Gov. Jim Justice makes surprise visit to state capitol

West Virginia Headlines

Cameras were rolling as Governor Jim Justice made a surprise visit to the House floor Friday, encouraging Delegates to get their work done.

Lawmakers are still considering a wide variety of issues, from fixing the state’s medical cannabis law to dealing with a proposed campus carry gun law. They are trying to work out a state budget, getting pay raises for teachers and all state employees.

Right now the House has approved that, but the Senate has not.

Mark Curtis from our sister station WOWK got an exclusive interview with the Governor.

“Well, we’re working through the process and everything,” Governor Justice (R-West Virginia) said “And both the House and the Senate are working really hard. They’re going to get there. We’re going to get to something that I hope will be half-way pleasing or pleasing to everybody.” 

“That’s certainly a big ticket item. That’s something that the Governor has said all along that that would be part of this legislative session, and I think the Senate President even mentioned it as well,” said Delegate Brent Boggs, (D-Braxton).

Another big item up for debate is cutting the coal severance tax in the Mountain State. The House reduced it from 5% to 4% next year, but the Senate has yet to vote. 

“This bill will actually help our steam or thermal coal producers effectively compete with these surrounding states that have no severance,” said Chris Hamilton of the West Virginia Coal Association.

One thing that will not be happening, is legal adult use recreational cannabis in West Virginia.

“I still believe that there are a lot of people that are very interested in seeing us take that step, but at this point this Legislature is not going to handle it,” said Delegate Mick Bates (D-Raleigh).

Both chambers are ready for final votes on a state budget.

With lots of work left to do, both the House and Senate will be meeting in a rare Saturday session starting at 9:00 a.m. 

Be sure to stay with 7News for continuing coverage. 

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