CHARLESTON, WV – Gov. Jim Justice hosted a ceremonial event today inside the Governor’s Reception Room in Charleston, signing into law a pair of bills designed to remove barriers and to improve the lives of many West Virginians.
Senate Bill 94
The first bill signed by the Governor – SB 94 – will allow people with physical disabilities to vote in elections electronically.
“We have a lot of people that have disabilities that can’t necessarily get out and go to the voting booths,” Gov. Justice said. “But they surely deserve to have their voices heard.”
The bill, which received sweeping bipartisan support and passed unanimously in both the West Virginia Senate and the House of Delegates, will give the Secretary of State’s Office the latitude to create a system that will allow people who are physically unable to vote in-person to cast an electronic absentee ballot instead.
“We worked alongside the leadership teams with the House and the Senate to make sure it was something that they were happy with and would be able to push through quickly and that’s exactly what they did,” Gov. Justice said. “This is good legislation and really good work by a lot of people.”
The bill also includes language clarifying whether a voter with a physical disability can receive assistance to vote in certain circumstances. It also establishes requirements and deadlines for the transmission, submission, and acceptance of electronic absentee ballots.
House Bill 4130
Also today, Gov. Justice signed HB 4130, which will speed up government construction projects needed in the wake of major disaster events.
Inspired by bureaucratic delays to the construction process for 2016 flood victims in the RISE West Virginia program, this bill clears red tape for post-disaster construction if an official State of Emergency declaration is made.
“I’ve been pushing for this well in excess of a year and a half,” Gov. Justice said. “A lot of people have been pushing for it to give us the simplicity we need to put people on the ground with hammers and saws and really go to work faster.
"This bill will help the people that are still suffering that need to be in homes right now to some degree, but when – God forbid – the next catastrophe comes…we’ll be better-prepared and we’ll be able to do more.”