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$$ s-1 q 0 H (Continuing the Hinton Daily News & The Weekend Leader) Home of "W. Va. Water Festival" Volume 116 No. 37 Hinton, West Virginia Tuesday, January 22, 2019 50 Cents Manchin, Rosen, Casey, Schumer, Murray and Wyden From left to right, Senator Baldwin is with his father Steve Baldwin, mother Jane Gillespie, step father John Gillespie, grandmother Mary Ellen Cobb, wife Kerry Baldwin, son Harrison Baldwin, and Judge Richardson. Sen. Stephen Baldwin (D, 10th district)took the oath of office in the packed Greenbrier County courtroom of Judge Robert Richardson on January 4. Friends, family, and supporters from all walls of life attended the ceremony. While legislators typically take the oath of office in Charleston, Senator Baldwin chose to take it in his home county among the people he represents. After briefly thanking all those in attendance, Senator Baldwin said to the courtroom crowd, "Thank you for the opportunity to give back to the community that has given so much to me. Many of you here today helped raise me and I will do my best to serve you~.''' Senator Baldwinis a Presbyterian pastor from Ronceverte now serving Fayette, Greenbrier, Monroe, & Summers counties in the WV Senate He may be reached at 304- 357-7959 or stephen.baldwin@ Reintroduce Resolution to U.S. Senators Joe Manchin (D- WV), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Bob Casey (D-PA), Chuck Schumer (D- NY), Patty Murray (D-WA) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) reintroduced a Senate resolution that would authorize Senate Legal Counsel to defend Americans with pre- existing conditions against the Republican Attorneys General lawsuit that would put millions of Americans at risk of losing their health insurance. "Today, I joined my colleagues in reintroducing this resolution so that the Senate has the opportunity to defend Americans and West Virginians with pre-existing conditions in this inhumane lawsuit. This misguided ruling will Constitutionality of Pre-Existing Condition Protections Care Act, rather than undermining its protections. I will continue to fight every day to ensure that every American, no matter where they live or what their health status is, has access to the health care they need." '~rhe recent district court decision in Texas to strike down protections for Americans with pre-existing conditions was bizarre and dreadful, and if the ruling is ultimately upheld it would spell disaster for hundreds of millions of Americans and throw our health care system into utter chaos" said Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer. "Since the Trump administration has shamefully refused to defend the healthcare Medicare Part D benefits and preventative health care for seniors, significant parts of Medicaid, pre- existing condition protections - all of these benefits that retired Americans and vulnerable families count on will be unceremoniously kicked to the curb. Republicans in Congress claim to support pre-existing conditions, and this resolution gives them a chance to go on the record. Mitch McConnell should put it to a vote," Senator " Wyden said. " The lawsuit, Texas vs. United States, is challenging the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, including the law's consumer protections for people with pre-existing conditions. wvsenate.gov. put millions of Americans and tens law in court, it is incumbent on Instead of defending the law and W.Va. State Fire Marshals of thousands of West Virginians us Democrats to act accordingly, these vital health care protections, at risk of losing their health Senator Manchin's resolution is the Department of Justice expansion will no longer qualify, with pre-existing conditions. Now declared the Affordable Care The West Virginia State Fire to endure the hardship of becoming according to the WV Department This ruling is just plain wrong. This is the time for them to put their Act (ACA) unconstitutional. If Marshal's Office is investigating a foster children. This is an absolute of Health and Human Resources ruling is yet another example of money where their mouth is."the decision stands, 20 million deadly fire in the town of Clay that tragedy." (DHHR). DHHR notes that the .why the Senate must come together "This is about patients and Americans will be left without the killed four children. The gender and age of each initial home study revealed that to pass bipartisan legislation families, and right now, for what health insurance they rely on. The Investigators with the WV victim will not be released until the foster home had working smoke that makes commonsense fixesfeels like the millionth time, people 133 million Americans and 800,000 SFMO were contacted through positive identification can be made detectors, fire extinguishers and to our current system. Protecting are worried. Young adults coming West Virginians with a pre-existing the West Virginia Arson Hotline by the Office of the Chief Medical carbon monoxide detectors. An West Virginians' healthcare has out of college don't know for sure condition will be at risk of losing on Saturday, Jan. 12 of confirmed Examiner. in-person visit by a DHHR worker always been my top priority and whether they'll be able to stay their access to health insurance fatalities after a residential fire in "What a devastating tragedy was last made to the foster lmme in I will continue to fight for every on their pai-ents' plans. Tens of and millions of families across the the town of Clay. Upon examination to this family, the community, December 2018 and no issues were West virginian's aecAss to quality, millions ofpeople w~i~h pre-existing country will see healthcare costs of the scene, investigators have and this State, said State Fire noted. " affordable health insurance," conditions are frightened they'll rise. If it is allowed to stand, the ruled the fire to be undetermined in Marshal Ken