Government

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.

AP file photo

State authorities are urging West Virginians to prepare for the upcoming hurricane season, even if they’re miles away from the nearest coastline. 

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

More than a hundred coal miners and family members gathered Wednesday in Whitesburg, Kentucky, in an attempt to get their pay from failed mining company Blackjewel. The country’s sixth-largest coal company filed bankruptcy last week, and many of Blackjewel’s 1,100 workers across Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia are suddenly out of work. As Brittany Patterson reports, most are still waiting for back wages as well as answers about the company’s future.

Julio Cortez / AP Photo

Despite legislation from 2017 that allowed cannabis to be legal for medical use on July 1 of this year, West Virginia officials say they’re still years away from the first sale. That’s -- at least in part -- because of a hangup with finding a banking solution to get around federal law. State health officials say they also have to implement permitting and licensing for patients and those who want to start businesses within the industry. 

Minimum Wage Hike Would Have Major Effect in Ohio Valley

Jul 10, 2019
students and other supporters protest in 2015 on the University of Washington campus in Seattle, in support of raising the minimum wage for campus workers to $15 an hour.
AP file photo

A new report from the Congressional Budget Office shows increasing the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour would boost the wages of 17 million workers and lift about 1.3 million people out of poverty. But the CBO warns that could also result in more than one million lost jobs and could diminish overall income for others.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, despite legislation passed in 2017 that allowed cannabis to be legal for medical use in West Virginia, officials say they’re still years away from the first sale. That’s -- at least in part -- because of a hangup with finding a banking solution to get around federal law.

State health officials say they also have to implement permitting and licensing for patients and those who want to start businesses within the industry. Dave Mistich gives us a look at the stalled program and what’s needed to get it off the ground.

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice, left, first lady Melania Trump, center, and Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan, right, listen as Huntington Police Chief Hank Dial, speaks at Cabell-Huntington Health Center in Huntington, WVa., July 8, 2019
Andrew Harnik / Associated Press

First lady Melania Trump visited West Virginia on Monday to learn how a city at the center of the nation’s opioid epidemic is grappling with the crisis.

She met with federal, state and local officials in Huntington and heard how the area’s police, schools and health care centers are trying to fight the opioid scourge.

A young voter exits a polling place.
Jesse Wright / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

More than 15,600 high school seniors in West Virginia registered to vote during the 2018-2019 school year.

Marina Riker / AP Photo

Despite legislation that called for West Virginia’s medical cannabis program to launch this week, state health officials say they’re still years away from the first sale in the state. One reason for the delay has been the state's need for a third-party vendor to handle banking services. 

Google MyMaps

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice said Sunday, June 30, he will declare a state of emergency for a handful of northeastern counties after severe thunderstorms on Saturday caused flash flooding, knocking homes off their foundations and washing out roads. 

 

Office of Gov. Jim Justice

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice signed an omnibus education reform bill] on Friday, June 28, that will lead to the state’s first charter schools.

House Bill 206 allows for three charter schools in the 2021-2022 academic year, with approval from the charters’ respective county boards of education. The bill allows for three more charters every three years, beginning in 2023.

Updated at 11:55 a.m. ET Saturday

A federal judge in California has blocked President Trump from using $2.5 billion in military funding to build a southern border wall.

The Trump administration sought to tap Department of Defense money to support the construction of portions of the president's long-promised border wall stretching across large swaths of the Mexican border with New Mexico, Arizona and California.

Updated at 6:32 p.m. ET

The man who drove his car into a crowd of anti-racist protesters in Charlottesville, Va., killing one person and injuring 35 has been sentenced to spending the rest of his life in prison.

A federal judge issued the sentence of life without the possibility of parole on Friday for self-proclaimed neo-Nazi James Fields Jr., 22, of the Toledo, Ohio, area.

West Virginia's now-defunct film tax credit was around for ten years before being eliminated by the West Virginia Legislature in 2018. A legislative audit report found it provided "minimal economic impact" to the state.
Daniel Walker

West Virginia’s film tax credit was eliminated by the West Virginia Legislature in 2018 after a legislative audit report deemed the credit as providing only “minimal economic impact.” But people who work in the film industry don’t agree. An attempt to resurrect the credit failed this past session, but supporters are hopeful it will make it through the next legislative session.

Adobe Stock

More than 1,400 bridges across West Virginia are in “poor” condition, according to the Federal Highway Administration. According to a new report by the agency, 1,444 bridges in the state, or nearly 20 percent, are in disrepair, the second highest rate in the country. Some advocacy groups are voicing concerns that the state's infrastructure problems could worsen if a federal proposal to allow larger cargo trucks to hit the road is approved. 

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