WV Legislature Wraps Up Special Session

Date: August 11, 2023

The West Virginia legislature finished its special session and interim meetings this week.

There were 35 bills that completed legislative action with most of them being supplemental appropriations to various state agencies. Some of the funding for the appropriations comes from the $1.8 billion surplus the state ended the fiscal year with in June, while other funding involves reappropriating money from other sources.

In total more than $451 million in remaining surplus tax revenue was spent. Among the reappropriation bills: HB 114 which lawmakers say will make sure $71 million in General Revenue is properly allocated for Public Employees Insurance Agency (PEIA) use. The measure is largely technical because PEIA reported that it is unable to use the current funding in the PEIA Subsidy Account for the intended purpose. It transfers the funds to cover increased employer contributions incurred by county boards of education.

Among the key bills that passed during the special session:

  • $150 million to the Division of Highways — $100 million for road maintenance and $50 for equipment.
  • A vehicle tax credit fix. With the change, taxpayers will not be penalized for paying their vehicle tax in full this fall.
  • A 6-bill package dealing with the State’s Corrections System. There was a pay raise bill totaling about $25 million that aims to address worker vacancies in jails and prisons and the high turnover rate of those in the first few years of employment. There were some other bills dealing with corrections including one dealing with medical care for inmates. The bill would prohibit state funds for medical procedures in state jails and prisons unless they are medically necessary, as defined by the medical professional treating the patient.
  • A $12 million funding bill for volunteer fire departments. It allots $6 million to the Fire Protection Fund to be distributed by county commissions based on population, $3 million to the County Fire Protection Fund, and $3 million to the Growth Fire Protection Fund to be distributed at the state level.

Most of the interim meetings were canceled due to the special session, but the Legislative Oversight Commission on Health and Human Resources Accountability heard from the three incoming secretaries of the Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) and their priorities moving forward. This stems from HB 2006, which reorganizes the DHHR into 3 departments: Health, Human Resources, and Health Facilities. The changes go into effect on Jan. 1.


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