Government

Lawmakers are working weekends and evenings now as we enter the seventh week of the 2019 West Virginia Legislative session. We'll discuss a controversial Medicaid bill that originated in the House Finance Committee. It was reported to the floor at almost the last possible moment for consideration.

Robinson, Ellington
Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

With a legislative deadline looming for Wednesday, the House of Delegates moved Monday to bring bills held up in committee onto the floor. Some of those motions were successful, but one bill -- which has been notable throughout the session -- failed to move forward.

Wednesday is Crossover Day, a deadline for bills to have passed their chamber of origin. With that in mind, delegates offered motions to forego committee references and advance bills that have been caught up in committee.

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.

Tornado Death Confirmed as Violent Storms Smack the South

Feb 25, 2019
The eastbound lanes of Interstate 24 are blocked after a landslide occurred after several days of heavy rains Sunday, Feb. 24, 2019, north of Nashville, Tenn.
Mark Humphrey / Associated Press

Weekend storms raked parts of the Southeast, leaving deaths and injuries in their wake as a tornado smashed into a commercial district in a small Mississippi city and drenching rains fed a rising flood threat.

A woman was killed when a tornado hit Columbus, Mississippi, and a man died when he drove into floodwaters in Tennessee, officials said.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, youths experience trauma across Appalachia at a higher rate than the national average. This trauma can range from parents divorcing, to exposure to violence — and when kids don’t get help, there can be disastrous consequences for them and the people around them. Kyeland Jackson, of WFPL in Louisville, Kentucky, brings us this report.

This week, we've seen a teacher and school workers strike, the death of a massive controversial education bill, and a campus-carry gun bill zoom through the House of Delegates. We bring you up-to-date on all these issues and more.

The West Virginia House of Delegates has passed a bill calling for pay raises for teachers, school service personnel and state police. The increases would be the second in two years for public employees whose salaries are set in state code.

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. 


Jesse Wright / WVPB

About 100 West Virginia University faculty and students gathered outside of Woodburn Circle Thursday afternoon to voice their concerns about a so-called “campus carry” bill making its way through the West Virginia House of Delegates.

With SB 451 – comprehensive education reform – effectively dead, attention now turns to another bill that’s stirring up controversy at the statehouse and around West Virginia. HB 2519 – the Campus Self Defense Act – is on the fast track. The bill would allow people with concealed carry licenses to carry their  guns on college campuses.

W.Va. Tourism event at the West Virginia Capitol on Nov. 14, 2018 celebrating the launch of Fallout 76.
Daniel Walker / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Tourism Day was recognized by the West Virginia Legislature this week. In light of that, we bring you a report on a video game that tourism officials believe makes a positive impact in bringing visitors to West Virginia. By now, you may have heard of Fallout 76 - the latest in the popular line of Fallout video games. It was released last fall with much fanfare by Gov. Jim Justice and the West Virginia Division of Tourism. West Virginia Public Broadcasting spoke with a local gamer, and we bring you this special look inside the video game.

Jesse Wright / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

West Virginia teachers and school employees will be back on the job Thursday after a deadline passed for a controversial education reform bill to be revived. Leaders of teacher and school service personnel unions made the announcement following a Wednesday evening floor session in the House of Delegates.

It was the second day of a statewide teacher and service personnel walkout over a comprehensive education reform bill. We bring you up-to-date on the latest action, and we also bring you special reports on black lung-related legislation, economic development, and tourism.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Updated Wednesday, February 20, 2019 at 6:05 p.m. 

With the omnibus education bill effectively dead, the House of Delegates has turned its attention to providing pay raises for state employees, including teachers, service personnel and state police. The lower chamber’s Finance Committee cleared a bill Wednesday that would do just that.

Adobe Stock

The Supreme Court said Wednesday that the state of West Virginia unlawfully discriminated against a retired U.S. marshal when it excluded him from a more generous tax break given to onetime state law enforcement officers.

The court ruled unanimously for retired marshal James Dawson.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, despite the West Virginia House of Delegates effectively killing a long, sweeping and controversial education reform package, teachers and school employees will be off the job for a second day today. Dave Mistich reports on a long, loud day at the Capitol that brought hundreds of teachers to Charleston.

John Raby / AP Photo

Despite the West Virginia House of Delegates effectively killing a long, sweeping and controversial education reform package, teachers and school employees will be off the job for a second day Wednesday.

