Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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February 7, 2013

Schools, prisons on short list for W.Va. lawmakers

SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia legislative leaders from both parties predict major changes to state public schools this session.

House and Senate leaders are also geared up to tackle inmate crowding during the 60-day session that begins Wednesday.

Recent wide-ranging studies addressed both issues. House Minority Leader Tim Armstead said he and fellow Republicans oppose some recommendations from the inmate crowding study. One would allow certain felons to complete their sentences on supervised release.

House Speaker Richard Thompson says the majority Democrats favor steps that won't jeopardize public safety. Thompson also wants to improve conditions for law enforcement.

Senate President Jeff Kessler believes targeting child poverty will help ease several pressing state problems. Senate Minority Leader Mike Hall agreed regarding inmate crowding.

The leaders spoke at The Associated Press' annual Legislative Lookahead forum.

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