"If what we're doing today is unconstitutional, then yesterday's bill was, as are all supplemental appropriations from time immemorial," said Finance Chairman Brent Boggs, D-Braxton, referring to a supplemental appropriations bill (HB4177) that passed the House Monday on a unanimous 97-0 vote.
Delegate Tom Craig, D-Cabell, argued that not only is the current system constitutional, but it would be unduly burdensome to vote on each appropriation individually. To date, the Tomblin administration has introduced at least 18 supplemental appropriations bills, each containing multiple individual funding transfers and appropriations to various state agencies and departments.
"Breaking out every supplemental one by one would unnecessarily slow down this process," Craig said. "Do we really want to go in that direction?"
Delegate Woody Ireland, R-Ritchie, ultimately called on fellow Republicans to support the bill.
"The point is, we're not voting on whether this thing is constitutional or unconstitutional. The point now is, do we support the agencies in this bill, the volunteer fire departments, and the others?" he said.
The bill includes a $4 million transfer to a fund in the state auditor's office used to help volunteer fire departments pay their firefighters' workers' compensation insurance premiums.
It passed the House on a 92-4 vote with four members absent. Voting against the bill were Delegates Butler, Gearheart, Howell and Lane.
Reach Phil Kabler at ph...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1220.