West Virginia Week in Review - March 23, 2024


West Virginia Week in Review
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Gov. Justice declares State of Emergency in Grant, Hampshire, Hardy, and Pendleton counties
Gov. Justice declared an ongoing State of Emergency for Grant, Hampshire, Hardy, and Pendleton counties on March 21st due to extensive forest fires in those counties. The declaration is a proactive measure to ensure the allocation of necessary resources and expedite emergency response efforts.

Following the State of Emergency announcement, on March 22nd, UH60M and HH60M Blackhawk helicopters and personnel were deployed by the West Virginia National Guard to assist the West Virginia Division of Forestry, local government, and emergency management officials in Hardy County.
The State of Emergency allows State and Local agencies to take swift and decisive actions to mitigate the impact of the fires and protect the lives and property of West Virginians in those areas. 

Residents are encouraged to remain vigilant and have various ways to receive emergency alerts. Monitor official emergency management and local media accounts for updates. Follow all instructions received from emergency officials. If you are told to evacuate, do so immediately.
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Gov. Justice signs four bills into law
Gov. Justice signed four bills into law:
  • SB 730 — The purpose of this bill is to clarify the sheriff's commission compensation for the job duty of tax collector for the county and fix the amount at $15,000.
  • HB 5617 — The purpose of this bill is to adopt standards and authorize the Public Service Commission to promulgate rules on the testing, flushing, flow testing, and marking of fire hydrants owned by water utilities.
  • SB 354 — The purpose of this bill is to create the West Virginia Advanced Energy and Economic Corridor Authority Commission comprised of the economic development agencies of McDowell, Mercer, Mingo, and Wayne counties.
  • SB 466 — The purpose of this bill is to require the State Board of Education to develop a Safety While Accessing Technology education program to be taught to students from the 3rd to 12th grades.
Click here to view bill signing photos
View all bills that have been acted upon by Gov. Justice here.
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Gov. Justice announces arrival of 23 more elk to West Virginia
State’s elk population has increased by 118 during Justice Administration
Gov. Justice announced that the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (WVDNR) has welcomed an additional 23 elk to the Tomblin Wildlife Management Area in Logan County, where the elk will be evaluated and held for a short period of time before being released into the wild.

“As a lifelong outdoorsman, witnessing the resurgence of West Virginia's elk herd brings me immense joy and pride,” said Gov. Justice. “This achievement underscores our unwavering commitment to preserving our state’s outdoor heritage and ensuring our abundant wildlife and natural resources are protected for generations to come.”

This elk transport, which brings West Virginia’s elk population to 140–150, is the final of two transports the WVDNR has planned this year. The first was announced by Gov. Justice in January. All elk released this year have been transported from the Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area in Kentucky. Partner agencies involved in the capture and release include the West Virginia Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Forest Service and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

Gov. Justice also announced that the WVDNR has recorded 60 native elk calf births since launching its Elk Restoration Project in 2016.

“Our progress in cultivating a robust and sustainable elk herd under the leadership of Gov. Justice is a success story that every West Virginian can be proud of,” said WVDNR Director Brett McMillion. “Each elk release and native birth represents a triumph in our game management strategies, reaffirming our dedication to preserving West Virginia's natural treasures for all to enjoy.”
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First Lady Cathy, Gov. Jim Justice welcome newest Friends With Paws therapy dog, Pixie, to Lewisburg Elementary School
First Lady Cathy and Gov. Jim Justice visited Lewisburg Elementary School for an assembly to celebrate the arrival of the state’s next therapy dog through the Friends With Paws program.
The dog introduced at today’s event is named Pixie, and she is an Apricot-colored Labradoodle.
“I am so excited to see Pixie put her excellent skills to work here at Lewisburg Elementary," First Lady Justice said. "The Friends With Paws therapy dogs don’t fall short when it comes to benefiting our children’s social and emotional well-being. Pixie will fit in just fine here at her new home.”
The Friends With Paws program places certified therapy dogs in schools across the state, providing companionship and comfort for students in need of a boost. Since February 2024, a total of 22 Friends With Paws therapy dogs, including Pixie, have been placed throughout the state.

Therapy dogs are specially trained to comfort and support people in various tense environments. They can help people feel at ease, improve their mood, relieve anxiety, and remove social barriers.

These dogs are highly trained and certified to show their ability to work in stressful environments, ignore distractions, and provide therapy to people with diverse backgrounds and circumstances.
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Gov. Justice shares 2024 March Madness bracket 
Gov. Justice visits Wood County to support GameChanger initiative
Parkersburg first West Virginia city to allocate opioid settlement money for prevention education
Gov. Justice visited Parkersburg High School to speak with students about the GameChanger Prevention Education Program currently being implemented in Wood County.

Gov. Justice, who serves as the GameChanger Head Coach, addressed approximately 2,000 students from PHS and Van Devender Middle School. Students also viewed the award-winning GameChanger-produced film One Pill Can Kill.

Additionally, Parkersburg Mayor Tom Joyce presented the Governor with a check for $90,000 to assist in funding GameChanger programs in Parkersburg City Schools, making Parkersburg the first West Virginia city to allocate opioid settlement money for prevention education.
"I want to thank Mayor Joyce and the Parkersburg City Council for such a generous outpouring of support," Gov. Justice said. "This is just fantastic and the kind of support GameChanger needs to provide an excellent prevention education program to students throughout West Virginia. We have come a long way, and still have a long way to go, but with people like Mayor Joyce, Parkersburg officials and most importantly the wonderful educators here today and throughout the state, we will certainly get there."

Along with Parkersburg High School and Van Devender Middle School, Jefferson Elementary rounds out the trio of Wood County Schools who joined the GameChanger program in 2023.
Photo Album Photo Album
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Gov. Justice announces $1.09 million in matching funds for infrastructure advancements in West Virginia
Gov. Justice announced $1,093,000.00 million in non-federal match funds to Congressionally Directed Spending, enhancing the state’s critical infrastructure and addressing community needs.
Click here to view awarded funds
"These investments demonstrate our dedication to crucial improvements in the state's infrastructure, and I am proud that we are able to provide this support," said Gov. Justice. "These matches are not only a boost to the state's economic growth but also enhance the quality of life for our citizens. It's a clear signal of our unwavering commitment to the well-being and prosperity of our residents."
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Also this week:
Operation R.I.P. Potholes update: Early patching blitz nearing end as asphalt plants prepare to open for spring

West Virginia Angler Catches Record Bowfin

WVDNR Releases Schedule for Annual Archery in the Schools State Tournament

Last chance to register now for HHOMA 2024 Minority Business Expo in Ranson

Contact Information

Jordan Damron, jordan.l.damron@wv.gov; CJ Harvey, cj.harvey@wv.gov


Office of the Governor
State Capitol, 1900 Kanawha Blvd. E
Charleston, WV 25305

Office Phone:
304.558.2000 or 1.888.438.2731

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