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Justice, Hanshaw in war of words

Officials spar over disaster relief funding

By Charles Young, The Exponent Telegram

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Gov. Jim Justice and the speaker of the House of Delegates are in the midst of a quarrel concerning a proposed fund to assist state residents impacted by natural disasters.

After Speaker Roger Hanshaw, R-Clay, issued a press release in response to comments Justice made during his Wednesday briefing, the governor issued his own response Thursday.

On Wednesday, the governor chided lawmakers for failing to pass legislation during this year’s regular session that would have established an emergency fund that would allow the state to respond to natural disasters and other unforeseen events.

“Jim Justice put in his State of the State address, in his budget — I put in my budget $50 million to address stuff just like this,” the governor said in reference to damage caused by recent severe weather.

He mentioned an official in Nuttallburg, a Fayette County community, who lost his home to the storms.

“That $50 million would have been sending dollars and being able to help that man today,” Justice said. “We cut it out of our budget.”

In a press release issued a few hours later, Hanshaw refuted the governor’s assertions and said Justice has other funds at his disposal.

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