West Virginia Legislature

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

A Senate committee has delayed consideration of a bill that some Democratic members challenged as being unconstitutional Saturday.

Senate Bill 609 would cut funding to public education by reducing the state school aid funding formula.

Will Price / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Members of the Senate voted 27-6, with one member absent, Saturday to increase the state's gasoline tax and some vehicle fees to increase funding for the state's Road Fund.

Senate Bill 477 was presented to lawmakers on behalf of Gov. Jim Justice.

Will Price / West Virginia Legislative Photography

A Senate committee has advanced a bill to create a medical marijuana program in West Virginia, despite the committee chairman’s vote against it. 

The Senate Health and Human Resources Committee took up Senate Bill 386 Friday morning, the West Virginia Medical Cannabis Act. 

Will Price / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Update Friday, March 24, 2017: Senators have approved Senate Bill 18, 18-16, with four Republicans joining their Democratic colleagues to vote against it. 

Senators will vote on a bill Friday that will give lawmakers the authority to approve all change to education standards and aligned standardized testing to be required in West Virginia schools after an amendment to a bill on the chamber floor Thursday.

Chad Lovejoy
Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

A House Judiciary Subcommittee reconsidered a bill Thursday that barely made it through the legislative process on the final night of the 2016 session.

That bill required West Virginians to bring some form of identification with them when they go to cast a ballot at their polling place. It also set up an automatic voter registration process between the Secretary of the State’s office and the Division of Motor Vehicles.

Delegates initially intended to gut parts of that law altogether this year, but have since worked on a compromise.

Flood
Kara Lofton / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On June 23, 2016, West Virginia experienced some of the worst flooding in the state’s storied history. During the past 52 years, 282 West Virginians have died in floods, including the 23 who perished last summer after historic water levels led to a federal disaster declaration in 12 counties.

Nine months later, communities are still recovering from the high water. 

West Virginia Governor's Office

Gov. Jim Justice says he and his staff will be waiting for lawmakers in his “war room”—a conference room in the Governor’s Office—every morning until the end of the legislative session to work on a budget compromise.

Justice held the first of those meetings Wednesday, which was attended by six members of the Democratic caucus from both the House and Senate.

West Virginia Governor's Office

Gov. Jim Justice joined energy workers from across West Virginia for a rally at the Capitol Tuesday morning to promote the natural gas industry in the state.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On West Virginia Morning, Appalachia Health News reporter Kara Lofton looks at rural hospitals and how the new federal health care proposal will affect them and Ashton Marra talks with Tom Smith, the new Secretary of the state Department of Transportation.

That’s on West Virginia Morning from West Virginia Public Broadcasting – telling West Virginia’s story.

Will Price / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Senators have approved a bill that “puts the final nail in the coffin” on Common Core in West Virginia, according to Senate Education Chair Kenny Mann.

The chamber voted 23-8 Saturday in favor of Senate Bill 524.

Will Price / West Virginia Legislative Photography

West Virginians would pay less in interest on unpaid court judgments under a bill approved by state lawmakers.

The measure, approved 25-8 by the Senate on Friday, would set the rate at 2 percent above an annually set Federal Reserve rate, down from 3 percent.

Will Price / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Senators also debated an election bill on the floor today, one that deals with how the governor is required to fill vacancies in elected offices. The bill is the result of a 2016 resignation in the Senate, one by a former member who changed party affiliation to give Republicans a majority in the chamber.

Education Changes Move at the Legislature

Mar 16, 2017
West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On West Virginia Morning, Liz McCormick reports lawmakers are looking to reduce spending on education, but they say they will give local schools more flexibility in how they spend their money and West Virginia’s Poet Laureate Marc Harshman has won a prestigious poetry award.  We’ll hear him recite some of his work from the winning book.  

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On West Virginia Morning Ashton Marra talks with Del. Rupie Phillips of Logan County -- the Legislature's only Independent and Anne Li reports from the Green Bank Observatory in Pocahontas County about one family's efforts to save it after the National Science Foundation announced it is reviewing the property's viability.

That's on West Virginia Morning from West Virginia Public Broadcasting -- telling West Virginia's story.

State Spending Plans Revealed

Mar 14, 2017
West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On West Virginia Morning, Republican leaders at the statehouse have unveiled a draft of their proposed state spending plan and Ashton Marra talks with two GOP delegates about their own budget proposal.

That’s on West Virginia Morning from West Virginia Public Broadcasting – telling West Virginia’s story.

Will Price / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Members of the Senate Select Committee on Tax Reform have approved their bill to restructure the state's tax code. 

The committee substitute for Senate Bill 335 was passed out of the committee Monday morning, the first step in its process to completion.

