West Virginia Legislature

New President of WV AFL-CIO Announced

Dec 15, 2016
Josh Sword
AFL-CIO

West Virginia AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Josh Sword has been appointed to fill the unexpired term of President Kenny Perdue, who is retiring at the end of this year.  

The organization’s Executive Board decided in a unanimous vote Tuesday that Sword should take the helm noting his extensive experience and his dedicated service with the West Virginia AFL-CIO.

Joe Carter, a member of the Executive Board and longtime United Mine Workers of America leader, will serve as interim Secretary-Treasurer.

West Virginia Turnpike
Seicer / wikimedia Commons

Members of the West Virginia Parkways Authority are supporting the continuation of tolls on the West Virginia Turnpike, doubling down on a resolution to that effect passed in January.

The tolls are set to expire in May of 2019, when the bonds on the road’s construction will be paid off.

StoryCorps: One Woman's Faith Journey

Dec 7, 2016
West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On West Virginia Morning, the state’s 8 Regional Education Service Agencies may be on the chopping block by the new legislature and we continue our series of interviews in partnership with StoryCorps about religious faith.

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

Department of Revenue Secretary Bob Kiss.
Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin has already taken action to close an estimated $165 million budget gap this year, but the state’s Revenue Secretary said that unless lawmakers take significant action in the upcoming legislative session, that hole will only grow. 

Sec. Bob Kiss presented the latest revenue estimates to a Joint Committee on Finance during interim meetings Tuesday. 

Department of Education

A legislative audit of the state’s eight Regional Education Service Agencies says that while many of the services they provide are important, the independent agencies themselves are no longer necessary. 

John Sylvia, Director of the legislative auditor’s Performance Evaluation and Research Division, presented the report during interim meetings Tuesday. 

Martin Valent/Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

The West Virginia Senate will have a new leader come February, but it appears legislative priorities on both sides of the Capitol rotunda will remain the same. 

WVU Women's Soccer Team in NCAA Final Four Contest

Dec 2, 2016
West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On West Virginia Morning, statehouse reporter Ashton Marra looks at this weekend’s election of leadership posts at the West Virginia Legislature and Clark Davis reports on WVU’s women’s soccer team heading to the Women’s College Cup today. 

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

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

This weekend, members of the West Virginia Legislature will return to Charleston for their December interim meetings.

Democrats and Republicans from the House and Senate will meet behind closed doors Sunday separately to choose the next Senate President and House Speaker, and the two chamber minority leaders, all influential posts.

But with a Democratic governor and a Republican majority in both legislative chambers, there’s one position that seems to control policy a little more than the others: West Virginia's next Senate President.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography


In West Virginia politics over the past decade, one trend gets a lot of attention: the trend from blue to red. More statewide and federal offices in West Virginia are held by Republicans after this year’s election than have been in decades.

 

But there’s another trend-- one that can be seen nationwide--that’s also apparent in West Virginia elections.

Jim Justice and Bill Cole
Tyler Evert / AP Photo

After an NPR investigation into Jim Justice’s business operations, the Democratic candidate for governor takes on Republican Bill Cole in the second West Virginia gubernatorial debate.

A leaked tape where Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump can be heard describing sexually assaulting women causes waves in West Virginia politics, but will either scandal swing the vote? 

Ann Ali, managing editor of the State Journal, and MetroNews Statewide Correspondent Brad McElhinney join us to discuss the race. 

Fireworks
Kabir / wikimedia commons

The state Treasurer’s Office says it will begin to distribute the nearly $800,000 generated from taxes on high-powered fireworks. 

Lawmakers passed a bill during the 2016 session to allow the sale of the high-flying fireworks in the state. The bill added a 12 percent surcharge to the fireworks on top of the normal sales tax to help fund two programs: volunteer fire departments and veterans facilities.

Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin has signed a bill to help pay for the state’s portion of recovery efforts in the 12 counties affected by June’s flooding. 

Tomblin stood on the stage at Elkview Middle School with members of the Legislature and the Herbert Hoover High School senior class before signing House Bill 201. 

W. Va Lawmakers Approve Flood Recovery Funding

Sep 20, 2016
West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On West Virginia Morning, the two agencies that oversee higher education responded to a performance review nine months after the review was given.  Liz McCormick has that story and a report from Green County, Pennsylvania, just across the West Virginia border, about coal and the presidential race. 

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

Sen. Mike Romano, D-Harrison County, on the Senate floor during the 2016 special session.
Perry Bennett / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The two panels that oversee West Virginia’s higher education institutions responded to a performance review from the Legislative Auditor’s office Monday in an interim meeting with the Joint Standing Committee on Education.

The report was first released in January 2016 and calls for significant changes to the way the two organizations are structured, including urging lawmakers to rethink the amount the agencies are funded each year.

