January 2016

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January 21, 2016

WV Senate passes right-to-work on party line, as court decision looms
By David Gutman, Political Reporter, WV Gazette Mail

The West Virginia Senate passed a controversial “right-to-work” bill Thursday, by the barest of margins, just hours or days before a state Supreme Court ruling could switch the balance of power in the Senate.

With the Senate galleries packed with union members opposing the bill, and with the pending court decision leaving it unclear...

January 22, 2016

Supreme Court says language clear Tomblin must appoint Republican

By Jeff Jenkins | WV MetroNews

The state Senate will return to an 18-16 advantage for Republicans following an opinion by the state Supreme Court Friday in the controversy surrounding the replacement for former Senator Daniel Hall.

In an opinion authored by Justice Margaret Workman, the Court ruled 3-1, the...

January 26, 2016

Nicholas County superintendent's snow day song goes viral
By Samuel Speciale, Education Reporter, WV Gazette-Mail

It's not uncommon for school administrators like Nicholas County Superintendent Keith Butcher to get creative when announcing snow days. The attention that comes after, however, can be unexpected.

Butcher, who in recent days became an Internet sensation for his snow day rendition of Adele's pop hit “Hello,” is dealing with newfound celebrity,...

January 26, 2016

Stagnant salaries, benefit cuts would be ‘perfect storm’ for teachers
By Phil Kabler, Statehouse Reporter

A combination of no salary increases and $120 million in health insurance benefits cuts would create a “perfect storm” for teachers in West Virginia, the state superintendent of schools said Monday.

“When we’re number 47 in the nation for starting teachers’ salaries, we’re way behind the starting line to compete,” Michael Martirano said following the...

January 26, 2016

WV lawmakers seek to ease home-school regulations 
By Eric Eyre, Statehouse Reporter \ WV Gazette-Mail

For the second consecutive year, state lawmakers are seeking to ease restrictions on home-school students in West Virginia.

One bill (HB 4175) would remove the requirement that home-school students secure a GED diploma to qualify for the Promise Scholarship, which provides $4,750 a year in college tuition.

“We’re trying to streamline the process...

January 26, 2016

Denise Giardina: Daily Mail oblivious to irony, value of unions

The January 18 edition of the Daily Mail’s editorial page featured not one, but two editorials supporting so-called “right-to-work” legislation. It is clear the editors know nothing of the contributions of unions to the well-being of this nation and its people, nothing about the way unions function, and nothing about the long roller coaster of gains and losses for working (and middle-class) people in this...

January 26, 2016

Jorea Marple: WV has one long-term economic solution – education
By Jorea Marple

What leaders like most to do is whip up a smoke screen or diversion that negates their responsibility of dealing with the real causes that need to be addressed in public education in West Virginia.

A great recent example is the hullabaloo around the Next Generation Standards (Common Core aligned) in West Virginia.

The question is should we be spending unnecessary money...

January 26, 2016

Right to work
Give workforce a helping hand before enacting legislation that divides us
Register- Herald editorial

Right to work legislation is racing through the statehouse toward Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s desk with more than its fair share of deliberate speed. In fact, we’re not sure there’s been much deliberation at all.

Why are the Republicans in such a hurry to get this particular piece of legislation passed?

The bill, called “...

January 27, 2016

Bill allowing public charter schools expected to be debated again
By Matt Maccaro | WV MetroNews

One of the most controversial bills from last year’s legislative session is expected to be back on the table this week.

The House of Delegates Education Committee is expected to take up a bill allowing for public charter schools in West Virginia.

Currently 43 other states and the District of Columbia have public charter schools. Delegate Paul Espinosa (...

January 27, 2016

W.Va. House to vote on repeal of prevailing wage
The Associated Press

The Republican-led West Virginia House of Delegates is set to vote on repealing the state's prevailing wage for public construction projects.

House lawmakers are likely to cast that vote Wednesday.

On Thursday, House Democrats offered an amendment that would have only repealed the wage for five years and studied its impact before a full repeal. Republican House Speaker Tim...

January 27, 2016

State BOE President Responds to Henthorn’s Choice
Petition Drive Seeks Henthorn’s Resignation

BY MILES LAYTON - Staff Writer, Tyler Star News

SISTERSVILLE State Board of Education President Michael Green has issued a statement regarding actions taken by Tyler Board of Education President Bonnie Henthorn.

Henthorn decided to take her two children out of Tyler County schools in December so as to homeschool them.

Henthorn blamed the state...

January 27, 2016

Unemployment rates increase in most West Virginia counties
Associated Press

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Unemployment rates increased in 49 of West Virginia's 55 counties in December.

WorkForce West Virginia says unemployment rates fell in Pocahontas and Webster counties, while four counties saw no change.

Jefferson County's 3.1 unemployment rate was the lowest in the state, followed by Berkeley County at 3.7 percent and Monongalia County at 3.9...