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February 19, 2019     The Hinton News
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February 19, 2019
 

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(Continuing the Hinton Daily News & The Weekend Leader) of "W. Water Volume 116 No. 41 Hinton, West Virginia Tuesday, February 19,2019 50 Cents AFP ls on Restore Educational s to Americans for Prosperity-West Virginia (AFP-WV) today urged the West Virginia Legislature to expand educational opportunities for every student in West Virginia by restoring educational savings accounts and expanding charter school options to SB 451 AFP-WV, along with our coalition of state and national organizations and thousands of citizens across the state, has been a leading voice on the Comprehensive Education Reform Act as it's made its way through the legislative process. Both the Senate and House Finance versions of this bill represented a good first in 451 step towards providing educational freedom in the Mountain State. However, the version ultimately adopted by the House has stripped the legislation of those positive qualities As passed by the house, SB 451 will only hold back West Virginia students, families, and educators from having access to proven educational opportunities AFP-WV State Director Jason Huffman issued, the following statement: "We will not support a version of SB 451 that does not restore vital educational freedom provisions. Divisive and inaccurate rhetoric has not, and will not, deter our belief that every child in West Virginia deserves access to a quality education, regardless of income or zip code. The version of SB 451 passed by the House does not provide educational freedom to each child." "We look forward to continue working with lawmakers to craft and adopt legislation that will empower our students, families, and educators to innovate and transform lives " Below are side-by-side caparisons of the House and Senate Bills: Senate Version House Version 1. Teacher/Service Worker 5% pay raise 2. $2,000 bonus for certified math teachers 3. More flexibility for county salary supplements 4. $250 tax credit for school supplies (teachers only) 5. $500Y r-end bonus if not absent more than 4 days (teachers only) 6. Voters approve regular school levy increase 7. Open enrollment 8. $24 million for more student support personnel 9. School counselors' primary purpose to support students with academic, social, and emotional needs 10. School attendance changes (HB2620) 11. School aid formula changes (including minimum 1,400 student formula) 12. No pay during work stoppage- only if days made up; no extracurricular activities 13.Teacher input on student promotion 14. Unlimited Public Charter Schools 1. Teacher/Service Worker 5% pay raise 2:$2,000 bonus for certified math teachers 3. More flexibility for county salary supplements 4. $250 tax credit for school supplies (teachers & service workers) 5. $1,000 year-end bonusit not absent more : than 4 days (teachers & service workersJ 6. Voters approve regular school levy increase 7. Open enrollment 8. $24 million for more student support personnel 9. School counselors' primary purpose to support students with academic, social and emotional needs, 80% time requirement 10. School attendance changes (HB2620) 11. School aid formula changes (including minimum 1,400 student formula) 12. Paid during work stoppage; can have extracurricular activities 13. Teacher input on student promotion 14. Public Charter Schools pilot capped at 2 15. Education Savings Accounts for households under $150K, capped at 2,500 accounts 16. RIF decisions not on seniority alone 17. County admin become at-will employees 18. BRIM coverage for school employees 19. Underwood-Smith Teaching Scholars program 20. Paycheck protection 21. Non-severability clause Updated, Feb. 14 version. 15. NO Education Savings Accounts 16. RIF decisions on qualifications, evaluations and seniority order set at hiring 17. County admin NOT at-will employees 18. BRIM coverage for school employees 19. Underwood-Smith Teaching Scholars program (including music teachers) 20. NO paycheck protection 21. NO non-severability clause 22. $5 million for Innovation Zones 23. Law enforcement officer for each school 24. Counties can suspend/dismiss employees for finding of abuse West Virginia's Mobile App Featured at National Convention; New Report Highlights Success of WV's Military Mobile Voting Solution A recent report released at the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) national conference in Washington, D.C highlighted West Virginia's success in launching the nation's first mobile voting pilot for military and overseas voters. In last November's General Election, 144 registered West Virginia voters from 21 counties cast a ballot from 31 different countries. This was the result of Secretary Warner's interest in solving the specific problem of breaking down barriers that have lcng prevented uniformed services members from having the same or similar ease of access and secure opportunities to participate in our elections. During his nearly three decades of service to the United States Army and the U.S. Department of Justice, Secretary Warner experienced first-hand the difficulties of voting overseas "While deployed in both 2012 and 2014, I could not cast a ballot due to the lack of reliable mail service and alternative transmission