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Foreign Policy Analysis

The Legislature Today 3/1/19


vision relies on your financial support become a sustaining member today you’re watching West Virginia public broadcasting [Music] from West Virginia public broadcasting support for the legislature today is provided by AARP West Virginia your ally for real possibilities in the mountain state learn more at aarp.org / WV the Charleston Gazette mail using its CGM app to deliver the latest news traffic and weather alerts keeping you in the know while you’re on the go Lumos networks online at Lumos networks calm West Virginia University of mine at WVU edu Orion strategies professional public relations government affairs creative services and research and polling with offices in Charleston Buckhannon Martinsburg Pittsburgh and Columbus [Music] welcome to the legislature today i’m suzanne higgins an inflammatory poster displayed outside of the House chambers by participants of West Virginia GOP day here at the Capitol launched a firestorm of remarks in the House of Delegates this morning the poster shows a picture of congresswoman Omar of Minnesota a Somali American the background chose the Twin Towers attack just as the Speaker of the House called the body to order delegate Mike Pushkin stood and launched what would be a series of remarks Democrats condemning hate speech while Republicans defending freedom of speech walking into the chamber today and I realize that it’s a West Virginia Republican party today and that party day today and that’s great okay I’m also the member of a political party and that’s wonderful too and I’m gonna try not to make this partisan but as part of the display out there there’s a there’s a poster with a picture of the planes flying into the to the Twin Towers of New York on 9/11 and and and underneath there’s a picture of a sitting member of Congress representative Omar I believe for Minnesota I find it distasteful I said so I went over and spoke with the people at that booth that I believe is sanctioned by a political party they’re out there with them and I expressed my disgust about something like that that really I believe points out they a hatred and a mistrust of somebody because of their religious background because of their religion because that congresswoman isn’t from isn’t he she’s not from Saudi Arabia she’s from Somalia she entered this country through a refugee program and I can tell you that personally I’m proud to live in a country where somebody can come into this to come into this country with absolutely nothing and wind up in the halls of Congress representing the state of Minnesota that makes me proud to be an American my issue with what I saw outside has to do with another truly American foundational issue and that’s freedom of speech so while I may not agree with everything that is out there I do agree that freedom of speech is something that we have to protect even if we don’t agree with it maybe especially when we don’t agree with it there are times when people in this chamber my dear friends my colleagues will get up and say something that I fundamentally completely disagree with but if you ask me well will I fight to make sure that they have the right to stand up and do that oh yes with every breath in my body absolutely I will and I’ll do it just as hard for something I don’t agree with as I will for something that I happen to personally share that belief so I’d like to ask the members of the body when you see something that you disagree with please don’t respond in the way that I unfortunately saw with my own eyes where you call the people names that I’m not going to repeat in here where you barge through the door and hit the doorkeeper which I also saw with my own eyes while the pledge is going on because you’re understandably upset well I agree with the gentlelady from the thirty-eighth we have freedom of speech and that’s something we have to respect well let me explain to you something that we experience just a short while ago I walk out of the chambers and I see a discussion going on with delegate Pushkin and a lady with a display which was reprehensible but like the gentlelady said she has her freedom of speech and I respect that and while I was talking with delegate pushed here and I said let’s you’re not going to change her views come on let’s get this kid back inside the sergeant of arms of this body had enough nerve to say to us all Muslims are terrorists the sergeant of arms of this body that represents the people of the state of West Virginia said all Muslims are terrorists that’s beyond shameful and that’s not freedom of speech that’s hate speech I’m the one who kicked the door open that’s how angry I was and I went over to that poster and I said it was a racist poster that was me I own that I’ll own that because that’s what I believe I tried to get in here between the prayer and pledge and I’m a member of this house and no one’s gonna keep me from opening that door but the point I’m trying to get to I have always preached to freshmen delegates and people who’ve left his body got up and said Mike Caputo taught me not to make it personal when it gets personal with me it’s bad it’s bad there’s no place in these halls for the crap that’s going on out there freedom of speech is very dear and near to me let’s hold it all within the house and Mr Speaker we got lots to do today let’s move on to Montana I would fight for anybody’s right here to say whatever they want no matter how stupid it is I believe in the freedom of speech with every ounce of me I’m a strong supporter of the First Amendment I would never ask somebody to take something down I rose to condemn it and I would hope you would do join us now or Brad McElhaney of West Virginia Metro news and our own senior reporter Dave miss ditch thank you both for being here those of course were the remarks on the floor but the story got larger Dave regarding the West Virginia sergeant of arms that’s right so as you heard delegate Caputo talk about you