Welcome back to the Capitol Notebook. It’s a brand new week, and all the legislators have gone home. But statehouse news never sleeps. Here’s today’s lunchtime rundown.
Late last week, the Daily Mail obtained a copy of a $380,000 audit of the state’s Department of Health and Human Resources. The findings were presented to the Governor’s Office just two weeks after the beginning of the regular legislative session, but Tomblin’s people delayed release of the report until after the session concluded.
It’s a pretty damning report, uncovering millions in waste at the agency, including $7.1 million in overtime pay last year. The agency has a 30 percent turnover rate, and thus relies heavily on overtime just to get its work done.
Hallie Mason, Tomblin’s public policy director, told me many of the changes requested in the report can be made without legislative action. But for those changes that do require new laws on the books…it looks like we’ll have to wait until next year.
In other news:
- Two prominent Kanawha County Republicans, Charleston Mayor Danny Jones and House Minority Leader Tim Armstead, apparently got into an argument over Jones’ desire to perform marriages at city events. As Paul Fallon reports in today’s Daily Mail, the men have a drastically different recollection of that conversation but ultimately, the conversation shifted to gay marriage. And from there, gay marriage became part of the embattled “home rule” legislation.
- Even though a resolution to appoint pepperoni rolls as the official state food failed during the regular legislative session, our general assignment reporter Candace Nelson decided to dig deeper into the subject and ask some notable West Virginians for their opinions. Among the respondents are author Homer Hickam, speed-of-sound-smashing pilot Chuck Yeager, Newsweek correspondent Michael Tomasky and Senate President Jeff Kessler.
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