West Virginia Legislature

On The Legislature Today, Gov. Jim Justice has sent lawmakers a second budget plan this session and now plans to sweep $120 million in one time monies to balance the 2017 budget.

Lawmakers also got their first look at the $610 million deficit that would be created by the Senate's current tax reform bill that would repeal the personal income tax and replace it with an expanded consumer sales tax. 

State Journal Managing Editor Ann Ali and MetroNews Statewide Correspondent Brad McElhinney recap the week's budget news.

Gov. Justice Continues His Save Our State Tour

Mar 3, 2017
West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On West Virginia Morning, Governor Jim Justice took his Save Our State tour to Fairmont State University yesterday.  Anne Li will have the story and Iron and Wine has our Mountain Stage song of the week.

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

On The Legislature Today, Sen. Ryan Ferns and Del. Daryl Cowles react the governor's new plans to balance the 2018 budget. 

Justice's proposal includes increased taxes on soda and cigarettes, along with a smaller hike to the consumer sales tax, but is contingent on lawmakers finding additional cuts. 

Both Majority Leaders believe the plan still places the burden too squarely on the backs of West Virginians and they want to see a reduction in the size of government.

Water Quality Bill Debated in House of Delegates

Mar 2, 2017
West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On West Virginia Morning, Liz McCormick reports from the House of Delegates where lawmakers passed a bill yesterday that either attracts new industry or puts the state’s drinking water at risk and Ashton Marra talks with state Auditor J. B. McCuskey about the implementation the state’s new computer system.

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

On The Legislature Today, state Auditor J.B. McCuskey said on the campaign trail he would complete the OASIS implementation process, and just over a month on the job, he says the state is on track to meet that goal by July 1, 2018. 

OASIS is the computer operating system the state has spent years and millions of dollars implementing.

A bill to create guidelines for drones in the state has made its way through the West Virginia Senate.

Senate Bill 9 creates guidelines for the private and commercial use of drones or unmanned aircrafts. 

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On West Virginia Morning, Liz McCormick reports from the statehouse where lawmakers passed bills to fund improvements to the Schools for the Deaf and Blind and to give higher education more flexibility for hiring staff and Ashton Marra talks with the new Secretary of State Mac Warner.

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

Will Price / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Senators will vote on a bill Wednesday that regulates the use of drones in the state. The bill has been years in the making, according to its lead sponsor.

Senate Bill 9 sets a number of guidelines for both the personal and professional use of drones, or unmanned aircraft. 

Commissioner of Agriculture Promotes Hemp

Feb 28, 2017
West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On West Virginia Morning, Ashton Marra talks with newly elected Commissioner of Agriculture Kent Leonhardt and Glynis Board reports on the new Secretary of the state Department of Environmental Protection Austin Caperton who spoke to the Sierra Club last night.

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

Will Price / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Senators approved a bill Monday to clarify West Virginia’s right-to-work law that the Legislature passed last year. The law has yet to take effect because it’s been tied up in a court case in Kanawha County.

Will Price / West Virginia Legislative Photography

The Senate’s Select Committee on Tax Reform has started discussing the latest version of its bill to repeal West Virginia's personal income tax and replace it with an expanded consumption tax. 

The income tax provides nearly $2 billion in annual revenue for the state, but supporters of the provision say a broader sales tax on goods and services at a higher rate could replace that revenue, encouraging economic growth in the state. 

The committee discussed the bill for a second time Monday morning, but still have not been presented with a fiscal note detailing the shift of revenues. 


On The Legislature Today, the governor releases an alternative plan to balance the 2018 budget-- one legislative leaders seem more open to considering.

 

In the Senate, a bill to clarify the state’s right to work law gets a passing vote and in the House, delegates hold a public hearing to address changed to the state's water quality standards.

Will Price / West Virginia Legislative Photography

DMAPS, the shorthand for the Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety, is an area of the budget that, according to Senate Finance Chair Mike Hall, can be difficult to cut. At $350 million, it’s a fairly sizable part of state government and houses the regional jails, prisons, homeland security office, State Police, and a few other divisions.

During the department’s budget presentation Thursday, Gov. Jim Justice’s newly appointed Secretary Jeff Sandy told senators he’s only officially been in his position for just over a month, but he’s already looking to make changes that will result in savings.

Will Price / West Virginia Legislative Photography

State Senators have approved a bill that makes it illegal to share a personal, private image of another person without his or her consent.

Senate Bill 240 was drafted by students at Bethany College in the state's Northern Panhandle and finessed in the Senate’s Judiciary Committee creating the misdemeanor offense. 

