West Virginia Senate

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West Virginia Senate
West Virginia Legislature
Coat of arms or logo
Type
Type
Term limits
None
History
New session started
January 2015
Leadership
President of the Senate
Jeffrey V. Kessler (D)
since November 14, 2011
President pro Tempore
Larry J. Edgell (D)
since 2013
Majority Leader
John Unger (D)
since January 12, 2011
Minority Leader
Mike Hall (R)
since January 14, 2009
Structure
Seats 34
Senate_diagram_2014_State_of_WV.svg
Political groups

Governing party

Opposition party

Length of term
4 years
Authority Article VI, West Virginia Constitution
Salary $20,000/year + per diem
Elections
Last election
November 4, 2014
(17 seats)
Next election
November 1, 2016
(17 seats)
Redistricting Legislative Control
Meeting place
WV-Senate.jpg
Senate Chamber
West Virginia State Capitol
Charleston, West Virginia
Website
West Virginia State Legislature

The West Virginia Senate is the upper house of the West Virginia Legislature. There are 17 senatorial districts. Each district has two senators who serve staggered four-year terms.

Organization[edit]

Senators are elected for terms of four years that are staggered, meaning that only a portion of the 34 state senate seats are up every election.[1]

The state legislature meets on the second Wednesday of January each year and conducts a 60-day regular session.[1]

Legislative process[edit]

Unlike most state senates, the West Virginia Senate can introduce revenue bills.[1] Bills must undergo three readings in each house before being sent to the governor.[1] Bills are drafted by the Office of Legislative Services or legislative staff counsel, reviewed by the sponsor of the bill and submitted for introduction.[2] Bills are assigned to committees that make recommendations about a bill in the form of a committee report.[2]

Bills approved in both the West Virginia Senate and West Virginia House of Delegates are then submitted to the governor, who has the power to sign them into law or veto them.[1] The state legislature can override the veto, unless they have already adjourned.[1]

Districts[edit]

The state's districting system is unique in the United States. Prior to the 2010 Census the state's most populous county, Kanawha County constituted two "superimposed" districts. In practical effect, this meant that Kanawha County was a single district electing two members every two years. The remaining 54 counties of the state were divided into fifteen districts, with county lines not respected in most cases.[3]

Under the unique rule, no multi-county district (and every district except Kanawha's is a multi-county district) may have more than one senator from the same county,[4] no matter the population. This means, for example, that one of the 5th District's two senators must reside in Cabell County and the other must reside in the tiny portion of Wayne County that's inside the 5th District, even though Cabell County has far more people than the portion of Wayne County that is part of the 5th District. However, both senators are elected by everybody within the district, not just by the people of the county in which the senators reside.

Responding to the 2010 Census the Senate redistricted itself. Kanawha County was divided for the first time in the Senate's history, with the northern and western portions joining a part of Putnam County as the 8th District and the remainder of the county constituting the 17th district on it own. This will reduce the number of Senators from Kanawha County from four to three, as one of the 8th's must be a resident of Putnam.

The remainder of the state was redistricted, reflecting the continuing shift of the state's population to the Eastern Panhandle and to Monongalia County, however no incumbents were placed in districts where they will have to run against one another, except for the Kanawha situation. Because senators are elected for four-year terms, half of the senate will represent the old districts until the 2014 election.[5]

Senate President[edit]

The Senate elects its own president from its membership. On November 14, 2011, the Senate named Jeffrey V. Kessler Senate President after Earl Ray Tomblin resigned as both Senate President and a member of the Senate upon his inauguration as Governor of West Virginia.[6]

While the West Virginia Constitution does not create or even mention the title of lieutenant governor, West Virginia Code 6A-1-4 creates this designation for the Senate President. The Senate President is first in the line of succession to the office of governor. As stated in Article 7 Section 16 of the constitution: "In case of the death, conviction or impeachment, failure to qualify, resignation, or other disability of the governor, the president of the Senate shall act as governor until the vacancy is filled, or the disability removed." However, the Senate President may not always serve the remainder of the term as the constitution also states: "Whenever a vacancy shall occur in the office of governor before the first three years of the term shall have expired, a new election for governor shall take place to fill the vacancy."

Composition[edit]

Affiliation Party
(Shading indicates majority caucus)
Total
Democratic Republican Vacant
End of 2011 session 28 6 34 0
Beginning of 2013 session 25 9 34 0
July 31, 2013[7] 24 10
Latest voting share 70.6% 29.4%

Current Composition Map[edit]

81st Legislature (2013-2014)[edit]

WV Senate 81st Legislature.png

82nd Legislature (2015-2016)[edit]

WV Senate 82nd Legislature.png

Leadership of the 80th West Virginia Senate[edit]

Position Name Party District County
President of the Senate/Lieutenant Governor Jeffrey V. Kessler Democratic 2 Marshall Co.
President Pro Tempore Joseph M. Minard Democratic 12 Harrison Co.
Majority Leader John Unger Democratic 16 Berkeley Co.
Minority Leader Mike Hall Republican 4 Putnam Co.
Majority Whip Richard Browning Democratic 9 Wyoming Co.
Minority Whip Clark S. Barnes Republican 11 Randolph Co.

