West Virginia Legislature 2019

We're potentially just one vote away from having a budget sent to Gov. Jim Justice. It's been a week of early mornings, late evenings and the passage and failure of some notable legislation – and a call for a special session. We’ll bring you the latest in our weekly reporter roundtable.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Updated Friday, March 8, 2019 at 3:14 p.m.

The West Virginia House of Delegates has tabled two efforts to further punish a Democratic member for his actions during a tense series of events last week. Members voted Friday to not act on resolutions calling for the censure and expulsion of Del. Mike Caputo, D-Marion.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

With just two days left in the legislative session, some Republican delegates are calling for further punishment of Democrat Mike Caputo, of Marion County. The effort follows last week’s explosive moment in and around the chamber, which was sparked by anti-Muslim sentiments in the rotunda.

In a session dominated by an omnibus education bill that ultimately died, lawmakers know officially now that they'll be back for a special session on education. We bring you the latest, and we also speak with the presidents of two state universities.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

The West Virginia House of Delegates has approved a measure that would make the state’s home rule program permanent. The bill also cut out a significant amendment adopted that would have allowed a referendum override of municipal ordinances under the program.

With Senate Bill 4 on third reading with a restricted right to amend, delegates chose to strike out an aspect that would have allowed for a recall of local laws passed under home rule.

Courtesy Photo

West Virginia’s craft beer laws are one step closer to being loosened after the House of Delegates cleared a bill Thursday calling for various changes.

Craft brewers in the state would be able to make beer at a higher alcohol percentage under the bill. According to Senate Bill 529, the alcohol by volume limit for craft beer would increase from 12 percent to 15 percent.

Tyler Evert / AP Photo

Gov. Jim Justice has called a special session to begin as soon as the 60-day regular legislative session ends Saturday. According to the governor, the special session will focus on “education betterment” with focus on a promised pay raise for teachers and service personnel, as well other aspects of the public education system.

Assistant News Director Glynis Board leads a discussion with activist Robert Grossman of Morgantown on one of several criminal justice reform bills that have been considered this session. We also bring you the latest updates from the House of Delegates and Senate.

Jesse Wright / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A controversial bill that would have allowed concealed weapons on West Virginia college and university campuses was defeated Tuesday in a Senate committee.

House Bill 2519 was voted down 7-9 in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Republican Sens. Charles Clements, of Wetzel County, and Ryan Weld, of Brooke County, joined Democrats to stop it from advancing to the floor.

Richard Vogel / AP Photo

The West Virginia Legislature has cleared a bill that provides a banking solution for the state’s medical cannabis program. The measure passed the Senate unamended, which sends the bill to Gov. Jim Justice.

The Senate passed House Bill 2538 on a 29-4 vote. Republican Sens. Mike Azinger (Wood), Donna Boley (Pleasants), Rollin Roberts (Raleigh) and Eric Tarr (Putnam) voted against the measure.

A long-sought funding formula for higher education will have to wait even longer. Host Suzanne Higgins speaks with two delegates – both members of Gov. Jim Justice’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Higher Education – who provide us with an update. We also bring you the latest legislative action from the statehouse.

The fallout continues from an anti-Muslim poster and materials displayed Friday during West Virginia’s GOP Day at the Capitol. Host Suzanne Higgins speaks with leaders of three religions – Islam, Judaism, and Christianity – who all say the issues of racism and discrimination go far deeper than Friday's events.

Mike Caputo
Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

A Democratic member of the West Virginia House of Delegates who was at the center of Friday’s explosive events has been removed from his committee assignments for the remainder of the legislative session.

Del. Mike Caputo, D-Marion, was informed Monday he will not serve out the remainder of the  session on the Energy, Government Organization, Industry and Labor and House Rules committees. He was notified of that in action in a letter from House Speaker Roger Hanshaw, R-Clay. 

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

The former sergeant at arms of the West Virginia House of Delegates broke her silence Sunday after an explosive moment Friday in the rotunda just outside the chamber that led to her resignation.

Anne Lieberman, the ousted House Sergeant at Arms, posted on Facebook that she disputes the allegation that she called all Muslims “terrorists.” She also says she has been threatened online since Friday.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

After a tense Friday, March 1, in and around the West Virginia House of Delegates, lawmakers from both parties spent Saturday grasping for resolution. Republicans, who hold a majority in both chambers, mulled the idea Saturday of punishing one of their Democratic counterparts, while the minority continued to express restlessness over hate-fueled speech that has been a recurring theme this legislative session.

An inflammatory poster displayed outside of the House of Delegates’ chamber by participants of West Virginia GOP Day at the Capitol, launched a firestorm of remarks Friday morning. Just as the Speaker of the House called the body to order, Del. Mike Pushkin stood and launched what would be a series of remarks - Democrats condemning hate speech, while Republicans defending freedom of speech.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Updated March 2, 2019 at 12:17 p.m.

 

Anti-Muslim sentiments seen just outside of the West Virginia House of Delegates Friday caused an explosive day in and around the chamber, which led to the resignation of a staff member, an injury and possible disciplinary action against a Democratic member.

Emotions ran high in the House of Delegates late Wednesday evening as HB 2519 – the Campus Self Defense Act – came to the floor after a day of procedures that took it off and then back on the House’s active calendar. We recap the night’s action, and we take a special look at foster care.

Cecelia Mason / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The West Virginia House passed a bill Wednesday that would reduce the severance tax paid on coal burned for electricity

 

House Bill 3142 passed on an 88-11 vote after contentious debate on the floor.

Long sought by industry, the legislation would reduce the severance tax paid by coal companies on steam or thermal coal from 5 percent to 4 percent effective July 1 and to 3 percent effective July 1, 2020.

 

 

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

A bill that would allow for concealed weapons on college campuses in West Virginia cleared the House of Delegates just before an important legislative deadline. The measure, which saw a back and forth on the House active calendar on Crossover Day, ultimately passed on a 59-41 vote.

It’s Day 50, Crossover Day, and the last day for Senate bills to get out of the Senate, and for House bills to get out of the House. This determines whether those bills are to survive this session. We recap the day’s action, and we also look at the latest on SB 1 – the “last dollar in” community and technical college bill.

Dave Mistich / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Updated Wednesday, February 27, 2019 at 4:30 p.m.

A bill that would allow for concealed weapons on college campuses in West Virginia is now back into play, with the House Rules Committee reversing course on whether the measure would be placed on the chamber’s active calendar.

Wednesday is crossover day, meaning it’s the last day for the West Virginia House of Delegates and Senate to consider bills on third reading, or voting stage, in their chamber of origin. Host Suzanne Higgins speaks with Senate President Mitch Carmichael and Senate Minority Leader Roman Prezioso about legislation they hoped would make it out and on legislation they still hope to consider.

Dave Mistich / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The West Virginia Senate has cleared a bill that would make changes to the state’s campaign finance laws. While the measure increases the limits on donations to candidates and other political groups, opponents say the bill fails to provide transparency on so-called dark money in elections.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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