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Phil Kabler

Staff writer
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Mine safety regulation rollback up for House vote

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Industry-backed legislation (SB357) that would relax a number of longstanding mine safety regulations is poised for passage in the House of Delegates Friday after delegates spent more than two hours Thursday evening reje...

Senate committee postpones action on audit legislation

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Senate Government Organization Committee postponed action Thursday on legislation to greatly expand the number and frequency of audits of state agencies, after the chairman said he received assurances the House of Delega...

W.Va. Senate passes late-term abortion ban

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For a second straight year, the West Virginia Legislature is poised to pass legislation banning late-term abortions in the state, with the Senate passing the ban (HB 2568) Wednesday on a 29-5 vote.

Senators rejecte...

Prevailing wage revamp goes to House floor

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Legislation to recalculate West Virginia’s long-standing formula for setting prevailing wages for workers on publicly funded construction projects, and to repeal prevailing wage on projects costing less than $500,...

Joint liability bill going to Tomblin

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Legislation that effectively eliminates the legal premise of joint liability in personal injury, financial damages or wrongful death lawsuits (HB2002) is headed to the governor’s desk after the Senate passed a Hou...

Senate leadership revives charter schools bill

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A normally collegial state Senate erupted into acrimony Tuesday, after Senate leadership used a perhaps unprecedented procedural maneuver to resurrect the charter schools bill (SB14), a day after Senate Democrats had see...

Bill would allow concealed firearms without permits

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Concealed weapons permits would no longer be necessary for persons wanting to carry concealed firearms, under legislation advanced by the Senate Judiciary Committee Monday (SB347).

“The vote you’re ab...

Bill would end state’s greyhound racing industry

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Legislation introduced Monday would end the struggling greyhound racing industry in the state, providing a $36.5 million buyout for greyhound owners and breeders (SB547).

Based on the findings of a study by Spectru...

Amendment would put nonpartisan judges elections in May

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Nonpartisan elections of judges — from magistrates to state Supreme Court justices — would take place during May primary elections, after the Senate Thursday signed off on a House amendment to move the elec...

Most speakers at W.Va. House hearing oppose prevailing wage revamp

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A large majority of nearly two-dozen speakers on legislation to revamp West Virginia’s prevailing wage law (SB361) told delegates Thursday that they oppose the repeal of the longstanding law and raised issues with...

Lawmakers put severance tax cut bill on hold

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House leadership Wednesday pulled a bill that would cut a severance tax surcharge used to pay down massive Workers Compensation Fund debts, over concerns with pending amendments that would instead shift the proposed tax ...

House passes medical malpractice liability caps bill

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Legislation to expand medical malpractice liability caps to cover nursing homes, pharmacies, and a variety of health care providers (SB6) passed the House 76-21 Tuesday, after the House rejected amendments to limit exemp...

Lawmaker calls for study of transportation of dangerous materials

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House Speaker Tim Armstead, R-Kanawha, said the Legislature is working with the Tomblin administration to determine if any legislative action is needed in response to Monday’s CSX oil train derailment in Fayette...

House Democrats win spending for veterans projects

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. — House Democrats claimed a rare victory this session on Monday, with an amendment on Veterans’ Visibility Day that would provide about $1.5 million a year for construction projects for ve...

Senate passes prevailing wage revamp

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With a 23-11 vote, the Senate passed a bill (SB 361) that significantly revamps — but does not repeal — West Virginia’s prevailing wage law that sets wages for construction workers on publicly funded...

Deregulation bill advances, despite concerns over higher utility rates

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State senators advanced a bill to deregulate municipal and larger public service district water and sewer systems, despite warnings from the West Virginia Public Service Commission that the move would inevitably lead to ...

Higher ed leader says education cuts can hurt job growth

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Having a quality higher education system that produces more than 700 engineers each year was a key factor in Proctor & Gamble’s decision to locate a $500 million manufacturing facility in the state, the chance...

Compromise would modify prevailing wage bill

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Prevailing wage may prevail after all, as state senators appear close to crafting a compromise that would modify, but not repeal, the state law that sets wage rates for construction workers on many publicly financed cons...

Senate committee passes craft beer bill

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Legislation intended to enhance the state’s craft beer brewing industry (SB273) advanced Wednesday from the Senate Economic Development Committee, a week after it was held up over concerns it could prompt lawsuits...

PSC official warns of utility rate hikes

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The director of the state Public Service Commission’s Consumer Advocate Division told legislators Tuesday she has concerns over legislation (SB 234) to deregulate water and sewer systems...

Corrections workers rally for pay increase

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia Corrections, Regional Jails and Juvenile Justice system workers rallied Tuesday for legislation to boost their pay, currently among the lowest in the nation.

“We are ...

State Senate clears bill touted by state’s coal industry

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Industry backed legislation intended to cut costs of coal production passed the Senate 26-8 Tuesday, over objections that the bill (SB357) unnecessarily weakens environmental and mine safety regulations.

Meanwhile,...

Lawmakers debate caps on malpractice awards

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A public hearing Monday on legislation to limit medical liability suits against nursing homes, pharmacies and other health-care providers contrasted horrific accounts of maltreatment with detac...

Senate vote on prevailing wage bill postponed

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Action on a bill to repeal the state’s prevailing wage law (SB361) was postponed Monday, as Senate leadership and opponents of the measure tried to work on possible compromises.

“We’re working ...

Lawmaker may appear in ads, Ethics board says

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A new legislator can continue to appear in print, radio and television advertisements for his private business without violating the state Ethics Act, the state Ethics Commission ruled Thursday.

According to the ad...

Republicans rebuff attempt to slow prevailing wage repeal bill

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A procedural maneuver by Senate Democrats to slow down a bill they believe is being railroaded through the Legislature by the new Republican majority failed Thursday on a partisan 16-18 vote.

