2019 Legislature

Head of the Ohio Regatta, Ohio River
Kara Lofton / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The West Virginia Conservation Agency Thursday announced it is now taking public comment on a new rule that would create a grant program for conservation projects across the state.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, we have an update on the ongoing special legislative session, where issues related to public education lingered heavily in the background, and at times worked their way to the front of the day's agenda.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, lawmakers are scheduled to return to the Capitol in Charleston at 2 p.m. on Monday, May 20, to reconvene a special session on education betterment that was called months ago. But Republican leaders have yet to agree on exactly what kinds of reforms will be considered. So, as Dave Mistich reports, instead of focusing on education, the special session will likely address bills Governor Jim Justice vetoed on technical grounds.

West Virginia Department of Education

A new report on public education in West Virginia could be a roadmap for lawmakers who are set to focus on improving the state’s system. The report comes after a long, sweeping and  controversial education reform bill was rejected by the state Legislature earlier this year -- a measure that caused public school workers to walk off the job for two days.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

The West Virginia Legislature’s 60-day regular session could very well be remembered more for the bills that failed as those that passed. Top-priority proposals -- and some measures that sprung up through the legislative process -- fell by the wayside as the clock ticked toward midnight Saturday and lawmakers adjourned sine die.

Will Price / West Virginia Legislative Photography

The West Virginia Senate has passed a state budget with money earmarked for a potential teacher pay increase, priming a legislative overtime where lawmakers plan to debate raises and other measures that spurred strikes this year and last.

Black lung is a deadly disease caused by exposure to dust underground.
Department of Labor

A bipartisan group of West Virginia Senators has introduced a resolution that would task a legislative committee with studying the state’s black lung epidemic.

Senate Concurrent Resolution 59 was introduced Friday afternoon in the Committee on Health and Human Resources. The resolution was sponsored by Sen. Ron Stollings, a Democrat from Boone County, who is also a doctor.

 

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, the state faces complex ripple effects as a result of the opioid crisis. Schools are especially affected as they respond to increased number of children experiencing traumatic events. Many counties are working to adapt to a changing educational landscape, including Wirt County. Glynis Board visited Wirt Middle and Elementary schools recently to explore tactics being deployed.

The Capitol building in Charleston, West Virginia.
Jesse Wright / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A bill that would transfer control of a unit that fights Medicaid fraud to the West Virginia attorney general's office has been sent to the governor.

The House of Delegates voted 58-42 Thursday, March 7, to pass the bill, which was earlier approved by the state Senate.

The bill would transfer control of the fraud unit from the Department of Health and Human Resources.

Adobe Stock

A bill that would reduce the severance tax on coal used by power plants is one step closer to passing.

After much debate Wednesday afternoon, the Senate Finance Committee passed an amended version of House Bill 3142. The measure, which has already passed the House, now heads to the full Senate for consideration.

Martin Valent / WV Legislative Photography

The West Virginia Senate has completed its part of next year’s state budget.

The Senate passed House Bill 2020 on a 20-14 vote. The split was along party lines with Republicans voting in support of the bill and Democrats going against the measure.

The Senate amended its budget bill into the House’s version on Tuesday. There are significant differences between the two chamber’s budgets.

The West Virginia House of Delegates
Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

The West Virginia House of Delegates has passed a bill that would allow state residents to attend community and technical college for free.

The bill was approved on an 85-13 vote Wednesday. It now goes back to the Senate, which had previously passed the bill unanimously and now must address House changes.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

West Virginia is one of several states with a so-called “second chance” law. It lets people with a felony criminal record appeal to a judge to reduce their charge to a misdemeanor. The goal? To help them find work.

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The West Virginia Legislature has passed a bill containing a set of environmental regulations, including a controversial water pollution rule that was pared down during the legislative process.

The House passed Senate Bill 163 on a 78-22 vote. The measure, which passed in the Senate last month, is now in effect.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, on last night’s episode of “The Legislature Today,” discussion was focused on racism and discrimination. This was in reaction to the anti-Muslim poster and materials displayed during West Virginia’s GOP Day at the Capitol last Friday. Host Suzanne Higgins spoke with three of West Virginia’s faith leaders: Rabbi Victor Urecki, Father Brian O'Donnell, and Ibtesam Sue Barazi, Vice President of the Islamic Association of West Virginia. We hear an excerpt from the interview.

