(a) The West Virginia Infrastructure and Jobs Development Council is continued. The council is a governmental instrumentality of the state. The exercise by the council of the powers conferred by this article and the carrying out of its purpose and duties shall be considered and held to be, and are determined to be, essential governmental functions and for a public purpose.
(b) The council shall consist of thirteen members, including:
(1) The Governor or designee;
(2) The Executive Director of the Housing Development Fund or his or her designee;
(3) The Director of the Division of Environmental Protection or his or her designee;
(4) The Director of the Economic Development Authority or his or her designee;
(5) The Director of the Water Development Authority or his or her designee;
(6) The Director of the Division of Health or his or her designee;
(7) The Chairman of the Public Service Commission or his or her designee; and
(8) Six members representing the general public: Provided, That there shall be at least one member representing the general public from each congressional district. No more than one member representing the general public may be a resident of the same county.
(c) The Governor shall appoint the public members of the council who shall serve three-year staggered terms.
(d) The Commissioner of the Division of Highways, the Executive Director of the State Rail Authority, two members of the West Virginia Senate, two members of the West Virginia House of Delegates, the Chancellor of the Higher Education Policy Commission and the Chancellor of the West Virginia Council for Community and Technical College Education serve as advisory members of the council. The advisory members shall be ex officio, nonvoting members of the council.
(e) The Governor shall appoint the legislative members of the council: Provided, That no more than three of the legislative members may be of the same political party.
(f) The Governor or designee shall serve as chairman and the council shall annually appoint a vice chairperson and shall appoint a secretary, who need not be a member of the council and who shall keep records of its proceedings. Seven members of the council shall constitute a quorum and the affirmative vote of at least the majority of those members present shall be necessary for any action taken by vote of the council. A vacancy in the membership of the council does not impair the rights of a quorum by such vote to exercise all the rights and perform all the duties of the council.
(g) A member of the council who serves by virtue of his or her office does not receive compensation or reimbursement of expenses for serving as a member. The public members are reimbursed for actual expenses incurred in the service of the council in a manner consistent with guidelines of the travel management office of the Department of Administration.
(h) The council meets at least monthly to review projects and infrastructure projects requesting funding assistance and otherwise to conduct its business and may meet more frequently if necessary. Notwithstanding any other provision of this article to the contrary, the Economic Development Authority is not subject to council review with regard to any action taken pursuant to the authority established in article fifteen, chapter thirty-one of this code. The Governor’s Civil Contingent Fund is not subject to council review with regard to projects or infrastructure projects funded through the Governor’s Civil Contingent Fund.
(i) The Water Development Authority shall provide office space for the council and each governmental agency represented on the council shall provide staff support for the council in the manner determined appropriate by the council.
(j) The council shall invite to each meeting one or more representatives of the United States Department of Agriculture, Rural Economic Community Development, the United States Economic Development Agency and the United States Army Corps of Engineers or any successors thereto. The council shall invite other appropriate parties as is necessary to effectuate the purposes of this article.