West Virginia Legislature 2020

Caitlin Tan / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The 2020 West Virginia legislative session has ended with no new legislation addressing black lung benefits, leaving former and current coal miners to depend on waning federal benefits to combat the lifelong disease.  


Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

A bill that would have created an intermediate court of appeals in West Virginia was rejected Friday in the House of Delegates. Lawmakers also rejected a motion to reconsider the vote on the bill, which effectively kills the measure for the remainder of session. 

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

A bill that would create another appellate layer within West Virginia’s judiciary is headed to a vote after being further amended Thursday on the floor of the House of Delegates. With Senate Bill 275 on the amendment stage, delegates approved three changes before accepting others made by the House Judiciary Committee.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

A bill that would allow homeschool students in West Virginia to participate in public school sports and other extracurricular activities is on its way to becoming law. The measure, which has failed to get across the finish line in recent legislative sessions, cleared the Senate Monday and now heads to Gov. Jim Justice for a signature.

Senators voted 32-1 Monday to approve House Bill 3127. Sen. Ryan Weld, R-Brooke, was the lone vote in opposition to the measure.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

A bill that would create a new layer of appellate courts in West Virginia has cleared its final committee reference and is now headed to the floor of the House of Delegates. But with the measure being amended substantially Friday in the House Judiciary Committee, its fate remains unknown.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

The focus at the West Virginia Capitol is quickly turning to the upcoming fiscal year’s budget, as finance committee members from both chambers unveiled their proposals this week and Gov. Jim Justice has weighed in to reinforce one of his own priorities. 

Jessica Hill / AP Photo

The West Virginia Senate passed a bill Wednesday that would provide low-income adults with dental coverage.

Senate Bill 648 would provide a $1,000 dental benefit each year for adults in West Virginia on Medicaid. The state’s Medicaid recipients currently can receive only emergency dental services.

Will Price / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Updated Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020 at 6:05 p.m.

A controversial and sweeping tax reform overhaul met its demise Tuesday in the West Virginia Senate when the second — and most essential — part of a two-pronged plan to wipe out tangible personal property taxes was rejected. While the Republican-led chamber had already passed the details of the proposal, they failed to pull enough votes to allow it to have a chance at becoming constitutional.

Will Price / West Virginia Le

A two-pronged tax overhaul got halfway completed Monday in the West Virginia Senate. The sweeping proposal — which includes a repeal of hundreds of millions of dollars in personal property taxes on manufacturing, motor vehicles and other personal property, as well as hikes on tobacco and sales taxes — is the combination of a bill and a proposed constitutional amendment that allows for all of the proposed changes to take effect.

Greyhound dogs sprint around a turn during a race at the Palm Beach Kennel Club, in West Palm Beach, Fla. Oct. 4, 2018.
Brynn Anderson / AP Photo

The West Virginia Senate has rejected a measure that would have eliminated a fund that helps prop up the state’s greyhound racing industry.

Medical Marijuana
John Locher / AP Photo

Lawmakers took a major step in 2017 toward legalizing cannabis use in West Virginia when they passed a bill that created a medical program. But nearly three years later, the program still isn’t operational — and many say it’s still more than a year away from launching. 

This session, lawmakers continue to offer some major tweaks to the as-of-yet-launched program. Those proposals – which are included in multiple bills – could change which forms would be considered medically acceptable.

Will Price / West Virginia Legislative Photography

The West Virginia Senate’s Finance Committee unveiled Monday a complicated and sweeping set of tax reforms. The proposed refiguration of the state’s tax code is somewhat of a game of musical chairs — with a few significant hurdles to overcome. 

Lawmakers in the GOP-led Senate are continuing their push to roll back the manufacturing machinery, equipment and inventory tax  but, with a committee originating bill, they’re also tacking on a proposal that would eliminate taxes on retail inventory and automobiles. 

