CHARLESTON, W.Va. — House of Delegates Majority Whip John O’Neal (R-Raleigh) has offered to resign from his position with the Republican leadership. O’Neal’s action follows his vote Tuesday against a leadership-backed bill that would have raised the tobacco tax as part of a plan to plug a $270 million hole in next year’s budget.
Speaker Tim Armstead (R-Kanawha) has not yet decided whether to accept O’Neal’s resignation, but O’Neal will not have whip duties for the remainder of the special session.
The whip serves as a right-hand-man to the Speaker, counting votes and “whipping” members to try to generate support for leadership-backed bills. O’Neal was one of 20 Republicans who voted against the tobacco tax increase. The bill failed 44-55.
House Republicans have fractured during this extraordinary session, adding to the challenge of trying to reach agreement on a balanced budget for next fiscal year.