6-18-13 House to choose new Speaker today

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CHARLESTON – The West Virginia House of Delegates will convene today to fill the position of House Speaker, which was vacated over the weekend when Rick Thompson resigned to take a job within the state Department of Veterans Affairs.

According to a provision within Chapter Four of the State Code, in the event a presiding officer of either the House or Senate vacates the position for any reason when the Legislature is not in session, the Governor must within 10 days issue a proclamation convening that individual house of the Legislature for the sole purpose of choosing a new presiding officer (4-1-10a).

The Governor issued that proclamation Monday.

“This is a very unique situation for the House of Delegates, but one the West Virginia Constitution, State Code and House rules anticipate, so we are prepared to proceed,” House Clerk Gregory Gray said. “Because the rest of the House leadership structure remains in place, the process will go smoothly.”

In the absence of the Speaker, it is the duty and role of the Speaker Pro Tem to preside over House floor proceedings under the House Rules, in contrast to the organizational process on the first day of the regular legislative session, which is presided over by the longest serving member of the House, Gray said.

House Speaker Pro Tem Randy Swartzmiller will preside over Tuesday’s proceedings, which begin at noon, following the traditional caucuses of the House Democrats and Republicans.

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