CHARLESTON — Gov. Jim Justice plans to call a special session of the Legislature next week, but a controversial policy involving fees to pro sports leagues from betting in West Virginia isn’t on the list.
The agenda hasn’t been released officially, but lawmakers are being told in advance what will be considered. The special session would coincide with regularly scheduled legislative interim meetings.
The Justice administration has favored state action on an “integrity fee” for pro sports leagues as part of West Virginia’s new sports betting law. Earlier this month, the governor said he would like a special session to consider the fees, which would be a slice of overall wagers.
Lawmakers of both parties have said they don’t believe the state should have a role in enforcing such fees.
When the U.S. Supreme Court this week struck down a ban on sports betting in states, Justice seemed less certain that West Virginia’s law would be reopened in special session.
“I don’t know. I think there needs to be some additional discussion and everything. I don’t know that there’s a way to do it without legislation,” Justice told reporters at the Capitol earlier this week.
Right now, that matter is not among the eight items that appear on a draft special session agenda.
The agenda does appear to include consideration of a state arts department that Justice advocated for earlier this year as he approved a bill doing away with the Department of Education and the Arts.
It also includes a measure to make increased death benefits for families of firefighters be retroactively effective to Jan. 1. The move is an attempt to help families of volunteer firefighters from Pratt who were killed in a crash while they were on their way to a fatal accident.
And the agenda appears to include cleanup on a couple of bills passed during the most recent legislative session — one dealing with the state fleet and another dealing with language affecting the budget for the Department of Health and Human Resources.