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Phil Kabler

Statehouse Reporter
  • Phone 304-348-1220
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Kabler, Phil

Group seeks legislation to end WV greyhound racing


It was no coincidence that the national board of directors of anti-greyhound racing organization Grey2K USA selected Charleston for its annual meeting.

“This is a top state for us, absolutely,” Presid...

Gupta award prompts ethics discussion on cash prizes for public employees

- Officials to decide if Gupta may accept cash prize along with private sector award

Details of Marmet mayor’s ethics agreement unveiled


Marmet Mayor Bill Pauley has agreed to pay a $2,000 fine, accept a public reprimand, and complete an ethics training class as part of an Ethics Commission conciliation agreement over violations of the state Ethics Act.

State says new prevailing wage rates accurate; legislators disagree


West Virginia’s new prevailing wage rates were unveiled Wednesday — rates that the research director of WorkForce West Virginia said are an accurate measure of the true wages being paid to construction work...

Prevailing wage rates to be unveiled Wednesday


After months of controversy, heated debate and even a subpoena, the state’s new prevailing wage rates will be unveiled by WorkForce West Virginia today.

The agency will file the new wage rates for workers on...

Marmet mayor accepts deal over ethics complaints


Marmet Mayor Bill Pauley will enter into a conciliation agreement on two counts of violating the state Ethics Act for using public office for private gain, Ethics Commission Executive Director Rebecca Stepto said Monday....

W.Va. Lottery Commission says revenue continues to slide


West Virginia Lottery revenues continued to slide in August, falling 2.5 percent from July and 9 percent from August 2014, figures presented to the Lottery Commission on Wednesday show.

Gross revenue of $95.42 mill...

House Speaker Armstead says Planned Parenthood has lost public confidence


House Speaker Tim Armstead, R-Kanawha, said Wednesday he has heard concerns from many legislators and many West Virginians about giving any state funding — even a small amount — to a local affiliate of Plan...

W.Va. House speaker targets Planned Parenthood’s state funding


House Speaker Tim Armstead, R-Kanawha, announced Tuesday that he is calling on the Department of Health and Human Resources to detail all state funding it provides to Planned Parenthood in West Virginia and to determine ...

Racing committee again asks for more time on revitalization report


Plans to unveil proposals to revitalize the state’s thoroughbred and greyhound racing industries didn’t come together Tuesday, as the 20-member panel studying the issue asked the Racing Commission for more ...

Survey says W.Va. ranks 13th in tax fairness


West Virginia ranks 13th in the U.S. in fairness of its state and local taxes, a WalletHub survey released Monday shows.

Ranking states based on how progressive their state and local tax rates are — with tax...

Benefit cuts loom for WV health insurer PEIA


With no new state funding available, the Public Employees Insurance Agency Finance Board will have to come up with about $60 million in benefit cuts to the health insurance plan for the 2016-17 plan year, PEIA Executive ...

West Virginia’s reliance on ‘sin taxes’ questioned


West Virginia ranks third in the United States in the percentage of state revenue that comes from so-called “sin taxes,” lawmakers considering ways to revamp the state’s tax system were told Tuesday....

Coalition argues for tax changes ‘that work’


Offering a counterpoint to the ongoing meetings of the legislative Joint Committee on Tax Reform, a coalition of education, faith, labor and community-based organizations called on legislators Tuesday to pursue tax chang...

State, coal group working to lower equipment taxes


State Tax Division officials are working with the West Virginia Coal Association to come up with ways to reduce valuations for coal mining equipment located in idled mines, Property Tax Division Director Jeff Amburgey to...

Lawmakers say support growing for state roads fix


State Senate Finance Chairman Mike Hall said Monday he believes public sentiment is growing for the Legislature to come up with ways to fix state roads, even if it comes with a price tag.

“They’re not...

Lawmakers consider prevailing wage options


Legislators were briefed Monday on options for challenging new prevailing wage rates to be filed by WorkForce West Virginia later this month.

“At this point, any legal challenge to the methodology would have...

Audit: State can't properly maintain property

- Many buildings in need of major repairs, with no funding available

Pay schedule change could cost state $47M, lawmakers told


A change in the way state employees are paid could end up costing the state more than $47 million in increased pay for salaried employees over the next 10 years, Legislative Manager Aaron Allred advised legislative leade...

Tomblin announces recommendations for grant funding


Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin Thursday announced 11 state recommendations for the Appalachian Regional Commission Investment Program grants, totaling more than $4.7 million in grant funding.

The West Virginia Development O...

Low gas prices fuel holiday traffic on Turnpike


Low gas prices, good weather, and college football games in Morgantown, Blacksburg and Huntington apparently proved to be the trifecta for Labor Day weekend traffic on the West Virginia Turnpike.

Traffic for the fo...

Capitol Building Commission updated on Capitol complex construction


Acting Administration Secretary Jason Pizatella updated members of the Capitol Building Commission Wednesday on a possibly unprecedented amount of renovation work underway at the Capitol complex, including the $34 millio...

Governor: State won’t place prison at former naval base


Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin announced Friday that the state will not take possession of the Sugar Grove Naval Base in Pendleton County when the base is decommissioned this fall, and instead will work with other parties interes...

Officials’ pictures on social media OK under trinkets law, commission says


Public officials may post pictures of themselves on their official social media sites — but must strike a balance between informing the public while stopping short of self-promotion, as prohibited in new “t...

Kiss warns budget cuts may not be enough to balance budget


After another shortfall in state revenue collections, Revenue Secretary Bob Kiss warned Thursday that West Virginia could soon reach the point where spending cuts and money shifts will no longer be enough to balance the ...

