West Virginia ranked 50th in household income in 2017

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF POLITICO FACTS)

 

Did West Virginia Rank 50th in household income in 2017? Yes

A mural depicting a more vibrant time in the town’s history decorates a building in Welch, W.Va. (AP/David Goldman)

In a Nov. 8 op-ed in the Charleston Gazette-Mail, Mike Romano, a Democratic West Virginia state senator, said West Virginia’s median household income was nearly $17,000 below the national average.

“In 2017, West Virginia’s $43,469 median household income was $16,867 below the national average, ranking 50th, according to the U.S. Census Bureau,” Romano wrote.

Is that correct? We took a closer look.

In September 2018, the U.S. Census Bureau released a report that included data for household income in 2017.

The figure for the United States was $60,336, while the figure for West Virginia was $43,469. The difference is exactly $16,867, as Romano said.

Meanwhile, we ranked the 50 states by household income and found that West Virginia ranked last, trailing Mississippi by $60.

Here’s the full ranking:

Maryland $80,776
New Jersey 80,088
Hawaii 77,765
Massachusetts 77,385
Connecticut 74,168
New Hampshire 73,381
Alaska 73,181
California 71,805
Virginia 71,535
Washington 70,979
Colorado 69,117
Minnesota 68,388
Utah 68,358
New York 64,894
Rhode Island 63,870
Illinois 62,992
Delaware 62,852
North Dakota 61,843
Wyoming 60,434
Oregon 60,212
Nebraska 59,970
Wisconsin 59,305
Texas 59,206
Pennsylvania 59,195
Iowa 58,570
Nevada 58,003
Vermont 57,513
Arizona 56,581
South Dakota 56,521
Kansas 56,422
Maine 56,277
Georgia 56,183
Michigan 54,909
Indiana 54,181
Ohio 54,021
Missouri 53,578
Montana 53,386
North Carolina 52,752
Florida 52,594
Idaho 52,225
Tennessee 51,340
South Carolina 50,570
Oklahoma 50,051
Kentucky 48,375
Alabama 48,123
New Mexico 46,744
Louisiana 46,145
Arkansas 45,869
Mississippi 43,529
West Virginia 43,469
Our ruling

Romano wrote, “In 2017, West Virginia’s $43,469 median household income was $16,867 below the national average, ranking 50th according to the U.S. Census Bureau.”

His statement is fully correct — on West Virginia’s median household income, on its distance from the national average, and in its 50th place ranking.

We rate the statement True.

Share The Facts
Mike Romano
West Virginia state senator
“In 2017, West Virginia’s $43,469 median household income was $16,867 below the national average, ranking 50th.”

Mob Boss Whitey Bulger Found Dead In Prison

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE USA TODAY NEWSPAPER)

 

James ‘Whitey’ Bulger, notorious Boston gangster, found dead in prison, reports say

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James “Whitey’’ Bulger, the Boston gangster who eluded authorities for 16 years before being captured and convicted of participating in 11 murders in 2013, has died at a prison in West Virginia, according to media reports.

Bulger, who was 89, was found dead Tuesday, according to the Boston Globe and NBC News.

Bulger was the head of a violent South Boston crime ring known as the Winter Hill Gang from the 1970’s into the 1990s. In 1995, Bulger was tipped off about his imminent indictment by an FBI agent and escaped, remaining on the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted list until getting apprehended in 2011 in Santa Monica, California.

His life of crime was the subject of several movies, including “The Departed,’’ which won an Oscar for the Best Picture of 2006.

Bulger, who was serving a life sentence, had been recently moved from a federal prison in Florida to a transfer facility in Oklahoma City before being relocated to the Hazelton Penitentiary. He had been in ill health for some time.

Among the slayings linked to Bulger was that of Roger Wheeler, who was gunned down outside his country club in Tulsa in 1981. Bulger was also convicted for his role in murders in several states and for racketeering.

Contributing: The Associated Press

Christian Website Social Cross Refused Service by Web Developer Over Views on Gay Marriage

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CHRISTIAN POST)

 

Christian Website Social Cross Refused Service by Web Developer Over Views on Gay Marriage

(PHOTO: SOCIALCROSS.ORG)

The organizer of a new social media platform for conservative Christians is voicing his displeasure after he claims that he was refused service from a web development company because of his views on same-sex marriage.

Rich Penkoski, an evangelical preacher who helped organize the new Christian Facebook alternative SocialCross.org and runs the West Virginia-based online ministry Warriors for Christ, is speaking out after he says he was refused service when he tried to enlist the services of Open Social, an organization that provides intranet solutions for nonprofits and companies, and powers over 250 online communities.

