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Politics, Government, Election

Legislators Turn Focus on Supreme Court Spending Following Report on Luxury Purchases

The Free Press WV

The issue of the lack of legislative review of the judiciary’s budget has been simmering at the State Capitol for a few years now.  Some lawmakers object to the State Supreme Court’s power to determine its own budget with no oversight from lawmakers.

The judiciary’s budget autonomy is written into the state Constitution. Article VI, Section 51, Subsection A(5) actually states that the legislature does not have the authority to decrease the judiciary’s budget.

In theory, the court could ask for significant budget increases every year and there’s nothing the legislature could do about it.  In practice, however, the court has generally worked with lawmakers to craft a reasonable budget that is in line with state spending.  That shows restraint.

The General Revenue portion of the judiciary’s budget this fiscal year is $141,759,670.  That’s a lot of money, but it has increased less than two percent over the last three budget years.

In 2016, the legislature considered a joint resolution to amend the state Constitution by eliminating the judiciary’s budget protection, but it didn’t go anywhere.  There was no groundswell of support or particular constituency motivated enough to take on the State Supreme Court.

However, that changed this week with the revelation by WCHS TV of excessive spending and waste on Supreme Court office furnishings—a $32,000 couch and $7,500 for an inlaid wooden floor in the state’s design in Chief Justice Allen Loughry’s office; $28,000 rugs and an $8,000 chair in Justice Robin Davis’s office; a $9,000 sofa in Justice Margaret Workman’s chambers, to name a few.

All paid for with taxpayer dollars.

The luxury furnishings were part of a general renovation of the Supreme Court’s Capitol offices.  The initial estimate was $900,000 back in 2009, but that ballooned to $3.7 million with changes, additions and, yes, fancy furniture.

Legislative leaders say the luxury spending has renewed interest in the constitutional amendment.  “This just isn’t right,” said Senate President Mitch Carmichael (R-Jackson) on MetroNews Talkline.  “We’re going to make an effort to change that.”

House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Shott said he has no issue with upgrades to the historic Capitol building that are “appropriate and necessary,” but he adds that he “was stunned and angered by the amount that was spent for some of the furnishings that are more temporary.”

Changing the Constitution is not easy.  It requires a two-thirds vote by both chambers of the legislature and then approval by the voters.  Additionally there will be compelling arguments against it.  Would legislative oversight inject more politics in to the judiciary?  Would justices and judges feel compelled to craft decisions that meet approval of those who control the purse strings?

Those are rational questions that will need to be debated during the upcoming session. However, it’s going to be hard for lawmakers and the public to get the image out of their minds of a $32,000 couch.

“We’ve had some very difficult financial times.  We have state employees at nearly every agency that are not well paid,” Shott said.  “The thought that someone would spend that kind of money on a piece of furniture in view of those situations is just really troubling.”


11.18.2017 Arts & EntertainmentMediaTV & RadioNewsWest VirginiaOpinions | Commentary | G-LtE™ | G-Comm™ | G-OpEd™Politics | Government | ElectionState-WV

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~~~ Readers' Comments ~~~

The justices are part of the aristocracy. Does anybody think that they care what the peons think?

By Skip Beyer  on  11.18.2017

This is nothing new.  It has been happening for years and no attempt to stop it.  Just quiet it down when word leaks out.  The court system thumbs their noses and laughs at ‘their hillbillies’.

Remember the hub-bub about $100,000.00 bathrooms in the Capitol building a few months ago?

Think they have them all remodeled so those whom you elected can krap in style the next legislative session?  lol

By Web  on  11.18.2017

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The Numbers on Trump’s Lies Keep Going Up

The Free Press WV

As of 3am Eastern Standard Time on Tuesday, Donald Trump has told 1,628 lies since taking office. We know this because the Washington Post has been diligently watching the numbers, keeping tabs on Trump’s huge fibs and falsehoods. Over the 298 days since his inauguration, Trump has told an average of 5.5 lies every single day of the week, Monday to Sunday. While he barely works weekdays and golfs every weekend, he apparently never takes a vacation from lying.

Over the last 35 days, Trump has been even more dishonest than usual, upping his daily average to 9 lies every 24 hours. Thanks to the extra effort he’s put into misleading the country on a diversity of topics in recent weeks, he’s likely to reach “peak liar” status by January 20. “That puts the president on track to reach 1,999 claims by the end of his first year in office, though he obviously would easily exceed 2,000 if he maintained the pace of the past month,” the Post notes.

Trump tends to lie about the same things over and over again. Near the top of his greatest hits are taxes. Trump falsely stated 40 times that GOP tax reform will yield the biggest tax cut in history, and 50 times erroneously suggested the U.S. is the highest taxed nation in the world. Fifty-five times Trump has boasted about achievements he played no part in, especially when it comes to saving or creating jobs. But Trump has lied about Obamacare more than any other topic, stating some 60 times “some variation of the statement that the Affordable Care Act is dying and ‘essentially dead,’” according to the Post. That is just not true. “Indeed, healthy enrollment for the coming year has surprised health-care experts,” according to the outlet.

Trump’s lies are dangerous for reasons many have acknowledged. Obviously, the spread of misinformation and disinformation and the obliteration of truth may hold deep consequences for society and our already flawed democracy. All politicians lie, but Trump lies habitually, and with alarming frequency. The only surprise about Trump’s lying at this point is what he chooses to lie about—how easily disprovable his lies are and how unconvincing he is after so much practice. Of course, that matters little to Trump’s base and the GOP overall, for whom whataboutism and “if true”-ism are perfectly good stand-ins for what we’re constantly told are traditional values and morals.

