W.Va. House Members Ready for Legislative Session

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Lawmakers are busy laying the groundwork for the legislative session that starts Wednesday. With a full agenda, there's no time to waste.

Democrats and Republicans have different ideas on which issues are the most important, but both sides say the main goal is to end the session with less talk and more action.

“We are going to continue to fight for that election. We believe the people of West Virginia have the right to decide for themselves who their governor is,” Delegate Tim Armstead, House Minority Leader, said.

Even though a leader is already in place, Republican house members are still fighting to schedule an election for the governor's seat. They also want to pass a bill relating to all succession issues in case the state finds itself in the same situation again.

"That's one area that should be very clear," Armstead said. "You should be able to go to the law and determine clearly how you move forward with succession."

House Democrats agree it's an issue that needs attention, but it doesn't top their list.

"We have the parole bill, which I think is of paramount importance. The ethics bill is something we had a broad consensus on last year. We need to get those bills moved out," Delegate Brent Boggs, House Majority Leader, said.

There is one major issue that both sides agree on.

"There’s perhaps nothing that unites us more firmly than our desire to provide real jobs for West Virginians,” Delegate Mitch Carmichael, R-Jackson County, said.

Those words truly hit home Tuesday as Bayer announced it was cutting 220 jobs from its Kanawha Valley plant. Now, there’s a call for action instead of reaction.

"I look for a very productive session. We're gonna move forward quickly, try to get those important issues out as quick as we can, and we're just going to keep working every day to do our job we were elected to do," Delegate Rick Thompson, Speaker of the House, said.

Republicans also plan to reintroduce a measure that would define marriage as between a man and a woman. Democrats say it's important to think of what the Senate and governor's office would do with those issues before spending another session working on them.

The House passes a massive amount of bills each year, but only a fraction of them make it to the governor's desk.

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