Under the Dome delivers a review of the issues considered by State Government and the 83rd Legislature during its Second Session and provides information on matters that affect WVU and higher education. This edition covers updates on several issues.
Governor Justice announced that West Virginia’s General Revenue Fund collections continue to exceed estimates, and the first-quarter surplus for Fiscal Year 2019 is nearly $120 million. That is the highest first-quarter surplus in the state’s history.
According to the Governor’s Office, these year-to-date collections show the state is experiencing a growth rate of nearly 18%. The increase is due to higher collections of the Personal Income Tax, Consumer Sales Tax, Severance Tax and Corporate Net Income Tax.
PEIA and Pay Raise
Citing the revenue estimates and economic growth, Governor Justice announced his commitment of $100 million from the revenue surplus to assist in a long-term solution to fix PEIA. Additionally, the Governor and members of the Legislature agreed to support a 5% pay raise for teachers and state employees.
The Governor also stated that the PEIA Task Force is continuing to meet and he is still exploring an alternative route, including privatization.
A pay raise would likely be introduced and voted upon during the 2019 Regular Session of the Legislature, which convenes on January 9.
Blue Ribbon Commission
Governor Justice’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Four-Year Higher Education continues to explore ways to transform higher education in West Virginia. The commission last met on October 2.
Three subcommittees have been created by the full body. The Finance Subcommittee is looking at funding and support for higher education institutions and initiatives. The Governance Subcommittee is reviewing structure, regulation and efficiencies of higher education in West Virginia. The Collaboration Subcommittee is considering efforts to better collaborate between the four-year institutions and community and technical college system, as well as the K-12 schools.
The commission will meet again by phone on October 10 and in Beckley on October 26.
Additional meetings will take place on November 15 by phone and on November 27
in Bridgeport. A report is due to the Governor and Legislature by December 10.
Read more about the Blue Ribbon Commission at
On October 1 and 2, the impeachment trial of Supreme Court Justice Beth Walker took place at the State Capitol. The State Senate voted to acquit Justice Walker and passed a censure resolution instead.
On October 12, the State Senate will reconvene to try Chief Justice Margaret Workman, who along with former-Justice Robin Davis, has filed a suit to stop the proceedings.
Davis will be tried on October 29, followed by Justice Allen Loughry on November 12. Loughry is facing his own federal trial on 25 charges, which began on October 3.
Legislative InterimsThe Legislature will hold interim meetings at the State Capitol on the following dates:
- November 11-13
- December 9-11
WVU at the State Capitol
Travis Mollohan and Rocco Fucillo, both from WVU’s State Government Relations team, represent WVU at the State Capitol during the legislative session. They can answer questions about any issues addressed by the Legislature. You can contact them at: Travis Mollohan ( email@example.com) or Rocco Fucillo ( firstname.lastname@example.org).
To learn more about the Legislature, including district maps, bill tracking, committee assignments and a summary of legislative activities, please visit wvlegislature.gov.To learn more about WVU’s legislative and government relation initiatives, please visit governmentrelations.wvu.edu.