West Virginia Senate
|86th West Virginia Legislature|
New session started
|January 11, 2023|
Craig Blair (R)
since January 13, 2021
Donna Boley (R)
since January 14, 2015
Tom Takubo (R)
since January 9, 2019
Mike Woelfel (D)
since January 11, 2023
Length of term
|Authority||Article VI, West Virginia Constitution|
|Salary||$20,000/year + per diem|
|Plurality voting in staggered elections|
|November 8, 2022|
|November 5, 2024|
West Virginia State Capitol
Charleston, West Virginia
|West Virginia Legislature|
The West Virginia Senate is the upper house of the West Virginia Legislature. There are seventeen senatorial districts. Each district has two senators who serve staggered four-year terms. Although the Democratic Party held a supermajority in the Senate as recently as 2015, Republicans now dominate in the chamber, and holds 31 seats to the Democrats' three seats.
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.
The state legislature meets on the second Wednesday of January each year and conducts a 60-day regular session.
Unlike most state senates, the West Virginia Senate can introduce revenue bills. Bills must undergo three readings in each house before being sent to the governor. Bills are drafted by the Office of Legislative Services or legislative staff counsel, reviewed by the sponsor of the bill and submitted for introduction. Bills are assigned to committees that make recommendations about a bill in the form of a committee report.
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. The state legislature can override the veto, unless they have already adjourned.
The state is divided into 17 districts, with each electing a senator for a four-year term every two years. Thus each district contains about 1/17th of the state's population, or about 105,000 persons.
The state's districting system is unique in the United States in that both senators from a district cannot be from the same county, no matter the population of the various parts of the district. 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 portion of Wayne County that is inside the 5th District, even though Cabell County has 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 its own. This reduced the number of Senators from Kanawha County from four to three, as one of the 8th's had to be a resident of Putnam.
Responding to the 2020 Census the Senate again redistricted itself. The Senate adopted a new map, again reflecting a shift of the population to the Morgantown area and the Eastern Panhandle. Ten counties, out of the 55, were divided between two different districts, and Kanawha County was divided between three different districts.
Because senators are elected for four-year terms, the redistricting will not come fully into effect until after the 2024 election, as 17 senators were elected under the new map in 2022, while those elected in 2020 under the old map will continue to serve until 2024.
The Senate elects its own president from its membership. Craig Blair is currently the president of the West Virginia Senate.
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, who stands 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."
86th Legislature (2023–2024)
(Shading indicates majority caucus)
|Beginning of the 82nd Legislature||18||16||34||0|
|End of the 82nd Legislature|
|Beginning of the 83rd Legislature||22||12||34||0|
|End of the 83rd Legislature|
|Beginning of the 84th Legislature||20||14||34||0|
|End of the 84th Legislature|
|Beginning of the 85th Legislature||23||11||34||0|
|End of the 85th Legislature|
|Beginning of the 86th Legislature||30||4||34||0|
|December 1, 2022||31||3|
|Latest voting share||91.2%||8.8%|
Leadership of the 86th West Virginia Senate
|Senate President/Lieutenant Governor||Craig Blair||Republican||15th||Berkeley|
|President pro tempore||Donna Boley||Republican||3rd||Pleasants|
|Majority Leader||Tom Takubo||Republican||17th||Kanawha|
|Minority Leader||Mike Woelfel||Democratic||5th||Cabell|
|Majority Whip||Ryan Weld||Republican||1st||Brooke|
|Minority Whip||Robert Plymale||Democratic||5th||Wayne|
Committee Chairs and Vice Chairs
|Agriculture & Natural Resources||Bill Hamilton||David Stover|
|Banking and Insurance||Mike Azinger||Mike Oliverio|
|Confirmations||Donna Boley||Laura Chapman|
|Economic Development||Chandler Swope||Patrick Martin|
|Education||Amy Grady||Charles Clements|
|Energy, Industry, & Mining||Randy Smith||Ben Queen|
|Enrolled Bills||Jack Woodrum||Rollan Roberts|
|Finance||Eric Tarr||Rupie Phillips|
|Government Organization||Jack Woodrum||Jason Barrett|
|Health & Human Resources||Mike Maroney||Tom Takubo|
|Judiciary||Charles Trump||Ryan Weld|
|Military||Ryan Weld||Vince Deeds|
|Outdoor Recreation||Mark Maynard||Jay Taylor|
|Pensions||Eric Nelson||Mark Hunt|
|Rules||Craig Blair||Tom Takubo|
|School Choice||Patricia Rucker||Mark Maynard|
|Transportation & Infrastructure||Charles Clements||Mike Stuart|
|Workforce||Rollan Roberts||Glenn Jeffries|
Members of the 86th West Virginia Senate
- Multi-county districts (all but District 17) must elect Senators from different counties
- Oliverio previously served in the Senate from 1994 to 2010.
- West Virginia Constitution, West Virginia Legislature (accessed May 29, 2013)
- How a Bill Becomes Law, West Virginia State Legislature (accessed May 29, 2013)
- "SB 3034 Text". Archived from the original on October 20, 2021.
- Glenn Jeffries (District 8) switched parties from Democratic to Republican. 
- "2020 REDISTRICTING" (PDF). wvlegislature.gov. 2021.
- West Virginia Legislature – official website
- Project Vote Smart – State Senate of West Virginia