IWVP: COVID-19 and education bills, meeting a new, first-time legislator

Inside West Virginia Politics

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CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – This week on Inside West Virginia Politics, our guests discuss the big topics happening in the legislature, from COVID-19 liability to controversial education bills. We also hear from one of the legislature’s “rookies” and what she wants to see happen at the capitol this year.

IWVP: Is anyone liable for COVID-19 contracted in nursing homes?

In Segment 1, State Director of AARP West Virginia Gaylene Miller talks about the organization’s legislative agenda for 2021. She says one of their biggest concerns this year is a bill that would limit the liability of nursing homes and businesses such as restaurants where someone may have contracted COVID-19.

Miller says their main issue with the bill is that it would give nursing homes, assisted living and other residential care facilities a “blanket immunity for COVID-19.” She says the reason the bill poses a problem is the residents are in a “unique position” because the facilities are their homes and many of them are more vulnerable to the virus.

She says they are also watching the state budget to make sure services for senior citizens stay fully funded.

IWVP: Liability bill protects businesses, facilities from blame for COVID-19

In Segment 2, State Senate Majority Whip, Senator Ryan Weld (R-Brooke) tells us more about the bill that could limit or eliminate the liability of COVID-19 for businesses.

Weld, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, says legislators across the country have been discussing whether an employer, business or even an individual could be sued because of something they did or did not do during the COVID-19 pandemic.

He says one reason for the bill is to prevent people such as those who made and sold masks from being sued if someone still contracted the virus after purchasing one of the masks. It would also protect facilities where an outbreak occurred even though government guidelines were being followed.

IWVP: Charter schools, education savings accounts and public employee strikes

In Segment 3, charter schools and education savings accounts are once again a hot topic in the legislature. President of the West Virginia Education Association Dale Lee tells us why the organization is against that idea.

Lee says charter schools go against the advancement of public education in West Virginia and would mean the state paid for the option to have private schooling. Lee says the last time charter schools were in the legislative discussion, 86% of the public said they didn’t want them. With Education Savings Accounts, Lee says the organization is concerned those funds would cause taxpayers to pay for private schools.

Lee also discusses the bill concerning tighter restrictions on public employees’ worker strikes, which are already illegal in the Mountain State.

IWVP: A new face in the legislature, helping unemployed West Virginians

In Segment 4, we sit down with one of our state legislature’s “rookies” Delegate Kayla Young (D-Kanawha), a first-time lawmaker, to talk about what she wants to see happen this legislative session.

Young says one of the most important issues to her is dealing with unemployment, especially as many people, including Young herself, found themselves unemployed during the COVID-19 pandemic. She says she is working with the unemployment agency and her fellow lawmakers to see what can be done to help those who are now unemployed.

She says she’s also working on policy for small businesses and energy. Young, a small business owner born and raised in Kanawha County, said she chose to run for public office hoping to make a difference in the state.

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