West Virginia Senate

Last updated

West Virginia Senate
86th West Virginia Legislature
Seal of West Virginia.svg
Term limits
Minority Leader
West Virginia Senate 2022.svg
Political groups
   Republican (31)


   Democratic (3)
Length of term
4 years
AuthorityArticle VI, West Virginia Constitution
Salary$20,000/year + per diem
Plurality voting in staggered elections
Last election
November 8, 2022
(17 seats)
Next election
November 5, 2024
(17 seats)
RedistrictingLegislative Control
Meeting place
Senate Chamber
West Virginia State Capitol
Charleston, West Virginia

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. Although the Democratic Party held a supermajority in the Senate as recently as 2015, Republicans now dominate in the chamber, and will hold 31 seats to the Democrats' three beginning in the next session.



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. [1]

The state legislature meets on the second Wednesday of January each year and conducts a 60-day regular session. [1]

Legislative process

Unlike most state senates, the West Virginia Senate can introduce revenue bills. [1] Bills must undergo three readings in each house before being sent to the governor. [1] Bills are drafted by the Office of Legislative Services or legislative staff counsel, reviewed by the sponsor of the bill and submitted for introduction. [2] Bills are assigned to committees that make recommendations about a bill in the form of a committee report. [2]

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. [1] The state legislature can override the veto, unless they have already adjourned. [1]


The state is divided into 17 districts, with each electing a senator for a four-year term every two years. Thus each district contains about 1/17th of the state's population, or about 105,000 persons.

The state's districting system is unique in the United States in that both senators from a district cannot be from the same county, no matter the population of the various parts of the district. 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 portion of Wayne County that is inside the 5th District, even though Cabell County has 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 had to be a resident of Putnam.

Responding to the 2020 Census the Senate again redistricted itself. The Senate adopted a new map, again reflecting a shift of the population to the Morgantown area and the Eastern Panhandle. Ten counties, out of the 55, were divided between two different districts, and Kanawha County was divided between three different districts. [3]

Because senators are elected for four-year terms, the redistricting will not come fully into effect until after the 2024 election, with 17 senators to be elected under the new map in 2022, while those elected in 2020 under the old map will continue to serve until 2024.

Senate president

The Senate elects its own president from its membership. Craig Blair 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

Map of current partisan composition of legislative districts for state senate:
2 Democrats
2 Republicans
1 Democrat and 1 Republican WV Senate Composition.png
Map of current partisan composition of legislative districts for state senate:
  2 Democrats
  1 Democrat and 1 Republican
Map of partisan composition of legislative districts for state senate after the 2022 elections:
2 Democrats
2 Republicans
1 Democrat and 1 Republican 86th Legislature WV Senate Map.svg
Map of partisan composition of legislative districts for state senate after the 2022 elections:
  2 Democrats
  1 Democrat and 1 Republican

86th Legislature (2023–2024)

(Shading indicates majority caucus)
Republican Democratic Vacant
Beginning of the 82nd Legislature1816340
End of the 82nd Legislature
Beginning of the 83rd Legislature2212340
End of the 83rd Legislature
Beginning of the 84th Legislature2014340
End of the 84th Legislature
Beginning of the 85th Legislature2311340
End of the 85th Legislature
Beginning of the 86th Legislature304340
December 1, 2022313
Latest voting share

Leadership of the 86th West Virginia Senate

President of the Senate/Lieutenant Governor Craig Blair Republican 15th Berkeley
President Pro Tempore TBA
Majority Leader
Minority Leader Mike Woelfel Democratic 5th Cabell
Majority Whip TBA
Minority Whip Robert Plymale Democratic 5th Wayne

Committee Chairs and Vice Chairs

CommitteeChairVice Chair
Agriculture & Rural DevelopmentTBA
Banking and Insurance
Economic Development
Energy, Industry, & Mining
Enrolled Bills
Government Organization
Health & Human Resources
Interstate Cooperation
Natural Resources
Transportation & Infrastructure

Members of the 86th West Virginia Senate

DistrictSenatorPartySinceResidenceCounties represented [4]
1 Laura ChapmanRepublican2022 Wheeling Brooke, Hancock, Marshall, Ohio
Ryan Weld Republican2016 Wellsburg
2 Charles H. Clements Republican2016 New Martinsville Doddridge, Marion, Marshall, Monongalia, Wetzel, Tyler
Mike Maroney Republican2016 Glen Dale
3 Mike Azinger Republican2016 Vienna Pleasants, Ritchie, Wirt, Wood
Donna Boley Republican1985 St. Marys
4 Eric Tarr Republican2018 Scott Depot Cabell, Jackson, Mason, Putnam
Amy Grady Republican2020 Leon
5 Mike Woelfel Democratic2014 Huntington Cabell, Wayne
Robert H. Plymale Democratic1992 Ceredo
6 Mark R. Maynard Republican2014 Genoa McDowell, Mercer, Mingo, Wayne
Chandler Swope Republican2016 Bluefield
7 Mike Stuart Republican2022 South Charleston Boone, Kanawha, Lincoln, Logan
Rupie Phillips Republican2020 Lorado
8 Mark Hunt Republican2022 Charleston Clay, Jackson, Kanawha, Putnam, Roane
Glenn Jeffries Republican [lower-alpha 1] 2016 Red House
9 Rollan Roberts Republican2018 Beaver Fayette, Raleigh, Wyoming
David Stover Republican2020 Maben
10 Vince DeedsRepublican2022 Renick Fayette, Greenbrier, Monroe, Nicholas, Summers
Jack Woodrum Republican2020 Hinton
11 Bill Hamilton Republican2018 Buckhannon Barbour, Braxton, Pendleton, Pocahontas, Randolph, Upshur, Webster
Robert L. Karnes Republican2020 Helvetia
12 Ben Queen Republican2022 Bridgeport Calhoun, Gilmer, Harrison, Lewis, Taylor
Patrick S. Martin Republican2020 Weston
13 Mike Oliverio Republican2022 [lower-alpha 2] Morgantown Marion, Monongalia
Mike Caputo Democratic2020 Rivesville
14 Jay TaylorRepublican2022 Grafton Grant, Hardy, Mineral, Preston, Taylor, Tucker
Randy Smith Republican2016 Thomas
15 Charles S. Trump Republican2014 Berkeley Springs Berkeley, Hampshire, Morgan
Craig Blair Republican2012 Martinsburg
16 Jason Barrett Republican2022 Martinsburg Berkeley, Jefferson
Patricia Rucker Republican2016 Harpers Ferry
17 Tom Takubo Republican2014 Charleston Kanawha
Eric Nelson Republican2020 Charleston
  1. Jeffries switched parties from Democratic to Republican at the start of the 86th Legislature.
  2. Oliverio previously served in the Senate from 1994 to 2010.

See also

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  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 West Virginia Constitution, West Virginia Legislature (accessed May 29, 2013)
  2. 1 2 How a Bill Becomes Law, West Virginia State Legislature (accessed May 29, 2013)
  3. "SB 3034 Text". Archived from the original on October 20, 2021.
  4. "2020 REDISTRICTING" (PDF). wvlegislature.gov. 2021.

Coordinates: 38°20′11.5″N81°36′46.7″W / 38.336528°N 81.612972°W / 38.336528; -81.612972