July marked the beginning of Fiscal Year 2024 for 46 of the 50 states. It also closes the books on most state legislative sessions in what was an incredible 2023 for hard-working taxpayers.
In recent years, we’ve seen significant income tax relief in the states. Notably, 10 states – Kentucky, West Virginia, Montana, Utah, Arkansas, North Dakota, Indiana, Nebraska, Connecticut, and Ohio – have cut personal income taxes (PIT) in 2023. With the new addition of West Virginia, North Dakota, and Connecticut, 22 states have cut personal income taxes since 2021, with several of these states cutting taxes multiple times during that period.
A company that has been supported by West Virginia’s highest-profile politicians is tying to sell the state on “untested” tech to convert one of its key coal power plants into a green energy project, E&E News reported Friday.
The California-based Omnis Technologies in early June signed a letter of intent to purchase the Pleasants Power Station and convert the coal-fired power plant into a hydrogen plant fueled by the byproducts of Omnis’ nearby graphite facility, according to local outlet WTAP. Industry experts cast doubt on whether the little-known company — whose green housing project in the state was praised by both the state’s Republican Gov. Jim Justice and Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin — was prepared to pull off such a significant transition, according to E&E News.
At least 20 states have either restricted or banned transgender procedures for minors, with many of them facing lawsuits and temporary blocks by courts as a result, while future litigation is possible in states considering adopting such laws.
The states that have enacted legislation against such procedures are: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and West Virginia – essentially all conservative-leaning.
Several states are advocating for harsher fentanyl penalties as overdose deaths surge in the U.S.
Nevada, Oregon, Alabama, Texas, West Virginia and South Carolina have all pushed to increase the length of sentences for fentanyl dealers, according to the Associated Press. Fentanyl is largely responsible for the more than 100,000 drug overdose deaths that occurred in 2021 up from 93,331 drug overdose deaths in 2020, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Three more red states — Florida, Missouri, and West Virginia — this week followed Louisiana and Alabama in withdrawing from a multistate data-sharing partnership that facilitates voter registration and maintenance of voter rolls, citing unmet concerns over protecting voter information and partisan influence at the nonprofit.
The latest withdrawals from the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC) came after the nonprofit’s board of directors rejected changes proposed by a bipartisan working group of several member states.
With the woke investing movement known as Environmental Social and Governance gaining steam in corporate boardrooms and asset management firms across the U.S., red states are pushing back.
The ESG counteroffensive includes economic and legislative moves ranging from the leveraging of public investment to laws mandating that fiduciaries of public funds make investment choices based on financial rather than ideological criteria.
A federal judge ruled Thursday in favor of a West Virginia law that requires athletes to compete in sports on the basis of biological sex rather than gender identity.
Southern District of West Virginia Judge Joseph Goodwin ruled that the state’s H.B. 3293, commonly known as the “Save Women’s Sports Act,” is “constitutionally permissible” because its definitions of girl and woman on the basis of biological sex are “substantially related to the important government interest of providing equal athletic opportunities for females.” The ruling comes after a lawsuit, filed on behalf of 11-year-old Becky Pepper-Jackson, a transgender girl, argued that H.B. 3293 violated Pepper-Jackson’s rights under Title IX a federal law that prohibits discrimination of the basis of sex, and kept the student from joining the girl’s cross country team.
Following South Dakota GOP Gov. Kristi Noem’s lead, nearly half of U.S. states have put restrictions on or banned the use of Chinese-based social media app TikTok.
At least 19 states have banned TikTok on government-issued devices – Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Idaho, Iowa, Maryland, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utha, Virginia and West Virginia.
As the leader of a nonprofit group whose mission is to promote economic freedom, sound public policy, and responsible financial management at the state level, I’m honored to help our nation’s financial officers practice good stewardship of taxpayer dollars. Their work often includes managing pension funds that are vital to millions of Americans’ retirement security. Over the past few years, a growing threat called ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) has been negatively impacting state pension systems, ultimately putting retirees at risk. Sadly, our nation’s state financial officers and the retirees they have a fiduciary responsibility to protect are increasingly under siege by ESG ideologues who are motivated by politics rather than economics.
