West Virginia legislature approves $250 million in spending in special session

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The West Virginia Legislature passed 21 bills, which would provide about $250 million of funding for various projects throughout the state.

Gov. Jim Justice called the lawmakers into session to allocate money that was made available thanks to a budget surplus. The Senate passed all 24 of the governor’s proposals, but the House only passed 21 of the bills and did not hold a vote on the other three.

Allocations include an additional $24 million to the Department of Education for increasing the school construction fund for fiscal year 2022, $42 million for parks to expand access for guests, and $30 million for the West Virginia Development Office, which is designed to attract more businesses to the state.

Lawmakers also approved $24.4 million for the Civil Contingent Fund and $5 million for the West Virginia Tourism Office. They approved $50 million of unappropriated money to the state’s rainy day fund.

Counties will also get a break after the legislature extended a freeze on the amount the county governments are required to contribute for housing inmates. The state requires the county pay $48.25 per day for each inmate. The extension allows counties to continue at this rate, rather than pay $54, which was a 14% increase that had been set to go into effect.

A bill that liberalizes the state’s liquor laws also passed. This bill allows beer and wine to be sold as early as 6 a.m. Liquor could be sold starting at 8 a.m., except on Sundays, which begins at 1 p.m.

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