know him being kept from being in but the the real story assumed that at least delegate angelou Chi said that that the sergeant arms and Lieberman had made some comment about how all Muslims were terrorists of course Brad and I were sitting on the House floor did not see these interactions whenever I came out of the house I asked the sergeant in arms she disputed that accounts but said she didn’t want to talk to two media until she had spoken to the House speaker Roger Rancho Brad it was it was very uncomfortable in the house yeah it was not at all what I was expecting because I had seen about the broader display meaning that it was it was GOP day so there were big posters of President Trump Trump pence posters some images of the governor Governor Justice some images and and things with the Republican Party taking pride in other elected officials in Western Union that’s what I saw when I looked around the rotunda I did not zero in on this display but it was this context of everything else celebrating the Republican Party in West Virginia and then within it was this reprehensible display and and so it not only was the display itself but but the context surrounding it including the speeches that were made on the House floor and the fallout that has continued throughout the day and then of course the speaker did come out with a statement later today that’s right I mean he said very clearly he condemned any kind of hate speech in all forms and rejects hate in all forms exactly what he said had said there was going to be an investigation into exactly what played out before the floor session involving the sergeant-at-arms other delegates and any comments that were made out there in the Rotunda and that’s sort of where the speaker had left things and it just seems Brad that in the house they’re all session long there’s been this somewhat of an undercurrent as a sensitivity to that to this particular excuse me inflammatory speech there were accusations later of racist legislation it’s it’s just been at the boiling point yeah we’re going to wait the session and people afraid anyway but yeah you’re right the context is also what’s been happening all session long and and the tempers began to arise with the comments of delegate at Eric Porter field a new delegate from Mercer County who said some awful things about the LGBT yeah the gay community and so that really hasn’t settled down he has continued to serve both on the floor and in his committees he’s been a little less outspoken but as a result of that a lot of the Democratic delegates were arising and trying to push for changes to the state’s human rights law to acknowledge sexual orientation and and gender and gender identity as parts of the human rights law that are protected and and those attempts just didn’t go anywhere so all this has been moving along until things reached the boiling point on the floor today and Dave not not only that but just looking for a reprimand from from leadership from party leadership somewhere right and when the whole thing with delegate Porterfield you know popped up you know there were Democrats calling Democrats even the party itself as well as delegates on the floor calling for his resignation you know and they made those motions to try to get that human rights bill I Human Rights Act bill out to the floor that the West Virginia you know Republican Party had had denounced his comments but as Brett pointed out there were there were no real there was no real action from the speaker no no reprimand no punishment whatsoever this the statement you know that came today about the events you know on before the House floor session and and whatnot you know I don’t and I can’t recall a moment during this sergeant yeah concerning the sergeant in arms I think this is the first time that the speaker’s sort of addressed any of these issues himself I mean there was a day tour yourself and I and Jiggs Eckerman sat outside the speaker’s office but at the heart of the whole portal get porterfield controversy and the speaker made no comment so and actually the statement from the speaker’s office came probably within an hour after the close of session it was really really quick the speaker also talked more generally in that statement about the incident surrounding the the display and one of those as delegate Caputo in his floor speech was kicking in but the door that leads into the chamber the doors closed during the opening prayer and Pledge of Allegiance and my understanding is there’s some concern about the health of a door keeper who was affected by the door opening so all kinds of bad things happen today all right what we want to do now is is is pivot and turn to focus on the budget the budget process as of now Friday evening we’ve got both the Finance Committee’s have completed their version of next year’s budget the Senate budget is on second reading tomorrow Saturday everybody both houses are in the houses budget is on third reading first perhaps a procedural explanation as to why or how that the houses budget takes lead this year well the two houses kind of alternate and it just happens to be the houses year but also just procedurally each each Finance Committee passed out their budgets yesterday but the house had an evening floor session that the Senate didn’t so they went ahead and did first reading in the house so that just put them ever so slightly ahead nevertheless the two are going to come crashing together there are major differences between the two budgets so somehow the House and the Senate are gonna have to resolve those major differences and and knowing that at this point you know the houses budget does not reflect bills that have passed the Senate but they have not taken that up yet and most notably the the the the big road maintenance bill that we have termed Randy’s dream after rent a Senator Randy Smith and and so I’m just trying to get a way to compare these lists what how about if we start with the governor’s proposed budget On January 9th some of his proposals and then we can see