The West Virginia Senate is the upper house of the West Virginia Legislature. There are seventeen senatorial districts. Each district has two senators who serve staggered four-year terms.


Senators are elected for terms of four years that are staggered, meaning that only a portion of the 34 state senate seats are up every election.[2]

The state legislature meets on the second Wednesday of January each year and conducts a 60-day regular session.[2]

Legislative process

Unlike most state senates, the West Virginia Senate can introduce revenue bills.[2] Bills must undergo three readings in each house before being sent to the governor.[2] Bills are drafted by the Office of Legislative Services or legislative staff counsel, reviewed by the sponsor of the bill and submitted for introduction.[3] Bills are assigned to committees that make recommendations about a bill in the form of a committee report.[3]

Bills approved in both the West Virginia Senate and West Virginia House of Delegates are then submitted to the governor, who has the power to sign them into law or veto them.[2] The state legislature can override the veto, unless they have already adjourned.[2]


The state's districting system is unique in the United States. Prior to the 2010 Census the state's most populous county, Kanawha County constituted two "superimposed" districts. In practical effect, this meant that Kanawha County was a single district electing two members every two years. The remaining 54 counties of the state were divided into fifteen districts, with county lines not respected in most cases.[4]

Under the unique rule, no multi-county district (and every district except Kanawha's is a multi-county district) may have more than one senator from the same county,[5] no matter the population. This means, for example, that one of the 5th District's two senators must reside in Cabell County and the other must reside in the tiny portion of Wayne County that's inside the 5th District, even though Cabell County has far more people than the portion of Wayne County that is part of the 5th District. However, both senators are elected by everybody within the district, not just by the people of the county in which the senators reside.

Responding to the 2010 Census the Senate redistricted itself. Kanawha County was divided for the first time in the Senate's history, with the northern and western portions joining a part of Putnam County as the 8th District and the remainder of the county constituting the 17th district on its own. This reduced the number of Senators from Kanawha County from four to three, as one of the 8th's must be a resident of Putnam.

The remainder of the state was redistricted, reflecting the continuing shift of the state's population to the Eastern Panhandle and to Monongalia County, however no incumbents were placed in districts where they had to run against one another, except for the Kanawha situation. Because senators are elected for four-year terms, the redistricting did not come fully into effect until after the 2014 election.[6]

Senate President

The Senate elects its own president from its membership. Mitch Carmichael is currently the President of the West Virginia Senate.

While the West Virginia Constitution does not create or even mention the title of lieutenant governor, West Virginia Code 6A-1-4 creates this designation for the Senate President, who stands first in the line of succession to the office of governor. As stated in Article 7 Section 16 of the constitution: "In case of the death, conviction or impeachment, failure to qualify, resignation, or other disability of the governor, the president of the Senate shall act as governor until the vacancy is filled, or the disability removed." However, the Senate President may not always serve the remainder of the term as the constitution also states: "Whenever a vacancy shall occur in the office of governor before the first three years of the term shall have expired, a new election for governor shall take place to fill the vacancy."

Current Composition

83rd Legislature (2017-2018)

Composition of the 83rd WV Senate

Affiliation Party
(Shading indicates majority caucus)
Democratic Republican Vacant
End of the 81st Legislature 24 10 34 0
Beginning of the 82nd Legislature 16 18 34 0
End of the 82nd Legislature
Beginning of the 83rd Legislature 12 22 34 0
Latest voting share 35% 65%

Leadership of the 83rd West Virginia Senate

Position Name Party District County
President of the Senate/Lieutenant Governor Mitch Carmichael Republican 4 Jackson Co.
President Pro Tempore Donna Boley Republican 3 Pleasants Co.
Majority Leader Ryan Ferns Republican 1 Ohio Co.
Minority Leader Roman Prezioso Democratic 13 Marion Co.
Majority Whip Craig Blair Republican 15 Berkeley Co.
Minority Whip Corey Palumbo Democratic 17 Kanawha Co.

