West Virginia Week in Review - May 18, 2024


West Virginia Week in Review
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Gov. Justice issues proclamation calling for Special Session of the West Virginia Legislature starting Sunday
Gov. Justice issued a proclamation calling for the West Virginia Legislature to convene in Special Session at 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, May 19, 2024. 
Click to view the Special Session Call
“The special session I’m calling today isn’t just really important; it’s critical to the health and well-being of some of our state’s most vulnerable people. In my book, restoring budgets for our Departments of Health and Human Services is the most pressing item on the call. We have hundreds of thousands of people in West Virginia who are relying on us right now, including foster kids and those with disabilities. If we don’t restore these funds immediately, it would be a real tragedy with real consequences,” Gov. Justice said.

“While funding for those departments is most necessary, we need several others to get across the finish line. We’ve seen unbelievable surpluses in West Virginia over the last few years and need to use them to take care of our roads while improving access to education. When people and businesses are looking to move to West Virginia, they first ask about the roads and schools. We must continue providing additional funds for highway maintenance and school choice through the successful Hope Scholarship. We have been on a rocketship ride of growth, and this will only help bring more people to our state. Finally, we need to secure funding for a new state-of-the-art agricultural laboratory, which should be located on the campus of West Virginia State University, as I recommended during my last State of the State Address.

“I’ve said time and time again that I would call a special session as soon as I heard that lawmakers were ready. I know additional matters need to be taken up, but for now, these are the issues they are ready to address, so I’m calling them in for a special session.”
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Gov. Justice visits Pipestem Resort State Park to see progress on new aerial tram project
Celebrates more than $200 million in state park improvement projects
Gov. Justice visited Pipestem Resort State Park to see the progress on the new aerial tram project. The aerial tram has been a fixture in southern West Virginia since 1970, and more than a hundred people joined Gov. Justice in touring the project site this afternoon.

The tram replacement project is part of $200+ million in state park improvements made under Gov. Justice's leadership.

“When I heard the old tram was in disrepair, I didn’t think twice about replacing it. This tramway has been an iconic spot in West Virginia for many, many years. It’s a place where hundreds of thousands of folks have created memories over the last 50 years, and I’m just thrilled that we’ve found a way to bring it back better than ever before,” said Gov. Justice. “I’ve ridden it down into the gorge to fish more times than I can remember, and I plan to be among the first to ride it down again this fall.”

Opening this fall, the new tram will transport guests down the same iconic path into the Bluestone Gorge. It descends 3,410 feet, an elevation difference of 1,200 feet. The new pulse gondola system allows for more efficiency and greater capacity within each cabin, as well as a freight car to transport bicycles, kayaks and other sporting equipment down to the Bluestone River and Mountain Creek Lodge. The system is also fully accessible. 
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Gov. Justice celebrates NBC's TODAY segment about West Virginia
Gov. Justice shared NBC’s premier morning television program, TODAY, aired a segment about West Virginia. 

“I was thrilled to welcome Morgan and the entire TODAY Show team to West Virginia,” Gov. Justice said. “Nothing makes me happier than West Virginia being given the opportunity to shine on a national stage and to be able to share our success story with the world. I hope all West Virginians will tune in and celebrate this amazing state we are blessed to call home.”
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Gov. Justice releases statement on passing of former lawmaker, legislative director Bob Ashley
Gov. Justice released a statement regarding the passing of Bob Ashely, who served in his administration as a regional representative and legislative director. Ashley was also a previous member of the West Virginia House of Delegates and West Virginia Senate.

"Cathy and I are truly heartbroken about Bob's passing, and we'll continue praying for his entire family.

Bob never met a stranger and was an amazing person. He served this State for decades as a delegate, a senator, and as my legislative director and a regional representative. I know that our friends in the House and Senate would agree he had a unique ability to connect with everyone. I never saw Bob without a smile, as he had an unmatched love for life and his work. He was someone you could always rely on, and we will remember Bob with nothing but fond memories.

We ask all West Virginians to keep his family in your prayers."
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Governor and First Lady Justice issue statement on death of coal miner in Wyoming County
Gov. Justice and First Lady Cathy Justice issued a statement after learning of the death of a coal miner in Wyoming County. 

Virgil Paynter, of Lynco, was fatally injured Thursday morning at the CM Energy Operations LP Surface Mine in Wyoming County while operating an excavator. This marks the first coal mine fatality in West Virginia in 2024.

“This is truly a heartbreaking tragedy because we lost another incredible West Virginia hero,” Gov. Justice said. “We should all be grateful for Mr. Paynter’s service, just as we should be thankful for all the miners across our state and country. We really can’t appreciate our miners enough for their work, which powers and creates steel for our homes, state, and nation. This is a tragedy beyond belief, and Cathy and I will keep this man and his loved ones in our prayers. We ask you to join us.”

The West Virginia Office of Miners’ Health, Safety, and Training and the Mine Safety and Health Administration are at the mine site and will be conducting an investigation.
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Also this week:
WVDNR opens new public stream access site in Pineville

WV Department of Education Event Encourages Healthy and Active Lifestyles

West Virginia Department of Human Services Recognizes National Prevention Week

Office of Energy warns about new phone scam targeting homeowners

Contact Information

CJ Harvey, cj.harvey@wv.gov; Rachael Harper, rachael.a.harper@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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