Jul 28, 2011- Special Session Agenda Expands

By: Michael Hyland
By: Michael Hyland

West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie Tennant (D) is trying to add one more thing to lawmakers' to-do lists during next week's special session.

The special session on redistricting will not focus solely on this once-a-decade experience that lawmakers go through as the redraw political districts.

Senate President Earl Ray Tomblin (D), who is acting as governor, has also called on lawmakers to pass a half-cent reduction of the food tax, consider a bill that would reallocate certain portions of the coal severance tax, look at a few supplemental appropriations and deal with some other issues.

But, Secretary of State Natalie Tennant (D), is calling for one more addition. She explained in a news release today:


West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie E. Tennant is asking Acting Governor Earl Ray Tomblin to add the subject of the Supreme Court of Appeals Public Campaign Financing Pilot Program to the special session, set to begin next week.

Secretary Tennant, along with the State Election Commission, requested Attorney General Darrell McGraw to review West Virginia’s pilot program, which is similar to the Arizona law that was determined to be unconstitutional by the United States Supreme Court on June 27, 2011.

In an Opinion detailed in a letter to Secretary Tennant, the Attorney General’s Office said “the matching funds provisions contained in the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals Public Campaign Financing Pilot Program are violative of the United States Constitution.”

“In anticipation of this Opinion, we have been preparing to make any changes necessary to the pilot program by working with Legislative leaders and the Acting Governor,” Tennant said. “Because participating candidates face a September 1 date to begin raising qualifying funds, this question needs to be addressed immediately.”

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