Government

Adobe Stock images / WVPB illustration

West Virginia’s attorney general says state consumers affected by an Equifax data breach last year can now file claims.

Patrick Morrisey says in a news release the claims process is open for a $425 million national settlement along with a separate $2.4 million settlement reached in a lawsuit filed by Morrisey’s office. The breach affected about 730,000 West Virginia residents.

Destiny Judy/The Inter-Mountain

West Virginia’s congressional delegation is asking the president to authorize federal disaster relief funds after flash flooding damaged the state’s eastern highlands late last month.

U.S. Sens. Joe Manchin and Shelley Moore Capito joined U.S. Reps. David McKinley, Alex Mooney and Carol Miller in a joint statement Wednesday asking for the federal disaster declaration.

In an about-face, the Pennsylvania school district that threatened to place children in foster care over past-due cafeteria bills is now accepting donations following its initial rejection of those who offered help, a decision that left many observers puzzled.

Trump Celebrates at W.Va. Fundraiser after Mueller Hearings

Jul 24, 2019
President Donald Trump boards Air Force One at Air Force One at Wheeling, W.Va., Wednesday, July 24, 2019.
Manuel Balce Ceneta / Associated Press

A triumphant President Donald Trump celebrated Wednesday evening after Robert Mueller’s testimony, telling attendees at a closed-door fundraiser in West Virginia that the former special counsel’s appearance was a dud.

Trump, who arrived at the fundraiser energized and excited, told a crowd at the WesBanco Arena that Mueller’s testimony was nothing more than a miserable effort by Democrats to discredit him, West Virginia Senate President Mitch Carmichael told The Associated Press.

This van is used by the JCESA to transport deceased who are non-medical examiner cases and who have no prior death arrangements. JCESA purchased this van in 2017 to tackle an increase in calls and manage a loss in local resources.
Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

One of the angles of the opioid epidemic we don’t often hear about is what happens to the bodies of those who become overtaken by addiction. West Virginia Public Broadcasting looks at one group under strain – the state’s forensic pathologists who are charged with performing autopsies.

We also explore one West Virginia community’s efforts to efficiently transport the dead.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said in an interview Tuesday that she does not favor proposals put forth by some Democratic presidential candidates who have advocated changing the number of Supreme Court justices if the Democrats win the presidency.

Ginsburg, who got herself in trouble criticizing candidate Donald Trump in 2016, this time was critical not of any particular Democratic contender, but of their proposals to offset President Trump's two conservative appointments to the court.

Mackie Branham views a lung X-ray with Dr. James Brandon Crum, who was among the first physicians to note an uptick in black lung diagnoses
Howard Berkes / NPR

Democratic members of Congress introduced legislation Tuesday to provide additional funding for coal miners suffering from black lung. The bills came as a contingent of Appalachian miners afflicted with the disease lobbied lawmakers for more support. 

“It doesn’t only take your health. It takes your identity,” Barry Johnson said of the disease. Johnson is a fourth-generation coal miner from Letcher County, Kentucky, who made the trip to Washington with his oxygen tank in tow. 

The Senate has voted 97-2 to approve a bill that will virtually ensure permanent funding for rescue workers whose work after the Sept. 11 attacks caused health problems.

The House passed the bill last month, and President Trump is expected to approve it, ending a years-long ordeal for the victims after concerns that the fund was on the verge of running out of money.

W.Va. House of Delegates Majority Whip Paul Espinosa, R-Jefferson, speaking during a floor session.
Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

House of Delegates Majority Whip Del. Paul Espinosa has been hired as the Public Affairs Manager for the controversial Rockwool insulation plant in Jefferson County.

Rockwool made the announcement in a press release Tuesday.

The Trump administration wants to change the way states determine who qualifies for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, benefits, also known as food stamps. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that 3 million people would lose their food assistance as a result.

Updated at 10 a.m. ET

Britain's Conservative Party has chosen Boris Johnson to become the country's next prime minister, replacing the pragmatic and sometimes colorless Theresa May with a bombastic populist who favors a no-deal Brexit.

Johnson walked to the lectern inside London's Queen Elizabeth II Centre, thanking his opponent, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, and the outgoing May.

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

The West Virginia Legislature has passed three bills that would provide additional funding for education. The measures were outlined in a controversial education omnibus approved in June.

Coal Miners to Hit Capitol Hill for Black Lung Funding

Jul 22, 2019
Barry Johnson wears an oxygen tube to assist breathing.
Sydney Boles / 100 Days in Appalachia

Dozens of Appalachian coal miners plan to visit Capitol Hill Tuesday to ask lawmakers to bolster funding for the black lung disability trust fund, which miners depend upon when no responsible company can be identified to pay for needed health care.

Update at 6:22 p.m. ET

President Trump announced an agreement on a two-year budget deal and debt-ceiling increase.

The deal would raise the debt ceiling past the 2020 elections and set $1.3 trillion for defense and domestic spending over the next two years.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, we hear a segment from part two of a series that explores de-industrialization in West Virginia’s Northern Panhandle.

Ella Jennings, a native of the region, produced a podcast series called What Happened to Weirton. Her second episode, titled “He Could See Everything Folding”, looks at some of the social and emotional consequences that come with losing a major industry.

National Alliance for Public Charter Schools

Emily Schultz is the director for state advocacy and policy with the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. Lawmakers consulted her as they shaped the education reform bill recently signed into law that allows for the establishment of charter schools in West Virginia for the first time in the state’s history. But Schultz wasn’t happy with all the aspects of the final bill. 

Deer
David J. Phillip / Associated Press

The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources is accepting applications for controlled deer hunts at six state parks.

A DNR statement says the deadline for applications is Aug. 25. A drawing will be held the next day and successful applicants will be notified in early September. Hunters must apply online.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, the U.S. House of Representatives voted Thursday, July 18, to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 dollars an hour by 2025, the first wage increase in a decade. One report predicts that in large portions of eastern Kentucky, southern West Virginia, and southeast Ohio, roughly 40 percent of workers would see some increase in wages. Becca Schimmel explains.

Ohio Valley Workers, Employers React as House Votes for $15 Minimum Wage

Jul 18, 2019

The U.S. House of Representatives voted Thursday to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, more than double the current $7.25 rate, which has not changed in a decade. The bill is unlikely to clear the Republican-controlled Senate, where Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky has said he will not take it up. 

West Virginia state Sen. Paul Hardesty, D-Logan, speaks on the floor on June 1, 2019.
Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

While much of the country remains focused on the ongoing controversy surrounding President Donald Trump’s racist remarks targeting four Democratic congresswomen, a West Virginia state Senator is taking issue with other words from the president, which came at an event in North Carolina. 

In an open letter, Sen. Paul Hardesty of Logan County says he is “appalled” at Trump’s choice of words at a Wednesday rally in Greenville, North Carolina. 

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice gives a speech during a Department of Tourism conference Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2018, at the Morgantown Event Center.
Jesse Wright / WVPB

A judge has ordered lawyers for the governor of West Virginia to respond to a request for documents in an ongoing lawsuit over his residency.

Judge Charles King rejected a dismissal motion Wednesday by Gov. Jim Justice's attorneys. King also ordered Justice to respond to Democratic Del. Isaac Sponaugle's discovery request within 30 days.

The House of Representatives escalated its confrontation with the executive branch Wednesday by holding two Trump administration officials in criminal contempt for not providing complete copies of subpoenaed documents related to the 2020 census.

The resolution named Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross for failing to cooperate with a congressional oversight investigation.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, after the 2014 Elk River chemical spill in the Kanawha Valley, the West Virginia Rivers Coalition created the “Safe Water WV” initiative.

The idea is simple -- to strengthen a community’s connection to their drinking water and encourage people to work together to better protect it. A couple years ago, Jefferson and Berkeley Counties decided to build off that initiative in a unique way -- using the conservation of farmland and Civil War battlefields as a model for drinking water protection. Liz McCormick explains.

Updated at 7:05 p.m. ET

The House of Representatives approved a resolution Tuesday evening condemning the president for a series of racist tweets about four Democratic lawmakers.

The vote was mostly along party lines, as the House split 240-187, with four Republicans supporting the nonbinding measure.

Hanshaw, Harrison
Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography


The West Virginia House of Delegates will return to the state Capitol to finish up work on their first special session of the year. 

House Speaker Roger Hanshaw sent a letter Monday to delegates, calling on them to return to Charleston next week. 

Updated at 3:35 p.m. ET

The Trump administration is moving forward with a tough new asylum rule in its campaign to slow the flow of Central American migrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. Asylum-seeking immigrants who pass through a third country en route to the U.S. must first apply for refugee status in that country rather than at the U.S. border.

The restriction will likely face court challenges, opening a new front in the battle over U.S. immigration policies.

Doris Fields, also known as Lady D, West Virginia's First Lady of Soul, lead the Friday night vigil in song with 'We Shall Overcome' by Pete Seeger.
Emily Allen / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

As Ryan Brown stood outside the West Virginia Capitol Buidling on a breezy Friday evening, her husband Ali was in Guinea, the neighboring country to Sierra Leone where Ali’s originally from. 

 

Matt Rourke / AP Photo

In Washington, D.C., the House of Representatives passed amendments to end military use of toxic fluorinated chemicals known as PFAS in firefighting foam and food packaging, and to expand efforts to monitor for PFAS pollution.


West Virginia Department of Education

The head of West Virginia’s school system is turning down a raise after criticism from the state Senate president.

West Virginia Superintendent of Schools Steven Paine announced Thursday that he would not accept any increase to his current $230,000 salary until other education issues are addressed.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, website, on average, about 14 people a day in the United States are killed while working. This weekend’s episode of Inside Appalachia explores how weak regulatory laws, and a failure to prioritize worker safety, may be contributing to more deaths, and a higher risk of workplace accidents. This morning, we’ll hear a preview of the episode.

Roxy Todd talks with investigative reporter Howard Berkes, who recently retired from NPR after working for nearly four decades reporting on worker safety.

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