methods When I took office in 2017, I worked closely with my staff to find a solution to this problem and make it easier for our military personnel serving overseas to vote," Secretary Warner said. '~rhe result was a partnership that led to a unique opportunity for West Virginia to pilot technology that allows uniformed services members and overseas U.S. citizens to vote using their personal mobile device " According to a 2018 report published by the Federal Voting Assistance Program, the estimated voting participation rate in the 2016 Presidential General Election for U.S. citizens living overseas was a mere 6.9 percent, compared to the 72 percent for voting age citizens physically residing in the U.S. To verify who's receiving and casting a ballot, the application utilizes two types of biomet~-ic identity verification (i.e. facial recognition liveness software and thumb/palm print) and block chain technology to verify the user's identity at each stage of the process To ensure a responsible and very controlled pilot, the application was first offered to voters during the May 2018 Primary in two West Virginia counties, from which 13 ballots were cast. The success of the May Primary encouraged Secretary Warner to expand the project into the November General Election by offering the technology to all 55 counties, of which 24 signed up. "Iamvery pleasedwith the results of both pilots," Secretary Warner said. 'WIy goal was to make voting easier for those serving overseas without sacrificing security--I believe this technology moved West Virginia closer towards that goal. I'm looking forward to planning for the 2020 election cycle, and if all goes as planned, offering this same or similar type of technology to our uniformed services members and overseas voters once again." uces Reso] pportin amilies Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), along with Senators Tom Cotton (R-AR), Martha McSally (R-AZ), and Doug Jones (D-AL) last week introduced a resolution expressing support for the designation of March 2, 2019 as "Gold Star Families Remembrance Day." Gold Star Families are those who have lost a family member in service to the nation .Currently the United States observes Gold Star Mother's Day and Gold Star Spouses Day. Congressman Bob Latta (R-Ohio) introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives last month. them To honor these Gold Star Families, I am a proud to help introduce this resolution so that on March 2nd, every American can take time to pray and reflect on the sacrifice of Gold Star Families," said Senator Manchin. "Stan and I are pleased to have a day dedicated to Gold Star Families This means so much to have our sacrifices acknowledged, not the freedoms of this great country, two sons in military service. I cannot imagine the pain that The resolution is supported by losing a loved one in the line of duty the following Veterans Service causes, my heart truly goes out to' Organizations: necessarily to recognize us but to "America remains the greatest remember our sons and daughters country on earth because of the and the price paid for their service patriotism of our Fallen service to keep our country free," said members and their families. Shirley White, President of Gold These individuals have paid the Star Mothers of West Virginia. ultimate price so that we can enjoy Shirley and her husband, Stan, lost Gold Star Wives of America Inc. American Gold Star Mothers Inc. Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) Military Officer Association of America (MOAA) Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America Wounded Warrior Project Jewish War Veterans of the USA American GI Forum of the United States Blinded Veterans Association American Red Cross The Retired Enlisted Association Appalachian power, Wheeling Power Introduce New Incentive Rate For Businesses to Encourage Economic Development Appalachian Power, along with Wheeling Power, are offering new or expanding businesses an extra incentive to operate in West Virginia - a discount on their electric sei'vice. ''We're looking at every possible tool we can provide to make our state more competitive on a national and international scale. We want to encourage companies to come to the state and grow their business here," said Appalachian Power President and COO Chris Beam ''We're hoping this incentive rate will help tip the scales in West Virginia's favor as businesses choose where to locate or expand." The new rate applies to new or existing customers who have new demand of 500 kilowatts (kW) or more and create at least 10 jobs or invest at least $2.5 million in their West Virginia expansion. It will amount to an approximate 15 percent overall discount on their electric service. Beam said the company created the incentive rate plan to help the state attract new business and grow existing businesses. If successful, the increased electrical load would benefit all customers in the state by spreading fixed costs among more customers, The discount will not cause any increase to current customers' bills. "This will give us a competitive edge to encourage existing business expansion and to attract new businesses and jobs to our region," said David Lieving, president and CE0 of the Huntington Area Development Council. "Economic development is extremely competitive, and even though we are fortunate in West Virginia to have competitive