West Virginia Legislature



The West Virginia Legislature is the state legislature of the
U.S. state In the United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, ...
West Virginia West Virginia is a U.S. state, state in the Appalachian Mountains, Appalachian, Mid-Atlantic (United States), Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern United States, Southeastern regions of the United States.The United States Census Bureau, Census Burea ...
. A
bicameral Bicameralism is a type of legislature, one divided into two separate Deliberative assembly, assemblies, chambers, or houses, known as a bicameral legislature. Bicameralism is distinguished from unicameralism, in which all members deliberate and ...
legislative body, the legislature is split between the upper
Senate A senate is a deliberative assembly, often the upper house An upper house is one of two Debate chamber, chambers of a bicameralism, bicameral legislature, the other chamber being the lower house.''Bicameralism'' (1997) by George Tseb ...
and the lower House of Delegates. It was established under Article VI of the West Virginia Constitution following the state's split from
Virginia Virginia, officially the Commonwealth of Virginia, is a U.S. state, state in the Mid-Atlantic (United States), Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern United States, Southeastern regions of the United States, between the East Coast of the United Stat ...

during the
American Civil War The American Civil War (April 12, 1861 – May 26, 1865; also known by Names of the American Civil War, other names) was a civil war in the United States. It was fought between the Union (American Civil War), Union ("the North") and t ...
in 1863. As with its neighbor and former constituent
Virginia General Assembly The Virginia General Assembly is the legislative body of the Commonwealth of Virginia, the oldest continuous law-making body in the Western Hemisphere, the first elected legislative assembly in the New World, and was established on July 30, ...
, the legislature's lower house is also referred to as a "House of Delegates." The legislature convenes in the State Capitol building in Charleston.


Senators are elected for terms of four years and delegates for terms of two years. These terms are staggered, meaning that not all 34 State Senate seats are up every election: some are elected in presidential election years and some are up during midterm elections.West Virginia ConstitutionWest Virginia Legislature
(accessed May 29, 2013)


Regular sessions of the legislature commence on the second Wednesday of January of each year. However, following the election of a new governor, the session starts in January with the governor's address but then adjourns until February. On the first day of the session, members of both the House and the Senate sit in joint session in the House chamber where the governor presents his or her legislative program. The length of the general session may not go beyond 60 calendar days unless extended by a concurrent resolution adopted by a two-thirds vote of each house. The governor may convene the Legislature for extraordinary sessions. Given the part-time nature of the legislature of West Virginia, multiple extraordinary sessions are not uncommon.

Legislative process

Bills, even revenue bills, and resolutions may originate in either house. Bills must undergo three readings in each house before being sent to the governor. Bills cannot contain multiple subjects and do not take effect until 90 days following adjournment, unless specifically approved to take effect immediately by two-thirds of the membership of each house. Bills are drafted by the Office of Legislative Services or legislative staff counsel, reviewed by the sponsor of the bill and submitted for introduction to the clerk of the chamber of which the sponsor is a member.How a Bill Becomes LawWest Virginia State Legislature
/ref> Bills are assigned to committees that make recommendations about a bill in the form of a committee report. The governor has the power to veto bills. For budget bills or supplementary appropriations bills, two-thirds of the members elected to each house are required to override the governor's veto of a bill or line-item veto. For all other bills, a simple majority of each house is required.

See also

West Virginia House of Delegates The West Virginia House of Delegates is the lower house of the West Virginia Legislature. Only three states—Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia—refer to their lower house as the House of Delegates. Organization Regular sessions begin with ...
West Virginia Senate The West Virginia Senate is the upper house of the West Virginia Legislature. There are seventeen senatorial districts. Each district has two senators who serve staggered four-year terms. Although the West Virginia Democratic Party, Democratic P ...
* * List of members of the 80th West Virginia House of Delegates * List of members of the 80th West Virginia Senate


External links

West Virginia Legislature Homepage
{{Authority control Government of West Virginia Bicameral legislatures