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Senator Questions if Reappropriation of Funds is Legal

Ashton Marra
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Senator Herb Snyder of Jefferson County raised concerns with fellow members of the Senate Wednesday about funding cut from racetracks and moved to restore cuts to social programs.

Wednesday morning, members of the House amended an excess lottery appropriations bill taking money from horse and thoroughbred purse funds, monies that are used to pay bet winners at racetracks, and put them toward restoring funds cut by Governor Tomblin in March for child and family service programs.

Snyder believed the money is not subject to appropriation, but instead is still protected by statute and can’t just be taken from one program and given to another.

“My voice in this is not anti-social programs or anything else. This is about where the money is coming from and whether what we’re doing is legal,” he said after the Senate adjourned.

“Whether it’s taking purse money or whether it’s taking [money from social services], we can’t just arbitrarily appropriate [money] to someone else. That’s the principal I’m trying to uphold here, the principal of law.”

Snyder anticipated the breeders from whom the money is being taken will file an injunction in the courts to get that money back.

Senate Finance Chairman Roman Prezioso said the money is able to be appropriated and there is just some confusion over a complicated piece of legislation.

Snyder was the only member of both the House and Senate to vote against the funding bill.

Tomblin said Tuesday he will likely sign the measure and he is glad to see lawmakers find a way to restore funding to vital programs outside of the general revenue budget.

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