The Legislative Branch

The legislative branch is the branch of government that makes the laws. West Virginia's Legislature is a bicameral legislature, meaning there are two houses of the legislature. Our Legislature is divided into a Senate, with 34 members, and House of Delegates, with 100 members.

Senatorial and House Districts are arranged according to population. Two senators are elected from each district, with each up for election in alternating years. The number of delegates from each district is dependent upon the population from that district. All 100 members of the House of Delegates are up for election every two years.

Each of the two houses has presiding officers: The President of the Senate and The Speaker of the House. Each presiding officer is elected by the majority party of that house.

Also within each house, there are other officers who play key roles in the legislative process. Once the President and Speaker are elected, those leaders select members for certain roles. The Majority Leader and the Majority Whip promote the majority party's agenda, with the majority leader playing a more visible role. If the President or Speaker is unable to chair the floor session, a substitute, known as the Speaker/President Pro Tempore, will act as the presiding officer.

Along with presiding over the floor session, the President and Speaker also selects committee chairs as well as the majority party members of those committees.

The Minority Party also elects officers to promote their party's agenda. The Minority Leader is elected by the minority party. The Minority Leader also selects a Minority Whip. The Minority Leader also selects the minority party's membership to the committees.

According to the West Virginia Constitution, the Legislature meets annually for 60 consecutive days commencing on the second Wednesday in January. However, this changes when it is an inaugural year. The year a new governor is inaugurated, the session begins on the second Wednesday in February. It is during these 60 days that proposals or ideas can become law.