1/9/2013 5:21 PM
by Heidi Moore
A new year in the state legislature is about to kick off and this year things are going to be a little different.
The organizational meetings for the house and senate have come to order. New senate members were sworn in and Senator Jeffery V Kessler was re-elected as president. Rick Thompson was also re-elected as speaker of the house. Representatives are hopeful the new year.
"We have a number of challenges facing us this year. Certainly the expansion of medical benefits and health care arena." Said Democrat Senator Bill Laird of Fayette County.
Now one of the biggest changes of 2013 is that republicans now have a dominant roll in the legislature. So what does that mean for the upcoming year?
"I don't think partisanship is that important. It's gonna be I think very interesting to be here at a time when the membership is fairly well balanced." Said Republican representative John O'Neal.
Some republicans are excited for the change and feel it will allow for different opinions to be heard.
"I think the numbers will make the difference. I think the legitimacy of the debate of the minority is going to be called. You're not going to be able to bring up an issue without having to make answers to those that have an opposite opinion or viewpoint." Said republican representative Marty Gearheart.
Laird is hoping there can be some comradery between the two parties for the sake of the state.
"There is, I think a spirit of bi-partisan-ism. Certainly grid-locked is not going to work, so I just sense that folks are ready to roll up their sleeves, work together, try to build a better and stronger West Virginia." Laird said.
The legislature is adjourned until February 13th and then will kick off its 60 day session.