West Virginia Legislature 2019

Capitol
Kristi George / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A legislative post audit reveals serious problems with abuse and neglect cases handled by West Virginia’s Child Protective Services. Lawmakers heard the findings of the audit Tuesday during a legislative interim committee meeting. 

W.Va. Senate Adjourns, Ending Special Session On Education

Sep 23, 2019
Will Price / West Virginia Legislative Photography

West Virginia's special session is officially over.

The Senate adjourned the education-focused session after a brief meeting Monday, capping a gridlocked legislative overtime where lawmakers approved a sweeping GOP plan to allow the state's first charter schools despite heavy protests from teachers.

Will Price / West Virginia Legislative Photography

West Virginia state Sen. Greg Boso announced Monday he is stepping away from his seat in the 11th District. 

The Nicholas County Republican says he is leaving to pursue an opportunity with the Alabama-based engineering firm Forensic Consulting Group. 

Mountaineer ChalleNGe Academy

As the Mountaineer ChalleNGe Academy continues to graduate more West Virginia teens than ever, its leaders say the program has reached its capacity for the existing facility at Camp Dawson.

Legislation from the most recent special session advocates not only for an expansion there in Preston County, but for a second location in Fayette County. Lawmakers didn’t specify in writing where they want the new academy to go, but many are confident it will end up being at the former WVU Tech campus in Montgomery. 

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

West Virginia Del. Jason Harshbarger has submitted a letter of resignation from the House’s 7th District. The two-term lawmaker is leaving to take a new role with Dominion Energy.

Harshbarger, a Republican from Ritchie County, was first elected to the House of Delegates in 2016 and has worked for Dominion Energy for 14 years. 

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. 

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Despite tornado warnings and a brief recess in which lawmakers and the public were evacuated downstairs at the Capitol, the West Virginia Senate voted Monday to pass a controversial omnibus bill that could most notably lead to the state’s first charter schools. Senators fast-tracked the bill by suspending rules that would normally require they read the bill three times on three separate days. 

Will Price / West Virginia Legislative Photography

The leader of West Virginia’s Republican party is applauding a state senator’s call for intolerance against members of the LGBTQ community.

Republican state Sen. Mike Azinger wrote an opinion article Sunday titled “The Shame of LGBTQ Pride” in The Parkersburg News and Sentinel after the paper covered a gay pride picnic. State GOP chairwoman Melody Potter then wrote on Facebook that Azinger’s article was “right on.”

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Updated Wednesday, Jun 19, 2019 at 11:40 p.m. 

The West Virginia House of Delegates has passed its version of a long, sweeping and controversial education reform measure. The bill, which is the latest in a series of omnibus proposals, cleared the lower chamber Wednesday on a 51-47 vote after delegates considered amendments on third reading.

Dave Mistich / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The West Virginia House of Delegates has advanced its own omnibus education bill and is getting set for a vote on the complex and controversial measure. The measure moved forward during a Tuesday floor session in which teachers lined the galleries to watch the proceedings.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography


With hundreds of teachers, school service personnel and other supporters spread across the capitol complex Monday, the West Virginia House of Delegates began its work on a special session focused on overhauling public education. Monday offered a flurry of activity in the House of Delegates, with floor sessions and committee meetings illustrating a mostly partisan divide -- and majority Republicans unveiling new proposals.

Dave Mistich / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Updated Monday, June 3, 2019 at 1:40 p.m.

 

The West Virginia Senate has passed a complex and controversial education reform bill that contains anti-strike provisions that say teachers can be fired for walking off the job and allows for the state’s first charter schools. The upper chamber also passed a measure creating education savings accounts, another controversial issue touted by majority Republicans.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography


The West Virginia Senate has adopted an amendment that would allow teachers to be fired or have their pay withheld for going on strike. That change, among others, was made Sunday, June 2, to a long and controversial education reform bill that will be up for a Senate vote Monday.

Will Price / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Republican leaders in the West Virginia Senate have rolled out their latest plan for education reform. The 144-page bill, dubbed the “Student Success Act”, was released Friday afternoon by Senate President Mitch Carmichael, R-Jackson.

“This bill boldly incorporates many suggestions and recommendations from the education forums that were held throughout the state,” Carmichael said in a Friday statement. “It reflects the input of teachers, students, and parents. There is widespread recognition that our state’s education system can be improved.”

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Issues related to public education lingered heavily in the background -- and at times worked their way to the front -- of a Monday special session of the West Virginia Legislature.

Office of Gov. Jim Justice

Updated Tuesday, March 26, 2019 at 4:50 p.m.

 

With a deadline looming for West Virginia’s executive branch to take action on bills passed this legislative session, staff of the governor’s office is making their way through hundreds of measures. By Tuesday afternoon, Gov. Jim Justice had signed some notable pieces of legislation but also had left the fate of other bills unknown.

 

According to the Legislature’s website, Justice signed more than 45 bills on Monday. That’s in addition to dozens of measures signed during and after the legislative session, which ended March 9.

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.

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