Government

West Virginia education officials are kicking off a series of public hearings as part of preparations for an upcoming special legislative session. The first of seven forums is set for Monday night at Cabell Midland High School in Ona.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, as the Trump administration’s trade talks continue with China and other countries, farmers are feeling the pain from the president’s year-long trade war. Tariffs on agricultural goods are compounding problems caused by low crop prices and over-production. The Ohio Valley ReSource's Liam Niemeyer reports that small farms are suffering the most.

Jesse Wright / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Updated on March 18, 2019 at 4:15 p.m.

U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin is the only Democratic senator who did not co-sponsor an LGBT anti-discrimination bill.

Updated at 4:56 p.m. ET

President Trump used his veto pen for the first time Friday, after Congress tried to reverse his national emergency declaration and rein in spending on a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Congressional critics do not appear to have the votes to override Trump's veto. So, as a practical matter, the administration can continue to spend billions of dollars more on border barriers than lawmakers authorized, unless and until the courts intervene.

AllVoices.com

Police in West Virginia say two men are accused of stealing equipment from an electrical transformer at a coal mine.

Updated at 4:16 p.m. ET

The Republican-controlled Senate approved a resolution to terminate President Trump's national emergency declaration at the U.S.-Mexico border, putting Congress on a path to its first veto confrontation with the Trump administration.

Police Often Use Broad Exemption to Keep Videos from Public

Mar 13, 2019
In this April 27, 2017 file photo, a police officer wears a newly-issued body camera outside in New York.
Mary Altaffer / Associated Press File Photo

The video is brief but disturbing: An officer is seen hitting an unarmed suspect with his pistol as the man falls into the grass. An autopsy would later show that he died from a gunshot to the back of the head.

After the death last July of 26-year-old Daniel Fuller in Devils Lake, North Dakota, investigators described the video to his grieving relatives. But for days, weeks and then months, they refused to release it to the family or the public. They did so only after a prosecutor announced in November that the officer did not intend to fire his gun and would not face criminal charges.

The aftermath of flooding that occured in June 2016, in Clendenin, W.Va.
Kara Lofton / WVPB file photo

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is urging West Virginians to prepare for flooding this spring.

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice has designated March 18-22 as Severe Weather Awareness Week. FEMA says properties along waterways like the Elk River in Charleston are especially at risk.

Office of Gov. Jim Justice

Gov. Jim Justice has announced a plan to address deteriorating secondary roads in West Virginia.

Justice said it is unknown how much it will cost to address issues with secondary roads. However, he said he plans to hire hundreds of temporary highway workers, many of whom he hopes will become permanent. Additionally, the plan includes purchasing maintenance equipment.  

Former West Virginia Department of Transportation Secretary Tom Smith speaking at the Fallen Worker Memorial unveiling in September, 2017.
West Virginia Department of Transportation

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice has fired state transportation secretary and highways commissioner Tom Smith.

Justice announced Smith’s firing in a brief statement Sunday, March 10.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, the Ohio Valley has seen its share of workplace disruption with job losses in manufacturing and energy sectors. But a recent report warns that thousands of the region’s service, transportation, office and warehouse jobs could also be at risk. This time the threat is a coming wave of automation. The Ohio Valley ReSource's Becca Schimmel explores what automation could mean and how the region might adapt.

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.

Is Jim Justice right about a record surplus in 2019?

Mar 8, 2019

Shortly before the start of the 2019 legislative session, West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice touted the state’s improved budget position for the 2019 fiscal year.

In a tweet sent on Jan. 8, Justice wrote, "Another month of record-breaking revenue numbers! For December, we had a $44.8 million surplus. Year-to-date we are $185.9 million above estimates. This is the largest cumulative surplus for the first six months of any fiscal year in state history!"

We're potentially just one vote away from having a budget sent to Gov. Jim Justice. It's been a week of early mornings, late evenings and the passage and failure of some notable legislation – and a call for a special session. We’ll bring you the latest in our weekly reporter roundtable.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Updated Friday, March 8, 2019 at 3:14 p.m.

The West Virginia House of Delegates has tabled two efforts to further punish a Democratic member for his actions during a tense series of events last week. Members voted Friday to not act on resolutions calling for the censure and expulsion of Del. Mike Caputo, D-Marion.

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.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

With just two days left in the legislative session, some Republican delegates are calling for further punishment of Democrat Mike Caputo, of Marion County. The effort follows last week’s explosive moment in and around the chamber, which was sparked by anti-Muslim sentiments in the rotunda.

In a session dominated by an omnibus education bill that ultimately died, lawmakers know officially now that they'll be back for a special session on education. We bring you the latest, and we also speak with the presidents of two state universities.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

The West Virginia House of Delegates has approved a measure that would make the state’s home rule program permanent. The bill also cut out a significant amendment adopted that would have allowed a referendum override of municipal ordinances under the program.

With Senate Bill 4 on third reading with a restricted right to amend, delegates chose to strike out an aspect that would have allowed for a recall of local laws passed under home rule.

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.

Courtesy Photo

West Virginia’s craft beer laws are one step closer to being loosened after the House of Delegates cleared a bill Thursday calling for various changes.

Craft brewers in the state would be able to make beer at a higher alcohol percentage under the bill. According to Senate Bill 529, the alcohol by volume limit for craft beer would increase from 12 percent to 15 percent.

Tyler Evert / AP Photo

Gov. Jim Justice has called a special session to begin as soon as the 60-day regular legislative session ends Saturday. According to the governor, the special session will focus on “education betterment” with focus on a promised pay raise for teachers and service personnel, as well other aspects of the public education system.

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.

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.

Ashton Marra / 100 Days in Appalachia

If Appalachia were on the stock market, Federal Co-Chair for the Appalachian Regional Commission Tim Thomas says he’d invest in it.

“There is a bright future for Appalachia,” Thomas said. After traveling the region for four workshops, he’s convinced there are innovators in Appalachia who will help businesses and workers here overcome their most recent setbacks. Those innovators just need support.

Ex-West Virginia Justice Gets Probation in Corruption Probe

Mar 6, 2019
Former West Virginia Supreme Court Justice Menis Ketchum, left, leaves federal court with his attorney, Jim Calle, Wednesday, March 6, 2019, in Charleston, W.Va.
John Raby / Associated Press

A former West Virginia Supreme Court justice was sentenced to three years’ probation Wednesday for using a state vehicle and gas fuel card for a golf trip to Virginia.

Menis Ketchum’s sentencing in federal court came at the end of a yearlong impeachment and corruption scandal involving the Supreme Court that resulted in significant changes to the state’s judicial system, including the five-member court’s makeup.

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.

Sentencing Set for Ex-W.Va. Supreme Court Justice

Mar 6, 2019
WV Supreme Court of Appeals

A former West Virginia Supreme Court justice is due in court for sentencing for using a state vehicle and gas fuel card for a golf trip to Virginia.

Ex-Justice Menis Ketchum’s sentencing is scheduled for Wednesday, March 6, in federal court in Charleston.

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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