West Virginia Legislature

Roads, Road, Highway, Turnpike
Seicer / Wikimedia Commons

West Virginia tax authorities report collections rose to $73.6 million for the state road fund in July, the first month of higher taxes and fees to support it, exceeding last year's collections by almost $16 million.

Frontier Communications

Frontier Communications has filed a lawsuit to prevent a section of a bill that the company claims conflicts with federal law and increases the chances of outages for customers.

West Virginia Governor's Office

The Governor’s Office says the state technically ended the previous fiscal year in the black last month, but there is already a deficit in fiscal year 2018. 

The new budget year officially began July 1—less than two weeks ago—and the state is already $11 million short.

West Virginia Governor's Office

The bickering that has persisted at the statehouse since the end of the special session between Gov. Jim Justice and legislative leaders continued at the Capitol Wednesday, this time over restrooms.

Justice’s Office sent another statement Wednesday morning - one of many released over the past few weeks - criticizing members of the Legislature for their funding priorities.

Will Price / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Dozens of new laws took effect in West Virginia Friday, three months after the end of the state’s regular Legislative session. 

WVPB

After months of a budget standoff, Governor Jim Justice announced he would allow a budget heavy on cuts and with no tax increases to become law without his signature.

That doesn’t mean he was happy with it.

“I can’t possible sign this,” he said. “They voted against the people of this state. They didn’t hurt me. They hurt the people.”

Jesse Wright / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Gov. Jim Justice said the legislatively approved budget for the 2018 fiscal year will become law without his signature. 

“I can’t sign this. I can’t possibly sign this," Justice said.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Members of the House are not budging on reforming the state’s tax code the way Gov. Jim Justice and now Senators on both sides of the aisle want to.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Members of the Senate have approved a budget for the upcoming fiscal year -- for a second time this week.

 

The bill they approved Tuesday contains no new revenue for 2018 and makes major cuts to both higher education and Medicaid in order to find a balance, but the new version of the budget bill approved Thursday night is accompanied by yet another tax reform bill that now has bi-partisan support in the state’s upper chamber.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Wednesday, members of the House of Delegates approved their own version of a budget for the upcoming 2018 fiscal year—a budget that, much like the one approved earlier in the week in the Senate, does not include any new revenue from various tax reform measures debated between the two chambers for weeks.

Instead, the House used the increased revenue estimate sent this week by Gov. Jim Justice’s Office to members of the Senate as the base for its $4.225 billion budget.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

After yet another day of back and forth between the House and Senate, Speaker Tim Armstead says lawmakers are now close to an agreement on the 2018 budget.

And that agreement could likely come without the passage of any tax reform measures. 

West Virginia Governor's Office

Gov. Jim Justice sat the head of a long table in his conference room Monday afternoon, surrounded by reporters and members of his staff. It’s the same room that nearly three months ago Justice declared his budget war room, inviting members of the Legislature to join him and his staff each morning to hammer out a deal.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Members of a legislative conference committee will continue their work Monday, trying to come to an agreement over tax reform. The conference committee was assembled Wednesday and, according to Legislative rules, must finish their work by Saturday, but lawmakers voted to suspend those rules Friday, allowing the committee to meet over the weekend. 

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Legislators have assembled a conference committee to work out the final details of a tax reform bill that has been at the center of budget negotiations at the statehouse for months. 

Lawmakers have spent since the end of the regular session in March formally-- and informally-- negotiating the tax reform bill that began in the state Senate. The Senate Republican-backed plan largely aims to repeal the personal income tax in exchange for a higher consumer sales tax.

Perry Bennet / West Virginia Legislative Photography

An audit of the WVOASIS system says the state has wasted millions of dollars on consultants for the computer operating system.

The legislative audit was released to lawmakers during an interim committee meeting Tuesday. 

West Virginia Governor's Office

State revenue officials have released new income projections for the 2018 fiscal year, but are basing those numbers largely on legislation that has yet to be approved by lawmakers during a special session.

Revenue Secretary Dave Hardy released the updated projections for the 2018 fiscal year Tuesday, increasing previous estimates by nearly $170 million.

Perry Bennet / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Gov. Jim Justice spent hours caucusing with House Democrats Monday morning as a special budget session continued at the statehouse. 

