From The Well

A look at issues


At the center of the West Virginia state Capitol is an area known as The Well.

It is the informal gathering place for lobbyists, reporters, constituents and lawmakers.

Centrally located between the chambers of the House of Delegates and Senate,

The Well is often where information is shared, alliances are formed, and deals are made.



Budget Bill



Governor’s proposal shows slight increase


Gov. Jim Justice’s proposed budget for the 2023 fiscal year shows a small increase and includes pay raises for state employees, according to Michael Cook, director of the West Virginia State Budget Office.


Click here for more information.


The proposed 2023 fiscal year budget reflects a 1.4 percent increase over 2022 for a total expenditure of $4.645 billion. The two changes in the budget that make up the difference are raises for state employees, estimated to cost $114 million, and $41 million for inmate medical care.






President Blair cites economic successes


State Senate President Craig Blair last week said recent jobs announcements demonstrate the state’s effort to diversify the economy.


“West Virginia is on the rise, and all you have to do is look around to see it,” Senate President Blair said. “With announcements like these as we head into a new legislative session, it builds our momentum to continue making the changes West Virginia needs to be a competitive player on the world stage and keep us moving forward on the right track.”


Click here and here for more information.



House of Delegates



Economic development takes centerstage


Members of the West Virginia House of Delegates wrapped up the first full week of the regular legislative session, registering three significant economic development wins.


The House provided this summary.



Delegate test drives electric school bus


Delegate Christopher W. Toney of Raleigh County, a school bus driver, took an all-electric GreenPower Motor Co. bus on a test run Friday. Click here for more information.


GreenPowwer announced last week that it intends to build buses in South Charleston, initially employing as many as 200 people.


“If you’re going to sell it to the counties, you got to sell it to the drivers. I wanted to be able to test it out and see how it was,” Toney told WV MetroNews during a field trip with state lawmakers.


The route started at the state Capitol in Charleston, headed to Marmet, went into Boone County, and returned to Charleston.


Toney said he was surprised at the ease of the drive.



Fire Departments



Funding, recruitment problems loom


Members of the West Virginia Legislature are looking for ways to help support the state’s 427 volunteer fire departments.


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Legislators are looking for ways to assist the departments with funding and recruitment and retention of volunteer members. They noted the cost of equipment, for example, can be problematic.



Health Care



Bill would keep open Hopemont, Withrow


Sen. Randy Smith of Tucker County introduced a bill last week place to keep open Hopemont Hospital in Terra Alta and Jackie Withrow Hospital in Beckley.


The bill was sent to the Health and Human Resources Committee for consideration.


Click here for more information.


During the 2021 legislative session, a bill was introduced in the House Health and Human Resources Committee to close Hopemont Hospital, John Manchin Sr. Health Care Center in Fairmont, Lakin Hospital in West Columbia, and Jackie Withrow Hospital.



20% of med school grads remain in state


The annual West Virginia Health Sciences and Rural Health Report shows one of five in-state medical school students who graduated from 2011 to 2016 and finished their residencies now practice here.


The 20% retention rate is the lowest on record. which goes back to 1995.


Click here for more information.



Children & Families



CPS staffing shortage persists 


Two years after the state sought to address staffing shortages in its Child Protective Services agency, the worker vacancy rate is nearly twice as great. Click here for more information.


In addition, a legislative audit and data from the state Department of Health and Human Resources show CPS workers routinely don’t investigate reports of alleged child abuse and neglect within the 72-hour period required by state law.






Putnam commission tackles Internet service


Wanting to see better service and more competition among Internet service providers, Putnam County commissioners have launched a county-backed project to do just that. They are relying on a Utah community’s model for broadband deployment.


Putnam County is using American Rescue Plan funds to pay for its fiber buildout. In the meantime, private-sector Frontier is laying fiber cable to serve the county’s relatively affluent market. Click here to read more.



Legislative Calendar




Click here for the full calendar

of the West Virginia Legislature.



WV Legislature
Legislature Live


Meeting Notices
Proposed Rules


Legislative Wrap-up
Glossary of Terms


Some information in this update is collected from the WV Legislature’s Daily/Weekly Blogs.



Hartman Harman Cosco, Public Policy Strategists, LLC, (H2C) is a strategically assembled bipartisan lobbying firm comprised of legal, communications and policy professionals. H2C possesses the insight and intuition that only comes from decades of hands on experience leading community and statewide initiatives.


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