House Democrats elected Del. Doug Skaff (D – Kanawha, 35) to become their new leader. Skaff will replace the current House Minority Leader Del. Tim Miley (D – Harrison, 48) who decided not to run for reelection.
In early November, Skaff was named president of HD Media, the company that owns The Charleston Gazette-Mail, Huntington’s Herald-Dispatch and more newspapers in southern West Virginia. Skaff says he thinks he can work with Speaker Hanshaw, and notes that he partnered with Hanshaw last year on several bills. Skaff will lead a Democratic caucus that lost seats in the most recent election and now has just 24 members compared to the Republicans’ 76-member supermajority.
Sen. Tom Takubo (R – Kanawha, 17) will continue as the majority leader, while Sen. Eric Tarr (R – Putnam, 4) will take over as Finance Committee chairman. Sen. Charles Trump (R – Morgan, 15) will remain Judiciary chairman and Sen. Patricia Rucker (R – Jefferson, 16) will continue to lead the Education Committee.
In the House, Del. Amy Summers (R – Taylor, 49) will retain her role as Majority Leader and Del. Paul Espinosa (R – Jefferson, 66) will maintain his role as Majority Whip.
In addition to the Speaker nomination, House Republicans also nominated Steve Harrison to continue in his role as House Clerk.
Article 6, Section 18 of the West Virginia Constitution requires the Legislature to convene the second Wednesday of January each year. Every four years, when a governor is set to take office following an election, the state Constitution requires the legislature to adjourn after their January meeting and reconvene on the second Wednesday in February, which this session will be February 10, 2021.