Capitol Beat - Barbara Hawkins' recap of the latest happening fr - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

Capitol Beat - Barbara Hawkins' recap of the latest happening from Charleston

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Politics.
 
It's the name of the game in Charleston year round, but dominates most everything else during the first three months of the year. Unless of course, there's an emergency that affects hundreds of thousands of West Virginia citizens like the one just experienced in the Charleston area.
 
Dangerous chemicals pouring into good, clean water in a widespread area almost brought the West Virginia Legislature to a halt in the opening days of the session. Legislative action hasn't picked up to its normal pace yet.
 
Del. John Shott, R-Mercer, expressed disappointment a few days ago because after the first rush to action to make a declaration about the state's projected plans to help businesses, etc., not much has been done. The first bill, Shott pointed out, didn't designate an amount of money, where the money would come from or other important needs lawmakers must deal with. And, then, there's the question of the workers who lost pay checks and had other problems.
 
Shott is not only calling for quicker and more thorough action on the chemical-water disaster, he's hoping other legislative work will accelerate soon. Election years are ordinarily slow but several very important items had been expected to be proposed this year.
 
Sen. Truman Chafin, D-Mingo, who along with Sen. Bill Cole, represents District 6, returned to the capitol last week after being sidelined to recuperate from a head injury he sustained when another driver failed to make a proper stop and T-boned Chafin's vehicle. Cole started the session with a head injury but says he's fine now. And, Sen. Doug Facemire, D-Braxton, is recovering from a broken leg.
 
Speaking of Cole, he's a busy man involved with several Senate-based bills.  Also, he is among lead Republicans designated by his political party to obtain challengers to a number of Democrats … and apparently is meeting with success.  Currently, the Senate is composed of only nine Republicans and 17 Democrats. Half of the Senate seats are up for election this year. --- plus one former Democrat Senator Evans Jenkins of Cabell County changed his political affiliation several months ago to Republican to seek the nomination for U.S. House of Representative in District Three, where the incumbent Rep. Nick Rahall, has filed for re-election in the Democratic party Also filing for the third district by last Thursday was Richard Ojeda II, a Democrat from Logan County.
 
The House of Delegates is also the scene of an intense Republican push to take over the majority party distinction... All 100 seats are open for election. This year, the Democrats have only a 4-member majority.
 
Not in my long-time memory of legislative and West Virginia have we had so much opportunity for a two-party system among lawmakers.
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