Penkoski told CP Monday that he was looking for a way to improve the 12,000-user SocialCross.org and was interested in learning more about how Open Social could help the site, which was launched earlier this year.

After talking initially with a representative of Open Social about a possible free trial last week via email, Penkoski was later contacted by the co-founder of Open Social’s parent company on Friday.

Penkoski shared an email he allegedly received from Taco Potze, co-founder of the Netherlands-based company GoalGorilla and the Open Social distribution.

“Thanks for your interest in our services. We as a company unfortunately can’t align our mission of equality with yours, for example when it comes down to equal marriage rights for both straight and gay people and your warrior merchandise advocating to ‘make marriage straight again,'” Potze wrote in his Dec. 9 email, referencing the “Warriors for Christ” merchandise page that features a $26 “Make Marriage Straight Again” hat.

“Seeing how our principles differ, there just wouldn’t be a good fit cooperating.”

Potze’s email also offered an alternative for Penkoski and gave him a link to other agencies that could help him implement the open-source software for SocialCross.org.

“I am always looking for things to make the SocialCross better. I wanted to see what they offered by using their trial. In this case, I asked about how I could migrate my users over to this particular platform because theirs is open-source. I just wanted to see what they offered compared to what we are doing right now to see if there are any changes that are better. We are always on the lookout for stuff like that. But they refused service to me,” Penkoski explained.

“I went back and forth with the representative and all of a sudden, I got that email. I never even mentioned Warriors for Christ, not a word. How they found the merchandise from SocalCross, I don’t know because we don’t even sell that stuff on SocialCross.”

The Christian Post reached out to GoalGorilla and Potze for comment on Penkoski’s claims. An update will be provided once a statement is received from Potze or a GoalGorilla representative.

Penkoski is not afraid to let his opinions be heard when it comes to LGBT issues on the “Warriors for Christ” webpage and social media pages. One of the reasons Penkoski created SocialCross was because he had been suspended from Facebook a number of times because of posts about same-sex marriage and LGBT issues.

Penkoski explained that although everyone is welcome to join SocialCross, there are some limitations about what users can and can’t say when it comes to LGBT advocacy on the platform.

“People come on there and are supposed to have dialogue without the trolling, without that anger that Facebook breeds. Even with LGBT members who want to join, that is fine as long as they don’t advocate and don’t try to push it on people,” Penkoski said. “If they have genuine questions about why Christians don’t support same-sex marriage, and other genuine questions, we have no problem with that.”

“We have had a couple that have come on and joined SocialCross and say, ‘I love being gay’ and they use the profanity and that kind of stuff,” he added. “That is the line.”

The company’s refusal to offer service to Penkoski and SocialCross.org came during the same week in which the U.S. Supreme Court heard the oral arguments in the appeal of Colorado baker Jack Phillips of Masterpiece Cakeshop, who was punished by the state government for acting in accordance with his faith and refusing to bake a cake for the wedding celebration of Charlie Craig and David Mullins in 2012. It’s important to note that Colorado didn’t recognize same-sex marriage until 2014.

“This is a private business and I believe that in America, you should have the right to refuse,” Penkoski said. “But the double standard is where I have the issue. If you can do it to Christians then Christians should be able to do it to you without a problem.”

West Virginia Becomes the 29th Medical Marijuana State

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE MPP WEBSITE)

West Virginia Becomes the 29th Medical Marijuana State

Apr 19, 2017 , , , , , , , ,, ,


Today, West Virginia officially became the 29th state to pass medical marijuana legislation!

Gov. Jim Justice signed the law today after the bipartisan bill passed both the Senate and House earlier this month.

While the law isn’t perfect, it’s a great start toward providing safe and legal access to medical marijuana for qualifying patients. A summary is available here.

This achievement didn’t happen overnight. In fact, MPP, along with many other advocates, has been working tirelessly to get a medical marijuana bill passed for years.

MPP released the following in a press release:

“This legislation is going to benefit countless West Virginia patients and families for years to come,” said Matt Simon of the Marijuana Policy Project, who is a West Virginia native and graduate of West Virginia University. “Medical marijuana can be effective in treating a variety of debilitating conditions and symptoms. It is a proven pain reliever, and it is far less toxic and less addictive than a lot of prescription drugs. Providing patients with a safer alternative to opioids could turn out to be a godsend for this state.”

Six states have adopted comprehensive medical marijuana laws in the past 12 months. Three of those laws, including West Virginia’s, passed through Republican-controlled legislatures. Lawmakers in Pennsylvania and Ohio approved them last April and June, respectively. The other three were approved by voters in November in states won by Donald Trump — Arkansas, Florida, and North Dakota.

