West Virginia Legislature

On The Legislature Today, capitol security estimates 2,000 teachers poured into the Capitol Thursday – the first of a 2-day teachers' work stoppage. All 55 West Virginia county school systems were closed because of the work stoppage over teacher salaries and Public Employee Insurance Agency costs. Host Andrea Lannom brings you the latest from the event, and she chats with House Minority Leader Tim Miley, D-Harrison and Del. Ron Walters, R-Kanawha on current action at the statehouse.

On The Legislature Today, we take a closer look at energy legislation moving through this session. Host Andrea Lannom chats with Senate Energy, Industry and Mining Committee Chairman Sen. Randy Smith, R-Tucker, as well as Executive Director of the West Virginia Rivers Coalition Angie Rosser.

On The Legislature Today, the looming statewide teacher work stoppage is scheduled for later this week, and there are several related issues before the Finance and Education Committees. Host Andrea Lannom chats with Del. Paul Espinosa, R-Jefferson, Chairman of the House Education Committee and member of the House Finance committee. Also joining the conversation is Del. Larry Rowe, D-Kanawha, member of both the House Education and Finance Committees.

On The Legislature Today, host Andrea Lannom is joined by Senate President Mitch Carmichael and Senate Minority Leader Roman Prezioso to discuss the latest in the issues over teacher pay and the Public Employee Health Insurance Agency.

Thousands of state employees and supporters rallied at the Capitol Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018 demanding higher wages and for a long-term fix to rising health insurance premiums.
Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Updated Feb. 25 7:30 p.m.

According to the state Department of Education's website Sunday night ,schools will be closed in at least 51 of West Virginia's 55 counties Monday.

Original story:

 

A statewide walkout has been announced for teachers and other state employees for Thursday and Friday next week. The announcement was made during a weekend rally at the state Capitol in Charleston.

We bring you a special episode of The Legislature Today. West Virginia Public Broadcasting’s Executive Producer Suzanne Higgins sits down with Elaine McMillion Sheldon, producer and director of the Oscar nominated documentary film Heroin(e), Huntington Fire Chief Jan Rader, and Family Court and former-longtime Drug Court Judge Patricia Keller.

On The Legislature Today, details about an estimated $84 billion investment by a Chinese energy company have been slim since Governor Jim Justice and Commerce Secretary Woody Thrasher made the announcement last fall. In this episode, we'll talk to a lead scientist at West Virginia University who describes a long-time relationship between the university and this energy company.

On The Legislature Today, the West Virginia House of Delegates passed a salary bill providing pay raises for state police, teachers, and school service personnel. But will it be enough to avert a teachers' strike amid growing frustrations over salaries, problems with the state's insurance provider and teacher vacancies? We hear from the presidents of both the West Virginia Education Association and the West Virginia chapter of the American Federation of Teachers to help answer these questions.

On The Legislature Today, the West Virginia House of Delegates spent nearly four hours in session debating amendments to the teacher, school personnel, and police pay raise bill. We also look at clips from an emotional public hearing on a bill that proponents say will crack down on fraud within assistance programs, like SNAP. Host Andrea Lannom also chats with Minority Vice Chair of House Finance, Del. Mick Bates, D-Raleigh, on a handful of issues moving under the Capitol dome.

On The Legislature Today, we bring you another reporter roundtable where we discuss some of the biggest issues from the week. Host Andrea Lannom is joined by reporters Jake Zuckerman of the Charleston Gazette-Mail and Brad McElhinny of West Virginia MetroNews.

On The Legislature Today, Governor Jim Justice held a press conference addressing issues linked to PEIA and teacher pay. In the Senate, lawmakers debated abortion rights, and in the House, tempers flared as the 2018 state Legislative session hit the half-way mark.

Will Price / West Virginia Legislative Photography

The West Virginia Senate has voted against revising a proposed state constitutional amendment that would authorize lawmakers to restrict abortion rights.

The resolution advanced by the Senate Judiciary Committee would require two-thirds passage by both the Senate and House and a voter referendum to take effect.

On The Legislature Today, host Andrea Lannom chats with West Virginia Commissioner of Agriculture Kent Leonhardt on the role agriculture plays in diversifying the state’s economy. We also hear the latest on the debate over Public Employees Insurance Agency issues.

On The Legislature Today, host Andrea Lannom chats with two senators who sit on the Senate Judiciary Committee – Sen. Mark Maynard, R-Wayne, and Sen. Mike Romano, D-Harrison. We explore a handful of issues with these two lawmakers. Also in this episode, we spotlight an entrepreneurial agribusiness – growing lavender on barren strip mines.

West Virginia House of Delegates, January 2018.
Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

West Virginia's House has voted to let nursing aides give various prescription medications to patients at nursing homes.

Supporters of the bill, approved 55-44 on Tuesday, say the certified nurse aides would have to be trained every two years, work under the direction of a registered nurse, couldn't give opioids and other drugs listed as having high potential for abuse and could give injections only with pre-filled insulin.