energy costs, this rate incentive will give us a great tool for new growth opportunities." New or existing companies will work with Appalachian Power t to determine how they can take advantage of the incentive rate and how it will affect their overall electricity costs. The discount was approved by the Public Service Commission effective Jan. 31. Appalachian Power has 1 million customers in Virginia, West Virginia and Tennessee (as AEP Appalachian Power) It is a unit of American Electric Power, one of the largest electric utilities in the United States, delivering electricity and custom energy solutions to nearly 5.4 million customers in 11 states The company and its AEP affiliates employ approximately 2,300 people in West Virginia, making AEP one of the largest employers in the state. I t is also one of the largest taxpayers in the state. AEP owns the nation's largest electricity transmission system, a more than 40,000-mile network that includes more 765-kilovolt extra-high voltage transmission lines than all other U.S. transmission systems combined. AEP also operates 224,000 miles of distribution lines. AEP ranks among the nation's largest generators of electricity, owning approximately 26,000 megawatts of generating capacity in the U.S. AEP supplies 3,200 megawatts of renewable energy to customers. Democratic Delegates Introduce the Environmental Rights Amendment Thirty-two Democratic Delegates cosponsored an Environmental Rights Amendment to the State Constitution's Bill of Rights. House Joint Resolution 25, which was introduced in the House of Delegates today, states that access to clean air and pure water is the right of all West Virginians. The amendment is modeled after a similar paragraph that has been in the Pennsylvania Constitution for decades. It reads as follows: The people have a right to clean air, pure water, and the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic and esthetic values of the environment. West Virginia's public natural resources are the common property of all the people, including generations yet to come. As trustee of these resources, the State shall conserve and maintain them for the benefit of all the people. Defending West Virginia's environment is critical to our economy as a driver to attract new industries and their employees to relocate in the Mountain State, as well as a necessity to keep the businesses we already have. "The best way to diversify our state's economy is to create jobs that also protect the environment," said Delegate Evan Hansen (D-Monongalia), lead sponsor of House Joint Resolution 25. "We can grow our population and our industrial base while keeping the water we drink-and the air we breathe clean." "During the water crisis in January of 2014, I saw countless businesses in my district close their doors and hundreds of people leave our town because of the irresponsible actions of industry," Delegate Mike Pushkin (D-Kanawha) said. '2Vlany of these businesses and people have left for good. You cannot sell me this false narrative of jobs vs. the environment - the two go hand in hand. We can't have one without the other." Preserving West Virginia's environment is about more than just the economy, however. It is also critical to protecting our state's tourism industry and' conserving our people's quality of life. West Virginia's tourism industry is currently growing at a rate that outpaces national growth by 30%- in part because of the outdoors sports and recreation our state has to offer. "Of the many blessings that we have here in West Virginia, few rival the natural beauty of our state,'.' says Delegate Chad Lovejoy (D-Cabell). "It's no wonder that people travel from all over to spend time here and we must take every step that we can to protect it." The resolution was introduced on the House floor today and referred to the Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources and the Committee on the Judiciary. If the resolution is taken up and adopted by both committees, it will then go before the full House of Delegates for adoption before being sent to the Senate to ~complete the legislative process. If passed by both legislative bodies, the Constitutional amendment will be placed on the November 2020 General Election ballot for the voters to have the final say. Additional sponsors of the resolution are: Delegate Michael Angelucci (D-Marion), Delegate Jason Barrett (D-Berkeley), Delegate Mick Bates (D-Raleigh), Delegate Brent Boggs (D-Braxton), Delegate Sammi Brown (D-Jefferson), Delegate Andrew Byrd (D-Kanawha), Delegate Joe Canestraro (D-Marshall), Delegate Mike Caputo (D-Marion), Delegate Phil Diserio (D-Brooke), Delegate John Doyle (D-Jefferson), Delegate Amanda Estep-Burton (D-Kanawha), Delegate Ed Evans (D-McDowell), Delegate Barbara Fleischauer (D-Monongalia), Delegate Shawn Fluharty (D-Ohio), Delegate Kenneth, Hicks (D-Wayne), Delegate Sean Hornbuckle (D-Cabell), Delegate Cindy Lavender-Bowe (D-Greenbrier), Delegate Linda Longstreth (D-Marion), Delegate Tim Miley (D-Harrison), Delegate Rodney Miller (D-Boone), Delegate Rodney Pyles (D-Monongalia), Delegate Andrew Robinson (D-Kanawha), Delegate Doug 8kaff (D-Kanawha), Delegate Isaac Sponaugle (D-Pendleton), Delegate Margaret Staggers (D-Fayette), Delegate Cody Thompson (D-Randolph), Delegate Danielle Walker (D-Monongalia), Delegate John Williams (D-Monongalia) and Delegate Lisa Zukoff (D-Marshall). i # i