   

Kali Holloway

City of Glenville Police Report

The Gilmer Free Press
City of Glenville, WV Police Report
Crime/Ordinance Violation
Officer
Disposition
Location
Speeding Gadney Warnings Issued for Speeding, Unsigned Registration, and No Proof of Insurance W. Main Street
Speeding Gadney Warning W. Main Street
No Seatbelt Gadney Cited N. Lewis Street
Cell phone while driving Huffman Cited for Cell phone while driving and Warning Issued for Unsigned Registration College Street
Speeding Gadney Warning W. Main Street
Alarm investigation Huffman All doors were secure contacted key holder Sheridan Street
Driving while Suspended Huffman Cited Walnut Street
Vehicle Unlock Huffman Vehicle Unlocked Foodland plaza
Welfare Check Huffman Vehicle Left the area prior to my arrival US WY 33 E
MVC Huffman Vehicle left the area prior to my arrival phone pole minimal damage contacted phone company Mineral Road
Vehicle Unlock Huffman Vehicle Unlocked Sycamore Road
Assist Another Agency Huffman/Garrett Assisted GCSD/WVSP with an Escaped inmate. Suspect located. FCI Gilmer
Serve Warrants Huffman Suspect arrested for WV Parole Board Center Street
Wrongful Occupation Huffman Served with Wrongful Occupation Center Street
Speeding Huffman Warning W. Main Street
Dog Barking Complaint Huffman Owners warned about the dog barking advised if the problem continued they could be cited S. Lewis Street
Trash Complaint Huffman No One home red tagged door for trash S. Lewis Street
Non Active Domestic Huffman Referred to WVSP due to being out of City Kanawha Street
Assist Another Agency Huffman/Garrett/Gadney Assisted WVSP and GCSD serving DVPO and making an arrest Kanawha Street
Defective Equipment Gadney Warning N. Lewis Street
Cell phone While Driving Gadney Cited N. Lewis Street
Defective Equipment Gadney Warning Fairground Road
Defective Equipment Gadney Warning N. Lewis Street
Defective Equipment Gadney Warning Fairground Road
Defective Equipment Gadney Warning S. Lewis Street
Cell phone while driving Huffman Cited Fairground Road
Defective Equipment Gadney Warning Fairground Road
Defective Equipment Gadney Warning N. Lewis Street
Speeding Gadney Cited College Street
Defective Equipment Gadney Warning N. Lewis Street
Failure to stop for stop sign Gadney Cited for Stop Sign Violation and Expired Registration Fairground Road
Stop Sign violation Gadney Cited Fairground Road
Defective Equipment Gadney Warning W. Main Street
Cell phone while driving Garrett Cited W. Main Street
Defective Equipment Garrett Warning N. Lewis Street
Stop Sign Violation Garrett Warning N. Lewis Street
Defective Equipment Gadney Warning N. Lewis Street
Cell phone while driving Gadney Cited Fairground Road
Speeding Gadney Warning W. Main Street
Speeding Gadney Cited W. Main Street
Defective Equipment Gadney Warning N. Lewis Street
Speeding Gadney Cited W. Main Street
Defective Equipment Gadney Warnings Issued for Defective Equipment and Unsigned Registration card River Street
Vehicle Unlock Huffman Vehicle Unlocked Foodland Plaza
Tree in roadway Huffman Tree fell on power lines and was blocking roadway Mon Power contacted Pine Street
Shots fired Huffman No Shots were fired sound was tree falling onto power lines Pine Street
Speeding Garrett Warning W. Main Street
Expired MVI Gadney Cited W. Main Street
Expired MVI Gadney Warning W. Main Street
Speeding Gadney Cited W. Main Street
Active domestic Gadney All Verbal parties were separated E. Main Street
Shoplifting Huffman Cited Go Mart
Vehicle Unlock Huffman Vehicle Unlocked Powell Street
Battery on a School Employee Huffman Investigation Started Gilmer Co High
Speeding Huffman Cited for Speeding and No Seatbelt, Warning Issued for Unsigned Registration W. Main Street
No Seatbelt Huffman Cited W. Main Street
Speeding Huffman Warning College Street
Speeding Garrett Warning W. Main Street
Driving without headlights Garrett Warning College Street
Illegal lighting Garrett Warning W. Main Street
Speeding Huffman Warning College Street
Speeding Huffman Warning College Street
Reckless driver Garrett Negative Contact WV HWY 5 E
Threats Garrett Caller advised didn’t want to file charges just wanted to let someone know Howard Street
Suicide Gadney Male Subject pronounced DOS Center Street
Stop Sign Violation Gadney Warning N. Lewis Street
Stop Sign Violation Gadney Cited N. Lewis Street
Speeding Gadney Cited N. Lewis Street
Speeding Gadney Cited for Speeding and failure to produce operators N. Lewis Street
Defective Equipment Gadney Warning N. Lewis Street
Defective Equipment Gadney Warning N. Lewis Street
Defective Equipment Gadney Warning S. Lewis Street
No MVI Gadney Cited for No MVI and Warnings issued for No Proof of Registration and Defective Equipment Fairground Road
Stop Sign Violation Gadney Warning Fairground Road
Speeding Gadney Cited N. Lewis Street
Defective Equipment Gadney Warning Fairground Road
Defective Equipment Gadney Warning Linn Street
Defective Equipment Gadney Warning Fairground Road
Serve Warrants Huffman Suspect arrested and transported to CRJ Magistrate Court
Threats Huffman Suspect left the scene prior to my arrival.  No Direct Threats were made to individuals at the restaurant.  Suspect was later located and advised he was not allowed to be on the property or would be arrested for Trespassing Corner Stone
Vehicle unlock Huffman Vehicle Unlocked Gilmer Elementary
Trash Complaint Huffman Warning Issued and was told that he had to have all the trash cleaned up or would be cited N. Lewis Street
Motor Vehicle Crash Huffman No Report Completed subjects exchanged information Foodland
Speeding Garrett Warning W. Main Street
Speeding Garrett Warning W. Main Street
Speeding Garrett Warning W. Main Street
Active Domestic Huffman/Garrett All verbal, no physical contact parties were separated Walnut Street
Large Altercation Huffman Altercation with approximately 30 people involved, fight was broken up and EMS made a transport to the hospital, attempted to locate suspects Powell Street/Go Mart
Defective Equipment Gadney Warning N. Lewis Street
Driving without headlights Gadney Cited E. Main Street
Speeding Gadney Warning N. Lewis Street
Red ribbon Week Presentation Huffman Assisted with a Drug awareness presentation Gilmer Elementary
Speeding Huffman Cited W. Main Street
Assist CPS Huffman Assisted CPS with a referral Glenville
Vehicle Unlock Huffman Vehicle Unlocked Gilmer Co High
Speeding Huffman Cited for Speeding and No Seatbelt, warnings Issued for Unsigned registration and failure to change address W. Main Street
Speeding Garrett Cited W. Main Street
Active Domestic Huffman All Verbal parties separated E. Main  St
Reckless Driver Garrett Negative contact with the vehicle W. Main Street
Speeding Huffman Warning W. Main Street
Speeding Gadney Warning N. Lewis Street
MVC Garrett Accident Report Completed High St
MVC Gadney Accident Report Completed W. Main Street
Vehicle Unlock Huffman Vehicle unlocked Conrad Motel
Speeding Gadney Warning W. Main Street
Expired MVI Gadney Warning N. Lewis Street
Speeding Gadney Cited Mineral Road
Improper Registration Gadney Cited for Improper Registration and No Proof of Registration Mineral Road
Defective Equipment Gadney Warning Mineral Road
Cell phone while Driving Gadney Cited Fairground Road
Defective Equipment Gadney Warning S. Lewis Street
Speeding Gadney Cited Mineral Road
Assist Another Agency Gadney Assisted WVSP with active Domestic Wabash Ave
Defective Equipment Gadney Warning N. Lewis Street
Defective Equipment Gadney Warning Fairground Road
Defective Equipment Gadney Warning Fairground Road
Speeding Gadney Cited N. Lewis Street
Improper Lighting Gadney Suspect arrested for DUI W. Main Street
Defective Equipment Gadney Warning W. Main Street
Speeding Gadney Cited W. Main Street
Defective Equipment Gadney Warning College Street
Speeding Huffman Warnings Issued for Speeding and Unsigned Registration College Street
Active Domestic Huffman 1 male and 1 female arrested for Domestic Battery Charges Mountaineer Mart
Vehicle Unlock Huffman Vehicle Unlocked Conrad Motel

