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Jul 14, 2011- Al Franken's Coming to Dinner and Other Updates

By: Michael Hyland
By: Michael Hyland

The Saturday Night Live comedian-turned-senator is heading to Charleston in early August.

---The West Virginia Democratic Party has announced that comedian-turned-senator Al Franken (D-MN) is coming to Charleston Augsut 6 to speak at the annual Jefferson-Jackson fund raising dinner at the Civic Center.

Former presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama (when he was a senator) have been the keynote speakers at this event in years past. 

Senators Joe Manchin and Jay Rockefeller will be there along with Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and Rep. Nick Rahall.

From the party's press release:

“We are very pleased to have Senator Franken join us for our annual event,” WV Democratic Party Chairman Larry Puccio said. “I think he will provide us with a very interesting, insightful, and entertaining evening.”

A full biography of Senator Franken can be found on his webpage here: http://www.alfranken.com/pages/meet_al/

---Meanwhile, state Republicans have announced some new leadership in the House of Delegates. Mitch Carmichael (R-Jackson) will take over as minority whip. He takes over for the late Del. Larry Border. Border passed away in early June. His wife, Anna Border, was appointed to his position.

---Sen. Jay Rockefeller, chair of the Senate Commerce Committee, has been featred in numerous news reports about an investigation the committee launched into "mystery charges" on people's phone bills.

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Senator Jay Rockefeller today said he is considering a new law to protect West Virginians and all consumers after his Commerce Committee investigation showed telephone customers are routinely burdened with unauthorized mystery charges on their landline phone bills.

“The bottom line is that West Virginians shouldn’t have to pay for things they aren’t getting,” Rockefeller said. “Unfortunately, that’s exactly what’s happening. I’ve heard from dozens of West Virginians and business-owners as well as state agencies, and they’ve all asked the same thing: what can you do to stop this? Today’s hearing will go a long way toward doing that.”

Rockefeller, who chairs the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, called the hearing after a yearlong Committee investigation into “cramming,” the term used to describe the practice of unauthorized charges on landline telephone bills.

The Federal Communications Commission reports more than 20 million American consumers are victims of cramming. Rockefeller said as many as one in 20 victims aren’t aware it’s happening because their phone bills aren’t always clear. The FCC is pushing for $12 million in fines against cramming companies.

The Senate Commerce Committee has identified West Virginia residents, businesses and even government agencies that have been victimized by cramming companies. In addition, state offices have received numerous complaints from residents who are the victims of cramming practices.

“I was shocked to learn how many West Virginians are victims of this illegal activity, and it has to stop,” Rockefeller said.

To read the Senate Commerce Committee report, click the link here.

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