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Hoppy’s Commentary Archives


TodayMarch 4, 2021

WV Nursing Homes Need Protection From Pandemic Lawsuits, But How Much?

The pandemic has impacted West Virginia’s nursing homes harder than any other sector.  West Virginia AARP reports that nearly 700 of the over 2,300 deaths were long-term care residents and staff. The West Virginia Legislature is now considering whether those nursing homes, as well as every other health care provider and business in the state,

YesterdayMarch 3, 2021

Gov. Justice Open to Recreational Marijuana Legalization

Governor Jim Justice’s opposition to legalizing marijuana for recreational purposes appears to be softening. Justice opened the door just a crack during a virtual town hall meeting Tuesday, where the Governor was again pitching his proposed elimination of the state income tax. A questioner—Dylan from Ripley—asked, “Do you support legalizing marijuana fully to bring in

TuesdayMarch 2, 2021

WV Lawmakers Want to Clarify—Impeachment is THEIR Job

The West Virginia Legislature is considering a proposed amendment to the state Constitution that would clarify its sole authority to handle impeachment cases. House Joint Resolution Two states: “No court of this state has any authority or jurisdiction, by writ or otherwise, to intercede or intervene in, or interfere with, any impeachment proceedings of the

MondayMarch 1, 2021

Governor, That’s Just Politics

Governor Jim Justice hates politics, and he frequently makes that point clear.  Justice sees the dark side of politics—the hypocrisy, below-the-belt shots, unscrupulous deal-making. He has found that presenting himself as the anti-politician works in his favor.  After all, he has won election twice as Governor—once as a Democrat and once as a Republican. However,

FridayFebruary 26, 2021

The Covid-19 Christmas Tree Bill

Supporters of President Biden’s pandemic relief package like to cite the polling data—a survey by Morning Consult/Politico finds that 76 percent of voters support the plan. Frankly, with $1.9 trillion spread over 591 pages of appropriations, I am surprised approval isn’t at 100 percent since there must be something for everyone in this cash-laden Christmas

ThursdayFebruary 25, 2021

One Person at a Time, One Shot at a Time

It is dangerous, perhaps even foolhardy, to try to predict the future during a pandemic.  However, the trendlines in West Virginia continue heading in the right direction. Here are some relevant stats based on the figures released by West Virginia’s Department of Health and Human Resources Wednesday. –The number of current active Covid-19 cases in

WednesdayFebruary 24, 2021

Senate Bill Creates Necessary Oversight for Health Boards

West Virginia legislators are engaged in a contentious debate over a bill that would give county commissioners more control over decisions made by county health departments. As explained by our Brad McElhinny, Senate Bill 12 “would require county commissioners and other health-appointing agencies, like city governments, to approve or disapprove rules passed by local health

TuesdayFebruary 23, 2021

Poll Shows WV Republicans Support Income Tax Elimination

We have yet to see all the details of Governor Jim Justice’s proposal to reduce, and eventually eliminate, the state’s income tax.  Justice did lay out parts of his plan in his State of the State address earlier this month. The sales tax would rise from six percent to seven-and-a-half percent. Sales tax exemptions on

MondayFebruary 22, 2021

It’s Nothing Personal, Governor

Governor Jim Justice is notoriously thin skinned. To him, all business is personal. Sometimes that serves him well. Justice has taken his role in leading West Virginia through the pandemic as a personal crusade.  As a result, West Virginia has fared better than many states and is now leading the nation in vaccine distribution. But

FridayFebruary 19, 2021

Yes, Strikes By WV Teachers Are Illegal, But Who Will Enforce It?

West Virginia Department of Highways workers went on strike in 1969.  State schoolteachers struck in 1990, 2018 and again the following year. For each strike there was always debate and disagreement over whether public employees could legally strike. And each time, courts and legal opinions found that the strikes were illegal. However, the issue has

ThursdayFebruary 18, 2021

Thanks, Rush

Rush Limbaugh changed my life. Let me explain because it’s not what you think. To me, Rush was, first and foremost, a broadcaster, an entertainer and a master communicator. He operated at the highest level of a radio talent by forming personal relationships with millions of people he never met. He revived and then perpetuated

WednesdayFebruary 17, 2021

Capito’s Crown Jewel–Republicans Overtake Democrats in WV

Republican voter registration has overtaken Democratic registration in West Virginia for the first time since 1932.  Figures from the West Virginia Secretary of State’s office show there are now 448,924 registered Republicans (36.81 percent) and 444,609 Democrats (36.46 percent), with 275,469 with no party affiliation (22.6 percent). The shift in West Virginia’s political landscape has

TuesdayFebruary 16, 2021

The Pandemic and Public Education

One of these days, after we have returned to some sense of normalcy in a post-pandemic world, we will learn just how much the virus impacted the education of our children, and the news will not be good. We know that remote learning is, for now at least, a temporary fix, and one that cannot

MondayFebruary 15, 2021

West Virginia’s Post-Pandemic Economy

West Virginia’s economy is still feeling the effects of the virus, and it is going to be awhile before the state is fully back to pre-pandemic levels. A report from WVU’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research shows the state lost 94,000 jobs during the pandemic. Bureau Director economist Dr. John Deskins calls it “the

FridayFebruary 12, 2021

Justice’s Tax Plan is Bold, But is it Smart?

Say this about West Virginia Governor Jim Justice: He goes big. Justice opened the 2021 legislative session by proposing the elimination of the state income tax. That is a heavy lift. For this fiscal year, state income tax collections are expected to reach $2.2 billion, out of a $4.6 billion General Revenue Budget. That is

ThursdayFebruary 11, 2021

$15 An Hour Minimum Wage Deserves Truthful Debate

President Joe Biden wants to fulfill a campaign promise by raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025.  The current federal minimum wage is $7.25, and it has not been raised since 2009, so the argument for some increase is compelling. Advocates say wages will go up for the lowest paid workers and

WednesdayFebruary 10, 2021

A Legislative Session Like No Other Begins Today

The 2021 regular session of the West Virginia Legislature begins today, and it will be like no other in the state’s history. (Read Brad McElhinny’s report on the start of the session.) Many safety protocols are in place because of the pandemic. They will alter not only how and where lawmakers gather inside the State

TuesdayFebruary 9, 2021

The Senate Won’t Convict Trump, But It Should

The defense team for former President Donald Trump has a job that is both easy and difficult as the impeachment trial begins today in the United States Senate. The easy part is that the outcome is a foregone conclusion. The test vote on the impeachment came two weeks ago on Senator Rand Paul’s motion to

MondayFebruary 8, 2021

Can a Former President be Impeached?

This will be an historic week in the U.S. Senate, not only because of the second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump, but also because of the debate over the very question of whether a former president can be tried after he has left office. The House impeachment managers will argue that the Senate

FridayFebruary 5, 2021

WV Office of Oil and Gas Short on Inspectors

West Virginia has a lot of gas wells—giant horizontal fracking wells, smaller conventional wells and old gas and oil wells that have been abandoned. The state Office of Oil and Gas (OOG), within the state Department of Environmental Protection, reports West Virginia has approximately 60,000 active wells and about 15,000 abandoned wells under its jurisdiction.