Gov. Justice issues proclamation calling for Special Session of the West Virginia Legislature starting Sunday at 5:00 p.m.

CHARLESTON, WV — Gov. Jim Justice has issued a proclamation calling for the West Virginia Legislature to convene in Special Session at 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, May 19, 2024. 
Click to view the Special Session Call
“The special session I’m calling today isn’t just really important; it’s critical to the health and well-being of some of our state’s most vulnerable people. In my book, restoring budgets for our Departments of Health and Human Services is the most pressing item on the call. We have hundreds of thousands of people in West Virginia who are relying on us right now, including foster kids and those with disabilities. If we don’t restore these funds immediately, it would be a real tragedy with real consequences,” Gov. Justice said.

“While funding for those departments is most necessary, we need several others to get across the finish line. We’ve seen unbelievable surpluses in West Virginia over the last few years and need to use them to take care of our roads while improving access to education. When people and businesses are looking to move to West Virginia, they first ask about the roads and schools. We must continue providing additional funds for highway maintenance and school choice through the successful Hope Scholarship. We have been on a rocketship ride of growth, and this will only help bring more people to our state. Finally, we need to secure funding for a new state-of-the-art agricultural laboratory, which should be located on the campus of West Virginia State University, as I recommended during my last State of the State Address.

“I’ve said time and time again that I would call a special session as soon as I heard that lawmakers were ready. I know additional matters need to be taken up, but for now, these are the issues they are ready to address, so I’m calling them in for a special session.”

The special session will be held during the May Interim Committee meetings to avoid incurring additional taxpayer expense.

The proclamation lists 15 items for the Legislature to consider and act upon, mostly supplemental appropriations and a few pieces of new legislation that have been requested.

One item will provide over $80 million to the State’s colleges and universities to help provide needed funding for students affected by the Federal Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) crisis. In April, the Governor declared a State of Emergency to temporarily suspend the requirement for students to complete the FAFSA in order to qualify for the state’s largest financial aid programs.

“This money will be used to backfill the mess created by the federal government,” Gov. Justice said. “Hopefully, they fix it soon, but we aren’t going to wait for them and let our colleges fail. Our students and faculty deserve stability and support, and we’re committed to providing it. This funding will ensure our students have peace of mind and our state’s institutions can serve our communities effectively.”

Some of the supplemental appropriations include:$150 million for highway maintenance and equipment.$50 million for new State agricultural lab facilities at West Virginia State University.$10 million for the Posey Perry Emergency Food Bank Fund.$27.3 million for Hope Scholarship funding.$2 million to the Department of Veterans Assistance for medical expenses.Once the session gets underway, bill status may be found here.