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WV Legislative Update

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Last weekend’s weather was one we truly needed, as lakes and rivers are now back to normal levels.  This made for a beautiful Saturday on Elk River for the hundreds of kayak and canoe enthusiasts that floated Elk River between Sutton, Gassaway; for some, on to Sugar Creek and beyond.  Congratulations to all the supporters, volunteers, paddlers and our Braxton Convention and Visitors Bureau for a successful event.  Also, thanks to the members of the BCHS Eagles Band that pitched in to help with the logistics at put-in and take-out sites.  As Elk River is rediscovered by residents and visitors alike, we’ll experience a boost in our local economy and opportunities for new business ventures that make the river a hub for family recreation and fitness.

Last week, I touched on the lack of a cohesive plan to distribute aid to 2016 flood victims as was being managed by the WV Department of Commerce with over $148 million of yet to be distributed aid.  I’m pleased to note that early last week Governor Justice moved the flood recovery from Commerce to General James Hoyer, Adjutant General of the WV National Guard and Air National Guard.  Jim is a top notch administrator and good friend and I have great confidence he and his team will get things moving quickly and efficiently.  Also assisting will be OES Director Jimmy Gianato, who also has extensive experience in emergency response management.

I never understood why the Governor initially determined that the Department of Commerce was a better fit than to rely on experience of the Guard or Office of Emergency Services.

Also mentioned last week: Like nearly all West Virginians, I’ve been disappointed with some of the acts of fiscal irresponsibly demonstrated over the past couple years by the Supreme Court of West Virginia.  Like the previous Senate President, the former Chief Justice and several of the justices spent lavishly on office remodeling well beyond the normal expenditures that can expect periodically.  The $37,000 couch will be well remembered by taxpayers that had their hard earned tax dollars used in such a frivolous manner.  The removal of items from the Capitol for personal use and use of state employees to move items (another couch and historic Cass Gilbert desk) to his home; then, move them to a warehouse when questions were raised; possible misuse of rental cars; and other alleged transgressions are both disturbing and disappointing.

Now, the former chief justice has been suspended without pay by a newly-seated temporary Supreme Court.  After reading the report, the charges are lengthy and serious.  As is normally the case, trying to cover up something usually leads to worse trouble than the actual event(s) you’re trying to keep secret.

As a result, the prospects of the Legislature moving forward to impeach him are very real.  The House minority began efforts to investigate during the 2018 legislative session.  Unfortunately, the efforts, led by Delegate Mike Pushkin, were never acted upon by leadership in the House.  Worse yet, many leaders, including the Senate President, were not only unwilling to proceed but criticized and ridiculed Delegate Pushkin for his efforts.  Now, he and other leaders are singing a different tune, including the Governor.

Everyone deserves a fair hearing and the opportunity to present their side.  However, if the JIC report is accurate, I truly hope Justice Loughry determines that resignation from the court is the best option verses the lengthy spectacle of impeachment.  However, time is running short, as interim legislative meetings are coming up quickly.  Now that all sides seem convinced that he should leave the court, the likelihood of expensive and embarrassing impeachment proceedings are growing each day.  Add to the mix that he apparently was not accurate while under oath in the House budget hearings and also attempted to shift the blame onto others during interviews with multiple press outlets and journalists.

Regardless of the final outcome, this is a blemish on the State’s highest court that will not soon be forgotten.  Meanwhile, the ballot amendment in November to place the state judicial budget under the control of the legislature seems to be picking up steam for passage as these latest examples of abusing taxpayer funds for extravagant spending and other more serious offenses come to light.

Please send your inquiries to my home office:  151 Park Street, Gassaway, WV 26624.  My home number is 304.364.8411; the Capitol office number is 304.340.3142.  If you have an interest in any particular bill or issue, please let me know.  For those with Internet access, my legislative e-mail address is:

You may also obtain additional legislative information, including the copies of bills, conference reports, daily summaries, interim highlights, and leave me a message on the Legislature’s web site at www.legis.state.wv.us/.  When leaving a message, please remember to include your phone number with your inquiry and any details you can provide. Additional information, including agency links and the state government phone directory, may be found at www.wv.gov. Also, you may follow me on Facebook at “Brent Boggs”, Twitter at “@DelBrentBoggs” , as well as the WV Legislature’s Facebook page at “West Virginia Legislature” or on Twitter at twitter.com/wvlegislature.

Continue to remember our troops - at home and abroad - and keep them and their families in your thoughts and prayers.  Until next week – take care.

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