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Phil Kabler

Staff writer
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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...

Financial turmoil means sluggish year for state investments


Turmoil in Greece and in the Chinese stock market meant a tough month for state investments in June, resulting in state pension funds closing out the budget year June 30 with only about 1.5 to 2 percent growth, the state...

WorkForce leaders haven’t been subpoenaed over wage rate


CHARLESTON, W.Va. — It was not immediately clear Monday if the legislative leadership intends to subpoena WorkForce West Virginia officials to testify under oath regarding its recalculation of the state’s p...

Tractor-trailers on Turnpike concern Parkways Authority members


Issues with errant tractor-trailer trucks – from wrecks that backed up Fourth of July holiday traffic to replacement of a tollbooth demolished in June – were a focal point of Thursday’s Parkways Auth...

Workforce provided prevailing wage emails, documents show


Documentation from the Department of Commerce indicates that WorkForce West Virginia provided thousands of pages of documents, e-mails and other communications regarding input for developing a new methodology for recalcu...

GOP lawmakers subpoena prevailing wage documents; state says it’s turned over everything


In a highly unusual move, legislative leaders subpoenaed the acting director of WorkForce West Virginia on Tuesday, demanding documents they contend show the state agency relied on data “provided by outside labor ...

Turnpike holiday traffic up over last year


Fourth of July holiday traffic on the West Virginia Turnpike was up slightly over last year, but up substantially from the last time the holiday fell on a Saturday, state Parkways General Manager Greg Barr said Monday.

‘Casino night’ fundraisers under fire


Plans by the state Lottery Commission to crack down on charities that host “casino night” fundraisers using gaming devices that technically are illegal under state law has drawn a lot of criticism – ...

Low coal, gas prices cause revenue shortage


Plunging prices for natural gas and coal caused the state to come up $50 million short in revenue collections for the 2014-15 budget year, which ended Tuesday, state Department of Revenue officials said Thursday.


Work on Building 3 could begin in 2 or 3 weeks, contractor says


CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Derick Foster is extremely busy these days. Which, given the downturn in the construction industry in the area, is a very good thing, he said.

“We’re very, very excited, and...

State Lottery wants to stop “casino night” fundraisers


State Lottery officials are looking at ways to crack down on a resurgence of charitable fundraising “casino night” events that are illegal under state law.

“We think it’s a major violati...

Contract awarded for Building 3 work


An eight-year saga to renovate Capitol Complex Building 3 has taken a major step forward with the awarding of a $34.28 million contract to a St. Albans building contractor.

General Services awarded the contract to ...

Statehouse Beat: Justice putting millions into Greenbrier Classic


This week’s Greenbrier Classic PGA tournament will again put a national spotlight on West Virginia, with Greenbrier resort owner Jim Justice again spending millions of his own money to make the event possible.


State official says foreign trade trips worth the cost


Investments linked to Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s trade mission to Japan in 2012 alone have exponentially exceeded the costs of that trip, as well as costs of a trade mission to Europe in 2013, and a return visit to J...

Statehouse Beat: Revitalizing state’s racing industry a big job


To say that the new Racing Commission committee appointed to come up with ways to revitalize thoroughbred and greyhound racing in the state has a daunting task is a true understatement.

As state Greyhound Owners an...

Statehouse Beat: State makes payment to Old White for golf tourney


Like clockwork, the state has made its first payment this month — of $500,000 — to Old White Charities, the non-profit organization that operates the Greenbrier Classic PGA golf tournament, for a prime spon...

Officials look to make up for lack of parking at Capitol


With plans to convert the two parking lots north of the state Culture Center into a bus turnaround, Department of Administration officials are trying to address an already-serious lack of public parking spaces at the Cap...

Committee talks racing pros, cons


Faced with the daunting task of coming up with ways to revitalize the state’s struggling thoroughbred and greyhound racing industries, a committee appointed by the state Racing Commission spent two hours Tuesday a...

Kiss: $70 million shortfall is ‘manageable’


In what could be considered a large-scale equivalent of raiding the cookie jar and finding all the loose change under the sofa cushions, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin has ordered state agencies to sweep about $38 million out of ...

Fate of state prevailing wages unclear


One day after legislative leaders denounced WorkForce West Virginia’s plan for recalculating the state’s prevailing wage rates, and voted down a motion to keep the current rates in effect to Sept. 30, the f...

Cities, counties worry tax changes will mean cuts


Cities and counties are already struggling with low tax revenues, and mayors and county commissioners urged state legislators Tuesday not to make changes that could cut their already limited sources for those revenues.

Natural gas industry still working on forced pooling bill


Following an 11th-hour defeat of legislation to require forced pooling of natural gas fields during the 2015 regular session, the natural gas industry is spending the year promoting and explaining the controversial measu...

Without recalculation, prevailing wage at risk


CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Prevailing wage rates for state-funded construction projects are now set to expire July 1, after the legislative Joint Committee on Government and Finance rejected a motion Monday to extend the...

State could save millions on Courtesy Patrol, audit finds


West Virginia could save millions of dollars if the Division of Highways operated the state Courtesy Patrol internally, instead of contracting the service out to a non-profit agency, a legislative audit released Sunday f...

W.Va. superintendent defends Common Core to Legislature


State Superintendent of Schools Michael Martirano defended West Virginia’s Common Core-based educational standards, telling legislators Sunday that the standards are critical to assure all students in the state ar...