"Instead of bringing teachers to Charleston, we're taking professional development to them," he said.
While roughly $3 million a year in savings is a drop in the bucket in a $2 billion public education budget, it does send the right message to taxpayers.
How's this for ironic? On the same day that Transportation Secretary Paul Mattox commiserated to the House and Senate Transportation Committees about how high-mileage vehicles are devastating the state Road Fund's gas tax collections, Tomblin presented state teacher of the year Michael Funkhouser with the keys to a Toyota Prius.
Toyota touts the hybrid as getting 51 miles per gallon on the highway.
On the first day of the session, legislators introduced a whopping 672 bills.
Most self-serving bill: HB2219 by Delegates Staggers, Ellington and Fleishchauer. The bill would allow legislators who have no other source of income to be defined as state employees for purposes of obtaining PEIA health insurance.
An employee PEIA premium for family coverage at that income level would run about $1,968 a year.
Currently, legislators can obtain PEIA coverage, but they have to pay both the employee share (20 percent) and employer's share (80 percent) of premiums.
That runs about $17,712 a year. (Former Sen. Shirley Love, D-Fayette, had PEIA coverage when he was in the Legislature, and he would frequently complain that not only did PEIA premiums eat up all of his Senate salary, but that he frequently had to write a check to PEIA to settle up.)
Observation: There's no good that could possibly come from the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition being delivered locally on Valentine's Day.
Finally, how's this for diversity? For the 81st Legislature, the state Senate has one female member (Sen. Donna Boley, R-Pleasants) and no minorities.
Reach Phil Kabler at ph...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1220.