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Phil Kabler

Staff writer
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Pizatella may be named new Administration secretary

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Changes are imminent in the state Department of Administration, sources indicate.

An announcement is reportedly pending naming Jason Pizatella as the department secretary. Pizatella currently is deputy chief of sta...

Wonderful West Virginia gets new publisher

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After 17 years, Wonderful West Virginia magazine will have a new publisher, beginning with the January 2015 issue.

The Department of Natural Resources has awarded the contract to edit and design the monthly magazin...

Statehouse Beat: Helmick can’t get out of bill for Douglass’ retirement party

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There’s a new chapter in the saga of Gus Douglass’ retirement party.

As you may recall, upon taking office as agriculture commissioner, Walt Helmick was more than a little perturbed to find a bill for...

Report: state has highest highway travel fatality rate

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West Virginia slipped to 34th nationally in highway performance and cost effectiveness in the Reason Foundation’s Annual Highway Report, released Thursday.

Most troubling, the study found that West Virginia ...

WVEA softens stance on Wells

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In a bit of political détente, the West Virginia Education Association’s political action committee Wednesday released its list of endorsements for the Nov. 4 general election – with no candidate endor...

Racing panel may seek to cut track schedule

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Squeezed by shrinking state subsidies and reduced revenue from wagering, West Virginia’s four racetracks could get permission to significantly cut back the number of live racing days req...

Statehouse Beat: Lobbyist spending down over the summer

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Five lobbyists chipped in to host a reception and dinner Aug. 26 in Clarksburg for legislators attending out-of-town interim meetings in nearby Bridgeport, according to the latest round of lobbyists’ financial dis...

Statehouse Beat: Bills and unintended consequences

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Events last week with rules for inspection of chemical storage tanks statewide brought to mind two truisms of the legislative process:

One, every bill passed has at least one and usually multiple unintended consequ...

Subsidy cutbacks ‘disastrous’ to racing industry, lawmakers told

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Representatives of thoroughbred and greyhound breeders told West Virginia legislators Wednesday that cutbacks in state subsidies of racing purses are devastating the racing industry in the state.

“For all of...

700 seniors told they qualify for in-home care

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Some 700 senior citizens around the state are receiving letters notifying them they have qualified to receive in-home care services through Medicaid, Bureau of Medical Services deputy commissioner Cindy Beane told legisl...

Craft brewers seeking simpler licensing scheme

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Representatives of West Virginia’s fast-growing craft beer industry called on legislators Tuesday to take steps to encourage more expansion of brewpubs and microbreweries statewide.

“We have a very yo...

Capitol’s Building 3 renovations to be finished in late 2016

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The latest estimates have set a late 2016 completion date for renovations to Capitol complex Building 3 – or nearly 6½ years after initial plans to reopen the eight-story office building.

Administration...

Corrections seeking higher pay for guards

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. — State Corrections Commissioner Jim Rubenstein asked legislators Monday to consider a multistep pay increase package for correctional employees, including a $2,000 increase in the base salary, a...

Retirement age regulation not likely to change until 2016

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An Internal Revenue Service regulation defining “normal retirement age” as 62 or older probably won’t go into effect until Spring 2016, the executive director of the state Consolidated Public Retirem...

Ethics panel needs more money as filings increase

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An explosion of complaint filings is forcing the West Virginia Ethics Commission to ask the Department of Administration for more money in the 2015-16 state budget, the commissions interim executive director said Thursda...

Former head of Lexington, Ky., CVB joins Tamarack

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A 35-year veteran of the hospitality industry, who has frequently been involved with developing marketing plans to reinvigorate under-performing luxury resorts, was selected Thursday to become executive director of Tamar...

‘Antiques Roadshow’ visit boosts W.Va. tourism

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With indications that the majority of the nearly 5,000 participants at last month’s taping of “Antiques Roadshow” were from other states, the event provided the unexpected benefit of boosting Charles...