The West Virginia College and Career Ready Standards are being implemented for the first time in West Virginia schools this fall and so is a new system to grade the schools themselves.

Lawmakers were updated about the implementation of both the new standards and the accountability system during an interim meeting at the Capitol Monday. The system measures the performance of individual schools and gives them an A through F grade based on a variety of factors.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

The West Virginia Senate has approved a bill to send $85 million in state aid to counties impacted by June’s flooding.

Senators voted 32-0 Monday completing the Legislature’s work on the bill.

The bill appropriates $21 million from lottery reserves, $9 million from an unappropriated surplus from the previous fiscal year, and $55 million from the state’s Rainy Day Fund.

Farmers Are Using Data But Who Owns the Data?

Sep 19, 2016
West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On West Virginia Morning, Nicole Erwin with the Ohio Valley Resource explores how farmers are using data to determine when to plant and when to harvest.  The story on West Virginia Morning from West Virginia Public Broadcasting – telling West Virginia’s story.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Members of the House of Delegates quickly approved a bill Sunday evening to provide $85 million in state aid to flood victims in 12 counties declared federal disaster areas in June.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Governor Earl Ray Tomblin will call lawmakers into a special session Sunday evening to consider legislation that will help the state continue to cleanup and recover from June’s historic flooding. 

Gov. Tomblin issued the proclamation Friday convening a special session beginning Sunday evening at 6pm. Lawmakers will only be able to consider two pieces of legislation, according to the session call.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Two legislative interim committees received updates Sunday on the state of West Virginia’s recovery since June’s flooding.

Infrastructure came first during a meeting of the Joint Legislative Oversight Commission on Department of Transportation Accountability.

DOT Secretary Paul Mattox told lawmakers the state’s highways, roads and bridges suffered $55.5 million dollars in damage. That damage was largely focused in three counties- Clay, Kanawha and Greenbrier- and Mattox said significant progress has been made in repairs in those areas.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

A new committee of West Virginia lawmakers will meet at the Capitol Monday to focus on ways  to reduce the size of state government.

Senate President Bill Cole and House Speaker Tim Armstead announced the creation of the Government Accountability, Transparency and Efficiency Committee last week, calling it GATE for short. 

West Virginia State Capitol
davidwilson1949 / wikimedia Commons

Auditors have concluded that at least four state legislative employees were either paid for days they did not work or took days off without submitting the proper leave time.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On West Virginia Morning, Glynis Board reports on a study that shows drinking water is laced with toxic chemicals and Ashton Marra talks with Revenue Secretary Bob Kiss about how the state will pay its share of the bill for flood repairs. 

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

Craig Blair
Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

A West Virginia state senator has set up a hotline for reporting government fraud, waste or abuse.

Sen. Craig Blair of Berkeley County announced the Report It WV hotline on Wednesday.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On West Virginia Morning, reporter Liz McCormick has an update on the so-called Brunch Bill that allows county residents to vote on whether to allow restaurants to sell alcohol at 10:00 am on Sundays.  Some cities and towns have found a way around the county wide referendum. 

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

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

In Clay County, the process of recovery after June 23 and 24 flooding is just beginning as volunteer firefighters, the American Red Cross and the National Guard continue to pass out food and water and remove potentially hazardous debris from the county.

Philanthropy West Virginia, a three person non-profit based in Morgantown, shifts its focus from its normal work to aiding in flood relief efforts, directing donations to the hardest hit areas.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Governor Earl Ray Tomblin signed eight bills Friday, including the budget for the 2017 fiscal year lawmakers spent nearly a month in a special session crafting. 

The budget bill includes cuts to state agencies and Constitutional Officers as well as the use of one-time Rainy Day Funds to find a balance. 

Courtesy Photo / West Virginia Division of Forestry

West Virginia's Division of Forestry will lay off 37 workers to address a $1.7 million shortfall in the new budget year.

A news release Wednesday says lawmakers rejected legislation to fully fund the Division of Forestry, and the $1.7 million shortfall will spur layoffs of more than one-third of the agency's workforce.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On West Virginia Morning, the House of Delegates has passed a cigarette tax increase.  It’s a vital component of the state budget proposal for 2017.  We’ll have the latest from the special session at the state capitol.  And Appalachia Health News reporter Kara Lofton looks at how retired coal miners are losing their benefits after companies declare bankruptcy. 

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

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

While the House took up the budget Monday, the Senate passed a bill that puts a little more than $2 million from state reserves into the Boone County Board of Education.

Senate Bill 1010 is a supplemental appropriation that would take money from general revenue and state reserves to help the Boone County school system get back on its feet after a decline in tax revenue this fiscal year.

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