House Minority Leader Tim Miley said the governor spent more than two hours discussing his latest plan to balance the 2018 budget.

Perry Bennet / West Virginia Legislative Photography

A group of Republican delegates have introduced a bill to dissolve the greyhound breeders fund, giving lawmakers an additional $14 million to use to balance this year’s budget. 

Perry Bennet / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Budget negotiations are continuing at the Capitol Thursday after a new revenue deal was presented to lawmakers earlier in the week. 

Gov. Jim Justice presented the new revenue bill to lawmakers Tuesday. The plan has been at the crux of budget negotiations between his office and members of both the House and Senate.

Perry Bennet / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Legislative leaders in both the House and Senate have agreed to a 12-day recess in their special budget session while they continue to negotiate a deal with Gov. Jim Justice. 

Members voted to adjourn until June 5, leaving the leaders of both caucuses in both chambers to continue to work on a budget plan.

Perry Bennet / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Members of the Senate’s Finance Committee were presented with some hard numbers Tuesday about the impacts their tax reform plan will have on the overall state budget.

The chamber has presented and voted on similar plans over the last several months, and, even with a clear message from the House that Delegates won’t support the measure, the upper chamber will likely vote on an almost identical bill again Wednesday. 

West Virginia Governor's Office

Gov. Jim Justice expanded the special session call for the second time Tuesday, May 23, adding seven more bills – including his budget for the 2018 fiscal year.

The executive message with those bills was read in the Senate Tuesday morning, but not introduced. The bills were referred to committees in the House during its afternoon floor session.

Perry Bennet / West Virginia Legislative Photography

The Senate's Select Committee on Tax Reform has voted once again to make changes to a revenue bill being floated back and forth between the House and Senate, and the committee chair says members of his caucus will not budge when it comes to their plan to eventually repeal the state's personal income tax.

Perry Bennet / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Members of the House are standing their ground when it comes to tax reform. At least, that’s what House Speaker Tim Armstead said Friday after a vote in the chamber on its own version of a revenue bill.

The bill does not include any of the changes to the personal income tax Senate Republicans and Gov. Jim Justice have agreed to, but Armstead said that doesn’t mean his chamber isn’t still willing to work on a compromise.

Perry Bennet / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Members of the House Finance Committee voted almost unanimously in favor of their version of a revenue bill Thursday afternoon, one that looks drastically different than one the Senate approved earlier this week.

Perry Bennet / West Virginia Legislative Photography

After attempting to rally members of the Senate around his tax reform plan Tuesday, Gov. Jim Justice decided to also formally address members of the House of Delegates Wednesday.

Senators have already approved the measure to significantly alter the state’s tax code, but with only Republican support. Justice largely focused on his disappointment with Senate Democrats in his speech to the House.

Perry Bennet / West Virginia Legislative Photography

The Senate has approved a bill that would drastically restructure the state’s tax code in the hopes of balancing the budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

The plan has the support of Senate Republicans and Democratic Gov. Jim Justice, who switched parties before announcing his bid for the office. The bill is, however, losing its previous support from Democrats and will meet some serious opposition in the House.

Perry Bennet / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Both the House and Senate gaveled in around 11 am Monday, but without the final version of a new tax reform bill, delayed their action into the afternoon, and then into Tuesday.

Senate President Mitch Carmichael said the legislation was sent by the Governor’s Office to bill drafting—an arm of the state’s legislative services division—but was in the wrong format and staffers needed additional time.

West Virginia Governor's Office

As members of the West Virginia Legislature return to Charleston Monday to continue their work on the 2018 budget, Gov. Jim Justice has added two bills to the special session call.

The first of those bills is to increase the consumer sales and use tax on motor vehicles. 

The second is bill to allow the governor to furlough state employees in the wake of a financial emergency, or a government shutdown.

Minnie Buckingham
E-WV / WV Humanities Council

  On May 15, 1886, Minnie Buckingham was born in Putnam County. She later moved to Keystone in McDowell County and married E. Howard Harper, who was elected to the legislature in 1926. When Harper died in the middle of his term, the county Republican executive committee unanimously recommended Minnie to replace him. In January 1928, Governor Howard Gore appointed Minnie Buckingham Harper to complete her husband’s term, making her the first African-American woman in U.S. history to serve in a state legislature.

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