Tort Reform, Budget Showdown Among Top Issues for W.Va. GOP

Jan 13, 2015

Credit Flickr / davidwilson1949

Republicans will lead the West Virginia Legislature's lawmaking session for the first time since the 1930s.

The 60-day legislative session starts Wednesday.

A national GOP wave this election also ended more than eight decades of Democratic rule in Charleston. Republicans will have a 64-36 edge in the House of Delegates and an 18-16 Senate majority.

Democratic Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin can veto bills, but Republicans only need a simple majority to overturn Tomblin's vetoes. There's a tougher threshold to overturn budget vetoes.

Republicans are looking at tort reform, deleting a business tax, repealing state renewable energy standards and potentially scaling back a law dealing with chemical spill protections.

Tomblin and Republicans also don't agree how to fill a $195 million budget shortfall.