January 2016

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January 8, 2016

With big deficit looming, Manchin unsure if tax cuts were right move
By David Gutman, The Charleston Gazette-Mail

With West Virginia facing a $353 million budget shortfall, and with the benefit of hindsight, Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., said he’s not sure if the business tax cuts he pushed through as governor were a good idea or not.

“I don’t know if you say they’re the right or wrong move, but you’ve got to be competitive,” Manchin said Thursday. “I couldn...

January 11, 2016

Ethics complaint against state BOE president Green dismissed
By Ryan Quinn, The Charleston Gazette-Mail

A West Virginia Ethics Commission panel has dismissed the ethics complaint a state Board of Education member filed last month against the board’s president alleging violations of open meetings laws and other accusations.

Mike Green, president of the state school board, said he got a notice a few days ago that the Probable Cause Review Board found no...

January 11, 2016

New House Ed Chair: Time running out on standards compromise
By Ryan Quinn, The Charleston Gazette-Mail

The new chairman of the House Education Committee says legislation to further change West Virginia’s K-12 learning standards isn’t inevitable, but time is running out for lawmakers, the state Department of Education and the state Board of Education to come to an agreement to avoid such a bill.

“I certainly don’t want to close the door,” Delegate Paul...

January 12, 2016

Sensored, safety school bus to be introduced in Kanawha County
By Carrie Hodousek, WV MetroNews

ELKVIEW, W.Va. — A New Jersey bill that requires sensors on school buses is gaining a lot of attention in West Virginia.

The legislation named “Abigail’s Law” follows the death of Abigail Kuberiet — a child struck and killed by a school bus as it pulled away from a stop in 2003. The bus driver didn’t see her in front the bus or know the accident happened until...

January 12, 2016

Tax reform unlikely, but groups push low-income tax credit
By David Gutman, The Charleston Gazette-Mail

There will be no major proposals coming this year from the Republican Legislature’s new Joint Committee on Tax Reform, although a coalition of community organizations is pushing for a tax credit specifically aimed at low-income workers, a proposal with possible bipartisan support.

Sen. Mike Hall, R-Putnam and a co-chairman of the tax reform committee,...

January 12, 2016

Tomblin would appoint Democrat to vacant seat, but wants court input
By David Gutman, The Charleston Gazette-Mail

Unless the West Virginia Supreme Court tells him not to, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin intends to appoint a Democrat to the state Senate seat that has been vacant since Republican Sen. Daniel Hall resigned, a move that would swing the chamber from GOP control to a deadlock.

However, Tomblin wants the Supreme Court to resolve the controversy before he...

January 12, 2016

Testing panel eyes ACT
By Ryann Quinn, The Charleston Gazette-Mail

One day before West Virginia lawmakers start their annual regular session Wednesday, a group formed to consider statewide standardized testing might make its final recommendations on big changes to the exams.

At its second meeting last week, most members of state schools Superintendent Michael Martirano’s Commission on Assessment said they wanted to move away from West Virginia’s existing...

January 13, 2016

House Democrats outline priorities for session
By Carrie Hodousek, WV MetroNews

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Democrats in the House of Delegates say they promise to protect West Virginia workers, to protect public education, to fight forced pooling and to fix the Public Employees Insurance Agency during the upcoming regular legislative session.

The House Democratic Caucus met Tuesday at the state Capitol to discuss their priorities with reporters.


January 13, 2016

Balance of WV Senate in hands of Supreme Court
By Jeff Jenkins, WV MetroNews

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — All parties have now weighed in on the state Senate replacement controversy and are now awaiting a decision from the state Supreme Court with the beginning of the 60-day legislative session set for Wednesday at noon.

The Supreme Court’s deadline passed with a total of 12 legal filings in the case since last Friday, eight of them were filed Tuesday just before...

January 13, 2016

Deficit looms over Tomblin's final State of the State
By Phil Kabler, The Charleston Gazette-Mail

Legislators return today, for the second session of the 82nd Legislature, facing uncertainties over West Virginia’s severe budget deficit and control of the Senate.

The 60-day session convenes at noon, and will be highlighted by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s sixth, and presumably final, State of the State address to a joint session of the Legislature at 7 p.m....

January 13, 2016

Testing commission favors ACT, but state not releasing final recommendations
By Ryan Quinn, The Charleston Gazette-Mail

The day before West Virginia lawmakers planned to start the 2016 session with anti-Common Core bills on their minds, the state schools superintendent’s Commission on Assessment again appeared ready to recommend replacing the current Smarter Balanced standardized tests with ones purchased from ACT.

But the state Department of Education,...

January 14, 2016

State school board discusses Gilmer County in closed sessio
By Ryan Quinn, The Charleston Gazette-Mail

The West Virginia Board of Education spent about an hour in closed session Wednesday discussing issues regarding Gilmer County, which is, alongside Fayette County, one of the two school systems under state control.

State school board President Mike Green, Vice President Lloyd Jackson and Susan O’Brien, executive director of the Office of Education...