West Virginia Legislative Services

The West Virginia House of Delegates has passed its version of the state budget for 2019-2020 that includes funding for teacher raises.

The House voted 92-5 Saturday afternoon on the $4.6 billion spending bill.

alcoholic beverages
wikimedia / Wikimedia Commons

West Virginians can now buy liquor on Sundays.

Republican Gov. Jim Justice on Thursday signed a measure allowing stores to sell liquor on Sundays after 1 p.m.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this A bill to modify West Virginia’s foster care system – House Bill 2010 – would transition the system to a managed care model. The issue has sparked debate at the statehouse and the state. On last night’s episode of “The Legislature Today,” Health Reporter Kara Lofton brought both sides of the issue together to have a discussion about the bill and ways to meet in the middle.

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West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice has signed legislation requiring students to take computer science classes before graduating high school.

Justice held a ceremonial bill signing Thursday, Feb. 28, at Cranberry-Prosperity Elementary School in Beckley.

Cecelia Mason / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The West Virginia House passed a bill Wednesday that would reduce the severance tax paid on coal burned for electricity

 

House Bill 3142 passed on an 88-11 vote after contentious debate on the floor.

Long sought by industry, the legislation would reduce the severance tax paid by coal companies on steam or thermal coal from 5 percent to 4 percent effective July 1 and to 3 percent effective July 1, 2020.

 

 

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A bill that sought to place work or other requirements on Medicaid recipients in West Virginia has died in the House of Delegates.

A House committee put the bill on its inactive calendar Wednesday, Feb. 27, the final day that legislation could be passed in their chamber of origin. The full House earlier Wednesday debated the bill but stopped short of voting on it, and did not take up the bill during a late evening session before adjourning.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, the very first Senate bill introduced this session is awaiting action in the House Finance Committee. Senate Bill 1 would provide the “last dollar in” to in-state students seeking education from a community and technical college in West Virginia.

Oxfordian Kissuth / wikimedia Commons

The West Virginia Senate has passed a bill that would raise the state's minimum legal age for using tobacco products from 18 to 21.

The Senate passed the bill on a 20-14 vote Wednesday. The bill covers all tobacco and vaping products. A similar bill is pending in a House committee.

A bill that would revive film production tax credits in West Virginia has passed the House of Delegates.

Last year Gov. Jim Justice signed legislation ending the state's program after an audit showed the $5 million in annual credits produced little economic benefit.

Elementary Classroom
Douglaspperkins / Wikimedia Commons

The West Virginia House has approved a bill to expand mental health services in schools.

Delegates passed the measure by a 99-0 vote Wednesday. Roane County Del. Martin Atkinson's bill would require counties to hire at least one school psychologist for every 1,000 students between kindergarten and seventh grade. The bill now heads to the Senate.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, Gov. Jim Justice’s bill to give a 5 percent pay raise to teachers, state employees, and state police passed the West Virginia House of Delegates last week, but the Senate has yet to take it up. On last night’s episode of “The Legislature Today,” host Suzanne Higgins spoke with Senate President Mitch Carmichael and Senate Minority Leader Roman Prezioso about the bill. We hear an excerpt from the interview.

As a West Virginia teenager, Amber Miller dropped out of school, took drugs and robbed homes. She wound up on the wrong side of the law and served time for a felony. In a youth correction center, she turned her life around, but after her release, had trouble finding a job to support her two sons.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, a controversial Medicaid bill that originated in the House Finance Committee last week was on the amendment stage last night in the West Virginia House of Delegates. House Bill 31-36 would create some work requirements for Medicaid holders. Supporters of the bill say it will help West Virginians get “back to work,” while some in the health community have concerns.

West Virginia Senate Education Committee chairwoman Patricia Rucker, left, and Senate President Mitch Carmichael speak in the Senate chambers at the state Capitol Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2019.
John Raby / Associated Press

The West Virginia Senate has decided not to immediately consider a bill to raise pay for teachers, school service workers and state police.

The Republican-led Senate on Saturday, Feb. 23, rejected a motion to take up the bill that the House of Delegates passed Friday.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

This morning we’ll hear about the controversial legislation that would allow students to carry guns on to college campuses. 


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