Holding VA Medical Providers Accountable

The Free Press WV

Following a USA Today investigation revealing the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) concealed poor care and mistakes made by its medical workers, two senators have introduced legislation to hold the VA accountable.

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Dean Heller, R-Nev., introduced Monday the VA Provider Accountability Act, which would require the VA to report major adverse actions to the National Practitioner Data Bank and state licensing boards.

The bill would also prohibit the VA from signing settlements with fired or dismissed VA employees that allow the VA to conceal serious medical errors or purge negative records from personnel files.

“The vast majority of VA healthcare providers are well-trained, caring, patriots who work hard to take care of our nation’s veterans,” Manchin said in a release. “But, just like in any healthcare system, there are bad apples.”

Manchin, a member of the U.S. Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, said the VA Provider Accountability Ace is a commonsense piece of legislation to ensure that incidences of malpractice do not go unreported to state licensing boards and the National Practitioner Data Bank.

“It also stops those who commit malpractice from receiving a settlement so they will quietly resign and become a provider outside of the VA. By imposing these oversight measures on the Department of Veterans Affairs, we are ensuring the safety and wellbeing of all Americans.”

Heller added that the USA Today investigation findings were “downright shameful.”

“We need action immediately to ensure that the VA does not hide medical mistakes or inadequate care.”

He continued, “It is our responsibility to stand up for those who put their lives on the line for this country and provide them with the world class medical care they expect and deserve. The VA lists integrity as its first core value, and VA employees make the promise to act with high moral principle and adhere to the highest professional standards. Our legislation will make sure of it by holding the VA’s feet to the fire so that the veterans the agency exists to serve have trust in their caretakers.”

House Tax Bill Would Increase The Cost Of College

The Free Press WV

The repeal or revision of higher education tax benefits in the House Republican bill would cost students and families more than $71 billion over the next decade, according to an official analysis by Congress’s Joint Committee on Taxation.

In a letter obtained by The Washington Post, the committee provides specific individual scores of the education provisions in the House bill. Those that directly benefit current students, borrowers and employees seeking college credentials amount to tens of billions of dollars in revenue for the government, but lost savings for taxpayers. The committee tallied the costs at the request of Sen. Patty Murray, Wash., the ranking Democrat of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

“At a time when higher education costs are skyrocketing, it is extremely disappointing Republicans are trying to jam through a plan that will take money from students and families who are trying to send their kids to college - all to pay for a massive tax cut for corporations and the richest among us,“ Murray said. “Republicans need to stop playing partisan games with our students’ education, and start working with us to provide more opportunities for all.“

House Republicans rattled universities, graduate students and education loan borrowers with proposals to dramatically shake up the landscape of existing tax credits, deductions and exclusions.

Graduate students, for instance, mobilized to fight against the proposed repeal of an exemption from taxes on the waivers that cover their tuition. Many have argued that counting their tuition as taxable income would result in a tax burden they could not cover with the money earned from working as teaching or research assistants. Repealing that exemption would yield the federal government $5.4 billion in revenue over the next decade.

Another hotly contested House proposal involves the elimination of the student loan interest deduction, which lets people repaying their student loans reduce their tax burden by as much as $2,500. Getting rid of the deduction would cost borrowers over $21 billion in the next 1o years. More than 12 million people took advantage of the deduction in 2015, according to the Internal Revenue Service. That’s just about 3 in 10 of the 44 million Americans with student loans.

Millions of Americans also take advantage of the three higher-education tax credits - the American Opportunity Tax Credit, Lifetime Learning Credit and Hope Scholarship Credit - that House Republicans want to consolidate. The government would get $24.1 billion in revenue by repealing the Lifetime Learning Credit. But that money would come at the expense of graduate students who under the proposal would be largely shut out of the consolidated tax credit.

While policy analysts agree that tax credits should be streamlined, many worry that consolidating them without a meaningful increase in funding or expansion of the criteria would prove detrimental to people paying for college. They also worry that House Republicans are discouraging workforce development by proposing the repeal of an exemption that prevents the federal government from taxing tuition assistance provided by employers. Eliminating that statute would yield $20.6 billion over a decade, which taken with the other three repeals amounts to $71.5 billion.

“The biggest losers will be students repaying their education loans, young adults seeking graduate degrees and adults seeking continuing education to upgrade their skills in a rapidly changing labor market,“ said Terry W. Hartle, senior vice president of the American Council on Education. “We’re moving in precisely the opposite direction from where we should be going.“

Some within higher education are relieved that Senate Republican tax bill side steps many of the higher education proposals made in the House, including the graduate tax and interest deduction. Still, there is no guarantee that those provisions will remain off limits during reconciliation.

GOP Braces for Extended Clash in Alabama

The Free Press WV

With President Donald Trump standing on the sidelines, Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore and his allies on the ground in Alabama are bracing for an extended conflict — not with Democrats, but with their own party in Washington.

The divide between the state and national GOP reached new depths late Wednesday as more allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced against Moore, an outspoken Christian conservative. Already, the Republican National Committee, the Senate GOP campaign committee and the party’s leading voices in Congress have called on the 70-year-old former judge to quit the race.