“Intensifying public support and a growing body of evidence are driving the rapid growth in the number of states adopting medical marijuana laws,” Simon said. “Lawmakers are also learning about marijuana’s medical benefits from friends, family members, and constituents who have experienced them firsthand in other states. More than nine out of 10 American voters think marijuana should be legal for medical purposes. In light of this near universal support, it is shocking that some legislatures still have not adopted effective medical marijuana laws.”

Apr 19, 2017 , , , , , , , ,, ,


Today, West Virginia officially became the 29th state to pass medical marijuana legislation!

Gov. Jim Justice signed the law today after the bipartisan bill passed both the Senate and House earlier this month.

While the law isn’t perfect, it’s a great start toward providing safe and legal access to medical marijuana for qualifying patients. A summary is available here.

This achievement didn’t happen overnight. In fact, MPP, along with many other advocates, has been working tirelessly to get a medical marijuana bill passed for years.

MPP released the following in a press release:

“This legislation is going to benefit countless West Virginia patients and families for years to come,” said Matt Simon of the Marijuana Policy Project, who is a West Virginia native and graduate of West Virginia University. “Medical marijuana can be effective in treating a variety of debilitating conditions and symptoms. It is a proven pain reliever, and it is far less toxic and less addictive than a lot of prescription drugs. Providing patients with a safer alternative to opioids could turn out to be a godsend for this state.”

Six states have adopted comprehensive medical marijuana laws in the past 12 months. Three of those laws, including West Virginia’s, passed through Republican-controlled legislatures. Lawmakers in Pennsylvania and Ohio approved them last April and June, respectively. The other three were approved by voters in November in states won by Donald Trump — Arkansas, Florida, and North Dakota.

“Intensifying public support and a growing body of evidence are driving the rapid growth in the number of states adopting medical marijuana laws,” Simon said. “Lawmakers are also learning about marijuana’s medical benefits from friends, family members, and constituents who have experienced them firsthand in other states. More than nine out of 10 American voters think marijuana should be legal for medical purposes. In light of this near universal support, it is shocking that some legislatures still have not adopted effective medical marijuana laws.”

West Virginia Legislature Votes To Legalize Medical Marijuana ‘As Soon As Possible’

 

MPP Blog


WV Legislature Approves Medical Marijuana Bill

Posted: 07 Apr 2017 12:34 PM PDT

 West Virginia is on the verge of becoming the next state with an effective medical marijuana law!

The bill received final approval in the West Virginia Legislature on Thursday and is headed to the desk of Gov. Jim Justice. He has publicly expressed support for legal access to medical marijuana and is expected to sign the bill into law, making West Virginia the 29th state to adopt an effective medical marijuana law.

SB 386, titled the West Virginia Medical Cannabis Act, charges the Bureau of Public Health with regulating medical marijuana growers, processors, and dispensaries. Patients with specifically listed qualifying medical conditions will be allowed to use extracts, tinctures, and other preparations of marijuana, but not marijuana in flower or leaf form. This differs from the original version of the bill and the medical marijuana programs in most other states. A summary of SB 386 is available at http://bit.ly/2nbUAq3.

MPP issued the following statement in a press release:

“Some of the House amendments to the bill are concerning, but it still has the potential to provide relief to thousands of seriously ill WestVirginians,” said Matt Simon of the Marijuana Policy Project, who is a West Virginia native and graduate of West Virginia University. “We commend the Legislature for passing this compassionate and much-needed legislation, and we encourage Gov. Justice to sign it into law.

“This will be an important and, in some cases, life-saving program,” Simon said. “It is critical that the state implement it promptly. We are committed to working with officials to make sure the program is as effective as possible and to get it up and running in a timely fashion. Many patients cannot afford to wait much longer.

The post WV Legislature Approves Medical Marijuana Bill appeared first on MPP Blog.

Republican Health-Care Plan Eliminates Mental Health And Drug Addiction Provisions

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE WASHINGTON POST)

By Katie Zezima and Chris Ingraham

The Republican proposal to replace the Affordable Care Act would strip away what advocates say is essential coverage for drug addiction treatment as the number of people dying from opiate overdoses is skyrocketing nationwide.

Beginning in 2020, the plan would eliminate an Affordable Care Act requirement that Medicaid cover basic mental-health and addiction services in states that expanded it, allowing them to decide whether to include those benefits in Medicaid plans.

The proposal would also roll back the Medicaid expansion under the act — commonly known as Obamacare — which would affect many states bearing the brunt of the opiate crisis, including Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia. Thirty-one states and the District of Columbia expanded Medicaid under the ACA.

