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Introduced Version Senate Joint Resolution 8 History

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SENATE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 8

(By Senators Kessler (Mr. President) and Hall,

By Request of the Executive)

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[Introduced January 25, 2012; referred to the Committee on the Judiciary; and then to the Committee on Finance.]

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Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the State of West Virginia, amending section 4, article IV; section 1, article VII; section 2, article VII; section 3, article VII; section 4, article VII; and section 16, article VII thereof, all relating to the creation of the Office of Lieutenant Governor in the executive department; joint election of Governor and Lieutenant Governor; succession of the Governor by the Lieutenant Governor and the filling of a vacancy in the Office of Lieutenant Governor; numbering and designating such proposed amendment; and providing a summarized statement of the purpose of such proposed amendment.

    Resolved by the Legislature of West Virginia, two thirds of the members elected to each house agreeing thereto:

    That the question of ratification or rejection of an amendment to the Constitution of the State of West Virginia be submitted to the voters of the state at the next general election to be held in the year 2012, which proposed amendment is that section 4, article IV; section 1, article VII; section 2, article VII; section 3, article VII; section 4, article VII; and section 16, article VII thereof be amended, all to read as follows:

ARTICLE IV. ELECTIONS AND OFFICERS.

§4. Persons Entitled to Hold Office - Age Requirements.

    No person, except citizens entitled to vote, shall be elected or appointed to any state, county or municipal office; but the governor, lieutenant governor and judges must have attained the age of thirty years, and the attorney general and senators the age of twenty-five years, at the beginning of their respective terms of service; and must have been citizens of the state for five years next preceding their election or appointment. or be citizens at the time this constitution goes into operation

ARTICLE VII. EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT

§1. Executive Department.

    The executive department shall consist of a governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, auditor, treasurer, commissioner of agriculture and attorney general, who shall be ex officio reporter of the supreme court of appeals. Their terms of office shall be four years and shall commence on the first Monday after the second Wednesday of January next after their election. They shall reside at the seat of government during their terms of office, keep there the public records, books and papers pertaining to their respective offices and shall perform such duties as may be prescribed by law: Provided, That the lieutenant governor, when not exercising the powers and performing the duties of the office of governor as provided in section sixteen, article seven hereof, shall serve as head of an executive department or division as designated by the governor, and shall have such other duties as may be prescribed by the governor.

§2. Election.

    An election for governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, auditor, treasurer, commissioner of agriculture and attorney general shall be held at such times and places as may be prescribed by law. The governor and lieutenant governor shall be nominated and elected jointly and for concurrent terms with voters casting a single vote for both offices. As used in this section, “nominated” shall mean by primary, convention, petition, or any other nominating procedure provided by law applicable to the various political parties and citizens having no party organization.

§3. Certification of Election Returns - Contests.

    The returns of every election for the above named officers shall be sealed up and transmitted by the returning officers to the secretary of state, directed “to the speaker of the House of Delegates,” who shall, immediately after the organization of the House, and before proceeding to business, open and publish the same, in the presence of a majority of the members elected to each house of the Legislature, who shall for that purpose assemble in the hall of the House of Delegates. The person persons having the highest number of votes for either of said offices, shall be declared duly elected thereto; but if two or more joint candidates for governor and lieutenant governor or if two or more candidates for secretary of state, auditor, treasurer, commissioner of agriculture or attorney general have an equal and the highest number of votes for the same office, the Legislature shall, by joint vote, choose one of such persons for said office one of the sets of joint candidates for the offices of governor and lieutenant governor and one of the candidates for each of the other said offices, as applicable, in the manner in which they ran for election. Contested combined elections for the office offices of governor and lieutenant governor shall be determined by both houses of the Legislature by joint vote of the Legislature, in such manner as may be prescribed by law, and the joint vote shall be cast for sets of candidates in the manner in which they ran for election. The term “joint vote” as used in this section shall mean a vote of a majority of the members elected to both houses of the Legislature assembled in the hall of the House of Delegates.

§4. Eligibility.

    None of the executive officers mentioned in this article, except the lieutenant governor as provided in section sixteen, article seven hereof, shall hold any other office during the term of his service. A person who has been elected to or who has served as governor, as opposed to only exercising the powers and performing the duties of that office, during all or any part of two consecutive four-year terms shall be ineligible for the office of governor during any part of the term immediately following the second of the two consecutive terms. The person holding the office of governor when the amendments to this section is are ratified shall not be prevented from holding the office of governor during the term immediately following the term he or she is then serving.

§16. Vacancy of Governorship, How Filled Vacancies in Office of Governor and Lieutenant Governor.

