Hoppy’s Commentary Archives

YesterdayFebruary 20, 2024

Legislators look to finish off income tax on Social Security

The House Finance Committee has taken a step toward approving Governor Jim Justice’s proposal to eliminate the state income tax on Social Security benefits for middle and higher income West Virginians. However, lawmakers are taking a more cautious approach to the tax cut. The bill that came out of committee would phase out the tax

MondayFebruary 19, 2024

Manchin moves on

  In the end, Joe Manchin made up his mind quickly. The West Virginia Senator is notorious for overthinking decisions and shifting views. That can frustrate those closest to him, but it also allowed him to consider all possibilities. It was that attribute that made him the ultimate deal maker. His driving life force is

MondayFebruary 12, 2024

I’m off

I’m off for a week. Dave Wilson will be filling in on Talkline.  The commentary will return on Monday, Feb. 19.   Hop

ThursdayFebruary 8, 2024

Chris Miller is making noise in the governor’s race

Chris Miller is emerging as a wild card in the race for the Republican nomination for Governor in West Virginia. An indicator of his building momentum came this week when the Club for Growth started running TV ads attacking Miller. The Club for Growth is backing Attorney General Patrick Morrisey for Governor, and the PAC

TuesdayFebruary 6, 2024

The political mine field of border policy

Oklahoma Senator Republican Jim Lankford has for the last four months been a key player in the Senate negotiations to try to craft a border security bill. A few days ago, the Oklahoma Republican Party approved a resolution censuring Lankford. Lankford’s home state Republicans accused him of “playing fast and loose with Democrats on border

MondayFebruary 5, 2024

The paradox of Jim Justice

Jim Justice is in the news in West Virginia about every day. What the state’s governor does and says is typically newsworthy, and Justice is very quotable. He is running for the U.S. Senate, so his candidacy makes news. In addition, there is often news about one or more of his family companies not paying

ThursdayFebruary 1, 2024

Notes from under the gold dome

Some thoughts about a couple of pieces of legislation at the state house:  The first is a resolution. Delegate Kayla Young (D, Kanawha) has introduced House Joint Resolution 27 calling for an amendment to the state constitution guaranteeing women the right to control their reproductive decisions, including abortion.  The proposal is similar to one that

TuesdayJanuary 30, 2024

How will the Republican Primary change impact the party?

The West Virginia Republican Party executive committee has approved a resolution that will limit the party’s Primary Election to only Republican voters beginning in 2026. The decision reverses the party policy that had been in place for more than 30 years that allowed independents or individuals with no party affiliation to vote in the GOP

MondayJanuary 29, 2024

Biden pulls the plug on future LNG terminals

In March 2022, President Biden promised the United States would be a reliable supplier of natural gas to European countries to replace the flow from Russia.  The landmark energy supply deal with the EU guaranteed shipments of liquified natural gas (LNG) to keep homes heated and businesses running, but with a side benefit of punishing

ThursdayJanuary 25, 2024

Library bill spurs controversy

Controversy has erupted at the State Capitol over a bill that, if it becomes law, would make it a serious crime for a librarian or museum curator to display or make available to a minor material that is obscene. Specifically, HB 4654 removes schools, museums and public libraries from the exemption in current law that

TuesdayJanuary 23, 2024

State must give teachers a substantial pay raise

West Virginia Education Association teachers’ union president Dale Lee says there is a crisis in public education in the state. Frankly, the term “crisis” is thrown around so much that it has lost a lot of its punch. However, Lee and others in public education are right to raise legitimate concerns about the current state

MondayJanuary 22, 2024

Science teachers should teach science, not religion

For today’s commentary, I will focus on the simple and noncontroversial issue of how life began. … on second thought, let’s not do that. Instead, let’s talk about what guidance the West Virginia Legislature wants to give high school science teachers on how to do their jobs. The Senate Education Committee last week passed SB

ThursdayJanuary 18, 2024

WV Republican Party considers major rule change for Primary Election voters

The West Virginia Republican Party Executive Committee meets Saturday in Charleston where it will consider a controversial proposal to restrict the Primary Elections, including the one in May, to only registered Republican voters. The proposal emerged from a recent meeting of the party’s Resolutions Committee. That group voted four to three to bring the resolution

TuesdayJanuary 16, 2024

West Virginia Child Protective Services needs sunlight.

Last October, Kanawha County Sheriff’s Deputies were called to a home in Sissonville to investigate a report of suspected child abuse. When they arrived, the police made a shocking discovery. Two young teenagers were locked in a small shed. Another child, a three-year-old, was alone in the house. Deputies said the children in the shed

MondayJanuary 15, 2024

All Social Security payments should be excluded from state taxes

Governor Jim Justice, during his state of the state address last week, proposed eliminating the state tax on Social Security income. The state currently does not apply the income tax to single filers who make less than $50,000 a year and joint filers below $100,000, but this proposal would extend the exemption to all Social

WednesdayJanuary 10, 2024

Here’s what’s good about the West Virginia Legislature

The 2024 regular session of the West Virginia Legislature is underway, and let me confess now that I am a fan. You may think that is a peculiar view, especially since we tend to have such low regard for politicians and the political process. And, in fairness, there is a lot to dislike about politics,

TuesdayJanuary 9, 2024

What Governor Justice might say tomorrow night

Governor Jim Justice delivers his final State of the State address tomorrow night in the House of Delegates chamber, kicking off the 2024 regular session of the Legislature. As is typically the case with this Governor, it’s hard to know what he is going to say ahead of time because Justice likes to ad lib.

MondayJanuary 8, 2024

Senate President will push reinstatement of death penalty in WV

On April 3, 1959, Elmer Bruner was executed by electric chair at the Moundsville Penitentiary for murder. Two years earlier, a Cabell County jury had convicted Bruner of beating Ruby Miller to death with a claw hammer after she discovered him during a home burglary. Bruner was the last person executed in the state of

FridayJanuary 5, 2024

High tech hopes in West Virginia

The announcement by LG Electronics, the South Korean multi-national electronics company, that it has chosen West Virginia for a $700 million dollar investment has caused heads to spin. Frankly, it has been difficult to fully comprehend what the company has in mind, exactly. Let’s start with what it is not. LG Electronics is a global

ThursdayJanuary 4, 2024

The sky IS falling

The headline in Tuesday’s New York Times caught my attention: “The Debt Matters Again.” The article by German Lopez draws attention to the growing problem of the national debt, which just passed $34 trillion dollars. Lopez writes that “For years, many economists believed the country’s debt was not a problem. Interest rates were low, which