February 2016

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February 1, 2016

House floor next step for right to work bill

By Matt Maccaro, WV MetroNews

A bill that would make West Virginia a Right to Work state is on its way forward after passing the House Judiciary Committee Friday afternoon.

The 13-10 vote, with two absentees, will send the legislation to the full House of Delegates next week. The bill makes it illegal to require union connection to employment.

The vote wasn’t entirely a party line vote; Del. Roger...

February 1, 2016

Manchin says right to work is playing partisan politics with West Virginia jobs
WV MetroNews Staff

As the state House of Delegates Judiciary Committee debated the bill Friday afternoon that would make West Virginia a right to work state, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin weighed in on the controversy.

In a prepared statement, Manchin said right to work legislation “will do nothing to create jobs in West Virginia.”

He said while he was governor not one...

February 2, 2016

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Goodwin criticizes ‘divisive’ bills at session
By Matt Maccaro, WV MetroNews

Former U.S. Attorney and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Booth Goodwin weighed in on some of the issues facing the Mountain State Monday.

Goodwin felt that so far, too many of the bills introduced at the 2016 Legislative Session have been too divisive.

“All the stuff that’s up there, except maybe the discussion about broadband which is...

February 3, 2016

State BOE member Linger says “I’m out”
By Jeff Jenkins, WV MetroNews

Seven-year state Board of Education member Wade Linger resigned Tuesday in a stinging criticism of what he described as the “encroachment” of the state legislature into education issues.

Linger, of Fairmont, told MetroNews “Talkline” host Hoppy Kercheval Wednesday the state constitution set up the non-elected state Board of Education to be insulated from politics but that’s been...

February 3, 2016

Right-to-work, removal of prevailing wage up for passage
By WV MetroNews

The Republican-led state Senate and House of Delegates are poised to pass bills Thursday that make West Virginia a right-to-work state and eliminate the state’s prevailing wage.

The bills have triggered the most intense debate so far this session, pitting Republicans against Democrats and the business community against the labor movement.

Legislation eliminating prevailing...

February 4, 2016

Tomblin: budget related bills should be priority of legislature
Jeff Jenkins, WV MetroNews

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin is concerned about the pace of the legislative session when it comes to his budget proposals, Tomblin told MetroNews Wednesday.

“I’m not sure we’re at gridlock but when you start to approach the halfway point of the session and we’re not really having any discussions on where we’re going and what the other proposals are I start to get a little...

February 4, 2016

Right-to-Work, Prevailing Wage Repeal up for votes in WV Legislature
By Rusty Marks, State Journal

Two key pieces of legislation pushed by West Virginia’s Republican majority are up for votes Thursday, Feb. 4, in the state Senate and House of Delegates.

Delegates will vote on the Workplace Freedom Act, a right-to-work bill passed by the Senate earlier in the legislative session, while the Senate will take up the House-sponsored measure that would...

February 4, 2016

Falling: State revenue off $169 million in January

West Virginia witnessed a 53 percent drop in severance tax revenue in January when compared to the same period in 2015.

Additionally, a lack of growth in personal income tax and sales tax in January led to cumulative collections of $2.29 billion, nearly $169.5 million below estimate, according to tax figures released Wednesday.

The massive loss did not...

February 4, 2016

Prevailing wage repeal clears Senate, heads to Governor
By WV MetroNews

The state Senate passed along party lines Thursday a bill eliminating prevailing wage in West Virginia. The House approved HB 4005 earlier, so the legislation now goes to the Governor where a veto is expected.

The Senate’s 18-16 vote came after two...

February 8, 2016

Controversial WV Legislation Tied to Shadowy Billionaires' Network
Dan Heyman, Public News Service

The right-to-work bill and prevailing-wage repeal just passed by the Legislature have ties to Kansas oil billionaires Charles and David Koch and their shadowy network, watchdogs say.

According to the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD), the bills were based on model legislation from the Koch-funded American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). Lisa Graves,...

February 8, 2016

How Limited Internet Access Can Subtract From Kids' Education 
By Alina Selyukh, NPR

Can a kid succeed in school with only a mobile device for Internet access at home?

Lorena Uribe doesn't have to think about that one:

"Absolutely not," she says.

When her old computer broke down several years ago, she and her teenage daughter found themselves in a bind for about five months: homework to do and no computer or broadband access at home.

February 8, 2016

Agencies asked to detail impact of an additional 6.5 percent budget cut
By Jeff Jenkins, WV MetroNews

House of Delegates Finance Committee Chair Eric Nelson raised a lot of eyebrows recently when he sent all state agencies a letter asking what impacts an additional 6.5 percent budget cut would have on them.

Nelson (R-Kanawha) is seeking specifics in case the legislature decides to cut its way out of the current budget problems instead of agreeing with Gov...