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Bill introduced to give governor authority to furlough state workers


The Register-Herald

CHARLESTON, W.Va.  — A bill introduced Thursday in the House would give the governor the authority to furlough state workers.

House Bill 2879 would authorize that when there is a fiscal emergency, the governor could issue an executive order to issue furloughs to state workers for limited or indefinite duration as an alternative to reducing the workforce.

The bill said furloughs must include all employees within a designated department and the chief administrator of the department should create a schedule for furlough days. However, under no circumstance would an office close completely, the bill said.

Under the bill, constitutional officers would be exempt. The executive order would address whether state employees could participate in the same benefits as otherwise available to them during the furlough period and whether their reduction in compensation would be allocated over the balance of the fiscal year rather than in the pay period when the furlough occurs.

Justice announced his intention to issue legislation about two weeks ago, following the announcement that Moody’s Investors Service downgraded West Virginia’s bond rating.

“Because West Virginia’s finances are such a dog’s mess, furlough legislation is a necessary precaution to stop the bleeding if we don’t act,” Justice said in the previous news release. “West Virginia’s credit was downgraded because our state keeps kicking the can down the road, and it will get worse if we don’t wake up. The longer it takes to pass my Save Our State plan and fix the budget crisis, the deeper we’ll be in the ditch and it will require furloughs.”

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