Lawmakers begin interim meetings while waiting on special session call

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — State lawmakers began interim committee meetings Sunday at the state capitol while still waiting on the finalization of a special session call from Gov. Jim Justice.

Gov. Jim Justice

The proclamation for lawmakers to begin a special session could come at some point Sunday. Lawmakers and members of the Justice administration have been meeting about possible items for the agenda. Justice has previously said he won’t  put an item on the agenda unless there’s agreement on its passage.

Interims began Sunday at 1 p.m. with state Higher Education Chancellor Dr. Sarah Armstrong Tucker providing a status update on the closure of Alderson Broaddus University.

Dr. Sarah Armstrong Tucker

Tucker also spoke on deferred maintenance issues at the state’s colleges and universities and new funding from the legislature to meet some of the needs.

The legislature’s flood committee is also scheduled to meet Sunday and the joint committee on regional jails and state prisons.

House Speaker Roger Hanshaw

The worker vacancy issue in the jails and prisons is expected to be on the special session agenda. House of Delegates Speaker Roger Hanshaw said they’ve been talking about creating a system based on a salary schedule.

He said it should help with retention.

“The men and women who choose to stay with the state employment as a correctional officer past their third year tend to make a whole career of it,” Hanshaw said.

Interim committee meetings continue Monday. State PSC Chairwoman Charlotte Lane is scheduled to address one of the committees.

A group of EMS workers and volunteer firefighters have announced they’ll be at the capitol Monday morning to push for a funding bill they hope makes it on the special session agenda.

“It’s a cost of readiness,” Chris Hall, executive director of the West Virginia EMS Coalition, said Friday on MetroNews “Talkline” when referring to emergency response funding needs. “What we really need to find is permanent ongoing base funding for these services.”

Tuesday’s interim schedule includes meetings focusing on PEIA, the DHHR. the state’s finances, education and other issues.

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