At the center of the West Virginia state Capitol is an area known as The Well.

It is the informal gathering place for lobbyists, reporters, constituents and lawmakers.

Centrally situated between the chambers of the House of Delegates and Senate,

The Well is where information is often shared, alliances are formed, and deals are made.


January 2023

Pre-Session Edition

January 3, 2023


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86th West Virginia Legislature



Session scheduled to open next week


The 86th West Virginia Legislature gets underway next week, and the leadership of the Senate and House of Delegates is in place.


The session opens Wednesday, Jan. 11. Governor Jim Justice is scheduled to give his State-of-the-State Address at 7 p.m. that day in the House of Delegates chambers.


This week’s edition of “From the Well” reviews leadership changes and notes recent news stories that may be of interest to our readers.






Senate President Blair calls for 3 agencies


Gov. Jim Justice rejected the West Virginia Legislature’s plan last year to split the state Department of Health and Human Resources into two agencies. Now the leader of the state Senate said he is ready to support a further split.


Senate President Craig Blair of Berkeley County said last week during an appearance on MetroNews “Talkline” that the Senate is working on a plan to divide DHHR into three separate agencies, each with a cabinet secretary.


Click here and here for coverage from WVMetroNews.



Senate committee assignments announced


The West Virginia Senate, under the leadership of President Craig Blair of Berkeley County, announced committee assignments for the 2023 session of the 86th West Virginia Legislature.


Click here to review the committees and leadership assignments.



House of Delegates



Speaker announces leadership changes


House of Delegates Speaker Roger Hanshaw recently announced his leadership lineup for the 2023 legislative session.


Delegate Eric Householder of Berkeley County will move from the House Finance Committee chairmanship to House Majority Leader.


“The time is right to realign the expertise we have across our leadership team, and Eric has been at the forefront of our efforts throughout the past decade to bring conservative principles to bear through the House,” Speaker Hanshaw said.


Speaker Hanshaw announced that former Majority Leader Amy Summers of Taylor County will chair the House Committee on Health, and Delegate Heather Tully of Nicholas County will be Vice Chair.


Click here for news coverage from WVMetroNews. Click here for a House of Delegates news release. This story from West Virginia Public Broadcasting examines Senate and House changes.



West Virginia Supreme Court



Justice Walker again assumes role as chief


Supreme Court of Appeals Justice Beth Walker will be Chief Justice this year. Elected to a 12-year term in 2016, she served as Chief Justice in 2019.


Justice Walker said the Court has plans for 2023.


“Our commitment to transparency and accountability has not wavered, and next year we will develop a strategic plan to improve the efficiency and responsiveness of our court system.” Justice Walker said in a news release. “We also look forward to the opening of our new judicial learning center in 2023, which will enhance our ongoing work on civics education.”


Walker replaces Justice John Hutchison, who was Chief Justice in 2022.


Click here for coverage from WVMetroNews.



Public Broadcasting



Reporter says coverage of DHHR led to firing


West Virginia Public Broadcasting, partially supported with state taxpayer funds, recently faced claims from a part-time employee that it had retaliated against her because of her reporting about the state Department of Health and Human Resources.


William File of Beckley, chairman of the Educational Broadcasting Authority, issued a statement last week refuting reporter Amelia Knisely’s claims that she lost her job as a part-time public health reporter on December 20 because of her coverage of DHHR. Her stories focused on allegations that DHHR facilities failed to deliver proper care to disabled clients.


“WVPB stands by its reporting on the DHHR and will continue to report on the DHHR in the future,” Chairman File said. “Most importantly, it should be noted that Knisely was never fired, and as of the issuing of this statement she is still on the WVPB payroll.”


File’s statement was news to Ms. Knisely, who said her keycard and e-mail were deactivated.


Click here to read more from the Parkersburg News and Sentinel. This link provides analysis and opinion from Parkersburg News and Sentinel Steven Allen Adams.




Footnote for Readers



Access to some of the stories in From The Well may require a subscription to news outlets. H2C Public Policy Strategists has no control over the terms and conditions news outlets set to access their content.



Legislative Calendar



Interim Meeting

January 8-10


2023 Legislative Session Opening

January 11





WV Legislature


Legislature Live
Meeting Notices


Proposed Rules
Legislature Blog


Glossary of Terms
Some information in this update is collected from the WV Legislature’s Daily/Weekly Blogs.



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