CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A big part of the legislature’s special session that begins Monday will be focused on bills related to the millions of dollars in federal funding the state has received as part of pandemic relief.
Gov. Jim Justice’s special session agenda includes 34 items with the most attention on the redistricting efforts that lawmakers are required to complete but most of the bills to be considered represent proposed supplements to the state budget.
Senate Finance Committee Chair Eric Tarr, R-Putnam, said it’s a long list.
“It is the largest list of supplementals I’ve seen in my time around here,” Tarr said. “There’s probably no less than 50 that are on there and it’s still growing.”
According to Tarr, state agencies need the approval of the legislature before they can actually spend the federal allocation.
“The money goes into an agency and they are directed to spend it in this manner and then we have to go in and give them spending authority,” Tarr said, adding the supplementals could add up to about $1 billion.
Tarr said the money can’t be spent by the agencies unless legislative approval comes.
“It’s all directive spending,” he said.
There are 24 supplemental appropriations bill on the initial agenda for the special session submitted by Justice.
Other items on Justice’s call include a bill dealing with an application fee people pay for conceal carry permits. The bill proposes half of that fee now go to state police.
Another proposed bill would change the tax current charged on the selling of aircraft.
Gov. Justice is proposing the state create a Medal of Valor for first responders in another bill that lawmakers will consider.
There are also changes proposed to that somewhat controversial new state law that gives county commissions veto power on rules passed by county health departments. One proposed change would involve local school boards in that approval process.
The salary amount set in state law would for the director of the West Virginia Lottery would be changed in a bill that’s being proposed this week.
Two final bills would create a facilities maintenance fund to be overseen by the state Supreme Court and proposed changes to the new state law creating an Intermediate Court of Appeals.
The special session, which is set to start at 11a.m. Monday, will coincide with monthly legislative interim committee meetings which are scheduled for Sunday-Tuesday at the capitol.