May 2016

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May 16, 2016

Teens charged in Clay County school threat
By Jeff Jenkins, WV MetroNews

State police have charged two Clay County teenagers in connection with what’s been called the Columbine-like threat at Clay County Middle School.

The boys, 13 and 15, face charges through juvenile petitions of making terroristic threats, conspiracy to commit murder and solicitation to commit murder.

Schools were canceled in Clay County for three days earlier this month because...

May 17, 2016

Day 1 of special session: lawmakers try to get arms around budget problems
By Jeff Jenkins, WV MetroNews

The first day of the special legislative session on state budget issues Monday produced some big numbers and a lot of questions.

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin called the 134 members of the House of Delegates and state Senate to Charleston to deal with a $111 million revenue shortfall in the current state budget and to pass a budget for next fiscal year that...

May 17, 2016

WV lawmakers return, but no closer to budget deal
By Phil Kabler, Staff Writer, WV Gazette-Mail

Lawmakers were called back into session by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin to try to come up with a 2016-17 budget.

On Monday, legislators opened a special session to pass West Virginia’s 2016-17 budget seemingly no closer to agreement on a $4.2 billion spending plan than when they left town at the end of the regular legislative session on March 15.

As the budget...

May 18, 2016

House may have votes to pass cigarette tax; Cole, Armstead want special session call additions
By Shauna Johnson, WV MetroNews

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A tobacco tax increase bill proposed by Governor Earl Ray Tomblin to generate anywhere from $71 million to $76 million in new revenues will be taken up directly on the floor of the House of Delegates after it comes out of the Senate.

Senate passage was expected as early as Wednesday at the State Capitol on what...

May 19, 2016

Tomblin says state worker furlough bill a precautionary step
By Jeff Jenkins, WV MetroNews

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin said the bill introduced Wednesday that would allow him to furlough state workers was “purely precautionary.”

But Tomblin said it’s a move he believes he must prepare for if there’s no agreement on a new state budget by July 1.

“This would allow the governor in a case where there was no budget, no funding mechanism,...

May 19, 2016

Third juvenile charged in Clay County school threat
By Carrie Hodousek, WV MetroNews

CLAY, W.Va. — State police have made a third arrest in connection to what was described as a Columbine style threat at Clay County Middle School.

A 13 year old boy was charged Thursday with making terroristic threats, conspiracy to commit murder and solicitation to commit murder. Earlier this week, troopers charged two teenage boys, ages 13 and 15, with the same charges...

May 20, 2016

Analysts Critical of Likely Legislative Approach to WV Budget
Dan Heyman, Public News Service

Even with a 45-cent cigarette tax increase, budget analysts say state lawmakers look likely to lean too heavily on cuts and one-time money. Bowing to an anti-tax faction in the House, state senators have been working on a tobacco tax boost smaller than they passed in March.

Observers say the tobacco tax may be the only new revenue approved by the special budget...

May 20, 2016

School year nearing end in parts of West Virginia
By Shauna Johnson, MetroNews

The 2015-2016 school year will be coming to a close before Memorial Day in some of West Virginia’s public schools.

By June 10, students in all 55 county systems will be on summer vacation, according to updated school calendar information from the state Department of Education.

Despite missing nine instructional days, schools in Tucker County will be the first in West...

May 20, 2016

Nelson: House getting closer to budget plan
By Jeff Jenkins, WV MetroNews

House of Delegates Finance Committee Chair Eric Nelson said Friday he anticipates having a budget plan ready for House members to consider sometime Monday.

“The intent of the chair right now is that Monday we’d start having the budget talks so we can put the pieces together and move forward for the citizens of West Virginia of balancing this 2017 budget,” Nelson (R-Kanawha) said....

May 22, 2016

New Logan school board members upset over superintendent contract
By Ryan Quinn, WV Gazette-Mail

Logan County’s school board approved in February a four-year contract extension for its superintendent, Phyllis Doty, who currently makes $115,000 per year.

By the time the contract — which includes $2,500 annual raises and payment for the employee’s portion of Doty’s health insurance coverage — takes effect July 1, the five-member board will have four members...

May 24, 2016

Budget going to Senate floor; House Finance advances its version to full floor Monday night
By MetroNews Staff

After months of talks, budget bills could be taken up on the floors of both state Senate and state House of Delegates as early as Tuesday.

Members of both the Senate Finance Committee and House Finance Committee met again Monday afternoon for budget work in their respective chambers at the State Capitol where a Special Session continued.


May 24, 2016

Budget blues
Hoppy's Commentary, Hoppy Kercheval host of Talkline

Today is day seven of the special legislative session on the budget and it’s not going well… not well at all.

The tobacco tax increase, which is a critical piece for patching the $270 million hole in next year’s budget, is at passage stage in the House of Delegates later today, but the odds are against it being approved.

The Republican leadership wants it to pass, but is...