Ever defiant, Moore offered fighting words in a tweet addressed to the top Senate Republican: “Dear Mitch McConnell, Bring. It. On.”

Chris Hansen, executive director of the national GOP’s Senate campaign committee, fired back, “‘Bring It On’ is a movie about cheerleaders.”

At least three new allegations of misconduct were reported on Wednesday, including one by Tina Johnson, who told AL.com that Moore groped her during a 1991 meeting in his law office. Two others told The Washington Post they were young women when Moore courted them as a district attorney in his 30s. Three other women told the newspaper last week that they were teens when Moore tried to initiate romantic relationships. One said she was 14 when Moore touched her over her bra and underwear.

“There’s a special place in hell for people who prey on children,” Ivanka Trump told the AP on Wednesday. “I’ve yet to see a valid explanation and I have no reason to doubt the victims’ accounts.”

Her father, however, dodged questions about the turmoil in the Alabama Senate race on Wednesday. President Donald Trump, who withstood allegations of sexual assault weeks before his own election, was uncharacteristically silent when faced with questions about the scandal.

Washington Republicans had looked to Trump as one of the few remaining hopes for pushing a fellow political rebel from the race.

Behind the scenes, aides described Trump as vexed by the Moore issue. Even if he should speak out, he might make an uncomfortable critic: The allegations against the bombastic former judge echo Trump’s own political problems when he was accused weeks before the 2016 election of more than a dozen instances of sexual harassment. The Trump aides would not be named discussing the matter because they were not authorized to discuss private conversations.

To a great extent, the anti-establishment forces that propelled Trump to the White House are now strongly behind Moore, and Alabama Republican leaders are reluctant to enrage his loyal conservative supporters.

The Alabama Republican Party is expected to maintain support for their embattled candidate.

The state GOP’s 21-member steering committee did not take a final vote after an hours-long meeting to discuss their options on Wednesday, which took place before new allegations of misconduct surfaced, according to three people familiar with the meeting who weren’t authorized to speak publicly.

The state GOP has the power to revoke Moore’s GOP nomination and ask election officials to ignore ballots cast for him, but that would risk a lawsuit and backlash from Moore supporters. The party has little interest in alienating Moore’s followers a year before elections in which the governor’s office and entire state Legislature will be in play.

Outside the state party headquarters, Moore’s campaign chairman and personal attorney addressed reporters on Wednesday, trying to undercut the story of one of the women who has accused Moore of sexually accosting her when she was in high school.

The attorney, Phillip Jauregui, demanded that Beverly Nelson “release the yearbook” she contends Moore signed. The lawyer questioned whether the signature was Moore’s and said it should be submitted for handwriting analysis. Neither the attorney nor the campaign manager addressed the original allegations from his other accusers. They did not take questions.

Gloria Allred, Nelson’s attorney, later said her client would allow the yearbook to be examined only if Moore is questioned under oath by a Senate committee.

The unusual news conference suggested that Moore, a judge twice removed from his post as state Supreme Court chief justice, was digging in, leaving his party with two damaging potential election outcomes. His victory would saddle GOP senators with a colleague accused of abusing and harassing teenagers, a troubling liability heading into next year’s congressional elections, while a loss to Democrat Doug Jones would slice the already narrow GOP Senate majority to an unwieldy 51-49.

It’s too late to remove Moore’s name from the ballot, so fielding a Republican write-in at this point would almost certainly hand the election to the Democrats unless he should withdraw and persuade his supporters to vote for that substitute.

According to internal polling conducted by the Senate GOP campaign arm and reviewed by The Associated Press, Moore trails Democrat Jones by 12 points — 39 percent to 51 percent — in the survey conducted on Sunday and Monday. Moore led by 9 points the week before in the National Republican Senatorial Committee’s internal numbers.

National GOP leaders were openly discussing a write-in candidate, although they had not yet agreed on who it should be. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has encouraged Attorney General Jeff Sessions to step up. But Sessions, whose former Senate seat is at stake, has indicated he has no interest in that.

Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby said that he’ll write in another name on Election Day and Sessions would be an “ideal candidate.” But he also said “I don’t see any movement” toward an effective effort with the election less than a month away.

McKinley & Thompson Stand Up for Rural Patients, Hospitals

The Free Press WV

Representatives David B. McKinley, P.E., (WV-1) and Mike Thompson (CA-5) introduced H.R. 4392 to reverse a Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) rule cutting $1.6B for drugs purchased by certain hospitals covered under the 340B program. These cuts jeopardize care for millions by directly reducing revenue to hospitals that care for vulnerable patients in underserved and rural communities, without addressing the underlying price of the drugs.

“Protecting access to prescription drugs for low income communities should be a priority. Unfortunately, CMS’s misguided rule jeopardizes the ability of rural hospitals to provide vital services. This would have a huge impact on West Virginia hospitals’ ability to provide affordable care. We led a bipartisan letter to CMS with nearly 250 signers, urging them to reconsider, but they didn’t listen. This bill ensures that hospitals are able to continue providing affordable services, and gives rural families peace of mind,” said McKinley.

“This rule dramatically undermines the ability of hospitals across the country to deliver care to our nation’s most vulnerable populations. I’m disappointed that CMS did not listen to hospitals, nor a majority of members in the House and Senate, and approved a rule that puts both hospitals and patients at risk,” said Thompson. “I will work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to stop this rule and ensure the 340B program can continue to serve low-income populations as Congress intended.”

“The AHA thanks Representatives McKinley and Thompson for leading this bipartisan effort to protect patient care by preventing CMS from reducing Medicare Part B payments for some 340B hospitals,” said Tom Nickels, Executive Vice President of the American Hospital Association. “For 25 years, the 340B Drug Pricing program has been critical in helping hospitals expand access to lifesaving prescription drugs and comprehensive health care to low-income patients and other vulnerable populations in communities across the country.”

“The AAMC would like to thank Representatives McKinley and Thompson for introducing this important bipartisan bill to prevent major Medicare cuts to safety net hospitals that participate in the 340B Drug Pricing Program,” said Atul Grover, MD, PhD, Executive Vice President of the Association of American Medical Colleges. “This program provides savings to many teaching hospitals, allowing them to maintain vital services for patients at no cost to taxpayers.”

