Interim Meetings

West Virginia Legislative Photography

West Virginia lawmakers have gathered in Charleston to discuss some hot-button issues as part of interim committee meetings.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

A small group of West Virginia lawmakers received an update Sunday on the progress of a subcommittee tasked to hear concerns and proposed solutions from public employees regarding their health insurance program.

In a legislative interim meeting this week in Charleston lawmakers questioned officials from the state Department of Transportation and the Division of Highways about everything from current practices to choices in legal representation. 

The hearing came in response to ongoing lawsuits - one where federal charges have been filed against state Division of Highways employees in an alleged bribery scheme, and another involving an alleged monopoly that's inflating asphalt prices in the state.

Sen. Mike Romano, D-Harrison County, on the Senate floor during the 2016 special session.
Perry Bennett / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The two panels that oversee West Virginia’s higher education institutions responded to a performance review from the Legislative Auditor’s office Monday in an interim meeting with the Joint Standing Committee on Education.

The report was first released in January 2016 and calls for significant changes to the way the two organizations are structured, including urging lawmakers to rethink the amount the agencies are funded each year.

The West Virginia College and Career Ready Standards are being implemented for the first time in West Virginia schools this fall and so is a new system to grade the schools themselves.

Lawmakers were updated about the implementation of both the new standards and the accountability system during an interim meeting at the Capitol Monday. The system measures the performance of individual schools and gives them an A through F grade based on a variety of factors.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Two bills that both died on the final night of the 2015 legislative session, resurfaced Monday during interim meetings - forced pooling and public charter schools. Both ideas erupted in debate in 2015, but Monday’s discussions were calm and reflective – but not without some concerns.

The separate discussions Monday on forced pooling and charter schools were mostly on how to make these controversial pieces of legislation work for lawmakers and interested parties on both sides of the issues.

Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Interim meetings at the state capitol are usually laid back. Lawmakers attend their meetings and sometimes meet with a spare group of lobbyists and constituents.

Sunday, however, the House Government Organization Committee Room was overflowing. Men and women in union t-shirts filled the audience seats, the hallway and even the stairwells outside. What drew the crowd? A proposed piece of legislation that would make West Virginia a Right to Work state.

Martin Valent / West Virginia Legislative Photography

House Speaker Tim Armstead said he was surprised to hear West Virginia Superintendent of Schools Dr. Michael Martirano had proposed repealing the state's Common Core-based education standards, but is skeptical of the new set of standards backed by the schools chief. 

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On West Virginia Morning, two reports from the legislature’s interim meetings.  Ashton Marra on the new rule about certification and inspections of above ground storage tanks.  And Dave Mistich on what the state’s craft brewers are seeking from lawmakers.

Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

  State lawmakers wrapped up their August interim meetings Wednesday, but legislators decided to take the show on the road this month, meeting in Bridgeport and touring parts of North Central West Virginia.

While some of their interim meetings were held in conference rooms around long tables just like in Charleston, many had delegates and senators out exploring the area.

Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

  The West Virginia Legislature is taking a road trip this summer.

House Speaker Tim Miley announced Tuesday lawmakers will convene a three-day interim session at the Bridgeport Conference Center and other area locations in August. He said legislators will also make a number of stops along Interstate 79 and throughout Harrison, Marion and Monongalia counties.

Miley says the interim sessions in north-central West Virginia will provide an opportunity for legislators from around the state to get a better understanding of the region, especially the oil and gas boom.

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Legislative interims wrapped up at the Capitol earlier this week and while we brought you some major headlines, like questions over Frontier’s broadband expansion project using federal grant monies and a proposed bill meant to make state purchasing laws more clear, here are a few more issues lawmakers were discussing.