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West Virginia House of Delegates to convene Wednesday for 85th Legislature

Release from the House of Delegates:

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia House of Delegates Speaker Roger Hanshaw, R-Clay, will preside over the 85th Legislature when members of the House of Delegates return for the 60-day regular legislative session at noon Wednesday, Feb. 10.

Speaker Roger Hanshaw, R-Clay

The House of Delegates met Jan. 13 for Opening Day of the 1st Session of the 85th Legislature for organizational purposes and the election of officers. House Resolution 5, which was adopted Jan. 13 requires all members of the House of Delegates and staff present on the House floor during any floor session to wear a face covering unless that member is actively eating or drinking or recognized by the presiding officer for the purpose of speaking to legislative matters.

Of the 100 House members, 76 are Republicans and 36 are new members. Delegate Gary Howell, R-Mineral, will serve as Speaker Pro Tempore. Delegate Amy Summers, R-Taylor, will serve as Majority Leader and Delegate Kayla Kessinger, R-Fayette, will serve as Assistant Majority Leader. Delegate Paul Espinosa, R-Jefferson will serve as Majority Whip. Delegate Doug Skaff, D-Kanawha, will serve as Minority Leader and Delegate Shawn Fluharty, D-Ohio, will serve as Minority Whip.

“In this unprecedented time, our responsibility as elected officials has become even more crucial to West Virginia’s success,” Hanshaw said. “We will be working as quickly, as efficiently and as safely as possible this year to do everything we can to make West Virginia the easiest choice for families and for businesses.”

Gov. Jim Justice’s March 2020 Executive Order prohibiting visitors to the Capitol unless they have appointments remains in place as does the indoor face covering requirement. Two House Galleries have been reserved for Delegates who require additional space for safety concerns. The rear Gallery is reserved for credentialed members of the media on a first-come, first-served basis with a limit of 18 people per floor session. The House Communications Director will help facilitate media and interview requests before and after floor sessions and meetings. All floor sessions will be live-streamed with audio and video. All Committee meetings will be audio streamed.

All House Committee meetings will take place in either the House Chamber or the House Government Organization Committee Room in the East Wing. Six seats for the media for each meeting in the East Wing, and 18 seats in the rear Gallery of the House Chamber for each Committee meeting will be reserved on a first-come, first-served basis. Television cameras will be permitted in both areas for Committee meetings as space allows. The Chamber and Committee room will be inaccessible several times throughout each day because of cleaning and sanitizing measures. Members of the media must be mindful of requests from staff members to please exit an area and/or wait to be admitted due to necessary sanitation.

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