Members of the 80th West Virginia Senate[edit]

District Senator Party Residence Counties represented
1 Rocky Fitzsimmons[8] Dem Ohio Brooke, Hancock, Ohio, Marshall (part)
Jack Yost Dem Brooke
2 Larry J. Edgell Dem Wetzel Calhoun, Doddridge, Marion (part), Marshall (part), Monongalia (part), Tyler, Gilmer
Jeffrey V. Kessler Dem Marshall
3 Donna J. Boley Rep Pleasants Pleasants, Roane (part), Wirt, Wood
David Nohe Rep Wood
4 Mitch Carmichael Rep Jackson Jackson, Mason, Putnam (part), Roane (part)
Mike Hall Rep Putnam
5 Evan Jenkins Rep Cabell Cabell, Wayne (part)
Robert H. Plymale Dem Wayne
6 H. Truman Chafin Dem Mingo McDowell, Mercer (part), Mingo, Wayne (part)
Bill Cole Rep Mercer
7 Ron Stollings Dem Boone Boone, Lincoln, Logan, Mingo, Wayne (part)
Art Kirkendoll[9][10] Dem Logan
8 Chris Walters Rep Putnam Kanawha (part), Putnam (part)
Erik Wells Dem Kanawha
9 Daniel J. Hall Rep Wyoming Raleigh, Wyoming, McDowell (part)
Mike Green Dem Raleigh
10 William Laird IV Dem Fayette Fayette (part), Greenbrier, Monroe, Summers
Ronald F. Miller Dem Greenbrier
11 Gregory A. Tucker Dem Nicholas Grant (part), Nicholas, Pendleton, Pocahontas, Randolph, Upshur, Webster
Clark S. Barnes Rep Randolph
12 Douglas Facemire Dem Braxton Clay, Braxton, Gilmer (part), Lewis, Harrison
Sam Cann Dem Harrison
13 Robert Beach Dem Monongalia Marion (part), Monongalia (part)
Roman W. Prezioso, Jr. Dem Marion
14 David Sypolt Rep Preston Barbour, Grant (part), Hardy, Mineral (part), Monongalia (part), Preston, Taylor, Tucker
Bob Williams Dem Taylor
15 Craig Blair Rep Berkeley Berkeley (part), Hampshire, Mineral, Morgan
Donald Cookman Dem Hampshire
16 Herb Snyder Dem Jefferson Berkeley (part), Jefferson
John Unger Dem Berkeley
17 Corey Palumbo Dem Kanawha Kanawha (part)
Brooks McCabe Dem

Committees[edit]

  • Agriculture (11 members) – Bob Williams, Chairman
  • Banking and Insurance (13 members) – Joseph M. Minard, Chairman
  • Confirmations (9 members) – Larry J. Edgell, Chairman
  • Economic Development (14 members) – Richard Browning, Chairman
  • Education (14 members) – Robert H. Plymale, Chairman
  • Energy, Industry and Mining (13 members) – Mike Green, Chairman
  • Enrolled Bills (5 members) – Ron Miller, Chairman
  • Finance (17 members) – Roman W. Prezioso, Jr., Chairman
  • Government Organization (14 members) – Herb Snyder, Chairman
  • Health and Human Resources (13 members) – Roman W. Prezioso, Jr., Chairman
  • Interstate Cooperation (7 members) – Ron Stollings, Chairman; (Senate President is ex officio co-chairperson)
  • Judiciary (17 members) – Corey Palumbo, Chairman
  • Labor (11 members) – Jack Yost, Chairman
  • Military (9 members) – Erik Wells, Chairman
  • Natural Resources (13 members) – William R. Laird, IV, Chairman
  • Pensions (7 members) – Dan Foster, Chairman
  • Rules (10 members) – Jeffrey V. Kessler, Ex officio Chairman as Senate President
  • Transportation and Infrastructure (9 members) – Bob Beach, Chairman

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f West Virginia Constitution, West Virginia Legislature (accessed May 29, 2013)
  2. ^ a b How a Bill Becomes Law, West Virginia State Legislature (accessed May 29, 2013)
  3. ^ "West Virginia Senate Districts". West Virginia Legislature. Retrieved September 7, 2008. 
  4. ^ "West Virginia Constitution". West Virginia Legislature. Retrieved September 7, 2008. 
  5. ^ http://www.legis.state.wv.us/legisdocs/2011/1x/maps/senate/Enr%20SB%201006%20Map.pdf
  6. ^ http://www.wowktv.com/story/16039199/art-kirkendoll-jeff-kessler-sworn-into-senate-roles
  7. ^ Evan Jenkins (District 5) switched parties from Democratic to Republican in order to run for Congress [1]
  8. ^ appointed on December 26, 2012 by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin following the December 10, 2012 resignation of Senator Orphy Klempa
  9. ^ http://www.wchstv.com/newsroom/wv/news3.shtml
  10. ^ appointed to unexpired term caused by the election of Earl Ray Tomblin as Governor of West Virginia

External links[edit]