A federal flexibility waiver and an uptick in lottery sales welcomed some West Virginia officials Monday.
The subjects of several audits also released were not quite as happy, while the race to become the next speaker of the House of Delegates continues to heat up.
Political positioning for the leadership role in the House continued Monday, when Finance Committee Chairman Harry Keith White “officially” announced his candidacy for the role. Last week he told the Daily Mail he was kicking around the idea, but Monday he said he thinks he can create a coalition and get the necessary votes to win the position.
He hopes the coalition will include Delegate Doug Skaff. The Kanawha County delegate represents an untold number of “young guns” in the House; White said he hoped Skaff would endorse him for speaker and work with him to create a leadership team with new and experienced members.
Skaff said he’s still in the speaker’s race, but the “young guns” will determine the next leader in the House.
“Everybody can talk and say they want to get young guns involved,” Skaff said. “But it’s whoever actually does it and has a plan who is actually going to be the next speaker.”
Speaker Rick Thompson, D-Wayne, is resigning soon to become the next head of the Department of Veterans Assistance.
State educators were ecstatic to learn the federal Department of Education granted their request to forgo some of the requirements of the No Child Left Behind act. As Shay Maunz reports, officials hope the exemption will help the state identify and increase funding for struggling schools.
The legislative auditor identified three public entities with questionable fiscal practices Monday. The auditor’s office said volunteer fire departments in Chesapeake and Romney as well as Potomac State College lacked proper oversight and fiscal responsibility, reports Paul Fallon.
In particular, Chesapeake co-mingled more than $40,000 in state and local funds, lacked proper documentation for about $10,000 and misspent $600 of state money.
“I think the department continues to embarrass the residents of Chesapeake,” (Kanawha County Commissioner Dave) Hardy said Monday after hearing about the state’s findings.
West Virginia lottery officials championed their own fiscal upswing Monday: the record $600 million Powerball jackpot led to $4.6 million in sales for the week. It doesn’t beat the $23.1 million record for Powerball sales set in 2001, reports Zack Harold, but its the most since the price for tickets doubled last year.
Interim committee meetings of the Legislature continue today: today’s one scheduled meeting is for the commission on special investigations.