- Associated Press - Saturday, December 23, 2017

Here are the top 10 West Virginia stories of 2017, according to an Associated Press poll of editors, news directors and reporters:

1. JUSTICE-GOP: Gov. Jim Justice announces at a rally with President Donald Trump in Huntington that the governor is switching from the Democratic to the Republican party.

2. ROAD BONDS: In October, voters overwhelmingly approve a $1.6 billion road bond package after lawmakers pass taxes and fees to support some repairs and bond repayments.

3. STATE BUDGET: Justice and the Legislature feud over budget issues, which threaten a partial government shutdown on July 1 if not resolved. In June, Justice allows the budget to take effect but wouldn’t sign it, saying the legislative cuts went too deep.

4. MEDICAL MARIJUANA: Justice signs a bill that makes West Virginia the 29th state to allow the use of marijuana for certain medical conditions.

5. OPIOID LAWSUITS: Communities and counties across West Virginia sue out-of-state drug distributors in attempts to recoup the costs of dealing with opioid abuse.

6. TRUMP-BOY SCOUTS: President Donald Trump addresses the Boy Scouts’ national jamboree in West Virginia in July in a speech that is widely panned for its aggressive political rhetoric and drew a firestorm of criticism. The Boy Scouts’ chief executive apologized to scouting community members who were offended by the speech.

7. BLANKENSHIP: Former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship is released from federal prison after serving one year for violating federal safety standards at a West Virginia mine where 29 men died in a 2010 explosion. Blankenship later files paperwork to run for U.S. Senate.

8. HEROIN OVERDOSES-SENTENCING: Bruce Lamar Griggs of Ohio is sentenced to more than 18 years in federal prison for selling heroin laced with an elephant tranquilizer that caused more than two dozen overdoses in Huntington.

9. CHEMICAL SPILL: A federal judge tentatively approves a revised settlement in a class-action lawsuit stemming from a 2014 chemical spill in Charleston, enabling residents and businesses in nine West Virginia counties to start filing claims.

10. EPA HEARING: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency holds a public hearing in Charleston over the intended repeal of an Obama-era plan to limit planet-warming carbon emissions.


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