where where they might be how they might have been cut or not included the teacher’s salary there’s who has it it’s included in the House budget correct included in the House budget and they passed that street pay raise bill and that the teacher and public service school service personnel part of that is about 67 million dollars if you’re doing your budgeting at home and trying to figure out what are these things cost and so the in the Senate’s version they would have had to have moved on 27 30 and that’s still in two committees yeah not happened yet it’s possible it still could be moved on it’s in Senate Education and Senate Finance but nothing yet okay and we’ve heard a lot that this I mean at least I’ve heard that this could go to a special session at least the teacher pay raise could be one of those issues that may not get completed in 60 days at least I’m hearing a lot of talk about whether or not the Senate’s actually going to take up this bill and if they do I mean we’ve heard all along there’s questions about if they might try to tack on other things to it so it may not be done in 60 days the Community and Technical College bill where is it it’s it’s included in the Senate it’s not included in the House budget as of yet yeah House Finance was taking that issue up this afternoon but as they completed their budget work yesterday delegates amended in things that they thought their communities would want to have supported more financially and at the end of that budget session they said is there any more room for the Community College bill and they said it’s gonna be tight so they were taking it up today and they may make arrangements for it even on the floor on Saturday but it’s and that’s seven million dollars I think that gives the show I think big-ticket right sort of illustrates I guess you know how such a small number well small relatively relatively to a four point six billion dollar budget you know how 7 million dollars can make an impact on the overall bottom line of what comes out so what’s the Senate priorities so if the House wants the Senate to move along some of their stuff right you know right you got to do it right the other thing I noticed too and I just want us out there is that Jim’s dream appears to be clever it’s my next question yeah it’s smaller it was a twenty five million dollar ask and it’s it’s much smaller in both the House and Senate versions the house has in the back of the budget which means if we happen to have a surplus will happen jim’s dirty the senate funds it at a smaller amount but nevertheless jim’s during not a big green not fully realized not a fully realized dream what and this would this would be a hit on the general revenue obviously the Social Security income tax break is that reflected in in either of the it is in that House budget because it had been part of the governor’s budget and so they didn’t make a big deal of it but they said yeah we’re gonna do that and they’ve passed the bill the Senate though hasn’t yet acted on that bill and I’m not typically the budget bill wouldn’t deal with stuff they haven’t passed yet so I don’t think it’s in there at the moment now III believe the the severance tax on steam coal that that cut is reflected in the House budget not yet in the Senate they haven’t taken that have they taken that bill steam coal severance something like sixty million yeah sixty million over the two years so thirty million a year so you put that with the teacher pay raise on the house side those two things account for about a hundred million dollars which the Senate doesn’t account for right and we mentioned Randy’s or we mentioned Randy’s dream just just briefly that’s that’s a big that’s a big ticket item on the the Senate side 100 million 100 million so on the house side you’ve got the teacher pay raises at 67 million one of the two years of tax cuts for 30 million so 97 million versus the highways plan which is 110 million to patch secondary roads so how are you gonna argue to West Virginians do you want your roads fixed or do you want your teachers to have a pay raise right that’s a bit that’s a big that’s a big difference though on the two sides and also tourism I saw you know the governor asked for 14 million for the tourism division and both sides I think have have cut that down yeah that’s another thing at least on the house side where if there happens to be a surplus they’ll fully fund it but they both cut it down and and also the higher education is getting a little bit of help it is getting a little bit of help although higher education also faces some things that there cost you might not realize the campus carry bill said to be 11 million dollars across the system the the boost to Pei a for colleges is going to result in a fee that’s going to be about 16 million dollars they’re gonna have to pay to make up for their part of the Pei a boost so they’re getting a little bit but they’re also having a bunch taken away from do we know that you know that 53 million dollar supplemental appropriation to Medicaid it was pretty quiet last last week when it was approved by the Senate Finance how is that you know how is that seen and where’s that money come from where’s it going to Medicaid money is often the magic money at the budget and it’s used to kind of actual move things from one one one year to another what was explained in the House budget session a similar amount they were gonna prepay from the current year surplus into next year’s Medicaid fund and they were gonna use that that money to make up for exceeding the budgetary amount in other areas so 15 million dollars and money moving around to make up for other stuff any anything else in your you know looking at the budget very quickly I mean this just you know both of those both of those bills just came out yesterday last evening anything else that stands out I mean I think we’re waiting to see amendments I mean today the bill is on second reading in the house they advance into third with the general right to amend likely I think every budget