Bills seek to limit governor’s powers on federal spending and emergency orders

Published: Feb. 19, 2021 at 4:19 PM EST
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WTAP) - The West Virginia House of Delegates has sent on to the state Senate two bills aimed at limiting the governor’s federal spending and emergency declaration powers.

A bill sponsored by Wood County Delegate Shannon Kimes limits the governor’s authority to spend federal money without it being appropriated by the legislature.

Several lawmakers have expressed concern Governor Jim Justice did not seek legislative approval, preferably in a special session, to spend federal money the state got last spring and summer from the federal CARES act.

”It was over a billion dollars that was unanticipated in our state budget, that was received because of the COVID crisis,” Kimes said Friday, “The governor was able to spend it however he wanted because of the way the budget and the law was written. We’re trying to prevent that in the future.”

Another bill passed by the House Friday sets a limit of 60 days on a state of emergency order, and 30 days for a state of preparedness order.

West Virginia remains under a state of emergency declaration from last March, at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.

Kimes said he believes the legislature could override a governor’s veto of the measures if that happens.

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