PNS Daily Newscast UPDATE - October 17, 2019 

Congressman Elijah Cummings has died. Also on the rundown: President Trump puts some distance between himself and policy on Syria. South Dakota awaits a SCOTUS ruling on the insanity defense, plus the focus remains on election security for 2020.

2020Talks - October 17, 2019 

Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar, two members of the Squad, endorsed Sen. Bernie Sanders. Plus, some candidates are spending more than they're raising.

Daily Newscasts

Carmichael Claims Credit for Teacher Pay Raises He Tried to Kill

During the teachers' strike, the West Virginia State Senate was widely viewed as the main obstacle to meeting strikers' demands. (Dan Heyman)
During the teachers' strike, the West Virginia State Senate was widely viewed as the main obstacle to meeting strikers' demands. (Dan Heyman)
July 9, 2018

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia Senate President Mitch Carmichael now appears to be taking credit for the teacher pay raises he failed to stop earlier this year.

When school employees went on statewide strike, the Republican-led Senate was blocking the higher pay they were demanding. But last week on Hoppy Kercheval's Talkline program, Carmichael took credit for the money now showing up in public employee checks. Carmichael said he wasn't trying to pat himself on the back, but in his words, "if we had opposed that pay raise, it wouldn't have happened."

Sen. Corey Palumbo, D-Charleston, called that statement laughable, given what happened after the strike began.

"The House fairly quickly passed the 4 percent increase. And then the Senate sat on it for days, not doing anything with it,” Palumbo said. “It is laughable for them to now take credit as if they were leading the charge."

When host Kercheval pushed back, Carmichael said it was "not true at all" that GOP Senate leaders opposed the raise, and the strike "made no difference." The record of roll call votes on the bill that finally resulted in the pay raise shows Carmichael and the committee chairs he appointed repeatedly trying to stop, slow or reduce the pay increase.

Carmichael told Kercheval the GOP was "100 percent on board with as much pay raise" as the state could afford. He said the only thing holding them back was a tight budget.

But Palumbo pointed out that it's the first public employee pay raise to get though the legislature since Republicans took over.

"It's been a four-year period,” he said. “And if you look back over the last 25, 30 years, there's been no three-year period, if I remember right, where teachers or public employees had not received a raise."

Teachers and school service personnel shut the schools down for 11 days, ending March 7, when the 5 percent pay increase passed. During regular demonstrations at the Capitol, strikers singled Carmichael out. One sign said, "Mitch better have my money." Others chanted - parodying a rap song - "Yo, Mitch - Get Out The Way."

Dan Heyman, Public News Service - WV