Tyree. "Our sincere "This event has been a truly Senator Manchin said. once again be priced out of coverage human costs of this decision will be investigate deadly Clay fire insurance. And the thousands of the right prescription. Manyofmy effectively announced it will not West Virginians who gained health Republican friends just campaigned defend the existing law. insurance through the Medicaid on promising to protect Americans In December, a Texas judge cause but most probably accidental, condolences go out to this family heartbreaking experience for There were smoke alarms in the who mourn during this great loss. the Department and all those home. We commend the valiant efforts of involved," said Bill J. Crouch, "First Lady Cathy Justice and all involved in this tragic incident; Cabinet Secretary of DHHR. "At I are absolutely devastated and the family, first responders, and this time, and because there are heartbroken after finding out others who may have assistedactive investigations by the West about this horrific fire Sunday from this community. We stand to Virginia State Police and the State that claimed the lives of four of our support this family and all the first Fire Marshal's Office, along with beautiful West Virginia children in responders to this incident as they pending autopsies, the DHHR is Clay County, Governor Jim Justice work through the pain they may unable to discuss further details. said. "Please join us as we pray carry from this tragedy and we We take the responsibility of caring for these young people and their challenge you to do the same!" for foster children seriously. Our families. It absolutely breaks our The four children who died in the continued thoughts are with those hearts that these children also had fire were in the foster care program touched by this tragedy." "I'm proud to join Senator or denied altogether. Women are Manchin in introducing the same wondering whether they'll have to resolution I championed in the budget extra for birth control on House," said Senator Rosen. top of the rest of their insurance. "Without these critical protections, Families who already struggle to we risk going back to the days when afford their premiums are worried big insurance companies could deny Republican health care chaos will insurance coverage based on a pre- lead to more hikes. All of that is existing condition. We cannot let at stake in this blatantly partisan the Trump Administration move to lawsuit. If Republicans truly dismantle our health care system, meant what they said during the I know just how important this campaign season about how they issue is for Nevada's hardworking care about protections for pre- families and I'm prepared to keep existing conditions and helping fighting to protect their health families afford coverage, now is care." the time to show it by joining "Given the recent ruling in the Democrats in taking action to stand Texas vs. United States case, it is up for the health care protections critically important that the Senate people across this country rely on," adopt this resolution to intervene Senator Murray said. in the case to save the Affordable "This decision represents nothing Care Act," said Senator Casey. "It's less than an attempt to shred the time to move forward and work on social safety net that Americans Furloughed Federal Employees in West Virginia Can Apply for Unemployment Benefits profound. The resolution is cosponsored by Jon Tester (D-MT), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Mark Warner (D-VA), Chris Van Hoilen (D-MD), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D- RI), Jack Reed (D-RI), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Tammy Duckworth (D- IL), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Angus King (I- ME), Ed Markey (D-MA), Pat Leahy (D-VT), Tom Udall (D-NM), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Tina Smith (D- MN), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Amy Kiobuchar (D- MN), Chris Coons (D-DE), Brian Schatz (D-HI), BOb Menendez (D- NJ), Doug Jones (D-AL), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Debbie Stabenow Continued on o~. 8 getting paid, you need to report Federal employees affected receive benefits? by the government shutdown A: Applications will be processed in West Virginia may apply for as soon as possible. There may be unemployment benefits throughout some delays due to wages not being WorkForce West Virginia. immediately available due to the Affected workers are encouraged shutdown. to apply by visiting workforcewv. Q: What documentation will I hours and earnings during this time, for each week you file for benefits. Q: What happens if I receive 'ways to improve the Affordable count on as a guarantee today. back pay after the shutdown has +'aymentr ended? Early of SNAP Benefits DHHR county offices remain open and all appointments and interviews will follow regular schedule during the partial federal government shutdown. DHHR will continue to accept and process SNAP applications, redeterminations, and contact forms. SNAP eligibility and verification requirements are unchanged. org. Applicants may also visit need? A: If Congress reaches an their local WorkForce Office for A: You will need to submit aagreement that includes back CHARLESTON, W.Va. - As additional support and application Notification of Personnel Action pay for furloughed time, federal a result of the partial federal government shutdown, the West assistance. (SFSO), or a Notice to Federal workers will be responsible for Virginia DepartmentofHealthand WorkForce Outreach Office Employee About Unemployment paying back any unemployment employees cannot process Insurance (SF8). In order tobenefits received during that time. Human Resources (DHHR), Bureau unemployment claims, expedite your claim process, please If you have already requested for Children and Families will Below are some frequentupload check stubs