Members of the 83rd West Virginia Senate

District Senator Party Residence Counties represented[7]
1 Ryan Ferns Rep Ohio Brooke, Hancock, Ohio, Marshall (part)
Ryan Weld Rep Brooke
2 Charles H. Clements[note 1] Rep Wetzel Calhoun, Doddridge, Gilmer (part), Marion (part),
Marshall (part), Monongalia (part), Tyler, Ritchie, Wetzel
Mike Maroney Rep Marshall
3 Mike Azinger Rep Wood Pleasants, Roane (part), Wirt, Wood
Donna J. Boley Rep Pleasants
4 Mark Drennan[note 2] Rep Putnam Jackson, Mason, Putnam (part), Roane (part)
Mitch Carmichael Rep Jackson
5 Mike Woelfel Dem Cabell Cabell, Wayne (part)
Robert H. Plymale Dem Wayne
6 Mark R. Maynard Rep Wayne McDowell (part), Mercer, Mingo (part), Wayne (part)
Chandler Swope Rep Mercer
7 Ron Stollings Dem Boone Boone, Lincoln, Logan, Mingo (part), Wayne (part)
Richard Ojeda Dem Logan
8 Ed Gaunch Rep Kanawha Kanawha (part), Putnam (part)
Glenn Jeffries Dem Putnam
9 Lynne Arvon[note 3] Rep Raleigh Raleigh, Wyoming, McDowell (part)
Sue Cline Rep Wyoming
10 Stephen Baldwin[note 4] Dem Greenbrier Fayette, Greenbrier, Monroe, Summers
Kenny Mann Rep Fayette
11 Robert L. Karnes Rep Upshur Grant (part), Nicholas, Pendleton, Pocahontas,
Randolph, Upshur, Webster
Greg Boso Rep Nicholas
12 Mike Romano Dem Braxton Clay, Braxton, Gilmer (part), Lewis, Harrison
Doug Facemire Dem Harrison
13 Bob Beach Dem Monongalia Marion (part), Monongalia (part)
Roman Prezioso Dem Marion
14 David Sypolt Rep Preston Barbour, Grant (part), Hardy, Mineral (part),
Monongalia (part), Preston, Taylor, Tucker
Randy Smith Rep Tucker
15 Charles S. Trump Rep Morgan Berkeley (part), Hampshire, Mineral (part), Morgan
Craig Blair Rep Berkeley
16 John Unger Dem Berkeley Berkeley (part), Jefferson
Patricia Rucker Rep Jefferson
17 Tom Takubo Rep Kanawha Kanawha (part)
Corey Palumbo Dem
  1. ^ Clements sworn in on February 8, 2017. Appointed by Governor Justice out of three nominees put forward by the 2nd Senatorial Republican Committee to replace Kent Leonhardt.
  2. ^ Drennan sworn in on September 11, 2017. Appointed by Governor Justice to replace Mike Hall.
  3. ^ Arvon sworn in on January 23, 2018. Appointed by Governor Justice to replace Jeff Mullins.
  4. ^ Baldwin sworn in on October 16, 2017. Appointed by Governor Justice to replace Ronald F. Miller.


  • Agriculture And Rural Development (10 members) – David Sypolt, Chairman
  • Banking and Insurance (10 members) – Mike Azinger, Chairman
  • Confirmations (9 members) – Donna Boley, Chairwoman
  • Economic Development (14 members) – Mike Maroney, Chairman
  • Education (13 members) – Kenny Mann, Chairman
  • Energy, Industry and Mining (13 members) – Randy Smith, Chairman
  • Enrolled Bills (5 members) – Mark Maynard, Chairman
  • Finance (17 members) – Craig Blair, Chairman
  • Government Organization (13 members) – Ed Gaunch, Chairman
  • Health and Human Resources (12 members) – Tom Takubo, Chairman
  • Interstate Cooperation (7 members) – Sue Cline, Chairwoman; (Senate President is ex officio co-chairperson)
  • Judiciary (16 members) – Charles Trump, Chairman
  • Military (8 members) – Ryan Weld, Chairman
  • Natural Resources (13 members) – Mark Maynard, Chairman
  • Pensions (7 members) – Robert Karnes, Chairman
  • Rules (10 members) – Mitch Carmichael, Ex officio Chairman as Senate President
  • Tax Reform (Select) (7 members) – Robert Karnes, Chairman
  • Transportation and Infrastructure (9 members) – Greg Boso, Chairman
  • Workforce (formerly Labor)(11 members) – Chandler Swope, Chairman

Past composition of the Senate

See also


External links