    In case of the death, conviction on impeachment, failure to qualify, removal from office, or resignation or other disability of the governor, the lieutenant governor shall take the oath of office of governor, shall resign the office of lieutenant governor, and shall become governor for the remainder of the unexpired term. Whenever the governor transmits to the presiding officers in both houses his or her written declaration that he or she is unable to exercise the powers and perform the duties of his or her office, and until he or she transmits to them a written declaration to the contrary, the lieutenant governor shall exercise the powers and perform the duties of the office of governor. In all other cases when the governor becomes unable to exercise the powers and perform the duties of the office of governor, the lieutenant governor president of the Senate shall act as exercise the powers and perform the duties of the office of governor until the vacancy is filled, or the disability inability is removed or the term expires, whichever first occurs. and if the president of the Senate, for any of the above named causes, shall become incapable of performing the duties of governor, the same shall devolve upon the speaker of the House of Delegates; and in all other cases where there is no one to act as governor, one shall be chosen by joint vote of the Legislature. Whenever a vacancy shall occur in the office of governor before the first three years of the term shall have expired, a new election for governor shall take place to fill the vacancy The Legislature shall establish procedures for determining whether the governor is unable to exercise the powers and perform the duties of the office of governor and when or if he or she is able to resume those powers and duties.

    If the governor becomes unable to exercise the powers and perform the duties of the office of governor and does not transmit his or her written declaration of inability as provided herein, a majority of the lieutenant governor, secretary of state, auditor, treasurer, commissioner of agriculture, attorney general, and superintendent of free schools shall transmit to the presiding officers in both houses their written declaration that the governor is unable to exercise the powers and perform the duties of his or her office. Upon receipt of the written declaration by the presiding officers in both houses, the lieutenant governor shall immediately begin exercising the powers and performing the duties of the office of governor. Thereafter, when the governor transmits to the presiding officers in both houses his or her written declaration that no inability exists, he or she shall resume exercising the powers and performing duties of the office of governor unless a majority of the lieutenant governor, secretary of state, auditor, treasurer, commissioner of agriculture, attorney general, and superintendent of free schools transmits within four days to the presiding officers in both houses their written declaration that the governor is unable to exercise the powers and perform the duties of his or her office. Thereupon, the Legislature shall decide the governor’s ability to exercise the powers and perform the duties of his or her office.

    If the Legislature is not in session, the lieutenant governor, in exercising the powers and performing the duties of the office of governor, shall by proclamation, in accordance with section nineteen, article six hereof, convene the Legislature, within five days after transmittal of the latter written declaration of inability to the presiding officers in both houses, for the sole purpose of deciding the governor’s ability to exercise the powers and perform the duties of his or her office. If the Legislature, within thirty days after receipt of the latter written declaration of inability, or, if the Legislature is not in session, within thirty days after the Legislature is required to assemble, determines by at least two-thirds vote of the members elected to both houses that the governor is unable to exercise the powers and perform the duties of his or her office, the lieutenant governor shall continue to exercise and perform the same until the inability is removed or the term expires, whichever first occurs; otherwise, the governor shall immediately resume the powers and duties of the office of governor.

    The Legislature shall further provide by law for cases when the lieutenant governor is unable to exercise the powers and perform the duties of his or her office.

    In case of the death of the governor-elect, the lieutenant governor-elect, at the commencement of the term of the office of governor, shall take the oath of office and shall become governor for the remainder of the unexpired term.

    In case of the death of the lieutenant governor-elect, it shall be the duty of the governor-elect, at the commencement of the term of the office of governor, to fill the office of lieutenant governor by appointment for the remainder of the unexpired term.

    If the office of lieutenant governor shall become vacant because the lieutenant governor has assumed the office of governor following the death, conviction on impeachment, failure to qualify, removal from office, resignation of the governor, or the death of the governor-elect, or because of the lieutenant governor’s death, conviction on impeachment, failure to qualify, removal from office, or resignation, it shall be the duty of the governor to fill the office of lieutenant governor by appointment for the remainder of the unexpired term: Provided, That the office of lieutenant governor shall not be deemed to be vacant as a result of the lieutenant governor exercising the powers and performing the duties of the office of governor.

    The lieutenant governor, while exercising the powers and performing the duties of the office of governor, shall be paid the salary of the governor and shall have the authority of the governor, but shall nevertheless retain the office and title of lieutenant governor. The Legislature shall establish a line of succession among executive officers in the event of contemporaneous vacancies in the offices of governor and lieutenant governor and in the event that the governor and the lieutenant governor are contemporaneously unable to exercise the powers and perform the duties of their respective offices.

    Resolved further, That in accordance with the provisions of article eleven, chapter three of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, the proposed amendment is hereby numbered “Amendment No. 1” and designated as the “Office of Lieutenant Governor Amendment” and the purpose of the proposed amendment is summarized as follows: “To amend the State Constitution to create the Office of Lieutenant Governor in the executive department, the joint election of Governor and Lieutenant Governor, the succession of the Governor by the Lieutenant Governor and the filling of a vacancy in the Office of Lieutenant Governor.”




    NOTE: The purpose of this resolution is to provide for various amendments to the Constitution of the State of West Virginia creating the office of lieutenant governor in the Executive Department; providing that the lieutenant governor serve as head of an executive department or division as designated by the governor; providing for the joint election of governor and lieutenant governor; providing for a method of resolving contested joint elections for the offices of governor and lieutenant governor; providing for the lieutenant governor to become governor in case of a vacancy in the office of governor; providing for the lieutenant governor to exercise the powers and perform the duties of the office of governor whenever the governor becomes unable to exercise the powers and perform the duties of the office of governor; and providing for the filling of a vacancy in the office of lieutenant governor.


    Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from the present law, and underscoring indicates new language that would be added.

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