Bernie Sanders Visits McDowell County

Mar 13, 2017
West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On West Virginia Morning, Dave Mistich reports from McDowell County where Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont held a town hall meeting last night to focus on rural America and from the statehouse, Ashton Marra reports on the work of the Senate’s Select Committee on Tax Reform. 

That’s on West Virginia Morning from West Virginia Public Broadcasting – telling West Virginia’s story. 

 

Will Price / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Editor's Note: This bill was revised by the Senate Select Committee on Tax Reform Monday, March 13. The revisions are explained in a new story on this website. 

Over the weekend, members of the Senate’s Select Committee on Tax Reform were presented with the latest version of a bill to overhaul West Virginia’s tax structure.

This is the third version of the legislation the 7 member committee has seen, but they’ve yet to take a vote on the measure. That vote, however, expected to come Monday.

Patricia Rucker
Will Price / West Virginia Legislative Photography

A bill to prohibit any Common Core-based education standards from being taught in West Virginia classrooms was taken up in the Senate’s Education committee Saturday. The standards have been debated for years at the statehouse and now lawmakers are looking at legislation that specifies what can be taught.

Will Price / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Tensions were high Friday in the Senate as a motion to move a bill to the chamber’s Finance Committee turned into a debate over the procedures Senators with years of experience say are being ignored by some members of the majority party. 

Will Price / West Virginia Legislative Photography

A bipartisan group of Senators voted to block a repeal of the state's requirement that all adults wear helmets while driving a motorcycle.

The repeal was amended into Senate Bill 173 during the committee process, a bill that would allow drivers to use autocycles, three-wheeled, fully enclosed vehicles, and would exempt drivers from having to obtain a motorcycle license. 

Solar Co-op Coming to Huntington

Mar 9, 2017
West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On West Virginia Morning, Ashton Marra talks with legislative leaders about their plans to address the large hole in next year’s state budget and Clark Davis reports from Huntington where citizens are joining together to go solar.

That’s on West Virginia Morning from West Virginia Public Broadcasting – telling West Virginia’s story.

On The Legislature Today, House Speaker Tim Armstead and Senate President Mitch Carmichael say their chambers are still diligently working on plans to balance the 2018 budget, but the $497 million gap estimated by the Governor's Office for the coming fiscal year, Carmichael calls it a number inflated by Gov. Jim Justice's want to increase spending. 

Carmichael discusses the Senate's push to "hold the line" on spending while still providing vital government services. 

Armstead says while he would like approve a budget in a bi-partisan fashion, he believes Republican members of his chamber are ready to make the tough decisions when it comes to downsizing government, which likely means laying off state workers. 

Will Price / West Virginia Legislative Photography

The Senate’s Workforce Committee has advanced a bill to limit the powers of cities and towns.

Senate Bill 399 prevents local governments from enacting ordinances or local policies that impose requirements on employers when it comes to employee wages and benefits. Among other things, the bill would prevent a city or town from making minimum wage higher than the state’s.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On West Virginia Morning, the House of Delegates is passing bills increasing the penalties for drug trafficking.  Liz McCormick has that story and Ashton Marra talks with the state Superintendent of Schools about the challenges facing the state’s public school system. 

That’s on West Virginia Morning from West Virginia Public Broadcasting – telling West Virginia’s story.

Will Price / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Senators are looking to make changes to the way some employees will pay their union dues or club fees.

Senate Bill 239 would require an employer to have the written consent of an employee to withhold any amount from their paycheck for contributions to a political candidate or candidate committee. That consent would have to come through a form submitted to the Secretary of State’s Office and is only good for 12 months.

Personal Income Tax Repeal Comes at a High Price

Mar 7, 2017
West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On West Virginia Morning, members of the state Senate are considering a bill to do away with the personal income tax but they learned yesterday it comes at a high price and the Affordable Care Act expanded treatment for substance abuse.  We’ll look at what might happen if the Act is repealed.

That’s on West Virginia Morning from West Virginia Public Broadcasting – telling West Virginia’s story.

Will Price / West Virginia Legislative Photography

West Virginia Senators have approved a bill to dismantle the wage bonding requirement for certain industries in the state. 

Members voted 21-12 Monday morning after some debate on the chamber floor.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On West Virginia Morning, from the statehouse Samantha Godby reports on bipartisan support for discrimination protections for the LGBTQ community.

That’s on West Virginia Morning from West Virginia Public Broadcasting – telling West Virginia’s story.

Will Price / West Virginia Legislative Photography

As the owner of a construction company, Putnam County Sen. Glen Jeffries said Friday a bill to end a decades long practice in West Virginia of bonding employee wages in certain industries worried him. 

"This industry, they are vulnerable businesses, construction especially," he said on the chamber floor. "In a five year period, 38 percent of the businesses are still open. Thirty-eight percent."

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