“We thank Congressmen McKinley and Thompson for their leadership and support for low-income Americans and their essential hospitals,” said Bruce Siegel, MD, MPH, President and CEO of America’s Essential Hospitals. “They understand the damage this policy will cause to communities in West Virginia, California, and across the country, and we appreciate their efforts to protect patients. We urge all House members to support access to affordable drugs by supporting this critical legislation.”


Background

On November 01, 2017, CMS cut the reimbursement rate for Medicare Part B drugs purchased by certain hospitals covered under the 340B program by around $1.6B. This legislation would completely negate the effects of this rule.

Since 1992, the 340B program has used mandated discounts offered by drug manufacturers to help hospitals and other covered entities provide discounted drugs and lifesaving services to their patients. The CMS rule eliminates funding that hospitals use to support the unreimbursed cost of care for those who need it the most.

On September 28, 2017, McKinley and Thompson organized a bipartisan letter to CMS Administrator Seema Verma urging the administration to withdraw its harmful proposal to cut the 340B Drug Pricing Program. This letter was signed by 228 Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle who understand that protecting access to affordable care is a top priority.

Glenville City Council Regular Meeting Minutes

The Free Press WV
GLENVILLE CITY COUNCIL MINUTES
October 02, 2017
7:00 p.m.

The meeting was called to order at 7:00 p.m. by Mayor Dennis Fitzpatrick with Council members Wiant, Huffman, Dean and Taylor present. Councilman Fisher was absent.


Pledge of Allegiance


I. Call to Order


Public Comments

None


A. Approval of Minutes – September 04, 2017

The minutes from the September 04, 2017, meeting were reviewed. One correction was noted and minutes were placed on file for audit.


II. Reports

Financial

The City is currently at 25.75% of the fiscal year budget with revenue at 25.75% and expenditures at 24.14%. Council had allocated $3500 from Coal Severance for this fiscal year and we have now exceeded this amount. Council agreed to continue taking the waste management and Mayor’s training expenses out of this fund at this time, but will begin taking the bookkeeper’s fee from treasurer’s office line item. Councilwoman Huffman made a motion to approve the financial report as presented. Councilwoman Taylor seconded the motion. Motion passed.


Street Report

Mayor Fitzpatrick noted the large tree was cut down in the Camden Flats alleyway on Whiting Avenue and removed.


Police Report

Chief Huffman provided the police report to council. He stated they would be participating in the drug take back program scheduled for October 28 from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. Officer Gadney received the Perseverance Award at the Academy. Congratulations to the new officer.


Glenville Utility

Mayor Fitzpatrick stated there were a couple of small service line water leaks on 3rd and Sheridan.


Recorder

Nothing to report.


Mayor Comments

- Set Halloween Date:  Councilwoman Huffman made a motion to hold Trick or Treat on Saturday, October 28, from 6:00 – 7:30 p.m. Councilwoman Dean seconded the motion. Motion passed.

 

- October 12th West Virginia Municipal League Board of Directors Meeting:  Mayor Fitzpatrick requested approval to attend the Municipal League Board of Directors meeting in Bridgeport on October 12 and receive reimbursement for mileage. Councilwoman Taylor made a motion to reimburse mayor for travel expenses to attend the Municipal League BOD meeting in Bridgeport on October 12. Councilwoman Huffman seconded the motion. Motion passed.

 

- Reminder: The person in charge of activities in the City Square must be on hand to remove trash, turn off lights, have individuals available to direct traffic or get in touch with a police officer.  Requested a designated person be in charge when activities are held at City Park.

 

- Reminder: GCHS Parade will be on the 6th of October beginning at 5:00. Streets will be closed at 4:00 p.m.

 

- Audit completed:  The audit is complete and the City received the best rating. There was one issue with the Coal Severance that will come out in the report which should be received in approximately one month.

 

- Judge’s training:  Mayor and City Clerk will attend mandatory Municipal Judge training Nov 2nd and 3rd and requested approval to attend and receive room and travel reimbursement. Councilwoman Huffman made a motion to approve travel reimbursement for mayor and city clerk to attend annual municipal judge training in Charleston. Councilwoman Dean seconded the motion. Motion passed.

 

- Road Bond Resolution:  Roads to Prosperity road bond will repair existing roadways creating jobs and economic development with election scheduled this Saturday, October 7. Mayor read the resolution to council and signed.

 

- Approve $500.00 Street Signs:  Mayor has ordered street signs and requested council approve payment of the invoice in the amount of $513. Councilwoman Huffman made a motion to approve the payment of the invoice for street signs. Councilwoman Taylor seconded the motion. Motion passed.

 

- Office Computer:  The City Clerk’s office computer needs to be replaced and we can purchase a new computer and monitor estimated less than $500. Councilwoman Huffman made a motion to approve the purchase of a new computer for the main office. Councilwoman Dean seconded the motion. Motion passed.

 

- Rosie the Riveter Information:  Ruby Coberly is recognized as one of the Rosie the Riveters nationwide. She and her son, Gary, have a bell that they want to donate but we need to purchase the cradle (approx. $200) and the pole matching our existing poles in the park (approx. $2500). GCEDA has agreed to match funds. Mayor requested the City contribute $500 and we could use line items Parks and Recreation and Fairs and Festivals. This bell will be permanent and would be used to start the Folk Festival, homecoming parades, and other events in the City. Councilwoman Huffman made a motion to pledge $500 towards the purchase of the pole and cradle using line items 900 ($250) and 903 ($250). Councilwoman Dean seconded the motion. Motion passed.

 

- Mayor Fitzpatrick noted that the County Commission would raise the City fee from $750 to $825 a month. There was a large percent increase in Dispatch calls with no increase in fees for many years.


III. Unfinished Business

None


IV. New Business

None


V. Other Business to come before Council

Councilwoman Huffman noted the Fire Department is requesting permission to host the annual Christmas Parade on Saturday, December 02, 2017, at 5:00 p.m. with the streets blocked off at 4:00 p.m. Councilwoman Taylor made a motion to approve the Fire Department’s annual Christmas Parade on Saturday, December 2, at 5:00 p.m. Councilwoman Dean seconded the motion. Motion passed. Dave Corcoran requested permission to hold the annual Veteran’s Parade on Saturday, November 04, at 11:00 a.m. with streets closed at 10:00 a.m. He requested Mayor Fitzpatrick provide the welcome message. The parade route will begin at the City Park and end at the Historical Society where the rest of the program will take place. Councilwoman Huffman made a motion to approve the Veteran’s Parade on November 04 at 11:00 a.m. Councilwoman Taylor seconded the motion. Motion passed. It was noted that a 5K run will be held earlier that morning with the streets closed at 9:00 a.m. but should not conflict with the Veteran’s Parade.


