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Statehouse Beat: Tomblin handled budget deficit plans well
By Phil Kabler, Statehouse Reporter
Consensus from longtime Statehouse observers is that Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin did a masterful job of framing the debate on how to address the combined $820 million of funding deficits in the current and upcoming 2016–17 state budgets.
He rationally spelled out a plan that combines $250 million of spending cuts imposed over the past two years with some prudent...


GOP leaders split on Tomblin's tax proposals
By David Gutman and Eric Eyre, The Charleston Gazette-Mail

Republican legislative leaders were split over Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s proposal to partially fill the state’s budget shortfall with tax increases, with Senate President Bill Cole open to the idea and House Speaker Tim Armstead deeply skeptical.

Armstead said House members favor cutting state government spending — not raising taxes. In addition to...


Unions rally at the Capitol during State of the State
By Andrew Brown, Charleston Gazette-Mail

The volume of the crowd grew exponentially louder in the state Capitol and from the far end of the marble-lined Rotunda boos began to mix with the chants of “right-to-work is wrong.”

As Senate President Bill Cole, R-Mercer, made his way toward the House Chamber, his path grew narrower. The walls of unionized teachers, carpenters, electricians and miners squeezed...


Cole won't say if he'll abide by WV Supreme Court decision
By David Gutman, The Charleston Gazette-Mail

West Virginia Senate President Bill Cole on Wednesday refused to say if he would abide by the ruling of the state Supreme Court, if the court rules that a Democrat should fill the vacant seat in the Senate created by the resignation of Democrat-turned-Republican Daniel Hall.

Asked repeatedly if he would abide by the court’s decision, the state’s highest...


Right to Work protests precede State of the State
By Matt Maccaro, WV MetroNews

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — As Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin was preparing to deliver his final State of the State address Wednesday night, a large crowd of union members jammed into the rotunda to protest Right to Work.

Republican legislators wasted no time introducing a bill Wednesday on the first day of the 2016 Session to make West Virginia a Right to Work state.

Legislators had to...