A dozen Republican state attorneys general are fed up with what they view as the leftward drift and self-dealing of their nonpartisan national association and are asking the organization to change its ways and return roughly $280 million in assets to the states.
The National Association of Attorneys General was created in 1907 as a bipartisan forum for all state and territory attorneys general. Over the last year, several of the group’s Republican members have asserted that NAAG has become a partisan litigation machine that improperly benefits from the many tort settlements it helps to engineer.
The West Virginia legislature approved a sweeping measure Tuesday that would allow abortion only in cases of medical emergencies, rape, and incest.
The bill (HB 302) passed in the state Senate, 22-7 and the state House, 77-17, and has been sent to the desk of Governor Jim Justice (R-WV).
In October 2020, the Michigan Supreme Court stripped Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of the unilateral powers she was using when she declared a state of emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Whitmer had been using a 1945 law – which was prompted by a three-day race riot in Detroit three years earlier – that had no sunset provision in it and didn’t require approval by the state legislature.
In May 2021, Whitmer told a news agency that if she still had that 1945 state-of-emergency law, she would use those powers, but not for anything related to a pandemic.
Republican Sen. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia may be saving her state’s coal industry after the Senate Democrats’ climate bill, backed by Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, threatened to place new regulations on coal.
Manchin’s agreement included a provision that explicitly authorized the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to further regulate coal production under a variety of legal provisions that could have rendered the recent Supreme Court rulings, which stated that Congress must clearly authorize the agency’s actions, irrelevant. However, Capito asserted that the authorization did not comply with budget reconciliation rules on the Senate floor on Sunday, leading the Senate parliamentarian to eliminate the provision, according to a press release.
West Virginia has experienced a dramatic expansion of educational freedom over the past year, from the state legislature passing a near-universal Education Savings Account (ESA) program, called the Hope Scholarship, to loosening state compulsory school attendance laws for participants of learning pods and microschools.
A federal judge in Tennessee ruled in favor of Tennessee, Arizona, and 18 other states in their effort to block federal guidelines on transgender athletes and school locker rooms.
The lawsuit, brought by Tennessee, challenged guidance from the United States Department of Education and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that would allow athletes who were marked as males on their birth certificates to compete in girls and women’s sports. The federal guidance also would have prohibited student shower and locker room access from being determined by birth gender and provided guidance on required pronoun use.
Twenty-one states have filed a lawsuit challenging the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s continued mask mandate on public transportation, including on airplanes.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Attorney General Ashley Moody are leading the effort. Moody filed the suit in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida along with 20 other attorneys general. DeSantis said the mask mandate was misguided and heavy-handed.
When we last checked in with U.S. Representative Alex Mooney (R-W.Va.), evidence of his misuse of campaign funds had been referred to the House Ethics Committee by the Office of Congressional Ethics.
As American Greatness has reported, Mooney’s congressional campaign used campaign money to pay for the congressman’s personal expenses, including $3,475 in meals from Chick-fil-A and other fast-food restaurants, two vacation trips to resorts in West Virginia, and $17,250 in gift card purchases from a Catholic Church gift shop. He has repaid more than $12,000 of a disputed $40,115 as a result of the OCE investigation.
Sixteen states again are challenging a federal COVID-19 vaccination mandate for health care workers who work at facilities that receive Medicare and Medicaid funding.
Friday’s filing in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana comes after the issuance of final guidance on the mandate from the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS), arguing the guidance is an action that is reviewable.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled by 5-4 vote Jan. 13 against the original Louisiana challenge to the mandate and a similar Missouri filing.
As millions of families across the country grapple with the fact that the expanded child tax credit could lapse for months, if not permanently, those in few states stand to hurt more than those in West Virginia.
The monthly credit, amounting to as much as $300 per child, has been a lifeline to many across the state, which ranks 49th out of 50 in average income. The expansion, adopted in March as part of the coronavirus relief package, has especially helped those earning the lowest, many of whom were once partially or completely excluded from receiving it because their incomes were too low to qualify.
West Virginia had already struggled as coal mining declined and drug overdose deaths rose, but after being decimated by the coronavirus pandemic, economic recession that resulted and subsequent inflation as the state recovered, residents said that the expanded payments provided a sense of financial security when so much seemed uncertain.
