West Virginia State Legislature

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The West Virginia State Legislature is a bicameral Legislature the upper house, the state Senate and the lower house, the House of Delegates.

Thirty-four Senators and 100 Delegates represent state citizens in specific districts. These districts are divided according to population and may change if census figures show a growth or loss of population. Presently, West Virginia has 17 senatorial districts and 58 delegate districts. Each citizen in the state has representatives in both the Senate and the House.

Terms of Office & Eligibility Senators are elected to four-year terms with half of the seats up for election every two years. All members of the House of Delegates are up for election every two years. If a legislator moves out of his/her district, the seat becomes vacant.

If a vacancy occurs in either house of the Legislature, the governor appoints an individual of the same political party as the departing member to fill the seat until the next general election.

Sessions of the Legislature

Each Legislature is comprised of two sessions with the 77th Legislature consisting of the 2005 and 2006 sessions.

Regular sessions of the Legislature begin on the second Wednesday in January of each year and last for 60 consecutive days. However, in the year a governor is inaugurated a 30-day recess is taken after the first day of the session to allow the governor time to prepare his legislative agenda, including a proposed state budget, for the coming year. In this case, the legislators return on the second Wednesday in February to meet for 60 consecutive days.

On the first day of the 60-day session, members of both the Senate and the House hold a joint session in the House Chamber at which the governor presents his legislative program along with the state’s budget bill.

Any regular session may be extended by concurrent resolution adopted by a two-thirds vote of members elected to each house. If the session is extended, legislators cannot act on any measures except business stated in the concurrent resolution. The governor must by proclamation, extend the session if the budget bill shall not have been acted upon three days prior to the constitutional expiration of the session.

Special Sessions are convened at the discretion of the governor or when the governor receives a written request from three-fifths of the members elected to each house. [1]

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