Will Price / West Virginia Legislative Photography

The West Virginia Senate passed a bill Tuesday that would allow private and homeschool students to play public school sports and participate in other extracurricular activities. Senate Bill 131, known as the Tim Tebow Act, is named after the Heisman trophy winner and professional athlete who fought as a homeschooler for the right to play public school sports.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, hemp farmers in the region are coming up short – really short – on the return on their investment into the fledgling industry.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Those protesting pipelines and other industrial sites could be subject to fines and imprisonment under a new bill being considered in the West Virginia House of Delegates. The lower chamber’s Judiciary Committee held a public hearing Monday on a measure known as the West Virginia Critical Infrastructure Protection Act.

House Bill 4615 would designate and protect facilities the measure deems “critical infrastructure facilities” — including oil refineries, natural gas operations, telecommunications infrastructure, railroads, chemical plants, government-regulated dams and water treatment facilities. The measure would impose various jail sentences and fines for trespassing, vandalism and “conspiring” with those who carry out those acts. 

West Virginia Legislative Photography

A bill to create an intermediate court of appeals in West Virginia is on its way to a final vote in the state Senate. Lawmakers rejected an amendment Friday that would have required the proposed court to handle criminal cases in addition to civil cases.

Senate Bill 275 would create another layer of appeals between circuit courts and the state Supreme Court. Two three-judge panels — split between a northern and southern district — would hear civil cases, guardianship cases and workers’ compensation cases, as well as appeals to decisions in family court.

Will Price / West Virginia Legislative Photography

The West Virginia Senate’s Select Committee on Children and Families has advanced a bill that would create a string of reforms for employees of the Department of Health and Human Resources’ Bureau for Children and Families. Senate Bill 312 would focus on pay, create a registration system for caseworkers and hopes to address issues of vacancies and turnover that have plagued the bureau.

Sen. Mike Romano, D-Harrison, speaks against Senate Joint Resolution 7 on Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020.
Will Price / West Virginia Legislative Photography

More than a year after a temporary bench of the West Virginia Supreme Court derailed the 2018 impeachment trials of justices of the state’s high court, Republican leaders of the Legislature still have work ahead of themselves to undo the decision they see as unjust. A Wednesday vote indicates that lingering partisan sentiments continue to surround the impeachments.

Will Price / West Virginia Legislative Photography

A bill that would create another layer for West Virginia’s judicial system in civil cases is now headed to the Senate floor for consideration. 

Senate Bill 275 cleared the upper chamber’s Finance Committee Tuesday. 

Will Price / West Virginia Legislative Photography

A bill known as the Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act has cleared a first committee in the West Virginia Senate after passing the House of Delegates earlier this session. The Senate Health and Human Resources Committee cleared House Bill 4007 Thursday on a 11-1 roll call vote. 

Sen. Corey Palumbo, a Democrat from Kanawha County who is not running for re-election this year, was the only member of the health committee to vote no. 

Will Price / West Virginia Legislative Photography

The West Virginia Senate is working to undo a decision by a temporary bench of the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals that effectively prevents justices of the state’s high court from being impeached and standing trial. 

Members of the upper chamber’s Judiciary Committee advanced a joint resolution — a potential constitutional amendment — that would remedy the 2018 impeachments that ultimately fizzled out.

Will Price / West Virginia Legislative Photography

The West Virginia Senate Judiciary Committee has approved a bill that would create an intermediate appellate court system. But amendments to the proposal Monday changed the way judges would take seats on the proposed bench — now calling for nonpartisan elections rather than gubernatorial appointments. 

Senate Bill 275, which committee members began work on Friday, has appeared in recent legislative sessions but has failed to make its way to the governor’s desk. 

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?

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.

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. 

Proponents of increasing renewable energy generation in the Mountain State are once again urging West Virginia lawmakers to legalize a common financing method — power purchase agreements, or PPAs. 

West Virginia Legislative Photography

The West Virginia House Health and Human Resources Committee has advanced a bill that would ensure medical care for a fetus born alive following an ineffective abortion. 

House Bill 4007 is known as the Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act. The measure would direct physicians to exercise “reasonable medical judgement” should a fetus be alive following an abortion. 

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photogrpahy

On Wednesday, Jan. 8, Republican Gov. Jim Justice rolled out his legislative wishlist for 2020’s 60-day session. Justice’s state of the state address touched on everything from economic opportunities to substance abuse and child welfare, outlining a smaller budget compared to previous years but also highlighting new policy proposals.