The Legislature Today

This week lawmakers debated tax breaks, sought remedies for a foster care system in crisis, passed a resolution calling for a convention of states and much more. Host Suzanne Higgins is joined by statehouse reporters to recap a week of legislative action.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

The West Virginia House of Delegates has passed a bill that would allow voters with certain disabilities to vote electronically in the upcoming election. 

Capitol, West Virginia State Capitol
Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

 

For The Legislature Today, reporter Brittany Patterson spent a day at West Virginia University’s Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources speaking with students studying petroleum and natural gas engineering. 

The industry is an economically important one across the state. According to the state tax department, in 2019, the state received $146 million in severance taxes from natural gas.

 

On The Legislature Today, we discuss West Virginia children in crisis and a foster care system under the microscope. The new Senate Select Committee on Children and Families had its first meeting where the dire needs of the state's 10,000 homeless students and 7,000 foster children are the focus. Reporter Roxy Todd also joins our program to lead a discussion with state lawmakers on the issue.

Janet Kunicki/ WVPB

Across West Virginia, abuse and neglect cases have resulted in the removal of thousands of children from their family homes. Close to 7,000 have become foster children. Recently, state lawmakers introduced new legislation to address some of the problems. 

West Virginia Public Broadcasting spoke with several foster families about their experience. Here are several ways they said they would like to see changes in the foster care system. 

West Virginia Public Broadcasting’s energy and environment reporter Brittany Patterson returns to lead a conversation on West Virginia’s struggling coal industry. We’re also joined by senior reporter Dave Mistich and reporter Emily Allen to discuss the latest news from the Capitol.

Will Price / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Would a gathering of delegates from each of the fifty states, tasked with amending the United States Constitution, be focused on a singular topic? Or would such a convention turn into a free-for-all — leaving the country’s supreme legal document susceptible to reckless changes?

Capitol, West Virginia State Capitol
Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Delegates on the West Virginia House Judiciary Committee passed a bill to create a foster child’s bill of rights Tuesday morning.

We begin a two-part series on West Virginia’s energy sectors. West Virginia Public Broadcasting’s energy and environment reporter Brittany Patterson looks at the forecast for oil and natural gas production and includes perspective from environmentalists and private property owners. Also, host Suzanne Higgins speaks with statehouse reporter Emily Allen for the latest in legislative action.

Downtown Richwood, WV, at dawn after hours of heavy rain flooded the little town.
Kara Lofton / West Virginia Public Broadcasting file photo

The West Virginia House of Delegates unanimously passed a bill Tuesday, Jan. 21, from members of its interim committee on flooding, hoping to speed up the process for rebuilding homes after natural disasters. 

Will Price / West Virginia Legislative Photography

The introduction of a proposed state constitutional amendment that would repeal a tax on manufacturing equipment and Inventory sparked conversation Tuesday in the West Virginia Senate. 

Senate Joint Resolution 8, titled the “Manufacturing Growth Amendment,” was introduced Tuesday in the Senate. Such an effort has become a perennial issue in recent years — and offered in various forms — under the GOP-controlled legislature, but has yet to clear both chambers. 

Will Price / West Virginia Legislative Photography

The West Virginia Senate passed a bill that protects victims of sexual assault and rape from being required to submit to certain physical exams. Senate Bill 125 cleared the upper chamber Tuesday on a 33-0 vote.

The measure would prevent a court from ordering a victim of sexual assault from submitting to a medical examination evaluating the reported assault. Additionally, a victim’s refusal to submit to such examinations could also not be used as a basis to exclude evidence gathered from other relevant examinations of the victim.

A marijuana plant grows at Fotmer SA, an enterprise that produces cannabis for medical use, in Montevideo, Uruguay, Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2019.
Matilde Campodonico / AP Photo

Democrats in the West Virginia House of Delegates are asking the state Department of Commerce to fast-track a study on adult use of recreational cannabis.

