CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Following several time changes, West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice combined a virtual briefing on his tax plan with his regularly scheduled virtual COVID-19 briefing on Friday.
Justice began the briefing by denouncing the actions of members of the House of Delegates, describing it as “semi-out of control, mimicking the look of a mob.” Specifically, Justice called out Del. Joe Jeffries(R-Putnam County), who Justice said “screamed obscenities” in the Capitol. It’s “just unthinkable that we have gotten to that level,” Justice said and called on House Speaker Roger Hanshaw to require Jeffries to make a public apology. The “behavior is absolutely intolerable,” Justice concluded.
Justice then commended the State Senate for passing his tax plan, but said that the House of Delegates is not going to vote on it, claiming “they’re afraid.” This is the “most important thing that this state has ever, ever had in front of it. Why in the world do we let things like this go? We’ve blown a chance for this state like you can’t imagine,” Justice said.
The governor blamed the House’s decision on special interest groups and lobbyists. “There would’ve been more opportunity by the ying yang,” Justice lamented.
“It surely closes the door for now. I’m not gonna quit. I’m not going to roll over, Gov. Justice said, promising that he is going to “go on the road” to educate state residents on what “they lost.” “I’ll keep my door open 24/7 and will meet with any state legislators,” he said.
Justice said that two thirds of the state government believes in the tax plan and that he may call a special session to address it. He does not have a timeframe for calling the special session, Justice said.
You can watch the governor’s full tax plan briefing in the player below:
Gov. Justice announced that West Virginia has its first confirmed case of the South African variant.
Combining first and second doses, the state has now administered one million shots, Justice also announced. More than 70 percent of residents 65 and above have now been vaccinated, the governor continued.
Justice is calling on parents and grandparents to tell their children, aged 16-35, to get vaccinated. “You are the people who are transmitting this more than anyone else,” said Justice. “We are begging people to give us arms to put these shots in. It will save all kinds of lives and everything,” he continued.
Anyone who is homebound or has homebound family members, can call the state’s hotline at 833-734-0965 to arrange to be vaccinated, officials said. In those cases, Johnson & Johnson vaccines, which require only one shot, are being used, according to state officials. During the briefing, Justice asked state officials to double down on their efforts to vaccinate homebound residents.
Justice again strongly encouraged state residents to continue to wear their masks.
Gov. Justice offered prayers to family of Albright VFD Captain Chuck Miller, 62, who died on Easter Sunday while responding to a wildfire. Miller had served with the Albright VFD for nearly 30 years. “We can never thank him enough,” Justice said.
Justice’s full briefing on the state’s COVID-19 response can be seen below: