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The Latest: W.Va. House ends its side of special session

July 23, 2019

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — The Latest on The special legislative session in West Virginia (all times local):

7:15 p.m.

The West Virginia House of Delegates has ended its half of the special legislative session.

The House adjourned Tuesday evening. It’s unclear when the Senate will finish its business.

Republican Gov. Jim Justice called the special session after legislators failed to agree on education measures following a two-day teacher strike in February.

Lawmakers largely used the special session to debate a sweeping GOP education bill that authorizes the state’s first charter schools. It eventually passed the Republican-controlled legislature and was signed by the governor after protests from educators and Democrats.

The House and Senate also passed a bill on Tuesday that would give a tax break to a struggling coal-fired power plant. That bill is heading to the governor, who says he will sign it.

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1:40 p.m.

West Virginia lawmakers have overwhelmingly approved a bill to give a tax break to a struggling coal-fired power plant.

The Senate and the House of Delegates passed the measure Tuesday without much debate, sending it to the governor’s office.

The proposal would exempt FirstEnergy Solutions, which has been operating in bankruptcy, from a $12.5 million state tax. CEO John W. Judge says the company’s Pleasants Power Station in Willow Island will likely close in the next year if it has to continue paying the tax.

Local and state officials say the closure would devastate the local economy, coal producers and other industries.

Republican Gov. Jim Justice, who owns coal businesses, is pushing for the bill. He amended the special session call so the legislature could take up the proposal.

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