Scientists believe a meteor exploded early New Year’s Day over Pittsburgh, causing mysterious loud noises and vibrations that shook the city.
“The loud explosion heard over SW PA earlier may have been a meteor explosion,” the U.S. National Weather Service tweeted Saturday, posting an image showing a flash of light it claimed was “not associated with lightning.”
“No confirmation, but this is the most likely explanation at this time,” the agency said.
West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin told the White House last week that he was willing to endorse some type of billionaire tax in President Joe Biden’s domestic spending package before coming out against it days later, The Washington Post reported.
Manchin said that a tax on billionaires’ wealth could be a means to pay for the package, according to the Post, citing three people familiar with his offer to the White House. The outlet reported that it was unclear whether Manchin provided an estimate of how much money the provision would raise.
Programs in Manchin’s $1.8 trillion counteroffer included universal pre-K for ten years, expansions to the Affordable Care Act and billions of dollars for climate change mitigation measures, according to the Post, but it did not include the child tax credit, which many Democrats have touted as one of the single biggest policy achievements of the year.
Republicans are upping their calls for West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin to switch parties after he said he would not vote for President Joe Biden’s domestic spending bill.
Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn told Nexstar that he texted Manchin to encourage him to switch after he came out as a “no,” telling him, “Joe, if [Democrats] don’t want you we do.”
While Cornyn said he did not get a response, he said that Manchin switching would be “the greatest Christmas present I can think of.”
Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.V., declared Sunday he won’t vote for President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better Act, saying he feared the bill’s mass spending and climate provisions may worsen inflation.
“This is a no,” Manchin told Fox News Sunday, “I have tried everything I know to do.”
The West Virginia Democrat’s decision all but dooms Biden’s signature legislation in an evenly divided Senate.
Manchin said he was concerned about the continuing effects of the pandemic, inflation, and geopolitical unrest. His decision came after an intense lobbying campaign by the president and fellow Democrats failed to change his mind.
West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin came out against his party’s plan to tax billionaires in order to finance their social-spending package just hours after it was first released.
“I don’t like it. I don’t like the connotation that we’re targeting different people,” Manchin told reporters Tuesday morning, describing billionaires as people who “contributed to society and create a lot of jobs and a lot of money and give a lot to philanthropic pursuits.”
Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia reportedly opposed two pieces of his party’s spending package as negotiations over its price tag and reach continue to stall.
Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia’s opposition reportedly relates to the Democrats’ climate change and child tax credit provisions of the budget proposal. While the majority of his party lauded both programs, the 50-50 Senate means that any one Democratic senator could tank the bill, giving Manchin veto-like power while representing a rural, coal-producing state that voted for former President Donald Trump by almost 40 points in 2020.
Multiple reports surfaced Friday suggesting that the Clean Electricity Payment Program would likely be scrapped from the bill due to Manchin’s objections, part of Democrats’ attempt to fight climate change. Those backing the program, which would provide incentives for clean energy use while implementing fines and penalties for organizations continuing to rely on fossil fuels, see it as a fundamental piece of the Democrats’ agenda and key to reaching President Joe Biden’s goal of reducing U.S. emissions by 50% of what they were in 2005 by 2030.
About 25% of critical infrastructure in the U.S., or 36,000 facilities, is at serious risk of being rendered inoperable as a result of flooding over the next three decades, according to an industry report released Monday.
American infrastructure such as police stations, airports, hospitals, wastewater treatment facilities, churches and schools were all considered in the analysis, according to First Street Foundation, the group that published the first-of-its-kind report. The U.S. is “ill-prepared” for a scenario where major flooding events become more commonplace, the report concluded.
The U.S. Justice Department unsealed a criminal complaint Sunday alleging that a Navy engineer and his wife repeatedly tried to pass secrets about U.S. nuclear submarines to a foreign power in a plot thwarted by an undercover FBI agent.
Jonathan Toebbe, 42, and his wife Diana, 45, both of Annapolis, Md,. were arrested Saturday in West Virginia by the FBI and Naval Criminal Investigative Service on espionage-related charges of violating the Atomic Energy Act, officials said.
West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin was once again at odd with his party Thursday evening, as fellow Democrat and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer laid into his GOP colleagues during a floor speech following a vote to approve legislation that would temporarily raise the debt ceiling.
