West Virginia Senate Finance Committee Meeting Canceled

With questions swirling about a pay raise for school employees and possibly more funding for the Public Employees Insurance Agency, the Senate Finance Committee canceled a scheduled meeting Friday.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Craig Blair, R-Berkeley, announced that the Finance Committee meeting scheduled for 3:30 p.m. will not be held.

On Thursday, the Senate decided not to immediately consider the pay raise bill that would give teachers and school service personnel a 5 percent raise. The Senate instead referred the pay raise bill to the Senate Finance Committee.

The agenda for the meeting posted on the Legislature’s website, however, does not specifically list the pay raise bill, but does have the budget as an agenda item.

Senate President Mitch Carmichael said previously he favors putting $58 million in new revenue – money that Gov. Jim Justice said would be available for pay raises – in the budget to help stabilize PEIA. Carmichael said teachers have told him that health insurance is the No. 1 concern of PEIA.

Justice said last week the pay raises were part of a deal he reached with unions that represent school employees to try to halt the education walkout in West Virginia, now in its seventh day.

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