VI. Next City Council Meeting

The next council meeting will be November 06, 2017, at 7:00 p.m.


VII. Adjourn

Meeting adjourned at 7:34 p.m.

 

GSC President Pellett arrived following a meeting to meet City Council members and talk briefly about renovations scheduled to take place including the fitness center currently underway and plans to renovate the old Conrad Motel. He also noted that Mayor Fitzpatrick would be honored at the next football game as part of their Halftime Heroes that honors people in the community and on campus for their work and support. He discussed a partnership with the City and working to increase enrollment and retention of students. Mr. Corcoran suggested the GSC music program might provide concerts at the City Park to be open to the community. Councilwoman Dean suggested that GSC set up an alumni tent at the Little Pioneer football games.

WV Revenues Match Expenditures, Keeping The Budget In Balance

The Free Press WV

West Virginia state government’s budget looks decidedly better four months into the new fiscal year than at the same time the two previous years.

Figures released Monday by the State Department of Revenue show the state collected $354 million in October, matching almost exactly the projections.  It’s critical to meet the monthly projections because the budget is based on the expected collections. If revenue falls too far short, mid-year cuts have to be made.

So far this fiscal year revenue collections are just slightly below estimates, by $8 million, but that’s not much considering the General Revenue budget is over $4 billion.  The collections-to-expenditures match is positive news for the state.

“We are in a much better place,” said State Revenue Secretary Dave Hardy. “Because the revenue projections are spot-on we don’t have to make the painful decision about recommending mid-year budget cuts.”

That has not been the case in the last couple of years, when a significant slowdown in the coal industry and a drop in natural gas prices wrecked the state’s economy and caused tax collections to spiral downward, well below projections.

Last year at this time revenue collections trailed estimates by $87 million.  That hole was serious enough for then-Governor Earl Ray Tomblin to impose a two-percent midyear spending cut. The state faced a similar shortfall in 2015, forcing Tomblin to cut four percent from most state agencies and one percent from public education.

But now the state’s economy is showing some improvement.

For example, for the first four months of the year the state has collected $80.7 million in severance taxes—the taxes on coal, gas and timber—for the General Fund.  While that figure is $13 million below projections, it is still 68 percent higher than the same period last year.

Personal Income Tax collections are up, due in part to a slight rise in employment.  However, sales tax collections are running behind projections because West Virginians are not spending as much as expected on taxable goods and services.

“We are keeping an eye on sluggish sales tax numbers, but we aren’t worried at this point,” Hardy said.  “And we are excited to see marked improvement in our Personal Income Tax and energy industry revenues.”

The revenue projections and collections are indicators of the strength or weakness of the state’s economy.  The most recent numbers show some positives, but more importantly they indicate the worst of the state’s economic downturn is behind us.

The Results of The October Special Election in WV

The Free Press WV

West Virginia Secretary of State Mac Warner issued a proclamation yesterday that the results of the October 7th special election for a constitutional amendment allowing the issuance of road bonds are now certified.

Voters cast 122,419 ballots in the October 7th special election, with 72.85 percent of voters approving the Roads to Prosperity Amendment of 2017, and 27.15 percent voting against the amendment. Voter turnout was 10 percent of those registered to vote by the September 18th deadline.

“Thanks to quick work by county clerks and county commissions, we can now release the official results of October’s special election,” said Secretary Warner. “I’m thankful for those who took the time and effort to let their voices be heard. I am also thankful for the hard work put in by our 55 county clerks, their staff, and the poll workers who gave their time to ensure a smooth election process.”

County commissions, working as the Board of Canvassers, canvassed the results. Once canvassed, the county commissions sent copies of the certifications to the Secretary of State’s Office. The amendment provides for the improvement and construction of roads in the state by the issuance of bonds not to exceed $1.6 billion.

Board of Education Takes Action on Policies to Provide Flexibility to Counties

The Free Press WV

The West Virginia Board of Education (WVBE) adopted two policies and placed another two on 30-day public comment during its November meeting in Charleston. Adopted policies were previously available online for a 30-day comment period, and comments were considered in the adopted policies. A brief description of each policy can be found below.

Adopted Policies

     
  • 3234 – School Calendar: Six faculty senate meetings are now required, with one being held before the commencement of the instructional term, and one at the end of the employment term. The revised policy also states that instructional minutes are now part of state code requiring a minimum of 315 instructional minutes for elementary schools, 330 instructional minutes for middle schools and 345 instructional minutes for high schools. Additionally, counties now have the option to add 30 minutes to the minimum instructional day to accumulate time equivalent for up to five days to use for school cancellations due to inclement weather, and up to five days for professional learning experiences for teachers when students are not present. This policy will be effective on December 11, 2017.
  •  
  • 5202 – Minimum Requirements for the Licensure of Professional/ Paraprofessional Personnel and Advanced Salary Classifications: Policy revisions are intended to provide additional flexibility for the licensure of aspiring educators. Requirements have not changed, but have been expanded and provide additional options to meet existing requirements. Additional options include exemption from the Praxis content test for individuals who hold a master’s degree and five years of directly related work experience or a doctorate in a content area. The revised policy also allows for individuals who hold a master’s degree and who completed a Speech Language Pathology Program, are licensed to practice in another state, hold a valid West Virginia Board of Examiners in Speech Pathology and Audiology license and valid national certification by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), and passing scores on the current Praxis exam to teach in West Virginia for two years conditionally without a school certificate. The revised policy also allows for the use of eLearning courses to be used for certification renewal with the option to renew for one year with only three semester hours. Finally, the revised policy allows an individual in a medical field to serve as a temporary replacement for up to three days for the assigned coach or trainer during a season, while individuals holding a valid Professional Student Support certificate are eligible to coach without the Coaching Authorization. This policy will be effective on December 11, 2017.

