West Virginia Legislature opens; Governor Justice absent with COVID-19

West Virginia News

CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — Wednesday marked the opening day for the 2022 West Virginia Legislative Session, and lawmakers are already busy after West Virginia Governor Jim Justice tested positive for COVID-19 Tuesday night.

The House and Senate both gaveled in for business shortly after noon on Wednesday. In the House, all members, staff and visitors stood to pray for Governor Justice, who remains seriously ill with COVID-19.

“I’d like to say I’d like all West Virginians to pause and pray for our governor, as well as everybody else that is suffering from COVID, but now our thoughts and prayers are with the governor, for a speedy and quick recovery,” said Del. David Kelly, (R) Tyler.

“He was vaccinated and boosted and so you know hopefully that’s going to protect him to some extent, and he wouldn’t be one of these really sick people,” said State Sen. Ron Stollings, who is a physician.

Then lawmakers set out their priorities for the 60-day session.

“We want education. We want to bring in jobs for the area. We want to diversify the economy. We want to work on all the things that are going to help the working families of West Virginia, bring people into the state, keep people in our state,” said Del. Jim Barach, (D) Kanawha.

“If you look at just this week with the significant economic development projects being announced, i think it’s really an affirmation of the efforts we have made in recent years to try to improve our business climate here in West Virginia,” said Del. Paul Espinosa, (R) Jefferson.

On the first day, 194 bills were introduced in the House, with many more to come. Because of the governor’s COVID-19 diagnosis, Wednesday night’s West Virginia State of the State address was rescheduled.

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