Jul 26, 2011- The Mystery of the Special Session

By: Michael Hyland
By: Michael Hyland

The governor's office has announced the special session on redistricting will start Monday.

UPDATE: 7/26 @ 4:20 p.m.

 

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin's office released the following statement today about the special session that will start Monday. Redistricting is not all that's on the agenda:

 

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin today announced that he will be calling legislators into a special session on August 1, 2011, for the House of Delegates and the State Senate to pass legislation related to redistricting and other topics.

 

"After consulting with both Acting Senate President Jeff Kessler and House Speaker Rick Thompson, I have been informed that both chambers will be prepared on August 1 to go into a special legislative session to consider and pass legislation for the redistricting of legislative and congressional districts," Gov. Tomblin said. "Special committees have been diligently working on this important task and I am pleased that they are prepared to proceed now."

 

In addition to redistricting, the special session agenda is expected to include the following pieces of legislation:

  • Tax changes including the reduction of the food tax and reallocating and distributing a certain portion of coal severance tax revenue.
  • Supplemental appropriations related to meth lab cleanups, highway paving and other improvements, forensic and substance abuse issues, and the state's age and disability waiver program, among others.
  • P20 Data Sharing to provide WorkForce West Virginia flexibility to participate in data sharing with certain state departments.

The special session is expected to begin August 1, 2011 at noon.

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ORIGINAL POST: 7/26 @ 1:30 p.m.

For the last few months, many of us covering the Legislature have been reporting about the redistricting issue, all saying something to the effect of, "It's expected to begin in early August," somewhere in the story.

Well, early August is Monday. So far, no announcement.

Gubernatorial candidate Bill Maloney (R) released a statement today:

"Despite weeks of talk in Charleston about an early August special session, 'Temporary Governor' Earl Ray Tomblin continues to show his lack of leadership on urgent issues like redistricting and comprehensive Marcellus shale legislation. I strongly urge Earl Ray Tomblin to call a special session now. West Virginia has several pressing matters that cannot wait until the Legislature finds consensus. Joe Manchin would have already called a special session. As Governor, I will lead and call special sessions to solve important issues, unlike Earl Ray Tomblin who continues to wait to be told what to do by the Legislature."

So, I rounded up Scooby and the gang and hopped in the Mystery Machine with the hope of solving the mystery of the Special Session.

The governor's office just called to say an announcement is expected this afternoon.

Several House lawmakers say they still expect the session to begin Monday, to coincide with the interim meetings scheduled August 1-3.

Many lawmakers are heading out of town the second week of August for a national conference.

One Republican lawmaker says there had been some talk of waiting until August 15. However, the consensus appears to be forming around going ahead and having the session next week.

House Minority Leader Tim Armstead (R-Kanawha) says it's posible lawmakers will have to split the session, depending on whether they can get their work done next week. If the redistrcting issues aren't resolved, he says he expects lawmakers to come back to the Capitol after their trip to finish their work. Armstead says Repubicans still plan to push for more single-delegate districts.

Also, the AP reports that some counties may be split up to balance out the congresional districts. This move would be a first for the state.

Check back here for an update as soon as the announcement comes out.

 


 

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