Eric Douglas Published

Governor Calls Special Legislative Session Sunday

Rad carpet and 100 desks around a podium
Sunday the West Virginia Legislature will return to session to address budget issues and several bills as well.
Perry Bennett/WV Legislative Photography

Gov. Jim Justice has called the West Virginia Legislature into a much-anticipated special session Sunday. 

At the end of the regular legislative session in March, the legislature passed what was referred to as a “skinny” budget with cuts to a number of programs. This was done over concerns of a nearly half billion-dollar federal claw back of COVID-19 relief funds that was ultimately averted. 

In the call to bring the legislature into session, Justice said, “…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.”

The legislature was already set to meet Sunday through Tuesday for interim meetings. There are 15 items on the call. The statement said they are mostly supplemental appropriations, but also a few pieces of legislation. 

One item will provide more than $80 million to the state’s colleges and universities in 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,” 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.

Read the full special session call from the governor here.