|WV Press Release Sharing
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Gov. Jim Justice has issued a proclamation calling for the West Virginia Legislature to convene in Special Session at 4 p.m. today: Sunday, Aug. 6.
An form email from the Governor announcing the Special Session went out to the media at 3:28 p.m. today.
“The Special Session I’m calling today has some really important items for our Legislature to consider, like increasing the salaries of our Correctional Officers, and a clarification to our personal property tax cut,” Gov Justice said. “It also includes an opportunity to officially designate the first new West Virginia State Park in over 30 years at Summersville Lake, and several supplemental appropriations that capitalize on our state’s spectacularly strong revenues including investing another $150 million in our highway maintenance and equipment, bringing our total state investment in our roads since I took office to over $2 billion.
“I’m also proposing $12 million in supplemental appropriations that will provide much-needed funding to local fire departments. This is in addition to $10 million which has already been appropriated for EMS providers. This is one-time money we’re able to provide for our counties, so I will bring all parties to the table very soon, including the counties and the Legislature, so that we can all work together to find a responsible funding stream for our First Responders without raising taxes. We all know that our First Responders are our heroes, so I’m very proud to propose this funding.
“I’ve said time and time again that I would call a Special Session as soon as I heard from both the Senate and the House that they were ready to take these issues up. They’ve told me they’re ready, so I’m looking forward to their quick decisions on these important issues.”
The special session will be held while lawmakers are gathered in Charleston for previously-scheduled August Interim Committee meetings.
|The proclamation lists 44 items for the Legislature to consider and act upon including pieces of new legislation and supplemental appropriations.
One item on the call is a bill which, if passed, will officially designate 177 acres of property along Summersville Lake in Nicholas County as Summersville Lake State Park. As the state’s first new park added in more than 30 years, this designation is symbolic of the recent growth in West Virginia’s tourism industry.
Another item on the call is a bill which, if passed, will clarify that certain personal property tax payments on vehicles paid prior to the effective date of the tax credits created in House Bill 2526 during the 2023 Regular Session are eligible for the full tax credit.
Several bills relate to addressing the state Correctional Officer shortage. After months of working together with the Governor and Legislature, and after incorporating input from the Court system, several bills are proposed on the call including one which creates Critical Need Pay to help fill positions where they’re needed most, one that restructures the Correctional Officer position scale to financially incentivize workers to remain as officers instead of moving to administrative roles, and one that provides needed raises for current officers to fill crucial vacancies.
Supplemental appropriations include:$150 million for highway maintenance and equipment, bringing the total since 2017 to over $2 billion of state dollars invested in West Virginia’s road system. $4 million to the West Virginia Division of Forestry for wildfire firefighting equipment. $45 million to Marshall University for the expansion of their cybersecurity program. And several others.
Once the session gets underway, bill status may be found here.