Always Free WV

West Virginians Stood Together and Prevented Disastrous Bills!

What can we learn from this year’s legislative session? One important lesson is that when citizens band together in large numbers, descend on the Capitol, and make their voices heard directly by legislators, it can affect their votes. 

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Campaign Contributions Leverage Millions in WV Tax Breaks

In our just completed legislative session, Bob Murray, owner of Murray Energy – a major coal producer in our state, cashed in on his generous campaign contributions with a $60 million tax break on West Virginia’s coal severance taxes. Not a bad return on a less than 2-million-dollar investment in our corrupt political system!

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The Passage of Privatization of the Foster Care System Bill Could Result in “Kids for Cash” Scheme!

Is West Virginia about to be forced into a system that values profits over kids? That’s what happened in Pennsylvania.

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A West Virginian by Choice Wonders: Is This Who We Are?

By Always Free WV Advisory Committee Member, Kendra Fershee

I moved to West Virginia seven years ago, over the strenuous objections of pretty much everyone I know who has never lived in or visited West Virginia. I have to admit, the only things I’d ever heard about West Virginia -- news stories and bad jokes, mostly -- were pretty awful. But then I visited my future home for a job interview and I was struck, almost immediately, by how wrong that reputation is. It’s easy to see the beauty here, in the place and in the people. But perception is more important than reality, and the perception of West Virginia in other states is often about as bad as it gets. And after another round of horrible news stories coming out of Charleston last week, highlighting some West Virginians’ ignorant attacks on our Muslim neighbors, unfortunately, we’ve slipped farther from turning the tide on that reputation.

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Corporations pay less in taxes as WV college tuitions rise and enrollment plummets

As 2019 legislative leaders consider reducing corporate taxes yet again, declining funding for colleges and universities has degraded our schools and led to declining student enrollment.

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Some State Legislators Fought to Allow Citizen Voices in Education Debate

Lately, leadership at the legislature is ramming legislation down our throats without public input – for example, by bundling together the many provisions of the Education omnibus bill so individual pieces are difficult to debate.  Thank goodness for folks like Delegates Sean Hornbuckle and Amanda Estep-Burton who supported amendments forcing legislators to hear the voices of real working people.

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Teachers and school personnel sacrifice as Putnam Superintendent throws them (and students) Under the Bus!

When out-of-state lobbyists pushed West Virginia legislators to introduce legislation to tear apart WV public schools, our teachers and school personnel stood up for our kids once again by quickly calling for a strike to stop the damaging legislation. Fifty-four superintendents agreed with teachers that schools should close and students stay safely at home while teachers and service personnel expressed outrage toward the Omnibus Bill they believe will hurt WV schools and students.

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Medicaid Work Requirement Won’t Save Money or Increase Jobs!

What’s wrong with requiring able-bodied people to work twenty hours a week for their health insurance? It sounds reasonable until you find out that most Medicaid recipients already work, but many struggle to find steady work or have medical issues that interfere with holding regular jobs. When you hear the stories of some of the people whose Medicaid coverage was threatened when such requirements were implemented in Arkansas and Kentucky, you may understand why H.B. 3136, the Medicaid Work Requirement, would be so harmful in WV.

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Putnam Bus Drivers Supported Strikers, Standing Strong for Public Education!

Among the true heroes of last week’s education debate were Putnam County school bus drivers, who put themselves on the line to protect our public education system. Let’s take a moment to salute these patriots who put our kids and communities first.

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a lose, lose, lose situation that we don’t need to repeat here in WV.

 

Sometimes what seems like a good idea on the surface turns out to be terrible when tried out. This is what other states have found out when they required Medicaid recipients to try to find work. When most of them either didn’t find work or couldn’t fill out the extra paperwork to prove they were exempt or had a job, nearly 20,000 in Arkansas lost their healthcare.

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