Will Price / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Legislative leaders on both sides of the aisle are reacting to Gov. Jim Justice’s announcement Tuesday that the state’s bond rating had been downgraded by the third national rating agency in a year.

Moody’s dropped the state’s rating from AA1 to AA2.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On West Virginia Morning, Clark Davis looks at the Rock Creek Development Park one of former Governor Earl Ray Tomblin’s pet projects and Liz McCormick reports on legislation to manage the state’s fleet of government vehicles.

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

At The Legislature Today, although the budget has been the top priority for lawmakers this session, it’s implications trickle down into all areas of state government, including education.

Del. Paul Espinosa and Sen. Kenny Mann, chairs of the House and Senate Education Committees, say even though there may be less money for schools, they are working through bills to give counties more flexibility in how they spend that funding.

Will Price / West Virginia Legislative Photography

The Senate has approved a bill that changes the eligibility requirements for unemployment benefits for striking workers. 

The chamber approved Senate Bill 222, 22 to 11, with one Senator absent on Wednesday.

Moody's Downgrades W.Va. Bond Rating

Feb 22, 2017
West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On West Virginia Morning, cancer mortality rates are higher in rural Appalachia than in other parts of the country.  Appalachia Health News reporter Kara Lofton looks into that and deputies in Monongalia County are using body cameras for the first time.  Anne Li will have the details.

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

Will Price / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Lawmakers are 14 days into this legislative session and so far, not a single bill dealing with broadband expansion has been introduced. The issue received attention early last session, but lawmakers say they’re still working on a plan to reach both unserved and underserved areas of West Virginia.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

The third bond rating agency in a year announced Tuesday it would be downgrading West Virginia's rating, from AA1 to AA2. 

West Virginia’s Revenue Secretary Dave Hardy announced the decision during a press conference at the Capitol with Gov. Jim Justice.

“This just makes me sick," Justice said after the announcement. "I mean, that’s just all there is to it."

Senator Explains Bill to Eliminate W. Va. Income Tax

Feb 21, 2017
West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On West Virginia Morning, statehouse reporter Ashton Marra talks with Senator Robert Karnes about his bill to eliminate the personal income tax and The Allegheny Front’s Julie Grant reports on the Waters of the U.S. rule which President Trump has vowed to repeal.

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

Will Price / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Over the past several years, West Virginia voters have decided on a county-by-county basis whether to allow hunting on Sundays, and many counties have approved the measure.

A bill now being considered in the state Senate would make those provisions uniform across counties.

TRIP Report: W.Va. Roads in Bad Shape

Feb 17, 2017
West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On West Virginia Morning, a new national report says the state’s bad roads are costing drivers a lot of money and Inside Appalachia host Jessica Lilly talks with a Wyoming County family about the quality of their water. 

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

Is Justice Tax Plan DOA in the Legislature?

Feb 16, 2017
Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

"In a rhetorical flourish almost certainly unlike any in the history of West Virginia gubernatorial oratory, Jim Justice spread his arms wide and moaned in an impression of Frankenstein’s monster."

That's how WV Metronews reporter Brad McElhinny described the end of Gov. Jim Justice's State of the State address. Justice was making a point about the state budget mess, a deficit of almost $500 million.

Will Price / West Virginia Legislative Photography

A national research group says the deficiencies, congestion, and lack of safety features on West Virginia’s roadways are costing drivers in the state more than a billion dollars every year.

Gov. Jim Justice plans to drastically change that by increasing the funding to the state’s road system, but members of the Senate have mixed feelings about whether that plan can succeed.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On West Virginia Morning, the latest news from the West Virginia Legislature and Appalachian Health News reporter Kara Lofton talks with president of Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield about a change in their hospital policies.

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

On The Legislature Today, the Chairs of the House and Senate Finance Committees are digging deep into state agencies to find efficiencies or cuts that could potentially save the state money. 

Del. Eric Nelson and Sen. Mike Hall discuss the state's $497 million budget gap for the 2018 Fiscal Year and how they intend to fix it. 

Will Price / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Senators are considering a bill that would change the eligibility for unemployment benefits for workers on strike. It’s a measure the bill’s lead sponsor says other states have adopted, but West Virginia union leaders already oppose.

Senate Bill 222 would make workers who have temporarily lost their jobs due to a strike ineligible for unemployment benefits from the state. 

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On West Virginia Morning, statehouse reporter Ashton Marra talks with Senate President Mitch Carmichael about his goal to eliminate the state’s income tax and Beth Vorhees talks with Dr. William White who now leads of state’s office of Minority Affairs.

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

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