Policies Out for 30-Day Public Comment

     
  • 2510 – Approval for Educator Preparation Programs: The revised policy is intended to ensure students are college and career ready, while providing additional flexibility to counties. Major revisions include changing the minimum number of required graduation credits from 24 to 21 and changing the number of required high school social studies credits from four to three. Finally, the revised policy changes the non-weighted course grading scale to a grading scale used by virtual schools and most colleges, which will make 0-59 an F, 60-69 a D, 70-79 a C, 80-89 a B and 90-100 an A. The additional changes focus on personalizing education to meet the needs of individual students while maintaining rigorous educational standards.
  •  
  • 2460 – Educational Purpose and Acceptable Use of Electronic Resources, Technologies and the Internet: The revised policy is designed to set forth recommendations, guidelines and responsibilities for any individual using the K-12 network and electronic devices. Districts must use Policy 2460 as their Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) but may incorporate additional, more stringent guidelines closely aligned with local directives. Each user on the K-12 network is made aware of the contents and must agree to the AUP prior to using any electronic device on the K-12 network. Individuals without a signed AUP would be prohibited from using any electronic device on the K-12 network. For students under 18, a parent signature is required. Language throughout the document was updated to encompass the ever-widening presence of social media and to comply with updated local, state and federal laws and policies.

To review Board policies and comment online, visit: http://wvde.state.wv.us/policies/


