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Legislature wraps up special session

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — State lawmakers ended a 21-day special session with brief floor sessions Monday at the state capitol.

Members of the House of Delegates and state Senate passed a budget bill June 16 but agreed to return 10 days later to officially adjourn. They had to wait and see what Gov. Jim Justice was going to do with the budget bill, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Mike Hall (R-Putnam) said.

Senator Mike Hall

“Should he have vetoed it then we would have had to meet and continue on,” Hall said.

Justice announced last week he couldn’t in good conscience, because of several funding cuts, sign the budget bill. Instead Justice let the bill become law without his signature.

Hall said it’s possible there will be surplus funds from the current budget that can be used to backfill some of the cuts.

“There was $100 million appropriated but only $60 million spent (to fill a revenue hole),” Hall said. “There’s some conversation that some of things in this budget that got cut could be restored.”

Lawmakers had a state worker furlough bill in conference committee when they passed the budget. They did not take it up Monday. The issue will be discussed in interim committee meetings.

Meanwhile, Delegate Andrew Byrd (D-Kanawha) urged fellow members Monday to begin seeking a more civil tone in their public service.

“Take the challenge and strive to be positive out there. The world is so negative right now, the world of politics, and I think the more we are negative the less we are being public servants,” Byrd said.

There were enough lawmakers in attendance Monday to gain quorums in both the House and Senate but there were many empty seats.

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