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Phil Kabler

Staff writer
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Legislators debate whether to help video lottery retailers


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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.


Transportation secretary says sales tax hike could fund roads


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.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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...

New GOP Legislature works to repeal alternative energy bill


Lawmakers in both houses began work Thursday on what is expected to be the first bill passed by the new, Republican-controlled West Virginia Legislature: legislation to repeal a 2009 law that would require power companie...

Tomblin calls for unity in State of the State address


In a State of the State address that reminisced about his 40 years of public service as well as looked forward to West Virginia’s future, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin called on legislators to set aside political differen...

Tomblin’s $4.7 billion budget includes no tax increases, pay raises


Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin proposed a $4.77 billion 2015-16 West Virginia budget Wednesday that includes no tax increases and essentially no pay raises for state or public school employees.

For the first time since the ...

GOP takes control of W.Va. Legislature for 1st time in 8 decades


After more than 80 years of being on the outside looking in, Republicans officially took control of the West Virginia Legislature on Wednesday,...

GOP takeover to overshadow Tomblin speech


Traditionally, the highlight of the first day of a new legislative session is the governor’s State of the State address to a joint session of the Legislature.

And while Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin is slated to giv...

Audit accounts for vans under state veterans agency


Since 2006, the state Department of Veterans Assistance has spent more than $6.1 million to buy vans and provide veterans with transportation to and from Veterans Administration hospitals and doctors’ appointments...

ATV trails agency at standstill, lawmakers told


CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Attempting to comply with a legislative audit from November, the Hatfield McCoy Regional Recreational Authority now finds itself in limbo, unable to function either as a nonprofit corporation o...

Audit: state agency abandoned $3.5 million project


After spending $3.5 million on renovations to the former Davis Center in Tucker County, the Division of Juvenile Services abruptly abandoned the project, raising questions about whether the division had failed to do an a...

Armstead may continue work as NiSource attorney, commission rules


Delegate Tim Armstead, R-Kanawha, can continue to work as an attorney for natural gas transmission company NiSource while presiding as House Speaker, the state Ethics Commission ruled Thursday.

Thursday’s ad...

3-term West Virginia Gov. Arch Moore dies


Arch A. Moore Jr., one of West Virginia’s most notable and controversial politicians during three terms as governor and six terms in Congress, whose political caree...

State retains strong bond rating, despite budget issues


West Virginia has retained a strong AA+ bond rating, despite financial issues that could require the state to take another $85 million out of its Rainy Day Funds this year, according to a bond rating report issued by Fit...

State tax collections down in December


State Department of Revenue officials had hoped a strong 11 percent upturn in tax collections in November was the beginning of an ongoing upward trend for state finances.

“It was not,” Revenue Secreta...

Gas prices, warm weather increase Turnpike travel


Low gas prices and comparatively mild weather bought out more holiday travelers on the West Virginia Turnpike, state Parkways Authority General Manager Greg Barr said Monday.

During the 10-day Christmas travel peri...

Cass railroad transfer should go smoothly, officials say


A transfer of rail operations for the Cass Scenic Railroad from the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources to the State Rail Authority is expected to go seamlessly, Brad Reed, a state Parks and Recreation district a...

Memphis bowl game offers opportunities for WVU fans


A drivable location, a big-name opponent, a host city with a reputation for partying — along with a year’s absence from the bowl scene — adds up to a winning combination for the Liberty Bowl game, ac...

Statehouse Beat: Looking over House financial disclosures


A couple of weeks ago, I looked at financial disclosures for the incoming state Senate leadership, and am finally getting around to looking at the new House leadership:

Incoming House Speaker Tim Armstead, R-Kanawh...

Lottery revenues continue to decrease


Lottery revenues continued to slide in November, falling to $90.45 million, down 8.5 percent from November 2013.

For the first five months of the 2014-15 budget year, the Lottery has gross revenues of $486.38 milli...

Tourism survey highlights W.Va. strengths, weaknesses


West Virginia’s image as a tourism destination gets high marks for outdoor recreation opportunities, scenery and affordability, but rates low as being exciting, unique, for having must-see destinations or luxuriou...

Waiting list for in-home care program slashed


A streamlined application process for in-home care for elderly and disabled West Virginians has reduced the wait-list for the program from more than 2,500 people last year to fewer than 1,500 currently, Cindy Beane, a de...

State rail service studies would cost $400,000, lawmakers told


Full-scale studies to determine the feasibility of passenger rail service between Charleston and Huntington, and between Fairmont, Morgantown and Pittsburgh, would cost about $400,000, the director of the state Rail Auth...

Panel endorses pay raises for corrections staff


A legislative committee on Monday endorsed a multi-year pay increase package for Division of Corrections staffers — something that Commissioner Jim Rubenstein said would help address an “alarming” in...

Ethics Commission dismisses complaint against dems


Ethics complaints filed against about a dozen Democratic legislators for franking constituent letters have apparently been dismissed.

Delegate Nancy Guthrie, D-Kanawha, was among legislators who received letters th...

Public utility taxes to grow by $9 million


The value of property owned by public utilities in the state increased by 4.5 percent to $9.51 billion in the past year, according to assessments approved by the Board of Public Works Thursday.

That will amount to ...

Historic elements to survive Capitol Complex Building 3 redo


Scaled-back plans for renovating Capitol Complex Building 3 eliminate some of the more grandiose features of the original design, including conference rooms with floor-to-ceiling teleconferencing screens, but will retain...

Former lawmaker Harrison to become House clerk


Eight years after leaving the Legislature, a former Kanawha County delegate and senator said Monday he’s looking forward to a new role in the House of Delegates next session.

“It’s an exciting ...

Statehouse Beat: Greyhound subsidy money could be tempting


West Virginia’s greyhound racing industry could well be under siege in the 2015 regular session of the Legislature.

There’s the study that’s been commissioned by the Lottery Commission at the b...

PEIA board OKs $40M cuts in benefits


State and public school employees and retirees in West Virginia will pay about $40 million more for health care next year, after the Public Employees Insurance Agency Finance Board approved a series of benefit cuts Thurs...

W.Va. Public Broadcasting mulls rules changes for future political debates


Before the next statewide elections roll around in 2016, West Virginia Public Broadcasting is likely to have an official policy regarding candidates’ participation in televised debates....