House Democrats want special session scrapped

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — As Gov. Jim Justice faces pressure from some Senate Republicans for his approach to the chamber’s sweeping education bill, Democrats in the House of Delegates are asking the governor and House Speaker Roger Hanshaw, R-Clay, to cancel the rest of the special session on education policy.

The announcement Tuesday came more than a week after the Senate passed the Student Success Act, a bill with similar provisions to the education omnibus measure that triggered a two-day statewide strike.

House Minority Leader Tim Miley, D-Harrison, said at a press conference he is worried legislators are following the same path to what led to the strike held in February.

“What I oppose strongly is wasting taxpayers’ dollars to come back to a special session, which seems to occur every year now, on issues and items that we should have taken care of during the regular session,” he said. “We didn’t, and you shouldn’t waste taxpayers’ dollars pursuing your own agenda in a special session.”

The Senate passed the Student Success Act in an 18-15 vote; the measure’s provisions include pay raises for education staff, allowing charter schools, increased support for personnel and wording declaring any work stoppage by public employees as unlawful.

The House of Delegates is scheduled to return to Charleston on Monday, and members have already agreed to take up legislation as four subcommittees.

According to WSAZ-TV, American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten will speak before the state Board of Education on Wednesday about the Student Success Act.

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