Leaders of teacher and service personnel unions cited the slightest of chances that Senate Bill 451 could be revived through a House motion to reconsider action on the measure. On Tuesday, the House adopted a motion to postpone the measure indefinitely, effectively killing the bill on a 53-45 vote.

Teachers and school workers were on strike in 54 of West Virginia’s 55 counties Tuesday. But shortly after 12:30 p.m., the controversial education bill, which drove them out of school, was postponed indefinitely by a motion in the House of Delegates. Host Suzanne Higgins and Senior Statehouse Reporter Dave Mistich discuss the action on the bill, and the leaders of the teachers and school service personnel unions join the show to discuss whether the bill could have another shot at passage.

Cory Knollinger / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Teachers and service personnel in the Northern Panhandle joined picket lines this morning and were on their way home before a typical school day would have closed. Many teachers were relieved, but uneasy.

Del. Mike Caputo speaks on the House floor.
Dave Mistich / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Editor's Note: A previous headline on this story said the House killed the education omnibus education bill. While the vote today makes it difficult for the bill to survive, there are still some technical maneuvers that could bring the bill back to the floor. This story will be updated when the situation becomes clearer.

The West Virginia House of Delegates has effectively killed a controversial education reform measure that has forced the second teacher strike in as many years.

The leaders of West Virginia teacher and service personnel unions announce a statewide strike Monday, Feb. 18, 2019 outside the Senate chambers at the Capitol.
Dave Mistich / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Updated February 18, 2019 at 7:27 p.m.

Leaders of West Virginia teacher and school service personnel unions have announced a statewide strike will begin Tuesday. That announcement came at a Monday news conference as the upper chamber was set to adopt an amendment to the House of Delegates’ version of Senate Bill 451.

Late in the afternoon on Monday, the West Virginia Senate took up SB 451 – comprehensive education reform – as amended by the House of Delegates. But the upper chamber provided its own amendment to the House’s version. Host Suzanne Higgins and Senior Statehouse Reporter Dave Mistich break down the day’s floor action over the bill and what could come next. We also hear from the chairman and minority chairman of the House Select Committee on Prevention and Treatment of Substance Abuse.

Will Price / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Updated on Monday, Feb. 18, 2019 at 7:58 p.m.

The West Virginia Legislature continued a back and forth Monday on a long, sweeping and controversial education reform bill. The upper chamber adopted an amendment to the House of Delegate's version Senate Bill 451, which makes some notable changes to the measure.

SB 451 – comprehensive education reform – is now back in the Senate, and the chamber is expected next week to consider the massive bill as amended by the House of Delegates. In this reporter roundtable, host Suzanne Higgins speaks with fellow statehouse reporters on the evolution of SB 451, and we explore other issues moving through the legislative process.

Appalachians Share Solutions for Coal Transition with Congress

Feb 15, 2019
National Resources Democrats

Democrats in the U.S. House are continuing their focus on climate change, this week shifting from its environmental to its economic impact and looking to Appalachia for next steps to aid communities with fossil fuel-based economies. 

On Thursday, members of the Energy and Mineral Resources Subcommittee heard testimony on how struggling coal communities are working to transition to more efficient, greener industries that can still provide the region with an economic base.

Perry Bennett / west Virginia Legislative Photography

When West Virginia House of Delegates member Eric Porterfield, R-Mercer, called the LGBT community “the modern-day version of the Ku Klux Klan” in an interview with a Charleston Gazette-Mail reporter last week, it drew condemnation not just in the state, but nationwide.

Updated at 6:15 p.m. ET

Calling it "a great thing to do," President Trump declared a national emergency on Friday in order to help finance a long-promised wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. It's a highly unusual move from an unconventional president.

The comprehensive education reform bill passed out of the House of Delegates on a vote of 71 to 29. We’ll recap the day’s action on the bill, and host Suzanne Higgins talks with Randall Reid-Smith, Curator of the West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Updated on Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019 at 6:54 p.m.

The West Virginia House of Delegates has passed its version of a long, sweeping and controversial education reform bill. The proposal, which calls for teacher and school service pay raises, but also other ideas opposed by public educators such as charter schools, is a stripped-down version of the measure the Senate passed last week.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, West Virginia has a small but active hip-hop community around the state. 

The YWCA in Wheeling recently held the event “Hip Hop: a Black Tie Affair” to encourage the art form and help bring more legitimacy to the community. Corey Knollinger has more.

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