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March 2014

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March 10, 2014

Associated Press 

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia concluded its 60-day legislative session Saturday. Here is a look at some highlights from the two months of lawmaking.

Chemical Spill Bill

Three days into the legislative session, Freedom Industries spilled chemicals into the water supply for 300,000 people. A water-use ban lasted up to 10 days, and the issue consumed lawmakers for the next two months.

By adding inspections at many above-ground storage tanks...

March 10, 2014

Marla Pisciotta, Cumberland Times-News   

ROMNEY, W.Va. — Eleven child care workers at the West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and the Blind are upset, saying their jobs are in jeopardy due to their education.

A mandatory meeting was called this week by superintendent Lynn Boyer.

The child care workers, who wished to remain anonymous, said they were under the impression that the meeting was to get input regarding changes on the campus.

“We’ve been told all along...

March 10, 2014

Legislature mentality

Year after year, Tea Party values are carried into the West Virginia Legislature. It's sad — and damaging to the state — when lawmakers ignore beneficial proposals while they boost pistol-carrying and impede desperate girls wanting to end pregnancies. Too many mountain politicians let themselves be swayed by the far-right "God, guns and gays" agenda.

For example, after last year's massacre of school children in Connecticut, West Virginia legislators...

March 11, 2014

By Jonathan Mattise
The Associated Press

CHARLESTON — West Virginia lawmakers are ironing out kinks in an election-year budget that avoids tax hikes and gives public workers raises.

But before statehouse leaders can tout the positives, they’ll begrudgingly look to dig into millions of dollars in savings.

A dreary budget picture looms over the 2014 midterm elections in the House of Delegates, where Democrats hold a slim six-seat edge over Republicans. In West...

March 12, 2014

By Kate White

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Three Calhoun County school employees are suing the state and county boards of education because school officials canceled their spring break three weeks before it was supposed to happen. 

The lawsuits, filed Monday in Kanawha Circuit Court, also ask a judge to grant an immediate injunction to prevent school officials from changing the calendar, as teachers have made vacation plans and bought plane tickets.

Calhoun County school board...

March 12, 2014

By Pamela Pritt Register-Herald Reporter   

CHARLESTON — The state’s budget is still a work in progress Tuesday after a 60-day session fraught with issues other than the budget Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin said in his State of the State address would be tight.

Sen. Roman Prezioso, D-Marion, is the man charged with the balancing act.

Prezioso, chair of the Senate Committee on Finance, said Tomblin’s initial budget cut state agencies by 7.5 percent that included a hiring freeze....

March 12, 2014

LACIE PIERSON

HUNTINGTON -- The Cabell County Board of Education approved the proposed 2014-15 school calendar during its regular meeting Tuesday evening.

The calendar was approved by the board by a vote of 5-0 without the fanfare that accompanied public hearings about the calendar in recent weeks.

The calendar next will be submitted to the West Virginia Department of Education for final approval.

The calendar has a start date for students of Wednesday, Aug. 6,...

March 12, 2014

By Jenni Vincent - Journal Staff Writer 

CHARLES TOWN - Jefferson County Board of Education vice president Scott Sudduth was passionate, but unsuccessful in his attempt at Monday night's meeting to convince others to consider - and ultimately use - some alternate methods for making up student instructional time lost due to severe winter weather.

In the end, board members supported superintendent Susan Wall's plan for converting existing days on the calendar into instructional...

March 13, 2014

By David Gutman
The Charleston Gazette

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- State Board of Education members may ask Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin to veto a recently passed bill that gives teachers total autonomy over how they use their daily planning period.

The bill, which passed both the state Senate and the House of Delegates unanimously, states that teachers have full say over how they use their time and cannot be compelled to attend meetings, parent-teacher conferences or other events...

March 13, 2014

By Caitlin Cook
The Charleston Gazette

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Joseph Makolandra, human resources director for Montgomery County public schools in Virginia, came to the 44th Annual Teacher Job Fair Wednesday at West Virginia State University for one reason.

"We know we can offer higher wages than what they earn here [in West Virginia]," he said. "The biggest thing we have over West Virginia is salary."

The event connected prospective teachers with job recruiters from...

March 13, 2014

By Jeff Jenkins
WV MetroNews

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin issued a proclamation Wednesday afternoon extending the extended session of the Legislature until Friday to allow a House and Senate conference committee to complete work on the new state budget.

House of Delegates Speaker Tim Miley said he expects a vote on the new budget Friday along with a special session, which would allow lawmakers to take votes on several bills that failed to pass on the last night of the regular...

March 13, 2014

By Jennifer Smith

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Teacher pay is a concern for a lot of education students here in West Virginia getting ready to graduate this semester. However, it’s not their top concern.

Wednesday West Virginia State University hosted a Teacher Job Fair. Students from WVSU, the University of Charleston and Ohio Valley University got to sit down with 31 education recruiters from Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina and West Virginia and interview for jobs.

Ross...

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