West Virginia Bond Committees Struggle With Legal Challenges

Newman, Emily
June 2003
Bond Buyer;6/19/2003, Vol. 344 Issue 31660, p30
Trade Publication
Lawmakers in West Virginia have made some progress in moving forward with a long-awaited pension bond deal, while they continue to debate how to resolve legal problems surrounding the issuance of lottery-backed bonds for economic development. During a special legislative session during the second week of June 2003 held to tackle workers' compensation issues, lawmakers agreed that Governor Bob Wise should appoint the members of the committee that will sign off on a $3.9 billion taxable pension bond deal. The Senate passed a version of the bill that would permit the governor to appoint the members of the state's Economic Development Grant Committee, which oversees the awarding of grants funded by the proposed issuance of more than $200 million in lottery-backed revenue bonds. The sale of the bonds stalled last month after the state Supreme Court ruled that its members were unconstitutionally appointed. Although the court upheld the committee's ability to fund 35 grants with more than $215 million in lottery-backed revenue bonds, the bond sale still faces legal challenges, even if the Legislature makes the approval committee constitutional. The Legislature voted to allow the governor to appoint members of the Pension Bond Review Committee, which has supported the sale of $3.9 million in taxable pension bonds to cover the unfunded pension liabilities of several state retirement funds.


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