Senate Minority Leader...

Tomblin budget includes $8.9M for Building 3 renovation

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Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s proposed 2015-16 West Virginia budget includes nearly $9 million to help pay for the long-delayed renovation of Capitol Complex Building 3, commonly called the DMV buil...

State’s January revenue report is mixed bag

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State revenue collections in January produced a mixed bag of results, ultimately coming in $8.2 million, or 2 percent, below estimates, state revenue officials said Wednesday.

After better-than-expected tax collect...

Craft beer bill on hold over litigation concerns

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Legislation intended to promote the expansion of the state’s nascent craft beer brewing industry will have to age at least another week, after the Senate Economic Development Committee laid over the bills, over co...

Senate committee passes prevailing wage bill

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Legislation to repeal the state’s prevailing wage law (SB361) passed the Senate Government Organization Committee Tuesday evening on a partisan 8-5 vote, although the committee chairman said he believes there is s...

Bill would make judge elections nonpartisan

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Legislation for nonpartisan election of judges will be up for a passage vote Wednesday in the House of Delegates, after delegates rejected an amendment its sponsor said would make the elections...

Bill would remove Turnpike tolls by 2021

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Under the latest incarnation of legislation to remove tolls from the West Virginia Turnpike, tolls would end by 2021, but full transfer of responsibilities of the state Parkway Authority could ...

Toll talk easier than balancing budget

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This one can probably go in the “talk is easy; governing is hard” file: Delegate Marty Gearheart, R-Mercer, has arguably built his political career around the issue of repealing tolls on the West Virginia T...

Legislators debate whether to help video lottery retailers

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Legislators debated Thursday whether the state has an obligation to help limited video lottery retailers who paid the state nearly $70 million for 10-year West Virginia Lottery licenses – only to learn afterward t...

State still hopes to turn ex-Navy base into prison

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Proposals are moving forward with plans to convert a portion of the soon-to-be closed Naval Information Operations Command base in Pendleton County into a state prison, Corrections Commissioner Jim Rubenstein told legisl...

Senate passes DOH audit bill

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Legislation to require a performance and efficiency audit of the West Virginia Division of Highways (SB8) passed the Senate, 26-8, on Wednesday over objections from Sen. John Unger, D-Berkeley, who said the potential $50...

Ethics hearing set for West Liberty president

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Ethics Commissioners have set an April 16 hearing date on a 13-count charge of alleged ethics violations by West Liberty University President Robin Capehart.

An order by the commission’s Probable Cause Revie...

Bowling: higher tobacco tax would lower smoking rates

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Department of Health and Human Resources Secretary Karen Bowling agreed Tuesday that raising state tobacco taxes would reduce the state’s high rates of smoking and tobacco use.

“Yes, senator, the rese...

Repeal of 2009 energy law goes to governor

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With a final 33-0 vote, the Senate on Tuesday sent the Alternative Energy Portfolio Act repeal bill to the governor.

The bill (HB2001), repealing a 2009 law setting thresholds that eventually would require power c...

Secretary says fewer want to drill for gas on state land

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Commerce Secretary Keith Burdette told legislators Monday there has been a dramatic drop-off in interest by natural gas drillers to bid on rights to drill on state properties — a decline he attributes to falling n...

Study: Greyhound racing a bad bet for W.Va. economy

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Subsidies from the state’s casino video lottery profits account for more than 95 percent of greyhound racing revenues, making it a bad bet for the West Virginia economy, an impact study commissioned by the Legisla...

Perdue opposes account raid

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State Treasurer John Perdue was critical Thursday of a Tomblin administration plan to take $15 million from his office’s Unclaimed Property account to help balance the 2015-16 state budget, saying it could cripple...

W.Va. House votes 95-4 to repeal energy law

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Legislation to repeal the Alternative Energy Portfolio Act is likely to be headed to the governor Friday, after the West Virginia House of Delegates passed its version of the bill (HB2001) Thursday on a 95-4 vote.

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Transportation secretary says sales tax hike could fund roads

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State Transportation Secretary Paul Mattox said the Legislature should consider a 1 percent increase in the sales tax as a way to help close a massive funding gap for the state’s highways system.

“Oth...

W.Va. Senate votes 33-0 to repeal alternative-energy law

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Members of the Republican-controlled West Virginia Legislature moved closer to fulfilling a campaign pledge Wednesday, with measures to repeal the Alternative Energy Portfolio Act advancing in both houses.

The Sena...

Morrisey wants to investigate Medicaid, Social Security fraud

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Attorney General Patrick Morrisey asked legislators Tuesday for authority to investigate Medicaid and Social Security disability fraud cases.

In his 2015-16 budget request to the Senate Finance Committee, Morrisey ...

Lawmakers offer few specifics for highway funding

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Legislative leaders pledged support Tuesday for increased funding for state highways, but offered few specifics about how to reach that goal.

House Speaker Tim Armstead, R-Kanawha, told the annual rally of West Vir...

Chief justice says more drug treatment programs needed

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Drug courts statewide could save the state $20 million a year in costs of incarcerating adult and juvenile drug offenders, but there aren’t enough treatment programs available to make that work, particularly in ru...

Dems want jobs study of alt energy repeal

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Raising concerns that legislation to repeal the state’s Alternative Energy Portfolio Act may lead power companies to use less natural gas, Democratic leaders in the Senate and House of D...

Former W.Va. governor, Moore, remembered during service at Culture Center

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Gov. Arch A. Moore Jr. was remembered Friday for his unconditional love of family, friends and the state of West Virginia during an hour-long memorial service at the state Culture Center.

“If you know Arch M...