W.Va. tax collections might be rebounding

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After languishing for about two years, state tax collections in August showed signs of rebounding, with the $289.2 million in revenue coming in $16.16 million ahead of Aug. 2013, and near projections for the month, West ...

Election Commission counsel to prepare defense

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After an hour and twenty minutes in closed session, the State Election Commission Tuesday authorized counsel to prepare a defense in the event the commission is sued for failing to allow the Republican Party to fill a ba...

Turnpike traffic up over Labor Day

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Final numbers aren’t yet available, but Labor Day holiday traffic on the West Virginia Turnpike appears to be up about 1.7 percent over the 2013 holiday weekend, Steve Maynard, director of tolls for the Par...

Lottery officials assess ‘faux fraternals’

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Lottery commissioners reviewed violations of state lottery laws by 17 fraternal organizations Tuesday and focused concerns on two organizations that want to continue to operate lodges that are ...

Lottery revenues rebound slightly in July

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After hitting the dubious milestone -- less than $100 million in monthly revenue in June for the first time since 2003 -- monthly state Lottery revenues rebounded slightly in July, with total revenue of $101 million.

...

Ag agency audit finds possible fraud

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Investigators found “additional instances of possible fraud or abuse” during the final 18 months of former state Agriculture Commissioner Gus Douglass’ tenure, according to...

W.Va. inmate decrease pleases corrections chief

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West Virginia Corrections Commissioner Jim Rubenstein told legislators Monday he’s pleasantly surprised by the decrease in the state inmate population in the first year of the state’s Justice Reinvestment A...

GOP suing to fill spot on House ballot

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Just hours before the deadline for the Secretary of State’s Office to certify the lists of candidates for the November ballots, the state Republican Party submitted notice Monday of its ...

Takeover of Cass railroad still in the works

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State Rail Authority members had planned to discuss and possibly vote on a proposal from the Division of Natural Resources for the rail authority to take over railroad operations at the Cass Scenic Railroad on Thursday.<...

Report: W.Va. has one of best reserve funds in nation

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Although legislators had to raid $100 million from the state’s Rainy Day fund to balance the 2014-15 budget, a new report from the Pew Charitable Trusts shows West Virginia has one of the healthiest reserve fund b...

Republicans want Sprouse-McDavid to replace Raines on ballot

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State Republicans Monday announced their selection to possibly fill the House of Delegates 35th District ballot vacancy created when Delegate Suzette Raines, R-Kanawha, withdrew as a candidate.

However, the party s...

Tackett wins partial victory in National Guard service credit fight

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Retired state adjutant general Allen Tackett won a partial victory Wednesday in his efforts to extend military service credits to retired state and public school employees who served in the state National Guard.

On...

W.Va. election board rejects GOP request to fill Raines ballot vacancy

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Kanawha County Republicans won’t be able to replace Delegate Suzette Raines on the ballot after she withdrew from her race for re-election, the West Virginia Election Commission decided Wednesday.

Commission...

Raines withdraws from House race

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Delegate Suzette Raines, R-Kanawha, officially withdrew as a candidate in the 35th District House of Delegates race Monday afternoon.

Raines, who was the subject of a complaint by the state Democratic Executive Com...

Lawmakers can’t use voters lists when sending letters, Ethics Commission rules

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Legislators may send letters to constituents prior to elections using the legislative franking privilege, so long as they don’t use targeted mailing lists of likely voters, the state Ethics Commission ruled Thursd...

Highway commission to release final report

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Nearly two years since its creation by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, and nearly a year after it issued recommendations for funding state roads, the final report of the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Highways has ye...

Capitol dome holding up well, report says; no damage from fireworks found

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An inspection of the Capitol dome found “selected pitting and abrasion of the gilded finish,” which engineers speculate may be caused by dirt particles hitting the dome during wind gusts, and not by pyrotec...

Sluggish W.Va. economy curbs tax collections

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With the state’s economy growing at a slower rate than hoped, revenue collections for the first month of the new budget year came in about $17.4 million below projections, Department of Revenue officials said Mond...