Aaron Payne

House Speaker Tim Miley announced his intention to create a new committee in his chamber.

The House Committee on Energy is the second committee the speaker will create in his first term as the chamber’s leader.

Chaired by Delegate Kevin Craig of Cabell County, Miley said the industry is one of the most important to West Virginia’s economy and deserves the focus of its own committee.

Delegate Mike Caputo will serve as vice chair and said they already intend to introduce one bill creating a legislative oversight committee on energy worker safety.

Ashton Marra

Forty-eighth in job creation, 50th in median household income, 49th in K-12 achievement--all statistics House Minority Leader Tim Armstead said his party is looking to improve upon this legislative session during a press conference at the Capitol Tuesday.

This year, the Republican caucus is focused on growing the state’s economy through tax reform, setting priorities for existing revenue sources and strengthening education.

“They need to focus on putting people back to work,” Armstead said of the Democratic leadership in his chamber.

Division of Corrections

A private prison company in Kentucky said Monday it can house West Virginia inmates for less than the state Division of Corrections.

Kentucky’s Corrections Corporation of America said in a bid opened by the state Purchasing Division it can house up to 400 West Virginia prisoners in its Beattyville facility for $59.80 per day.

It costs the DOC around $65 per day to house prisoners at an in state facility according to division Commissioner Jim Rubenstein.

wikimedia

Legislative interims wrapped up at the Capitol earlier this week and while we brought you some major headlines, like questions over Frontier’s broadband expansion project using federal grant monies and a proposed bill meant to make state purchasing laws more clear, here are a few more issues lawmakers were discussing.

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