11.10.2017 EducationNewsWest VirginiaPolitics | Government | ElectionState-WV

(7) Comments

Permalink - Link to This Article

~~~ Readers' Comments ~~~

Policy 2510 is an admission by the West Virginia Board of Education of their own failure.

Dumb down the standards in order that students can get a passing grade.

You grand pooh-bahs in Charleston BOE should be ashamed of yourselves!  But you have no shame. Obviously so.

Steve Paine, leading the failure of education in West Virginia.

By # 2510 policy--WVBOE ADMITS OWN FAILURE  on  11.10.2017

All high schools in WV have ACT Profile Reports for each graduating class.

The only performance information typically cited in school districts is average ACT scores for graduating classes.

If you can get copies of Reports for your high schools read them to independently evaluate testing results for career and college readiness, science, technology engineering and math (STEM), and other categories.

Chances are that your local administrators gloated that average ACT scores for graduating classes are commendable to give your high schools passing marks, but other testing outcomes in the Reports may show otherwise.

It is doubtful if LSIC members for your high schools know about the Reports to be grounds for demanding academic improvement plans. Check Reports for high schools in your school district to make up your own minds.

By WVDOE Fact Checker  on  11.11.2017

Fellow West Virginian’s.  What is being seen here is Paine’s return to ‘power’ and the continued 20 years charade by the WVBOE.

They spend your tax dollars.  They do their best to cover their failed efforts.  They cheat our children of a good education. 

They play (think manipulate) with the grading system every couple years, making it impossible to follow students upward or downward progressions.

Don’t expect any good, any progress, any improvement to happen in West Virginia.  It’s not in the cards.  Well, that is not in the ‘administrators’.

By 20 years of WVBOE 'playing' school  on  11.12.2017

What is this “LSIC” commenter speaks about?
Who and what is that all about?

By reader  on  11.12.2017

LSIC=Local School Improvement Council. Each WV school has one. Google to learn what each one is supposed to do to improve a school. Ask for plans for your schools.

By POGO  on  11.13.2017

LSIC plans are short on specifics for measurable academic improvements to be achieved. That way no matter what happens extraordinary successes can be proclaimed. The strategy is designed to make meaningful accountability impossible for school system administrators.

By More Of Same For WV Schools  on  11.15.2017

Why are Gilmer’s voters kept in the dark about activities of the two LSICs in the County? No published agendas before meetings, no published meeting minutes, and plans with details for school improvements are not disclosed. Violation of WV’s open meeting laws? To top it off memberships of LSIC’s and who selected the individuals are kept secret from voters.

By Gilmer Voter  on  11.16.2017

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What Does the Virginia Election Say about West Virginia?

The Free Press WV

Democrats are understandably pumped after Tuesday’s elections.  Democrats won the governor’s races in Virginia and New Jersey and scored additional victories across the country.  The Dems erased a 32-seat Republican advantage in the Virginia House of Delegates and, depending upon recounts, could become the majority in the House.

Democrats are crediting their victories to energized voters response to Donald Trump’s presidency.  Virginia Governor-elect Ralph Northam capitalized on Trump’s unpopularity among a majority of the voters of the Commonwealth to defeat Republican Ed Gillespie.

“Virginia has told us to end the divisiveness, that we will not condone hatred and bigotry—and to end the politics that have torn this country apart,” Northam said in his victory speech Tuesday night.

So do the Virginia results provide any early signs of what might happen in West Virginia next year, especially in the U.S. Senate race between incumbent Democrat Joe Manchin and, on the Republican side, either Congressman Evan Jenkins or Attorney General Patrick Morrisey?

Virginia had been more of a purple state, although it is clearly bluer after Tuesday.  Hillary Clinton won by five points in Virginia, the only southern state to back the Democratic nominee. By contrast, Trump carried West Virginia by a whopping 42 points over Clinton.

Clinton won the Washington, D.C. suburbs and urban areas while Trump won rural areas of Virginia, including every county that borders West Virginia (except Loudoun County, which is just outside of D.C.).

The Trump counties in Virginia, especially those in Appalachia, are demographically similar to West Virginia—largely rural, white and poorer.  Gillespie carried nearly every county Trump won last November.

Gillespie was particularly strong in counties that border West Virginia. He captured an average of 71 percent of the vote in 13 of the 14 counties. The lone exception, just like last year, was Loudoun County, where Northam won with 60 percent.

Here’s another way to look at the results:

Twenty-five of Virginia’s counties are considered Appalachian.  Trump won all but one of those counties (Montgomery) last year with an average of 74 percent of the vote.  Gillespie’s results were identical. He won 24 of the 25 Appalachian counties with 74 percent.

All 55 counties in West Virginia are considered part of Appalachia and Trump won every county in the state in 2016.

Nationally Democrats need something to build on after 2016, and they should be energized after Tuesday.  However, the Virginia vote also showed Trump’s base remains strong. That’s a positive sign for Republican candidates in West Virginia next year and an area of concern for Senator Joe Manchin and the rest of the Democrats in the state.

“Patriotic Millionaires” Question Tax Cuts For The Wealthy

The Free Press WV

As details of the GOP’s tax plan take shape, a group of wealthy business leaders and investors has launched an online tool to help taxpayers see past the political rhetoric and weigh in on the new policies.

Erica Payne is president of the group Patriotic Millionaires. She said politicians often use public speeches calling for tax reform to distract voters from a tax code she said would put more than $1 trillion into the pockets of the richest people in the country.

“If these millionaire tax breaks go through, the middle class is going to pay for them,” Payne said. “They will pay for them in worse roads, worse schools, higher taxes themselves, higher local taxes. So they need to get activated, and they need to impact this tax debate.“

Payne said one goal of the Taxpayer Action Center is to help level the playing field and give voters the same access to elected officials as the professional lobbyists and powerful interests that have helped shape the tax plan so far. Proponents of the measure say all Americans will get tax breaks, and claim lowering the corporate tax rate will lead to increased wages and economic growth.

Payne said the new online resource, which taps analysis and data from a dozen think tanks and nonprofits, can help taxpayers fact-check promises made by politicians. She said the plan, giving two-thirds of the proposed tax breaks to the top 1 percent of earners and waiting for that money to trickle down, won’t spur economic growth.

She said instead, letting working families keep more of their money would boost the economy because they would spend it on essentials.

“When you give it to rich people, they do not do that,” she said. “They stick it into accounts, because they don’t need to spend the money, because they already have more money than they know what to do with. And so it does nothing economically to give tax breaks to millionaires.“

Congressional leaders delayed the release of their tax plan while working on it in secret. A version in the House is moving quickly, but is expected to slow in the Senate.

The Patriotic Millionaires’ online resource can be found at TaxActionCenter.com.

~~  Dan Heyman ~~

Update on $160M Settlement with Frontier

The Free Press WV

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey announced Frontier Communications has increased internet speeds for approximately 43 percent of customers impacted by its estimated $160 million settlement with West Virginia.

Frontier Communications entered into a settlement to resolve complaints about internet speeds provided to its customers. The agreement, announced in December 2015, marked the largest, independently negotiated consumer protection settlement in West Virginia history.

“This agreement continues to deliver improved connectivity for thousands of West Virginians, however significant work remains,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “My office will continue to monitor Frontier’s progress to ensure compliance with the settlement’s terms for the advancement of West Virginia.”

The multi-faceted agreement requires Frontier to invest at least $150 million in capital expenditures to increase internet speeds across West Virginia and lower monthly rates for affected consumers.

Frontier, to date, has spent $93.3 million in capital expenditures, funds which the company reports has increased internet speeds to 11,836 customers throughout West Virginia, according to the company’s most recent quarterly report filed with the Attorney General’s Office.

The Attorney General’s Office, between 2013 and 2015, received multiple complaints from customers paying for Frontier’s high-speed service, which advertised Internet speeds up to 6 megabits per second.

Many consumers advised their Frontier service was slow or did not meet expectations. The subsequent investigation found many customers expecting Internet speeds “up to 6 Mbps” frequently received speeds 1.5 Mbps or lower.

Frontier denied any allegation of wrongdoing and entered into the settlement to resolve disputed claims without the necessity of protracted and expensive litigation.

The settlement specifically required Frontier to invest $150 million, in addition to its $180 million in planned upgrades as part of the federal government’s Connect America Fund II program.

The discounted monthly rate set bills for approximately 27,500 affected customers at $9.99 – a reduction expected to cost Frontier $6.25 million per year, which will shrink with time as the discount remains in effect until mandated improvements allow Frontier to increase existing download speeds.

Those with further questions can contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at 800.368.8808 or visit the office online at www.wvago.gov.

Human Trafficking Can Happen Here

The Free Press WV

When many hear the phrase “human trafficking,” they may think of people from abroad being smuggled into this country to work.

However, this heinous crime also takes place within the United States, and can happen right here in the Mountain State, where all too often difficulties in victim identification causes human trafficking to go unreported or underreported.

This must change.

I believe increased reporting will arise from greater awareness of this issue by West Virginia citizens and at all levels of government.

Defined as modern-day slavery involving the use of force, fraud or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act, human trafficking is the second most profitable criminal enterprise behind drug trafficking. Millions of men, women and children are trafficked each year, bringing in billions for those who harm others for their own gain.

Victims of human trafficking may be sold or recruited into labor or commercial sex.

Law enforcement officers agree the serious drug abuse epidemic heightens the threat of human trafficking in West Virginia. This provides an environment in which human trafficking can thrive given the need of opioid addicts to supply their habit without means of financial support.

Sadly enough, victims may not be recruited at all, but sold into labor or sex by families looking to fund a drug addiction.

The digital age increases the risk and potential for traffickers to recruit youth online, making their criminal activity sound like a legitimate job offer. A young woman may be contacted by someone saying she is attractive. She may be asked to join their so-called modeling agency. The trafficker may ask her to send photos of herself, usually explicit, and then threaten to leak the photos if she seeks a way out.

Traffickers will also recruit at schools, using a popular student to influence his or her peers. They typically target girls 12 to 14 years old and boys ages 11 to 13.

This heartbreaking reality means everyone must be on the lookout for telltale signs common amongst victims of human trafficking; that includes parents, teachers and other mentors or guardians.

There could be a sudden change in the victim’s behavior or attire. Victims may stop attending school altogether or run away from home. Tattoos can be a common way traffickers brand their property and may incorporate gang insignia.

Government also plays an important role and my office is committed to rescuing victims of this heinous crime.

This year, my office created a set of guidelines aimed at raising awareness of human trafficking. The initiative received support from more than six law enforcement agencies across the state, as well as the Cabell County prosecuting attorney.

My office also works closely with law enforcement and child protective services across the state to host intensive training on how to identify and counteract human trafficking. This equips law enforcement officers and others with valuable information and fulfills continuing education requirements. These training seminars have taken place in Bluefield, Charleston, Fairmont, Logan, Martinsburg, Oak Hill and Whitehall with plans for more in Cabell, Raleigh and Wood counties as well as other areas of the state.

Additionally, we have joined a coalition of 50 state and territorial attorneys general in urging Congress to amend the Communications Decency Act, a law created to protect children from explicit content online. Those on the front lines of the battle against the sexual exploitation of children – state and local law enforcement – must have clearly-defined power to investigate and prosecute facilitators of these atrocious crimes.

Human trafficking reduces people to property, forces victims into dangerous situations and may go undetected due to victims’ distrust of authority or willingness to protect their trafficker out of fear.
   
We must work together, watch for indicators of human trafficking and speak up when things seem out of place. Together, we will protect vulnerable members of our population and help West Virginia reach her full potential.

Patrick Morrisey is the Attorney General of West Virginia.

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