Mountain State Spotlight – For the next two months, lawmakers will be at the state Capitol for their annual legislative session. Each year is a chance for them to pass new laws, as well as make sure those that are already in place are achieving what they intended.
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In one of the poorest states in the nation, for some, a key question is whether the laws in place are in fact helping all West Virginians — including the more than 300,000 residents living in poverty. In many places around the state, this isn’t a new problem: 11 of West Virginia’s 55 counties are classified as “in persistent poverty” by the U.S. Census Bureau, having a poverty rate of 20% or higher continually for the past three decades.
In the past, often lawmakers have passed laws and proposed plans to reduce poverty in the state by tackling the issue like a sprint, and not the marathon that it actually is.