The governor has already told senators and delegates to come back at an unspecified date to deal with education reform issues, and pay raises for teachers and school staff. This after a two-day strike earlier this year. But the governor has vetoed legislation aimed at fixing the state’s medical marijuana program, and he vetoed two bills dealing with road repairs. So, the special session calendar is getting full.
“Some of the vetoed bills will appear on the Special Session call which is completely within reason. It’s exactly the right way to do it. I’m completely supportive and we’ll address those technical issues with some of those bills very quickly,” said State Sen. Mitch Carmichael, (R) Jackson – Senate President.
Democrats expressed frustration, saying many issues like roads could have been handled in the regular 60-day session.
“While the Governor is just now addressing roads, we’re addressing roads on a daily basis in the Legislature. And we did so by passing a lot of legislation that the Governor’s now-vetoed instead of jumping on board and being involved with during session,” said Del. Andrew Robinson, (D) Kanawha.
One bill the governor vetoed that may get a second chance, involves capping thousands of abandoned natural gas and oil wells in West Virginia that pose an environmental threat.
“Well, the problem is that gas and oil can come up into the air or onto the surface. It can come up in the groundwater. Surface pollution can go down in the groundwater if these wells are not plugged the way that they are required to be,” said David McMahon, WV Surface Owners Rights Organization.
Some estimates say there could be nearly 20 thousand uncapped gas and oil wells.
With Special Sessions costing taxpayers $40,000 dollars per day, it’s likely lawmakers will be called back during the April and May Interim Committee meetings when many of them are already required to be here at the Capitol.