Governor Joe Manchin set out his agenda for the 2007 legislative session. His State of the State address touched on the tragedies West Virginia endured in mining in 2006-- and promised to take mine safety further in this new year.
Governor Manchin wants to add four million dollars to the state office of Miners' Health, Safety and Training. The plan: to hire more inspectors and safety instructors, increase required training, and buy new mine rescue equipment. Manchin expanded his focus on safety to other workplaces: the chemical industry, and schools. Teachers also got some attention: the governor proposed a 2.5% pay raise.
But that may not be enough to satisfy teachers, who say the bottom line is the bottom dollar.
And as legislators arrived for the 78th legislative session, they arrived to a very unique site.
Over a thousand teachers and school service personnel were at the capitol -- chanting to the point where you could hear them through the entire capitol complex.
Many Democrats say they felt good about the governor’s speech and his education initiatives. They say they're looking forward to the next 60 days. Republicans were not so enthusiastic -- they said the speech was seriously lacking.