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W.Va. AP Legislative Lookahead set for Friday

CHARLESTON, W.VA. — The 2017 West Virginia AP Legislative Lookahead will be held Friday, Feb. 3, at the Charleston Gazette-Mail, 1001 Virginia St. East.

The newspaper is providing parking in its parking garage, which is accessible on McFarland Street, at the entrance ramp just past the ground floor newspaper delivery truck parking.

The conference room is accessible on the third floor of the parking garage and will have a “Legislative Lookahead” sign on the door.

The first panel starts at 9 a.m.

The agenda is as follows:

9 a.m. to 10:15 a.m. – Legalization of Marijuana. Moderator: Matthew Burdette, executive editor at The Inter-Mountain in Elkins.


  • Dr. Hani Nazha from West Virginia University Health Science Center.
  • Eric Johnson of the Charleston Police Department
  • Del. Mike Pushkin, D-Kanawha
  • John “Ed” Shemelya, national coordinator of National Marijuana Initiative.
  • Jim Wilson, executive director of The Gatehouse in Elkins


10:30 to 11:45 a.m. – Budget. Moderator: Rob Byers, executive editor, Charleston Gazette-Mail.



  • Del. Eric Nelson, R-Kanawha, House Finance Committee chairman.
  • Sen. Mike Hall, R-Putnam, Senate Finance Committee chairman.
  • Brian Lego, economic forecaster, West Virginia University Bureau of Business and Economic Research.
  • Ted Boettner, executive director of the West Virginia Center of Budget & Policy.


11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. – Lunch. Speaker: Senate President Mitch Carmichael. Moderator: Damon Cain, executive editor of The Register-Herald in Beckley.


Higher Education – 1 p.m. to 2:15 p.m. – Moderator: John McCabe, managing editor of The Intelligencer in Wheeling.


  • Corley Dennison, vice chancellor for academic affairs, West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission.
  • Marshall University President Jerry Gilbert.
  • Joyce McConnell, West Virginia University provost and vice president for academic affairs.
  • Jessica Carter, executive director, West Virginia Independent College and Universities


Primary/Secondary Education – 2:30 p.m. to 3:15 p.m. – Moderator: Christina Myer, executive editor at The Parkersburg News and Sentinel.


  • Del. Paul Espinosa, R-Jefferson, chairman of the House Education Committee.
  • Vincent de Paul Schmidt, superintendent of West Virginia’s Roman Catholic school system.
  • Dale Lee, president of West Virginia Education Association.


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