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By Ryan Quinn, Charleston Gazette-Mail

A rarely seen mega-committee comprised of the entire state Senate pored over 133 pages, line by line, of a bill that would overhaul West Virginia’s education system.

For the fourth time in state history, the Senate dissolved into a “Committee of the Whole” on Wednesday to consider an omnibus education bill (Senate Bill 451) that would enable charter schools, education savings accounts, and a flurry of other changes in the state.



Senate President Mitch Carmichael, R-Jackson, released a statement Monday saying his unorthodox approach to passing a massive, confusing bill on education reform by having it skip the Senate Finance Committee is an effort toward transparency.

That’s not the truth, and Carmichael knows it.

Before the legislative session began, Carmichael removed Sen. Kenny Mann, R-Monroe, as chairman of the Senate Education Committee, replacing him with Sen. Patricia Rucker, R-Jefferson. This...


By Brad McElhinny, WV MetroNews

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Gov. Jim Justice said lawmakers should run his proposed pay raise bill for teachers and other public employees by itself.

“I just wish my bill would be considered and this omnibus bill would be out of the way,” Justice said during a news conference today.

He did not say he would veto the bill.

“First of all, I don’t think it will ever come through in the condition it’s in.”

But pressed...


By Brad McElhinny, WV MetroNews

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Just a few minutes after a coalition of educators asked to slow down a broad-ranging education bill for a full hearing, the Senate majority voted to bypass what normally would have been the next step in the committee process.

The education bill instead will be considered by the full Senate, acting as a committee.

Debate over the motion made by Senate Majority Leader Tom Takubo, R-Kanawha, lasted about...


By Brad McElhinny, WV MetroNews

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — After a five-hour meeting, the Senate Education Committee passed out a 140-page bill meant to alter many aspects of West Virginia’s school system.

The vote shortly after 6 p.m. was a party-line 7 to 5. The bill was reported to the Senate floor with a recommendation that it be referenced next to the Finance Committee. There has not yet been an estimate of the bill’s financial  

Democrats on the Senate...