West Virginia lawmakers officially start 2020 session

West Virginia Senate President Mitch Carmichael (R), address senators during opening day of the West Virginia Legislative Session in Charleston, Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020. (Chris Jackson/The Register-Herald)

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia's 2020 legislative session has officially begun.

The Senate and House of Delegates gaveled in Wednesday, starting the first day of the session with the chambers formally introducing bills and fulfilling ceremonial duties as lawmakers await Gov. Jim Justice's annual State of the State speech.

Lawmakers have been in Charleston this week for committee meetings, floating several proposals, including measures to create a state investment fund, change the state's bail system and cut some taxes on manufacturing businesses. There is also a move to bar sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination when it comes to housing, employment and public spaces.

The chambers only met for a few minutes before recessing until Wednesday evening, when Justice is set to detail his policy proposals in a joint address to the legislature.

Last session, the statehouse saw teachers across the state protest a GOP-led move to create West Virginia's first charter schools. The bill eventually passed in a special session in the summer.

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