“Republicans played a dangerous and risky partisan game, and I am glad that their brinksmanship did not work,” said Schumer, beginning a series of remarks that would target his colleagues across the aisle, including 11 of whom voted to end debate on the debt ceiling measure, allowing for the full vote to happen.
Manchin, who could be seen seated direct behind Schumer, as the New York lawmaker made his remarks, appeared at first to be shaking his head disapprovingly before placing his head in his hands.
The White House is once again at odds with the senior senator from West Virginia.
Joe Manchin has made clear for months that the administration’s sprawling $3.5 trillion social spending package is too large, and just as progressives seemed to agree that the top-line number could be whittled down somewhat, the moderate Democrat drew another line in the sand, this one underscoring the Hyde Amendment.
The amendment represents a decades-long agreement by both parties that prohibits federal dollars from funding abortion, except in cases of rape, incest, or when the life of the mother is in danger. Manchin wants it included in the spending bill. The White House does not. Thus has emerged another obstacle to passing the president’s legislative agenda.
Yogi Berra once said, “It’s déjà vu all over again.”
That is exactly how Americans must feel as they learn that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is trying to ram through another bill orchestrating a federal takeover of elections, despite the previous failed attempt in the Senate.
The bill, H.R. 4, is expected to come up in the House of Representatives this week, and it is stunning in its breadth. In short, Pelosi would give broad, sweeping powers to the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division to rewrite every state and local election law in the country.
A biologically male middle school student may run on a girl’s cross country team this fall in spite of West Virginia’s new law banning biological males from women’s sports, U.S. Circuit Judge Joseph R. Goodwin ruled Wednesday.
Lawyers from the ACLU-West Virginia had argued that HB 3293 would unfairly prevent the 11-year-old student, Becky Pepper-Jackson, from participating on a girls cross country team.
Goodwin issued a preliminary injunction Wednesday allowing Pepper-Jackson to “sign up for and participate in school athletics in the same way as her girl classmates.”
The Department of Justice argued in court filings Thursday that transgender legislation passed in West Virginia and Arkansas is unconstitutional.
The DOJ filed statements of interest supporting lawsuits filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) against West Virginia’s House Bill 3293 and Arkansas’ “Save Adolescents From Experimentation Act,” otherwise known as the SAFE Act.
The West Virginia bill bans biological males at public schools from participating in women’s sports in middle school, high school, and college. The SAFE Act prohibits physicians from performing gender transition procedures, such as puberty blockers or “top” and “bottom” surgeries, on minors.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell suggested that Republicans could back an infrastructure package costing up to $800 billion, a higher total than a plan Senate Republicans put forward in April.
Speaking with Kentucky Educational Television Sunday, McConnell reaffirmed Republicans’ opposition to President Joe Biden’s sweeping $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan, which covers both traditional infrastructure and Democratic priorities like child care, affordable housing and climate change. McConnell said that any package must be limited to “traditional” infrastructure items like roads, bridges and ports to gain GOP support.
“The proper price tag for what most of us think of as infrastructure is about $600-800 billion,” McConnell said.
Texas and Florida are slated to gain congressional seats during the decennial redistricting process, while California and New York are set to each lose one, the U.S. Census Bureau announced Monday.
The U.S. Census Bureau released the decennial state population and congressional apportionment totals Monday, outlining how many districts each state will have for the next decade. The data also determines how many Electoral College votes each state will have through 2032, and allocates how federal money is distributed to each state for schools, roads and other public projects.
The release was originally scheduled for December, but faced delays due to the coronavirus pandemic and the Trump administration’s unsuccessful effort to exclude non-citizens from the count.
The governor of West Virginia signaled that he will not veto a bill banning biological males from women’s sports.
Republican West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice discussed HB 3293 during a coronavirus briefing Wednesday saying that he would either “let it become law or sign it,” according to The Hill. The governor also said that he would “absolutely not” veto the bill, the publication reported.
“From the standpoint of how I feel about it personally… I just can’t possibly get through my head that it is the right thing for us at a middle school level or a high school level in our state for me not to support the bill,” Justice said, according to the Hill. “So, I do support the bill.”