West Virginia State Government

“Week in the Know” April 6, 2018





Putnam County residents invited to meet candidates
All county-level candidates vying for offices in Putnam County have been invited, including County Commission and the Board of Education. Candidates running for state- and national-level offices also have been invited. All candidates will be introduced and given an equal opportunity to speak and network with the public.


GOP Senate candidates face off in Martinsburg debate
But the debate between these three candidates and business owner and National Guard Maj. Tom Willis was mostly calm, with each candidate using their allocated time to discuss their stance on issues such as immigration, the opioid crisis and abortion.


The candidates shared the stage at the Apollo Civic Theater for an hour-long debate, with radio station WEPM news director Hans Fogle serving as moderator. WEPM is an affiliate of West Virginia MetroNews.



Health Care


DHHR awards grant to Prestera Center for overdose response effort
The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources’ Office of Drug Control Policy announced Monday it awarded a grant to Prestera Center for the purpose of establishing a Quick Response Team program in the Kanawha Valley.


Huntington officials hopeful as overdose rates continue to slow

Cabell County’s overdose totals have now declined in six of the past seven months — a 55 percent decrease in overdoses per month since September 2017.


Huntington city leaders and experts presented the data with cautious yet defined optimism Wednesday at Huntington City Hall.





WVSU board to consider tuition Friday; proposals unclear
The West Virginia State University Board of Governors has an item labeled “Fiscal Year 2019 Budget and 2018-2019 Tuition and Fee Schedule” on its Friday meeting agenda, and “action” is listed next to it.


HEPC accepting comments on proposed 4-year college funding formula
A state agency is accepting comments through April 27 on a proposed funding formula for West Virginia’s public 4-year colleges. The formula would grant more money for serving “high-risk” students, provide schools more funding for the nonhumanities credits students take and mostly consider only in-state students’ data.


Chris Treadway, senior director of research and policy for the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission, said the funding formula, if lawmakers adopt it, would determine only the distribution of the total base general revenue state appropriation. He said that is about $229.4 million for the current fiscal year, and the formula isn’t proposed to change the $33.2 million in “special-purpose” money provided to West Virginia University, Marshall University and West Virginia State University.


If it were fully implemented using this fiscal year’s $229.4 million total appropriation, the formula would drop funding for three schools: WVU would lose $9.2 million, the WVU Institute of Technology would lose $3.3 million and Glenville State College would lose $1 million.


Marshall is protecting their female students against potential attacks

With one in five college women being the victim of sexual assault, Marshall University and its Panhellenic Council aided in helping protect its female students through offering a Rape Aggression Defense Systems training Tuesday.


“This program really gives us an opportunity to help our women develop in a way that their not usually used to,” Panhellenic Council President Sabel Meadows said.


Adventure program coming this fall
WVU Tech announced Tuesday it has launched new four-year degree program in adventure recreation management designed to capture the energy and expertise of Southern West Virginia’s outdoor adventure industry.


Beginning in August, students will study the management and administration of outdoor recreation venues and businesses, particularly in the fields of paddle sports, rock climbing, mountain biking and challenge courses. Students will also learn technical skills and field leadership techniques.





Banking dilemma kills medical cannabis business
At least one company interested in operating in the state’s fledgling medical cannabis industry has pulled out because of the lack of options to legally handle banking transactions.


Frank Hartman is an attorney and lobbyist who said he was representing an in-state business that wanted to branch out into growing medical cannabis.


Under the medical marijuana bill passed by the West Virginia Legislature in 2017, medical cannabis growers must pay a $50,000 license fee to the state. However, Hartman said prospective growers must also demonstrate that they have at least $500,000 in liquid assets.

Treasurer still working on solution to medical marijuana banking crisis
“I support the rights of my fellow West Virginians, and I recognize the need for medical marijuana as an option for people who are suffering,” Perdue said. “I want to do everything in my power to move our state toward a lawful solution; however, I want to be clear that there are real banking challenges at the federal level that my office may not be able to resolve alone.”





Resisting Technology, Appalachian Style
It’s true that many rural areas aren’t served with the fastest broadband and the most robust cellular coverage in the U.S. But in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal in which the data from an estimated 50 million Facebook users were used to craft and inform online political advertising, it’s worth considering whether people in Appalachia are deprived of the benefits of technology – or if they’re protecting themselves from harmful effects of its misuse.


Broadband Delays Prompt Frustration in Rural New York
The New York broadband program office last month celebrated a major milestone — it had received commitments to bring high-speed internet to every home and business in the state.


But many residents who lack high-speed internet in rural Niagara County weren’t celebrating.



In Other News


Smart Parking Meter Program Moves Forward in Charleston, W.Va.
Charleston City Council on Monday night approved the city’s $328,364 purchase of 380 smart meters from Duncan Parking Technologies. The price includes wireless communication, software license fees, sensors and other equipment needed to implement the meters.


DOH urging zipper merge on big I-64 project
The state Division of Highways wants motorists to use a traffic concept called the zipper merge in a major construction project that begins next week on Interstate 64 in Putnam and Cabell counties.


A DOH-hired contractor will get started on a full rehabilitation project that will stretch for 12 miles on busy I-64 from the Crooked Creek exit in Putnam County to the Milton exit in Cabell County. The project will last through the summer.


WV Supreme Court to rule on inheritance when parental rights are terminated
West Virginia Supreme Court justices will have to determine whether a child can receive an inheritance from a biological parent if that parent’s parental rights were terminated in court.


State law doesn’t address that specific set of circumstances, which is what gave rise to the issue before the court Tuesday morning.