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 13, 2021[1]
Leadership
Craig Blair (R)
since January 13, 2021
President pro Tempore
Donna Boley (R)
since January 14, 2015
Majority Leader
Tom Takubo (R)
since November 26, 2018
Minority Leader
Stephen Baldwin (D)
since January 13, 2021
Structure
Seats34
West Virginia Senate 2020.svg
Political groups
  Republican (23)
  Democratic (11)
Length of term
4 years
AuthorityArticle VI, West Virginia Constitution
Salary$20,000/year + per diem
Elections
Last election
November 3, 2020
(17 seats)
Next election
November 8, 2022
(17 seats)
RedistrictingLegislative Control
Meeting place
WV-Senate.jpg
Senate Chamber
West Virginia State Capitol
Charleston, West Virginia
Website
wvlegislature.gov

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. The Republicans gained three seats in the 2020 senate election, bringing their total number of seats to 23, while the Democrats hold 11 seats.

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.[2]

The state legislature meets on the second Wednesday of January each year and conducts a 60-day regular session.[2]

Legislative process[edit]

Unlike most state senates, the West Virginia Senate can introduce revenue bills.[2] Bills must undergo three readings in each house before being sent to the governor.[2] Bills are drafted by the Office of Legislative Services or legislative staff counsel, reviewed by the sponsor of the bill and submitted for introduction.[3] Bills are assigned to committees that make recommendations about a bill in the form of a committee report.[3]

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.[2] The state legislature can override the veto, unless they have already adjourned.[2]

Districts[edit]

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.[4]

Because senators are elected for four-year terms, the redistricting will not come fully into effect until after the 2024 election, with 17 senators to be elected under the new map in 2022, while those elected in 2020 under the old map will continue to serve until 2024.

Senate President[edit]

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."

Current composition[edit]

Map of current (March 2021) partisan composition of legislative districts for state senate:
  2 Democrats
  1 Democrat and 1 Republican

85th Legislature (2021-2022)[edit]

Affiliation Party
(Shading indicates majority caucus)
Total
Republican Democratic Vacant
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
Latest voting share 67.65% 32.35%

Leadership of the 85th West Virginia Senate[edit]

Position Name Party District County
President of the Senate/Lieutenant Governor Craig Blair Republican 15 Berkeley Co.
President Pro Tempore Donna Boley Republican 3 Pleasants Co.
Majority Leader Tom Takubo Republican 17 Kanawha Co.
Minority Leader Stephen Baldwin Democratic 10 Greenbrier Co.
Majority Whip Ryan Weld Republican 1 Brooke Co.
Minority Whip Mike Woelfel Democratic 5 Cabell Co.

Members of the 85th West Virginia Senate[edit]

District Senator Party Since Residence Counties represented[5]
1 Owens Brown Democratic 2021 Wheeling Brooke, Hancock, Ohio, Marshall
Ryan Weld Republican 2016 Wellsburg
2 Charles H. Clements Republican 2016 New Martinsville Calhoun, Doddridge, Gilmer, Marion, Marshall, Monongalia, Ritchie, Tyler, Wetzel
Mike Maroney Republican 2016 Glen Dale
3 Mike Azinger Republican 2016 Vienna Pleasants, Roane, Wirt, Wood
Donna Boley Republican 1985 St. Marys
4 Amy Grady Republican 2020 Leon Jackson, Mason, Putnam, Roane
Eric Tarr Republican 2018 Scott Depot
5 Robert H. Plymale Democratic 1992 Huntington Cabell, Wayne
Mike Woelfel Democratic 2014 Huntington
6 Mark R. Maynard Republican 2014 Genoa McDowell, Mercer, Mingo, Wayne
Chandler Swope Republican 2016 Bluefield
7 Rupie Phillips Republican 2020 Lorado Boone, Lincoln, Logan, Mingo, Wayne
Ron Stollings Democratic 2006 Madison
8 Glenn Jeffries Democratic 2016 Red House Kanawha, Putnam
Richard Lindsay Democratic 2018 Charleston
9 Rollan Roberts Republican 2018 Beaver McDowell, Raleigh, Wyoming
David Stover Republican 2020 Maben
10 Stephen Baldwin Democratic 2017 Ronceverte Fayette, Greenbrier, Monroe, Summers
Jack Woodrum Republican 2020 Hinton
11 Bill Hamilton Republican 2018 Buckhannon Grant, Nicholas, Pendleton, Pocahontas, Randolph, Upshur, Webster
Robert L. Karnes Republican 2020 Helvetia
12 Patrick S. Martin Republican 2020 Jane Lew Braxton, Clay, Gilmer, Harrison, Lewis
Mike Romano Democratic 2014 Bridgeport
13 Bob Beach Democratic 2010 Morgantown Marion, Monongalia
Mike Caputo Democratic 2020 Rivesville
14 Randy Smith Republican 2016 Thomas Barbour, Grant, Hardy, Mineral, Monongalia, Preston, Taylor, Tucker
David Sypolt Republican 2006 Kingwood
15 Craig Blair Republican 2012 Martinsburg Berkeley, Hampshire, Mineral, Morgan
Charles S. Trump Republican 2014 Berkeley Springs
16 Hannah Geffert Democratic 2021 Martinsburg Berkeley, Jefferson
Patricia Rucker Republican 2016 Harpers Ferry
17 Eric Nelson Republican 2020 Charleston Kanawha
Tom Takubo Republican 2014 Charleston

Committees[edit]

Past composition of the Senate[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "West Virginia Legislature". Retrieved January 8, 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d e f West Virginia Constitution, West Virginia Legislature (accessed May 29, 2013)
  3. ^ a b How a Bill Becomes Law, West Virginia State Legislature (accessed May 29, 2013)
  4. ^ https://www.wvlegislature.gov/Bill_Status/bills_text.cfm?billdoc=SB3034%20ENG2.htm&yr=2021&sesstype=3X&i=3034
  5. ^ "Senate District Maps - 2010 Plan". West Virginia Legislature. Retrieved July 7, 2016.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 38°20′11.5″N 81°36′46.7″W / 38.336528°N 81.612972°W / 38.336528; -81.612972