Associated Press Published

Justice Signs Bill Eliminating Arts Agency

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice speaks during a stop on his 2017 Save our State tour at Fairmont State University.

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice has signed a bill eliminating the Department of Education and the Arts.

The governor’s office said in a news release that he noted that no programs would have federal funding reduced. The release said the legislation will place all education operations under the Department of Education while saving money.

Justice said a Department of the Arts and Culture and History will be created and will answer directly to him.

Earlier this month, Justice fired department secretary Gayle Manchin. Manchin is a former state school board president and is the wife of Democratic U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin. Justice is a Republican who switched from the Democratic Party last year.

The department’s agencies include Culture and History, West Virginia Public Broadcasting, the Center for Professional Development, the Library Commission, Rehabilitation Services and Volunteer West Virginia.