Veterans most likely to commit suicide are least likely to seek the help they need, according to new data presented this week during legislative meetings.

Veteran health issues—and whether state veterans offices are large enough for vets with wheelchairs—both came up while lawmakers met this week at the Capitol.

Plus, did you know it’s legal to have a trailer full of tigers in West Virginia?

In this week’s podcast we break down these interim meetings, bring you the latest Mingo Moment and touch on the Tennant’s campaign’s non-endorsement of the First Lady’s apparent endorsement of Tennant.

Report: Stigmas stop veterans in need from seeking healthcare" by Dave Boucher (November 18, 2013)

W.Va. veterans facilities criticized" by Dave Boucher (November 20, 2013)

W.Va. lacks restrictions on exotic animals" by Zack Harold (November 19, 2013) 

Preston woman finds success with monkey business" by Zack Harold (March 23, 2011)

Ex-Mingo prosecutor pleads guilty in federal case" by Dave Boucher (November 18, 2013)

Michelle Obama backs Natalie Tennant in US Senate race" by Dave Boucher (November 19, 2013)

We diverge ever so slightly from typical Capitol Chat coverage to discuss the special election Saturday that could provide additional tax dollars for the school system and local libraries.

The Daily Mail’s education reporter Shay Maunz and city/county government reporter Matt Murphy explain everything you need to know about the election: what supporters/opponents say, what the money would go toward, what it could mean for your budget, where you can vote and more.

For additional information about what local municipal leaders are saying about the election, check out Matt’s blog, County Courthouse-City Hall.

Here a few stories from Shay about the levy and what local education officials think about it:

School board expands its goals" by Shay Maunz (June 5, 2013)

Proposed excess levy divides school board" by Shay Maunz (September 13, 2013)

Supporters say tax would fortify programs" by Shay Maunz (October 9, 2013)

Nationally, it’s still legal to fire an employee because of his or her sexual orientation.

There are states where that’s illegal, but the U.S. Senate’s Employment Non-Discrimination Act would cover jobs across the country.

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., became the last Senate Democrat to voice support for the measure. It’s not expected to pass the U.S. House, but it could affect similar legislation at the local level.

Also, we look at the allegations leveled against local law firm Jackson Kelly in it’s representation of coal companies against black lung benefits claims from coal miners.

Manchin says he will support nondiscrimination bill" by Zack Harold (October 30, 2013)

Poll says majority of residents against discrimination of gays" by Zack Harold (September 26, 2013)

Law firm accused of withholding evidence beneficial to miners" by Dave Boucher (October 30, 2013)

Senators, officials criticize law firm accused of scheme" by Dave Boucher (October 31, 2013)

Breathless and Burdened" by Chris Hamby of the Center for Public Integrity

It’s no secret prescription pill abuse is a problem throughout Southern West Virginia and the rest of Appalachia.

What are some of the causes, and how do we fix it?

In this week’s podcast, we examine the prescribing practices of the Beckley VA Medical Center, which issued more powerful painkillers in the last decade than almost every other VA in the country.

The Food and Drug Administration also announced it’s pushing new limits for hyrdocodone—an ingredient in Vicodin and Lortab. It’s a move applauded by law enforcement, lawmakers and others fighting abuse.

Plus a look ahead to a potential fight for Sen. Joe Manchin and his “Obamacare” proposal next week.

Officials site are health issues in VA prescriptions" By Dave Boucher (October 22, 2013)

Veterans hospitals place high on lists for prescriptions" by Dave Boucher (October 8, 2013)

FDA pushes for limits on hydrocodone" By Zack Harold (October 25, 2013)

Manchin, Rockefeller voice differences on health care reform fine" By Dave Boucher (October 25, 2013)

It’s over! No shutdown! No default!

Or is the last-minute budget/debt-ceiling measure merely a respite before another shutdown-borrowing showdown in 2014?

In this week’s Capitol Chat, Business Editor Jared Hunt pinch hits for Zack to talk about the affects of the shutdown on the national economy, how that could impact budget negotiations and what that means for West Virginia. 

Plus, a look at how West Virginia’s two GOP representatives handled the shutdown/debt-ceiling debate and the political fallout of the situation.

Default delay may only be temporary" by Jared Hunt (October 17, 2013)

GOP looks to budget negotiations" by Dave Boucher (October 18, 2013)

Candidates report campaign finances" by Dave Boucher (October 16, 2013)


The nomenclature of Congress can be scary and confusing (just like Congress?)

In this week’s episode, we do our best to break down the ever-changing situation in Washington, D.C. and how it continues to affect you in West Virginia.

Plus, your Mingo Minute (it’s longer than a minute) for the week.

