West Virginia State Government

“Week in the Know” April 14, 2018





For 1st time, state law will require voter ID checks in West Virginia May primary
Poll workers across West Virginia are being schooled on West Virginia’s new voter ID law as part of their training ahead of the May 8 primary election while educational materials are also being rolled to potential voters.


“Our clerks have really taken the ball and rolled with it,” said Donald “Deak” Kersey, elections director and deputy counsel for the West Virginia Secretary of State’s Office.


“They understand the rules. They’re getting their people trained.”


Poll: Manchin’s approval rating dropped 17 points last quarter
The poll, released by Morning Consult, a news outlet and polling firm, shows 43 percent of respondents approve of Manchin and 44 percent disapprove, the first time his net numbers have dipped underwater in more than a year. The poll notes a margin of error of 2 percentage points


Blankenship fails to turn in financial disclosure for Senate race by deadline
Don Blankenship, the former coal executive convicted of violating federal mine safety standards who is now running for the U.S. Senate, has failed to turn in a required disclosure that would offer a glimpse into his personal finances.


Democrat candidates in 8th Senate primary say WV voters want change
After losing legislative races in 2010 and 2014, Charleston lawyer Richard D. Lindsay is hoping the third time’s the charm as he runs in the Democratic primary in the state’s 8th Senatorial District — and said he believes the momentum from the statewide teacher strike is evidence that people want change.





Advocate calls new state law written to reduce rape kit backlog “a great first step”
June 5 is the take effect date for a new law designed to reduce processing times for DNA lab tests in West Virginia, especially when it comes to cases of sexual assault.


Justice promises to ask legislature to help families of Pratt fire victims
Gov. Jim Justice promised members of the Pratt Volunteer Fire Department and the family members of the two firefighters who died in the March 24 fire truck crash that he’ll ask the legislature during an upcoming special session to change the effective date of a new state law.


Justice had a ceremonial bill signing Wednesday for Senate Bill 625 which among other things doubles the death benefits for the families of first responders from $50,000 to $100,000 if that first responder dies in the line of duty.


Casino advocate says West Virginia is ready to move with ‘really good package’ on sports betting

The wait could continue into the summer for a decision from the U.S. Supreme Court on sports betting with West Virginia already preparing to move forward on legalization within 90 days of any decision lifting a ban that’s currently in effect in most states.


“A hat tip to West Virginia for putting together, I think, a really good package,” said Sara Slane, senior vice president of public affairs at the American Gaming Association.



Health Care


WVU classes help recovering addict turned treatment counselor expand ‘pond of recovery’
WVU student Dustin Daniels spent years “lost in the clouds” — losing most of his 20’s to substance abuse disorder.


“I’ve been in long-term recovery just shy of four years now,” he said. “I’ve fought substance abuse disorder the better part of 10 years. And since I have found recovery, I’ve made some steps to get into working into the field.”


Daniels is studying under WVU’s Regents Bachelor of Arts program and now is among the first students to minor in addiction studies, a minor that will be offered by the College of Education and Human Services in full to the entire university beginning Fall 2018.


Huntington mayor on Cabell County drug overdose decline: ‘We feel we are on the right track.’
Huntington Mayor Steve Williams is crediting Cabell County’s Quick Response Teams — in part — with reported declines in county drug overdoses.


However, he said, it’s only one step of many taken over the past three years to address an epidemic.


DHHR releases county-by-county data for NAS births in WV
County-by-county data released Wednesday by the state DHHR shows Lincoln County had the highest rate of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome births in 2017. The county had at just over 10 percent, which is about 106 cases per 1,000 births.


Drug distributor CEOs to take part in congressional hearing
Executives of five drug distributors will testify before a congressional subcommittee next month in connection with an investigation into the opioid epidemic in West Virginia.


The House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations has scheduled a hearing for May 8 with McKesson Corp. President and CEO John Hammergren, Cardinal Health Inc. Executive Chairman George Barrett, AmerisourceBergen Corp. Chairman Steven Collis, Miami-Luken Inc. Chairman Joseph Mastandrea and Christopher Smith, the former president and CEO of H.D. Smith Wholesale Drug Company.


Facebook removes opioid ads
U.S. Rep. David McKinley, R-W.Va., questioned Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg about the advertisements when Zuckerberg was before the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Wednesday. The advertisements were against Facebook’s terms and conditions.





Hancock County Commission’s Help Sought to Extend Broadband
“It’s not financially feasible for a provider of internet services to build out into some of these areas because they will never see that money come back in,” said Mark DeBruyn. “You just can’t expect these people to put it out without some reasonable expectation of getting some return.”


Lawmakers want Facebook’s help providing rural broadband
Mark Zuckerberg appeared on Capitol Hill this week to talk about data privacy. But several lawmakers from rural parts of the country used the opportunity to ask the Facebook CEO to help bring high-speed internet access to their rural constituents.