“Taken as a whole, it is a major retreat from the effort to save lives in the opiate epidemic,” said Joshua Sharfstein, associate dean at Johns Hopkins Medical School.
Advocates and others stress that mental-health disorders sometimes fuel drug addiction, making both benefits essential to combating the opioid crisis.

Nearly 1.3 million people receive treatment for mental-health and substance abuse disorders under the Medicaid expansion, according to an estimate by health care economists Richard G. Frank of the Harvard Medical School and Sherry Glied of New York University.

House Republicans confirmed the benefit cuts during a meeting of the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Wednesday. Republicans on the committee argue that the change would give states additional flexibility in coverage decisions, and believe they would continue to provide addiction and mental-health coverage to Medicaid recipients if needed.

During the committee meeting, Rep. Joe Kennedy (D-Mass.) asked a GOP staffer whether those benefits are “no longer essentially covered, or required to be covered, by this version of this text. Is that not correct?”

“The text before us does remove the application of the essential health benefits for the alternative benefit plans in Medicaid,” a lawyer for Republicans on the committee responded.

“Including mental health?”

“Yes.”

Rep. Joe Kennedy (D-Mass.) said he and Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) introduced an amendment during the committee meeting to include mandates for substance abuse and mental-health coverage, but it was voted down along party lines.

Several Republican senators expressed concern about removing the benefits. Sens. Rob Portman (Ohio), Shelley Moore Capito (W.Va.), Cory Gardner (Colo.) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) stating that the plan does not “provide stability and certainty” for individuals and families enrolled in Medicaid expansion programs, or flexibility for states.

President Trump has made combating the nation’s drug-overdose problem a focal point of his campaign and his presidency.
“We will stop the drugs from pouring into our country and poisoning our youth,” he said in a speech before Congress last week, “and we will expand treatment for those who have become so badly addicted.”

Trump has endorsed the Republican plan to replace the ACA.

“States have already been strong leaders on the opioid crisis and know the crisis within their states better than the federal government,” said a White House spokesman who was not authorized to comment and spoke on the condition of anonymity. “We expect them to prioritize the needs in their states better than the federal government ever could.”

A record number of people — 33,000 — died of opiate overdoses in 2015, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Opioids now kill more people than car accidents, and in 2015 the number of heroin deaths nationwide surpassed the number of deaths from gun-related homicides. Authorities are also grappling with an influx of powerful synthetic narcotics responsible for a sharp increase in overdoses and deaths over the past year.

The 15 counties with the highest death rates from opiate overdoses were in Kentucky and West Virginia, according to a group of public health researchers, writing in the New England Journal of Medicine. Both of those states expanded Medicaid. Taking away those benefits, they wrote, would affect tens of thousands of rural Americans “in the midst of an escalating epidemic.”

Medicaid pays for 49.5 percent of medication-assisted treatment in Ohio, 44.7 percent in West Virginia and 44 percent in Kentucky when the drug Buprenorphine, which is used to manage chronic opiate use disorder, is administered, according to Rebecca Farley, vice president of policy at the National Center on Behavioral Health.

Public health officials and advocates say there is a nationwide shortage of treatment programs to serve the growing problem of addiction and its effects, including diseases associated with long-term IV drug use such as hepatitis C and HIV.

Shawn Ryan, a doctor with Brightview Health in Cincinnati, which provides addiction treatment mainly to patients on Medicaid, said states are starting to increase drug addiction services to respond to rising needs, but the process could take years.

“The outpatient addiction treatment services that are starting to ramp up . . . they could be crushed by this if not done in a way that specifically protects the most vulnerable populations,” he said.

Stripping away addiction treatment services from low-income people is especially harmful, Frank, of Harvard, said in an interview, because the prevalence of drug abuse is much higher for people living well below the poverty line. He said Medicaid recipients who are covered for addiction treatment and maintain their coverage through 2020 would not lose the benefit under the GOP proposal. But, he added, because addiction is a chronic-relapse disease, people may get clean, relapse, stop working and need to go back on Medicaid.

“It’s a disease that hits suddenly at various points in the life cycle,” Frank said.

Some GOP lawmakers advocate a full repeal of the ACA, a move that would result in loss of coverage for 2.8 million people, 222,000 of whom have an opioid disorder, Frank and Glied, of NYU, estimate.

Gary Mendell, founder of the anti-addiction organization Shatterproof, said the group plans to run campaigns against the rollback in eight states were Medicaid was expanded, urging people to contact their elected officials. Mendell, whose son battled addiction and died in 2011, said the drug-abuse battle has transcended party lines. Last year, Congress passed a landmark bill to fight opiate addiction.

“It’s been a bipartisan effort to attack the opiate epidemic,” he said, “and now Republicans are putting fighting the opiate epidemic in the back seat to politics.”

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