W.Va. Legislature Begins 60-day Session

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - West Virginia legislators have begun a legislative session that's expected to be dominated by proposals to improve the state's schools and to ease its overcrowded prison system.

The 60-day session officially began just after noon on Wednesday, and quickly adjourned in anticipation of Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin's State of the State address in the evening.

Tomblin is expected to introduce legislation to address the state's public schools, which are highly funded by national standards, but also underperforming.

Bills also are expected based on a recent report on the state's prisons that recommended releasing some prisoners six months earlier into supervised programs. The state's prison commissioner has said overcrowding in prisons is at a "crisis level."

Tomblin will face opposition in the House, where Republicans made big gains in November's election.

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