Government, Healthcare, Latest News, State Government, West Virginia Legislature

Justice says possible special session on abortion law will take some time — in talks with attorney general and legislative leaders

MORGANTOWN — Gov. Jim Justice fielded a couple questions on state abortion law Tuesday in light of the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, returning authority to the states.

On the day of the ruling he said he wouldn’t hesitate to call a special session to make any clarifications in state law.

He said Tuesday that he’s in contact with the attorney general’s office and legislative leaders.

“This has to take some time,” he said. “There’s a lot a lot of moving parts here. … Before we just jump, let’s be prudent and let’s be smart.”

Asked about his own preferences, he said, “I don’t want to impose my feelings on anyone but I stand strongly for life.” But he also stands for logic and reason and those have to be used in dealing with the issue. The state doesn’t need people on soapboxes seeking political notice.

On the COVID front, there was only one death to report since his last briefing last week; the state total stands at 7,057.

There were 564 new cases reported since Monday, with total active cases standing at 1,993. The most-recent peak was 2,690 cases on June 4, falling to 1,854 on June 13. It’s been down and up and down and up since.

Hospitalizations saw their most-recent peak on Feb. 2, at 1,097. They dipped to 77 on April 20 and stood at 217 on Tuesday. But ICU and ventilator cases haven’t bounced up in the same way. ICU omicron cases reached 239 on Feb. 1 and fell to 19 on May 14; Tuesday’s number was 28.

The number of people on ventilators reached 121 on Feb. 15. That’s been on a steady decline and stood at five on Tuesday.

In economic development news, Justice said the German packaging company Papier Mettler has chosen a Moorefield site for its first U.S. manufacturing plant. The $48 million investment will bring 100 jobs to the area.

“We absolutely are on a campaign of changing the image and letting the world know just how great West Virginia is,” he said. “It can only just get better and better unless we get in our own way.”

Department of Health and Human Resources Secretary Bill Crouch said DHHR will accept applications for school clothing vouchers from July 1-31. The vouchers provide a $200 benefit to buy school clothing or for piece goods for families that sew their own clothes.

Some groups will automatically receive benefits for each school-age child in the home by the end of June: families with school-age children who receive WV WORKS cash assistance; parents or guardians of children in foster care; children ages 4-18 who receive SNAP benefits, are enrolled in school and whose household income is under 130% of the Federal Poverty Level.

Also, he said, families that received the school clothing allowance in 2021 and have Medicaid coverage should receive a school clothing allowance application by mail in late June. Others may be eligible for School Clothing Allowance benefits based on income limits.

To apply, he said, go to or call 877-716-1212.

TWEET David Beard @dbeardtdp