Breaking Local News

Gun Rights Advocates Testify in Favor of Permit Repeal

Gun rights supporters turned out at the Capitol despite the weather Thursday, to support a bill that would allow anyone in West Virginia, age 18 and older, to carry a concealed weapon without a permit. The Charleston Gazette reported members of the West Virginia Citizen’s Defense League filled the House chamber to speak at a public hearing on a bill that would repeal the state’s concealed weapons permit requirement. If the bill should pass, permits would no longer be required, but the process would stay in place for reciprocity agreements to carry in other states. Members of the West Virginia Coalition Against Domestic Violence spoke against the bill. The House Judiciary Committee plans to consider the bill today or sometime this weekend.

Workers Plan Saturday Rally

A rally is planned for Saturday at the state Capitol as part of the Mountaineer Workers Rising event. It's planned for Saturday at noon, and workers will urge lawmakers to pass bills that are favorable to workers. Some have been vocal that the state legislature has an anti-worker agenda, and the Charleston Gazette reports thousands are expected Saturday to voice opinions. A union president from South Charleston will be one of the featured speakers, along with leaders from the AFL-CIO, United Mine Workers, and American Federation of Teachers. The rally is planned for the Kanawha River side of the state Capitol.

Rain and Heavy Snow Lead to Problems

Flood warnings were abundant yesterday as heavy rains moved through West Virginia before giving way to significant snowfall today. Schools in at least 18 counties sent students home early due to high water and other storm-related issues Wednesday. State transportation officials say a rock slide closed one lane of southbound Interstate 77 near the Jackson-Wood county line. After flooding concerns yesterday it's the snow today. Up to 10 inches of snow was forecast by the time it's all finished today. Governor Earl Ray Tomblin issed a State of Emergency that will be in effect as long as needed.

Water Quality Volunteers Needed

A water monitoring project developed by Trout Unlimited is seeking volunteers to monitor West Virginia streams. The West Virginia and Virginia Water Quality Monitoring project says the volunteers are being recruited amid concerns about increased shale gas development and its potential impact on water quality. The program trains volunteers find and report potential pollution, and volunteers also collect baseline data in watersheds with the potential to see shale gas development in the future. To date the monitoring program has trained 170 volunteers. The next training for interested volunteers will be on March 14 in Elkins.

Call 304-637-7201 to learn more.

Welfare Drug Testing Bill Stalls

A push to drug test some welfare recipients is dead in the West Virginia Legislature. On Wednesday, Republican bill sponsor Del. Patrick Lane confirmed the bill was done for the session. The House voted to table the bill Tuesday. Yesterday was the final day to pass bills out of at least one chamber. The Senate version of the welfare drug testing bill hasn't passed, either. In the West Virginia bills, drug testing would have been based on reasonable suspicion. The National Conference of State Legislatures says at least 12 states have passed laws requiring drug testing for public assistance. West Virginia's 60-day legislative session by the way, concludes March 14.

Sheriff's Office Looks for Missing Woman

The Kanawha County Sheriff's Office is investigating a missing person from the Jefferson and Saint Albans areas. 33-year old Francis Ann Wartenburg was last seen around February 21, 2015. In the photo that's been released she's seen with short brown hair and brown eyes. If you have information on where Francis Wartenburg is, call 304-357-0169 or submit a tip at www.kanawhasheriff.us/law-enforcement/tips.

Governor Prepares for Bad Weather

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin is putting state resources at the ready ahead of potentially severe weather. Tomblin issued his "state of preparedness" on Tuesday with the prospect of heavy rains, snow and the possibility of flooding today. He says he's mobilizing the West Virginia National Guard to assist. Tomblin urged West Virginians to develop their own plans and to be mindful of neighbors and older residents if harsh weather arrives. The state of preparedness statute was passed last year to allow the governor to mobilize necessary resources ahead of predicted severe weather or large-scale threats. The powers are similar to those involved in a state of emergency but allow for additional preparations in advance of the expected event.

Dunbar Gets Improved Fire Rating

If you have a homeowners insurance policy in Dunbar, you may see rates go down. The city's fire department got a ratings boost recently from the Insuarance Services Organization after an audit, and with the rating increasing from a Class 4 to a Class 3, which marks continued improvement for Dunbar. The last time the city fire department was audited they moved from a 5 to a 4, and lower is obviously better. Ratings improve with equipment, training, and manpower.

Two Cities Aim to Reduce Blight

South Charleston and Dunbar have won state approval to proceed with plans to reduce blight. The West Virginia Home Rule Board this week approved the cities' request to allow them to issue citations on the spot for code violations, rather than taking violators to municipal court. The move will allow the cities to address problems such as trash, high grass and dilapidated buildings. South Charleston Mayor Frank Mullens tells WSAZ-TV that his city's goal is to get property owners to fix the problems, not to fine them. But if a problem persists, he says the city will take action. City councils in each city will have to approve ordinances allowing on-site citations before they can be issued

Abortion Bill Vetoed, Lawmakers Could Override Today or Thursday

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin has again vetoed a bill banning abortion 20 weeks after conception, citing constitutionality concerns. Lawmakers only need a simple majority to overturn policy vetoes, and Republicans now control the state legislature. Governor Tomblin nixed the bill Tuesday, saying he urged lawmakers to find a compromise and stressed his anti-abortion stances. The bill provides some exemptions for women in medical emergencies, but not for rape and incest. Proponents have cited moral grounds. Opponents say it's unconstitutional and intrusive into doctor-patient relationships. Both bills resemble a law struck down in Arizona in 2013 that the U.S. Supreme Court later decided not to reconsider.

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