West Virginia State Government

“Week in the Know” February 14, 2018



The 2018 Legislative Session






The Legislature


Finance Committee approves sports betting bill
After 3 1/2 hours of debate spread over two days, members of the state Senate’s Finance Committee approved a sports gambling bill Tuesday identical to the one the committee took up for consideration.


House passes bill to rein in attorney general’s spending of settlement money
Members of the West Virginia House of Delegates passed a bill Tuesday to reign in Attorney General Patrick Morrisey’s use of money from lawsuit settlements.



The Governor


Justice stops Fayette County sewer line project
“The EPA has been in control of this site for more than 25 years and the ball is still in their court,” said Governor Justice. “Representatives of our Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) have been actively involved with the EPA for the last six months to get answers because the health and safety of West Virginians is a priority for me.”





Second day of 17-month PEIA freeze hearing draws hundreds of public workers
Seventeen months hasn’t assuaged the fear of educators and other school personnel who packed the Erickson Alumni Center Tuesday night for the second of three PEIA Finance Board public hearings.



Health Care


WV becomes first state to be recognized for NAS treatment centers
West Virginia is the first state to receive approval from the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to offer Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome treatment services.


This allows facilities like Lily’s Place in Huntington to be recognized by West Virginia Medicaid as a NAS Treatment Center. Lily’s Place treats babies born addicted to drugs.


House committee passes bill to restructure DHHR
 A House of Delegates committee passed a bill Tuesday evening to restructure the state’s Department of Health and Human Resources, an agency that Del. Amy Summers, R-Taylor, has described as an “unmanageable bureaucracy.”


Congressional budget agreement sets aside funding for opioid crisis among other things
The budget agreement passed by Congress last week includes billions of dollars for addressing the opioid crisis, as well as infrastructure and tax credits for the development of clean coal technology.



Public Safety


County leaders tackle tax, jail consolidation, PEIA issues at annual conference
Harrison County Commission President Ron Watson, who attended the three-day conference with a delegation from his county, said the corrections consolidations bills, House Bill 4338 and Senate Bill 369 in particular, could have a big impact back home.





Teachers ‘headed toward’ a statewide work action
The stalemate on several issues is moving teachers closer to some kind of statewide action, West Virginia Education Association Dale Lee said.


“Unless things change we’re headed toward a work action,” Lee said Tuesday during an appearance on MetroNews “Talkline.” “We have to discuss all of our possibilities and all of the avenues we would take and make the decision to go from there.”


House of Delegates approves 2 percent pay raise for teachers, state troopers
 Members of the West Virginia House of Delegates voted nearly unanimously Tuesday to approve a bill that would give teachers, school service personnel and state police a 2 percent raise in July, with further raises down the road.
House passes pay raise 98-1; critics warn it will not avert teachers’ strike
Despite many delegates dismissing a 2 percent pay raise package as inadequate or merely symbolic, the West Virginia House of Delegates passed its pay increase proposal for teachers, school service personnel and other state employees on a 98-1 vote Tuesday.


WV House OKs lowering teacher criteria; non-fully certified teachers teach 38% 7th-11th grade math courses
The day after a West Virginia Department of Education presentation revealed that 38 percent of public school math courses in grades seven through 11 are taught by “non-fully certified teachers,” the House of Delegates passed 50-48 a bill that would lower requirements to become an alternatively certified teacher.



Other News


Trump administration wants to slash food stamps, do a ‘Blue Apron-type program’ instead
WASHINGTON – The budget that President Donald Trump proposed Monday takes a hard whack at the poorest Americans, slashing billions of dollars from food stamps, public health insurance and federal housing vouchers, while trying to tilt the programs in more conservative directions.