when filing the payment of unemployment benefits issue an early release of February questions regarding unemployment Initial claim in case the agency and you then receive payment Supplemental Nutrition Assistance benefits for federal employees on cannot obtain wage information, from your government job you Program (SNAP) benefits to eligible furlough: Q: Do I have to search for a job must provide detailed information clients. The release of benefits was Q: How doI file for unemployment while furloughed? about the compensation you benefits? A: Federal employees who received, including dates and gross A: You must file online at are separated as a result of the amounts. workforcewv.org, partial government shutdown are For more information on Q: Do I have to serve a waiting considered job-attached and will unemployment benefits for federal week? not be required to conduct a job furloughed employees in West A: Yes. The first week you are search during the furlough. Virginia, visit workforcewv.org/ eligible for benefits on a claim is a Q: What if I am working someunemployment or call 304-558- mandatory unpaid waiting period, hours but not getting paid? 2611. Q: How long will it take for me to A: If you are working but not Abuse of agricultural trade aid costs U.S. taxpayers By Cord Fox, policy associate, Center for Rural Affairs on January 20, 2019. "It's important to note that SNAP recipients will not receive SNAP benefits in February," said IAnda Watts, Commissioner of DHHR's Bureau for Children and Families. 'Tv'e urge families to budget as necessary for the month of February since this payment will come earlier than usual." Comments On Proposed US Interior Dept. Rule Denying FOIA Requests Submitted by Barbara Daniels requests, or those that require "the bureau to locate, review, redact, or arrange for inspection of a vast quantity of material." What is a vast quantity of material? what is burdensome or vague? This terminology can probably be used to disregard most requests. Nada Culver, senior counsel with the Wilderness Society, says the department forces groups and media organizations to file more requests by not handing over the kind of information previous administrations have readily shared and are using the surge in requests as an excuse to further restrict disclosure. Transparency in government most importantly applies to the agencies. Without it, unfettered, corporate profiteering will eviscerate our nation. These comments are due by Jan. 28--however there seems to be no address to send them to. In 2018, President Trump pledged $12 billion to provide direct aid to corn, cotton, dairy, hog, sorghum, soybean and wheat producers. Through the Market Facilitation Program, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has administered this aid to provide short-term relief to producers who are feeling the effects of ongoing trade disputes with foreign governments. However, a recent report from the Environmental Working Group highlights two major flaws: 1) Some farming operations are receiving excessive payments because they are taking advantage of loopholes, like having numerous absentee managers or family members claim "active personal management." 2) Some of these payments are going to individuals who do not live or work on the farm. According to the report, 85 recipients received more than the cap of $125,000. One received nearly $440,000. Likely, USDA made more payments of this size: The information shared covers only $356 million in direct aid to farmers, while USDA states nearly $840 million has been paid out in the first round of relief. How is this happening? A few of the largest farming operations claim several individuals and/or This is to register my strong opposition to the proposed denial of FOIA request by the US Dept. of Interior. Koch Brothers former advisor, Daniel Jorjani, has been put in charge of Interior FOIAs. what a surprise that this fossil-fuel legal entities are "actively engaged," crony has just authored a rule and current policy makes it difficult that can hide this department's for USDA to determine whether or shenanigans. not their contribution is significant Former Secretary Ryan Zinke is enough to qualify. This allows for numerous "managers" and]or family members to stake claims for payments, even when they may have never stepped foot on the farm. This exploitation of loopholes and abuse of taxpayer dollars by some farming operations is a heavy burden on the shoulders of American taxpayers. Congress' poor policies are driving farm consolidation and hurting our rural communities. The time for change is now. already under an unprecedented 18 federal investigations. Now caught with Halliburton in a real estate deal, there is little further doubt that this Department is intimately involved with extraction industries. The United States has very few and dwindling areas with natural beauty and bio-diversity left. Hallibuton's high-volume hydrofracking commonly used today produces an average of 5-milion gallons of toxic waste per frack for which there is no safe disposal. Therefore in isolated areas such as national monuments, judging from our observations in heavily-fracked West Virginia, it is being dumped wherever convenient and permanently contaminating nearby water sources. Moreover, when generating that wastewater in public wild lands where a recycled supply is not readily available, the frackers take that much clean water from local sources where it is especially precious. Meanwhile the enormous amount of heavy truck traffic and well-pad construction is destroying the air quality and habitat in these last remaining refuges. The proposed changes would give the agency almost unlimited discretion to deny FOIA requests to discover this privately run takeover. In the Federal Registry notice, the DOI says that in '~light of the unprecedented surge in FOIA requests and litigation," it would now deny "burdensome" or "vague"