West Virginia Public Broadcasting to launch ‘West Virginia Channel’ next year


West Virginia Public Broadcasting will launch a new television network on Jan. 1, geared to West Virginia programming, including extensive coverage of the 2016 legislative session.

“What a great opportunity ...

AAA now helping drivers get E-ZPass devices


A new partnership with AAA offices in the state to promote use of E-ZPass transponders on the West Virginia Turnpike appears to be a success, according to state Parkways Authority officials.

“We think more p...

Lawmakers told state missing out on online tax revenue


West Virginia receives about $4.7 million a year in tax payments from out-of-state retailers who voluntarily participate in a sales tax agreement among states, but loses an estimated $103 million a year on online sales t...

Gainer acknowledges ‘growing pains’ in state pay shift


State Auditor Glen Gainer said Thursday he recognizes there are “growing pains” in changing state employees from semi-monthly to biweekly pay periods, including the perception that employees are receiving l...

Lottery Commission to continue anti-‘casino night’ campaign


For now, the Lottery Commission will rely on public education and awareness campaigns to crack down on charities’ “casino night” fundraisers that technically are illegal under state law.


High-tech betting options would expand under proposal


State Racing Commissioners Wednesday approved several legislative proposals for the 2016 session, including a bill to legalize advanced deposit wagering.

Commissioner Bill Phillips made the motion for legislation f...

State employees file grievances over biweekly paycheck schedule


State employees stand to lose millions of dollars in wages because of a quirk in switching state pay periods from twice monthly to biweekly, according to the findings of an employee grievance.

The mid-year switch f...

Capitol buzz: Hive removed from Holly Grove mansion


Angry crowds are not unheard of at the state Capitol Complex, but the one dispersed Monday was a bit different.

Department of Agriculture apiarist Wade Stiltner was called in Monday morning to remove a hive of bees...

EDA takes ownership of Building 3


Capitol Complex Building 3 has new owners, a change necessary to proceed with a $28.5 million bond issue that will help pay a large portion of the $34 million cost to renovate the circa-1951 office building.

The We...

Hearing set on bid to stop Capitol security work


A hearing has been set next week for a Putnam County building contractor that wants to stop work on a $3.04 million Capitol Complex perimeter security project.

McClanahan Construction of Poca is seeking an injuncti...

Sales overflowing under craft beer law, retailers say


Legislation intended to help grow the state’s nascent craft beer has been a success in its first weeks — so much so that many craft brewers are having difficulty keeping up with demand.

That includes ...

Lawsuit could delay Capitol Complex security project


Plans to complete a $3.04 million Capitol Complex security upgrade by mid-December could be delayed by a lawsuit from a contractor that was the low bidder, but didn’t win the contract for the project.

On Mon...

Law restricts WV elected officials’ self-promotion using taxpayer money


West Virginia public officials will have to strictly limit the number of pictures of themselves that are posted on their official agency websites, trash any banners or displays featuring their names and/or photos and tos...

WV tax collection down $5M in July


State tax collection in July came up $4.8 million short, hurt by a continuing downturn in energy prices, as well as policy changes that allowed more than $30 million in taxes normally due in July to be ...

Capitol security renovations about to begin


Changes will soon be coming to the state Capitol Complex grounds, with the awarding of a $3.04 million contract to enhance security around the Governor’s Mansion and to convert two parking lots next to the Culture...

WV elections panel declines to clean up public campaign law


It will be up to the Legislature to clean up confusing language in the law for publicly financed West Virginia Supreme Court campaigns, after the State Election Commission decided Thursday not to clarify the issue throug...

AG’s office looking into ‘telephone town hall’ FCC testimony


The attorney general’s office is reviewing Congressional testimony given Tuesday by Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler that at least two Capitol Hill publications concluded could bar public off...

Campaign to let people know about illegal ‘casino nights’


Lottery commission aims to teach such events are illegal, instead of crack down

By Phil Kabler

Staff writer

West Virginia Lottery commissioners on Tuesday endorsed a public awareness campaign to remind ...

Historic 1960 Humphrey-Kennedy debate took place in WV


CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Organizers of a campaign to bring a 2016 presidential debate to Charleston are hoping history is on their side — in the form of a groundbreaking 1960 debate held here.

On May 4, 19...

Ex-council members thought they were right to defend employee


Paula Boggs and Grace Russell told an Ethics Commission hearing examiner Thursday they believed they had done nothing wrong when they voted to authorize spending up to $10,000 of town of Piedmont funds to defend a town e...

Officials report high response to Workforce surveys


More than 30 percent of state contractors have completed and returned WorkForce West Virginia surveys of wages paid to their construction workers, which will be used to calculate new state prevailing wage rates, WorkForc...

Panel offers suggestions for saving racing industries


In the future, the state’s thoroughbred and greyhound racing industries could feature:

| Off-track betting at upscale sports bars and, perhaps, country clubs around the state.

| Racetrack-sponsored soc...

Too soon to know if PEIA retiree premiums will rise


Days after the state Public Employees Insurance Agency Finance Board was notified the plan will need nearly $60 million of premium increases for active state employee coverage for the 2016-17 plan year, Administration of...

PEIA premiums expected to rise next year


A five-year run with no premium increases for Public Employees Insurance Agency coverage is likely to end on July 1 of next year, PEIA Finance Board members were told Thursday.

Shrinking reserve funds and an antici...

Department of Commerce says all prevailing wage documents accounted for


All documents received by WorkForce West Virginia regarding its ongoing recalculation of the state’s prevailing wage rate have been accounted for and provided to the Legislature and to the public, with any possibl...