State Department of Commerce Secretary Ed Gaunch told the House Small Business, Entrepreneurship and Economic Development Committee Wednesday he would consider studying the economic impact of adult use of recreational cannabis. 

We look at the 2020 West Virginia Legislative session through the lens of civil rights and social justice on this Martin Luther King Jr. Day. We also bring you the latest news from the Capitol as we begin the second full week of the 2020 session.

Emily Allen / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The area outside the West Virginia House of Delegates chamber was filled Saturday morning with t-shirts and buttons from various election campaigns throughout the state. Several people wore red bandanas, symbolic of the West Virginia miner strikes and the state’s rich labor history.  

Host Suzanne Higgins speaks with statehouse reporters to recap a week of legislative action. We also bring you a story looking at the newly created West Virginia Narcotics Intelligence Unit.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Lawmakers highlighted both a potential conflict of interest and staffing concerns in a bill establishing responsibilities for a newly created and appointed foster care ombudsman. 

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

It’s the 21st century, and West Virginia officials in charge of combating drug crimes say trafficking and other offenses are more sophisticated and elusive than ever before. 

Host Suzanne Higgins sits down with Gov. Jim Justice to discuss his proposed budget, his work over the last four years as governor, and his thoughts for the future. Higgins also speaks with Reporter Emily Allen and Senior Reporter Dave Mistich about the latest news from the Capitol building.

Patricia Rucker
Will Price / West Virginia Legislative Photography

A controversial proposal that failed in the GOP-led West Virginia Legislature’s education overhaul last year has been reintroduced in the state senate. 

The House of Delegates passed a bill known as the Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act. It calls on doctors to use "reasonable medical judgement" in the event of an unsuccessful abortion, and it passed with bi-partisan support.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

The West Virginia House of Delegates has passed a bill that would penalize physicians who don't provide medical care to a fetus that survives an unsuccessful abortion. Minority Democrats called the measure an election year political stunt that accomplishes nothing, but many voted for the measure anyway.

There’s a new focus on hunger at the West Virginia Legislature. We'll hear about the newly formed Hunger Caucus, and host Suzanne Higgins sits down with the Speaker of the House of Delegates, Roger Hanshaw, R-Clay.

Senate President Mitch Carmichael from his appearance on The Legislature Today on Monday, January 13, 2020
WVPB

Senate President Mitch Carmichael issued a statement Tuesday afternoon, saying he’s against Senate Bill 270 to prohibit discrimination against members of West Virginia’s LGBTQ community. In the statement, he argues the bill risks usurping religious liberties.

Capitol, West Virginia State Capitol
Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

The West Virginia Department of Education shared a $2.59 billion budget proposal for 2021 with the House Finance Committee Monday morning. 

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, as census data is collected, there’s a distinct possibility that West Virginians are poised to lose representation in Congress. Also, in this show, we bring you an excerpt from last night’s episode of The Legislature Today – our annual, weeknight legislative news coverage.

Senate President Mitch Carmichael, R-Jackson, joins host Suzanne Higgins to discuss the Republican agenda for the 2020 West Virginia Legislative session. Senior Reporter Dave Mistich also joins Higgins on set to discuss the latest news and legislative action from the statehouse.

Daniel Walker / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Over the next couple of weeks, West Virginia will get an idea who will be on the ballot for the upcoming election cycle — from the President of the United States and congressional openings all the way down to races for constitutional offices, statehouse seats and the Supreme Court. The filing period for the state’s 2020 election cycle is now underway and dozens of would-be officials have formally declared their candidacy. 

West Virginia Treasurer John Perdue
West Virginia Treasurer's Office

West Virginia Treasurer John Perdue said Monday his office plans to transfer an additional $20 million into the state’s general revenue fund this fiscal year. 

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

The West Virginia Senate has adopted a resolution calling on Frederick County, Virginia to join West Virginia.

Senate Concurrent Resolution 2 extends an invitation for Frederick County to consider leaving the state of Virginia to become a part of West Virginia. Senators adopted the measure Monday on a voice vote. 

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