W. Virginia legislative special session set for July 15th

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July 12, 2010

By Kyle Maichle

CHARLESTON, West Virginia: Governor Joe Manchin has called the Legislature into special session beginning on July 15, 2010[1].

In a letter to the media released on July 9, 2010, Governor Manchin stated that the purpose of the special session is to fix state laws governing how vacant seats are filled for elective offices. The Governor further stated that if the Legislature fails to take action during special session, the state risks the possibility of being sued. This comes after both Attorney General Darrell McGraw and Secretary of State Natalie Tennant issued differing legal opinions on how to fill the vacant U.S. Senate seat last held by the late Robert Byrd[1].

Senate President Earl Ray Tomblin applauded the Governor's call for a special session. Tomblin stated: "the unfortunate truth is that the current wording of the election law is flawed. We must clarify this so that future elections stand up in court." Tomblin also said that legislators must carry out its duty to reform the election law in order to have the state properly represented in the U.S. Senate[1].

The special session is one of two extra legislative floor periods currently called by the Governor. The other special session is scheduled to begin on July 19, 2010 to work on education reforms[1].

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