that I’ve ever seen passed by a chamber has had some floor amendments I haven’t seen anything in the system yet but we’ll see those tomorrow yeah Democratic delegate and House Finance said they were spending like sailors trying to amend in their own things and then a Republican delegate it was Jason Barrett was the Democrat but Republican Jim Butler also on Finance said he couldn’t support the budget because the so much amending in of other people’s stuff it’ll just be interesting to see ultimately how much of that surplus they do commit you know we already enforce for seniors economy although it’s been improving maybe tapering alright any any sense as to who these conferees will be if it gets to you know conference committee which certainly that’s fine yeah so but I mean I I see no reason why the budget would not get a conference I mean I think it does virtually every year so I think we can expect that yeah I would agree I mean it’s gonna bounce back and forth a few times probably and that’s where we’re gonna wind up okay super thank you both for being here Brad McElhaney of West Virginia Metro news Dave mystic thank you so much West Virginia first lady Kathy Justice helped kick off Women’s History Month today with a celebration here at the Capitol Randy yo’ii reports we’re here to honor the women that came before us the women who stand next to us and the women who will be making history in the future the celebration began by honoring five noted greats in West Virginia history including labor activists mother jones nasa mathematician Katherine Johnson and old-time musician hazel Dickens but the list of Mountain State women who have made a mark made a difference goes on and on our country singer Kathy Mattea and our actress Jennifer Gardner we can’t forget her and Mary Lou Retton who was our great gymnastics the Revolutionary War heroine Elizabeth Zane from Berkeley County the Confederate spy during the American Civil War Belle Boyd from Martinsburg these West Virginia women didn’t just excel they inspired it’s especially important because I have a teenage daughter and her friends and I’m always trying to get them to become aware of the fact that they are women and that they will meet various obstacles and that they will have certain challenges and that they need to be prepared for those before they come hello my name is crystal good I’m a liberal Republican a conservative Democrat I have libertarian tendencies and I love me a good Mountain Party that’s how you got acclaimed West Virginia poet writer and activist crystal Goode has also helped shape the preparation for Nancy Klein’s daughter and Friends his preparation that also includes a West Virginia women’s Commission lead initiative establishing gender equity on Mountain state boards commissions and in the legislature they are ramping up a number of programs let me make sure I get it right they’re ready to run training student ambassadors program and women and girls day right here at the legislature they’re looking at state appointed boards and commissions that have a political social and economic impact they’re especially taking a look in targeting the state athletic commission that oversees all women’s sports but doesn’t have a woman member they want to see that changed West Virginia women currently making history include delegate Amy summers the West Virginia House is first lady Majority Leader it’s very exciting to be part of history and to show that women can serve in the same roles that men can my father was involved in politics and that’s how I got into the system and I had a community that was interested in politics and wanted to see women go far so I had that support but if someone doesn’t have that there are options out there that people can can use to help them it’s important for many reasons we’re half of the population we have families we have jobs retirement to think about there’s so much we need to do to be speaking and in putting into the policies and processes that are affecting our lives in fact California not only is asking for gender equity on state boards and commissions but they’ve just passed a bill of law into the law to have all corporate boards and commissions be equitable by gender and so that’s very important we hope that we get to that place as well these women say it has always been the time but they see 2019 as a prime time to see women fully engage in government lead in shaping the political process and tackle the most important social issues facing West Virginia women for the legislature today I’m ready yo I’m Suzanne Higgins says we enter the final week of this legislative session we hope you’ll continue to tune in nightly for updates and special programming next Saturday evening March 9th as we broadcast live from the Capitol for everyone here at West Virginia Public Broadcasting thanks for joining us tonight have a great weekend [Music] [Applause] [Music] [Music] viewers consistently report that they are more likely to use a service or buy a product from a company that also supports public broadcasting to become a partner with us in telling West Virginia’s story call our community support staff today one of the most popular singers in America John Denver Explorer the man behind the music what Frank Sinatra was the 40s Elvis Presley was the 50s and the Beatles were to the 60s John Denver was to the Seven News John Denver country boy Saturday at 6:30 p.m. join us for a special screening of the highly anticipated PBS documentary country music from award-winning filmmaker Ken Burns will be at the WVU Creative Arts Center in Morgantown at 7:30 Tuesday April 16th for an exclusive first look at country music plus our own West Virginia country music treasures Kathy Mattea and Charlie McCoy will perform live and in person it’s sure to be a big time get your tickets at WV public org slash country music West Virginia Public Broadcasting telling West Virginia’s story I have never been more proud to be a mountaineer or a citizen in West

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