About 23,000 workers in the state affected by shutdown" By Dave Boucher (October 2, 2013)

Federal funding splits state’s officials" By Dave Boucher (October 9, 2013)

State’s prison guards still working without pay" By Zack Harold (October 11, 2013)

Federal workers apply for unemployment benefits" by Zack Harold (October 9, 2013)

Officials say state can cover federal funds a bit longer" by Dave Boucher (October 9, 2013)

Two more Mingo officials charged" by Dave Boucher (October 9, 2013)

New prosecutor, magistrates named in Mingo" by Dave Boucher (October 11, 2013)

The West Virginia Legislature appears poised to at least discuss legalizing marijuana for medical purposes during the 2014 legislative session.

In this week’s podcast we discuss how other states are regulating the usage of medical Maryjane and the federal classification that gives some lawmakers pause.

We also look at national polling data, take a minute to talk Mingo and look ahead to next week’s big health care news.

Legislators argue for medical marijuana" By Dave Boucher (September 26, 2013)

New poll shows Capito ahead of Tennant in likely senate race" By Zack Harold (September 24, 2013)

Poll says majority of residents against discrimination of gays" By Zack Harold (September 26, 2013)

Joe Manchin sees drop in latest poll" By Zack Harold (September 26, 2013)

Report: WV officials ignored purchasing law in buying communication towers" By Dave Boucher (September 24, 2013)

Report: Sparks admits involvement in, knowledge of conspiracies" By Dave Boucher (September 26, 2013)

Confused about what’s going on in Mingo County?

You’re not alone.

We do our best to break down the latest developments involving Judge Michael Thornsbury, the late Sheriff Eugene Crum, Mingo Prosecutor Michael Sparks, federal investigators and everyone else today’s edition of the Capitol Chat.

Plus, we look at meth math discrepancies, Secretary of State Natalie Tennant’s kickoff to her senatorial campaign and lawmakers reacting to the EPA’s carbon emission standards for coal-fired power plants.

Feds charge Mingo Judge Thornsbury in drug-related conspiracy" By Dave Boucher (September 20, 2013)

Disciplinary agency wants Mingo prosecutor Sparks suspended" By Dave Boucher (September 20, 2013)

Late sheriff’s wife, daughter deny allegations" By Kate White, Charleston Gazette (September 20, 2013)

Federal, stat meth statistics don’t match up" By Zack Harold (September 18, 2013)

Tennant to seek Rockefeller’s US Senate seat" By Dave Boucher (September 17, 2013)

A massive chemical weapons attack forced the longstanding Syrian conflict into the national dialogue recently.

As the country debates what the U.S. should do about the use of chemical weapons amidst the Syrian civil war, West Virginia lawmakers are divided on the proper course of action.

It might surprise you to hear two of West Virginia’s five national lawmakers have met Syrian President Bashar Assad and two have supported sanctions and US-approved regime change in the past.

This week I take a look at how prior experiences regarding Syria are affecting West Virginia lawmaker’s opinions concerning possible targeted missile strikes.

Also, a look at the allegations involving a West Virginia University coach, the large law firm WVU could potentially use in connection to the case and the Attorney’s General’s toothless private attorney hiring policy.

Rahall outlines stance in support of missile strike” by Dave Boucher (September 11, 2013)

Manchin urges caution before attack on Syria” by Zack Harold (September 9, 2013)

President postpones congressional vote on Syria" by The Associated Press (September 10, 2013)

CIA delivers weapons to Syrian rebels" by The Associated Press (September 12, 2013)

WVU reveals some of its legal costs" by Dave Boucher (September 10, 2013)

More from Mingo County and this week.

I traveled to Williamson for a Mingo County Commission Meeting that quickly devolved into shooting, accusations and calls for two public official’s resignations. Both said they would not step down.

A special prosecutor is also needed to help the Secretary of State office’s investigation into alleged election law violations in Mingo County.

In more southern West Virginia news, a proposed plan would keep and eventually increase tolls on the turnpike. The proposal, from the state Blue Ribbon Commission on Highways, could help the state save more than $1 billion, reports Zack Harold. Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin might not be sold on the idea though, reports the Gazette’s Phil Kabler.

Plus, a look ahead to next week’s state Board of Education meeting and a potential Senate vote on Syria.

Mingo officials dismiss request to resign" by Dave Boucher (September 5, 2013)

Kanawha County prosecutor unable to assist Mingo investigation" by Dave Boucher (September 6, 2013)

Highway commission considers increasing tolls, vehicle fees" By Zack Harold (September 5, 2013)

West Virginia officials respond to Syria situation" by Zack Harold (September 3, 2013)

Obama faces tough sell with House GOP freshmen" by The Associated Press (September 5, 2013)