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Top Billing: West Virginia Senate makes quick work of special session legislation

By Steven Allen Adams, The Parkersburg News and Sentinel

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Lawmakers gaveled in for the first special session of 2024, with senators quickly passing eight out of 15 bills Sunday.

Gov. Jim Justice issued a proclamation Friday calling the West Virginia Legislature into special session, with the state Senate and House of Delegates gaveling in Sunday evening.

The Senate voted to suspend the state constitutional rules that require bills be read on three separate days to pass eight bills on the governor’s special session call, sending the bills to the House to consider over the course of the special session coinciding with previously scheduled May legislative interim meetings.

Most of the items on the special session agenda dealt with restoring funding in the general revenue budget for fiscal year 2025 that was cut in the budget bill passed by the Legislature on the last day of the 2024 regulation legislative session on March 9.

The Senate passed Senate Bill 1001 unanimously, restoring more than $5 million for the state Department of Health and more than $183 million for the state Department of Human Services. The bill restores cuts made to Medicaid and the intellectual and developmental disability (IDD) waiver program.

An amendment to SB 1001 offered by Senate Finance Committee Eric Tarr, R-Putnam, allows the secretaries of the departments of Health and Human Services to transfer money out of a new fund to provide funding for Medicaid and the IDD waiver program. However, the amendment requires the secretaries to file monthly reports to the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Government and Finance to explain any transfers.

The amendment also would prevent any expenditures from these appropriations after March 30, 2025, expiring any remaining funding in those line items back to the general revenue fund.

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