The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Latest News

March 2, 2013

Tomblin dispels education bill rumors

Teacher concerns ‘can be addressed’

CHARLESTON — Unfounded rumors early on have clouded the intent of a massive education reform bill in this session, but such fears as fewer holidays and weekend classes can be dismissed, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin said Friday.

Already, heads of West Virginia’s two teacher unions have posted strong opposition to the 179-page bill, working its way initially in the state Senate.

Tomblin said he has met with both the West Virginia Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers to air their concerns.

“I think some of the issues can be addressed,” he said.

“There were some rumors put out that the bill would take paid holidays away. That’s not the case at all.”

Scuttlebutt also suggested that teachers would be called on to conduct Saturday classes, but again, Tomblin said, “That’s not the case.”

“There are some issues out there, that maybe the way the bill was read, or something, or the way it was drafted, that we can clean it up,” he said.

“But there was never any intent to take anyone’s holidays away from them.”

Tomblin said one component of the legislation is merely to provide flexibility to schools in determining their calendars.

Senate Education Chairman Robert Plymale, D-Wayne, already has had the huge bill on his committee agenda, and the work is expected to intensify next week.

Plymale said the measure would be up next Tuesday, possibly twice, if necessary.

Time ran out Thursday before both Dale Lee and Judy Hale, presidents of the WVEA and AFT, respectively, had an opportunity to air their concerns over the reform bill.

The two are expected to testify on the measure, which they have decried as a failure.

Senate President Jeffrey Kessler, D-Marshall, has said he wants to get the bill on the floor for a vote and sent to the House by the mid-way point of the session.

In a brief interview outside his office, Tomblin laughed when asked if he would sign the House-passed bill that would equalize the pay of all West Virginia magistrates and their court staffs.

Senate Finance Chairman Roman Prezioso, D-Marion, has suggested the measure has little chance in the upper chamber.

Would Tomblin sign it in the unlikely event that the pay bill reaches his desk? “I haven’t seen it yet,” Tomblin said, smiling. “I’ll put it that way.”

— E-mail: mannix@register-herald.com

1
Text Only
Latest News
  • pittsburgh rally 5,000 rally in Pittsburgh against EPA Clean Power Plan

    The echo of people chanting, “Hey, hey, EPA, don’t take our jobs away” could be heard in downtown Pittsburgh Thursday.

    The voices came from about 5,000 United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) members and their families, along with other unions such as the Boilermakers and the Brotherhood of Electrical Workers International (IBEW), marching through the streets.

     

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Alpha plans to idle coal workers

    Approximately 1,100 employees at 11 Alpha Resources-affiliated surface mines, preparation plants and other support operations in southern West Virginia got notice late Thursday afternoon that their jobs could be in jeopardy.

     

    August 1, 2014

  • New rules to fight black lung disease kick in today

    Joe Massie has spent the last 22 years of his life fighting a disease that takes his breath away, a disease he contracted deep underground in the coal mines over a period of 30 years. 

    Black lung may take away his breath; it has not stilled his voice.

    August 1, 2014

  • target red Zero tolerance Target Red campaign hopes to lessen intersection crashes

    It happens every day.

    A driver hurries on his or her way to work, school or maybe nowhere in particular. Just ahead, a green light turns yellow. With a little more gas, the vehicle just might be able to clear the intersection before that light turns red. Or maybe not. 

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Alpha announces intention to lay off 1,100 surface miners

    The announcement dealt another blow to Appalachia's iconic, but dwindling, fossil fuel industry. The company said 2015 industry forecasts show Central Appalachian coal production will be less than half of its 2009 output. It's due to a combination of familiar factors, Alpha said: competition from cheaper natural gas, weak domestic and international markets and low coal prices.

     

    July 31, 2014

  • Justice mines have violations in 5 states

    A West Virginia coal billionaire has more than 250 pending violations at mining operations in Kentucky and four other states.

    July 31, 2014

  • VA Greenbrier clinic to remain closed

    The Department of Veterans Affairs Greenbrier County Community Based Outpatient Clinic will remain closed due to ongoing correction of environmental concerns. 

    July 31, 2014

  • prezarrested.jpg Protesters arrested at UMWA Rally in Pittsburgh

    After marching from the David L. Lawrence Convention Center to the William S. Moorehead Federal Building in downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, around 15 United Mine Workers of America (UMW) leaders were arrested.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo 2 Stories

  • Mercer shooting sends one to hospital

     One person has been shot following an apparent altercation in the Montcalm area of Mercer County.

    July 31, 2014

  • UMWA1.jpg More than 5,000 protesting new EPA rules at rally

    Today, 73 buses will bring miners and UMW members to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, for a labor rally and march through downtown Pittsburgh.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo 1 Story