West Virginia State Government

“Week in the Know” March 16, 2018



The Legislative Finish Line



Governor Justice signs budget bill without a plate of anything
Today’s action was summed up with a simple sentence:


“Gov. Jim Justice today signed the $4.38 billion Fiscal Year 2019 budget that was passed by the West Virginia Legislature on Saturday, March 10. He also signed six supplemental appropriation bills.”




The Legislature


Legislature passed SNAP work requirement bill after compromise
Lawmakers passed a bill late Saturday night to force the state to implement work requirements for recipients of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits.


Retirement board caught up on applications, preparing for next wave
A backlog last fall of pension applications that left many new West Virginia government and public school retirees waiting weeks, and sometimes, months for their first retirement checks has been cleared up, Consolidated Public Retirement Board Executive Director Jeff Fleck said Wednesday.


WV’s sports betting law: Model legislation or ‘fatally flawed’?
In a month when the American Gaming Association is projecting that Americans will bet $10 billion on the NCAA men’s basketball tournament — 97 percent illegally — states are looking to follow West Virginia’s lead in legislation to legalize sports betting, with advocates in at least one state touting West Virginia’s new law as model legislation.



The Governor


Gayle Manchin, fired by Governor Justice, says she had to speak out
“I don’t think it’s just because I’m Joe Manchin’s wife. I believe they think they need to get Democrats out of positions of influence. I think the Republicans of this state believe everybody in a position like this should be a Republican.”


Justice names acting Secretary for Education and Arts
Gov. Jim Justice has moved swiftly to name an acting Secretary for Education and the Arts after the resignation of Gayle Manchin four days ago.


Justice, shortly after noon Wednesday, named Clayton Burch, who has been a top official within the state Department of Education.


Justice urges PEIA task force to ‘shake up the world’
Kicking off the first meeting of the Task Force on PEIA Stability, Gov. Jim Justice urged the 29-member panel to “shake up the world” and find lasting solutions to control rising costs for the health plan for more than 200,000 West Virginians.


Justice allows election vacancy bill he vetoed in 2017 to become law
The West Virginia Legislature passed House Bill 3004, which says when certain politicians vacate office, they must be replaced by a member of their party at the time of their resignation — not necessarily their election.





Strike Fund distributes more than $300,000 to WV teachers, school service workers
More than 950 substitute teachers, school service workers and other non-salary school employees in West Virginia are getting some financial help following the statewide teacher strike.


Organizers with the West Virginia Teacher Strike Fund have raised more than $330,000 through a community-based GoFundMe page.



Health Care


Opioid reduction becomes law
The House of Delegates voted, 97-1, Thursday in favor of legislation that would limit initial prescriptions for opioids to a seven-day supply.


Kanawha-Charleston Health Department discusses needle exchange program before City Council vote
Charleston City Council will vote Monday on recriminalizing needles for illegal drug use, thus ending the initiative. Mayor Danny Jones and Police Chief Steve Cooper are among those voicing support of ending the needle exchange, saying more needles are being left in public places, putting the lives of the public and city employees at risk.
Charleston mayor says implementing needle exchange program was a mistake

Charleston Mayor Danny Jones says former Kanawha-Charleston Health Department Director Dr. Michael Brumage has backed a “disastrous” needle exchange program in the city because more dirty needles keep ending up all over town.





Treasurer’s Office says banks ‘unwilling’ to process funds for medical marijuana
Assistant Treasurer Josh Stowers told MetroNews banks have informed the office they are “uncomfortable” and “unwilling” to process funds relating to medical cannabis because the drug is still illegal on the federal level.


Armstead: Attempts to legalize recreational marijuana helped kill bill
“There are so many people whose ultimate goal is to legalize marijuana recreationally in all areas to try to get it into the mix and try to put that into the bill that we’re working on. Frankly, that’s what killed this bill,” House Speaker Tim Armstead (R-Kanawha) said on Monday’s MetroNews “Talkline.”