Senate Judiciary Committee, May 2017.
Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

A West Virginia legislative committee has advanced a proposed amendment to the state constitution that would authorize lawmakers to restrict abortion rights.

The resolution, approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee by voice vote, would require two-thirds passage by both the Senate and House and a voter referendum to take effect.

On The Legislature Today, we take a closer look at state lawmakers’ efforts toward addressing child sexual abuse in West Virginia. Host Andrea Lannom has an in-depth discussion on the issue with a member of the West Virginia Task Force on Child Sexual Abuse – Emily Chittenden-Laird, Executive Director of the West Virginia Child Advocacy Network.

On The Legislature Today, hundreds of teachers rallied at the Capitol. Teachers from selected counties staged walk-in's and walk-outs, and Governor Jim Justice cancelled a scheduled press conference where it was planned he would talk about education issues. Host Andrea Lannom chats with fellow statehouse reporters Brad McElhinny of West Virginia MetroNews and Ryan Quinn of the Charleston Gazette-Mail in another reporter roundtable.

On The Legislature Today, we bring you an in-depth look at the West Virginia’s Community and Technical College System and a bill that creates a grant program specifically for its students. That bill, Senate Bill 284, passed the West Virginia Senate unanimously and makes CTCs free for in-state students, if multiple requirements are met. It is now up for consideration in the House.

On The Legislature Today, host Andrea Lannom has an in-depth conversation with Chelsea Ruby, Commissioner of the West Virginia Division of Tourism. Governor Jim Justice has proposed to nearly triple the tourism budget, bringing the agency’s current $6 million budget to $20 million.

On The Legislature Today, there are several highly-watched bills seeing action this week – the Senate unanimously passed the community and technical college bill, Governor Jim Justice signed a bill eliminating the West Virginia Film Tax Credit, and some public education employees have announced a rally here at the Capitol for Feb. 17. In the Senate Judiciary Committee, discussions over a proposed Intermediate Court of Appeals is the subject of debate. Host Andrea Lannom chats with Senate Judiciary Chairman Charlie Trump, R-Morgan, about the issue – SB 341.

On The Legislature Today, we hear two very different perspectives on budget policy. As lawmakers continue holding budget presentations for state agencies and continue to grapple with how and where to spend state dollars, we’ve asked the directors of two West Virginia policy research organizations – with very different philosophies – to join host Andrea Lannom and offer us all something to think about. Garrett Ballengee is the Executive Director of the Cardinal Institute for West Virginia Policy and Ted Boettner is the Executive Director of the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy.

On The Legislature Today, we bring you another reporter roundtable revisiting the week that was and pondering the week to come. Host Andrea Lannom is joined by her statehouse colleagues Brad McElhinny of West Virginia MetroNews and making his first appearance on The Legislature Today, Ryan Quinn, education reporter for the Pulitzer Prize winning newspaper, the Charleston Gazette-Mail.

On The Legislature Today, host Andrea Lannom is joined by Dr. Rahul Gupta, West Virginia’s Commissioner for the Bureau of Public Health. Gupta chats with Lannom about DHHR’s Opioid Response Plan - an initiative to explore the most effective ways the state can combat the opioid crisis.

On The Legislature Today, host Andrea Lannom sits down with John Deskins, the Director of West Virginia University’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research to talk about the state’s economy, the hits it's taken, the challenges still ahead, and the investments we need to make for desired returns.

On The Legislature Today, education bills are making their way through committees. Host Andrea Lannom asks House Education Chairman Del. Paul Espinosa to outline some of that legislation as well as touch on issues that might come up at the statehouse this year.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

The West Virginia House of Delegates passed a bill that would create 100 single-member legislative districts following the 2020 U.S. Census. In an hour long debate on the House floor, Republican delegates argued that the bill creates equity and a closer relationship between lawmakers and their constituents. Democrats, however, gave a wide variety of opposing arguments.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

House and Senate lawmakers introduced 28 joint resolutions in just the first week of the legislative session each calling for amendments to the state constitution. Some around the Capitol say such a number feels like a lot, while others say it’s rather normal. What is agreed upon, though, is that it is rare to have so many proposed constitutional amendments gaining traction this early in the session.

On The Legislature Today, House Speaker Tim Armstead has announced he will step down from the West Virginia House of Delegates in 2019, and is considering a run for the state Supreme Court in 2020.

We also bring you another reporter roundtable with host Andrea Lannom, Brad McElhinny of MetroNews, and Jake Zuckerman of the Charleston Gazette-Mail to chat about what’s happened at the statehouse this week and what’s to come.

Tim Armstead
Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

West Virginia House Speaker Tim Armstead announced he will step down from his work in the Legislature in 2019 and could be looking to sit on the West Virginia Supreme Court.

In a statement from the West Virginia Republican Party, chairwoman Melody Potter said Armstead has been a leader for the Republican party as both the speaker of the House and as the former-minority leader.

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