Margaret L. Workman, Esq.
Jennifer Bailey Walker, Esq.
Kathy A. Brown, Law Student West Virginia Senate
Margaret Workman Law, L.C. Charleston, West Virginia
Charleston, West Virginia Michael R. Crane, Esq.
Attorneys for the Petitioners Forman & Crane
Charleston, West Virginia
Attorneys for the Respondent,
President of the West Virginia
Senate, Earl Ray Tomblin
M. E. Mike Mowery, Esq.
Benjamin L. Bailey, Esq.
Mark W. McOwen, Esq. Brian A. Glasser, Esq.
Marsha K. Morris, Esq. Thomas F. Basile, Esq.
West Virginia House of Delegates Bailey & Glasser LLP
Charleston, West Virginia Charleston, West Virginia
Attorneys for the Respondent, John F. McCuskey, Esq.
Speaker of the West Virginia Shuman, McCuskey & Slicer, PLLC
House of Delegates, Robert S. Kiss Charleston, West Virginia
Attorneys for the Respondent,
Office of the Governor
JUSTICE ALBRIGHT delivered the Opinion of the Court.
JUSTICE STARCHER, deeming himself disqualified, did not participate in the decision of this case.
JUDGE PRATT, sitting by temporary assignment.
CHIEF JUSTICE McGRAW and JUSTICE MAYNARD concur and reserve the right to file concurring opinions.
JUSTICE DAVIS dissents and reserves the right to file a dissenting opinion.
The inclusion of an item in the budget digest in reference to a more
generalized line item found in the budget bill does not operate to appropriate money from the
state treasury within the meaning of article VI, section 51 of the Constitution of West
All funds that are described in the budget digest reference a specific line item in
the budget bill, and it is the passage of that budget bill which constitutes and effects an
appropriation under the mechanisms set forth in the Modern Budget Amendment.
3. The Budget Digest must be approved by the entire Conferees Committee
on the Budget at a regular meeting scheduled in the normal course of business and open to
the public. Syl. Pt. 3, Common Cause v. Tomblin, 186 W.Va. 537, 413 S.E.2d 358 (1991).
4. In order that officers in the executive branch not be confused concerning
the nature of the Budget Digest, the Budget Digest must be clearly marked with a notice that
the document has been prepared by the Conferees Committee on the Budget and that the
Budget Digest does not have the force and effect of law. Syl. Pt. 4, Common Cause v.
Tomblin, 186 W.Va. 537, 413 S.E.2d 358 (1991).
5. In order for the Budget Digest to conform to the requirement of W.Va.
Code, 4-1-18 , which directs the Conferees Committee on the Budget to prepare a
'digest or summary' of the budget, the finance committees, their chairmen, or the
subcommittee chairmen must have memoranda of the negotiations, compromises and
agreements or audio recordings of committee or subcommittee meetings where votes were
taken or discussions had that substantiate the material which is organized and memorialized
in the Budget Digest. Syl. Pt. 5, Common Cause v. Tomblin, 186 W.Va. 537, 413 S.E.2d
6. A fair reading of West Virginia Code § 4-1-18 (1969) (Repl.Vol.1999), contemplates and requires that the material contained in the budget digest under the heading Legislative Intent must have been the subject of discussion, debate, and decision prior to final legislative enactment of the budget bill, either within the legislative committees or sub-committees of the respective houses to which the budget bill, or parts of it, have been committed, formally or informally, or within the conferees committee.
This matter comes to us upon a petition for a writ of mandamusSee footnote 1
filed on behalf
of several prominent public interest groupsSee footnote 2
and a former member of the LegislatureSee footnote 3
the presiding officers of the House of Delegates and state Senate and the office of the
GovernorSee footnote 4
(hereinafter collectively referred to as Petitioners). Petitioners argue that the
practices currently employed by the Legislature in preparing the budget digest mandated
by West Virginia Code § 4-1-18 (1969) (Repl.Vol.1999) are in violation of the Modern
Budget Amendment,See footnote 5
the constitutional provision regarding separation of powers,See footnote 6
Court's directives in
Common Cause v. Tomblin, 186 W.Va. 537, 413 S.E.2d 358 (1991).
Petitioners assert additionally that the Legislature is unlawfully accomplishing the transfer
to the governor's civil contingent fundSee footnote 7
of appropriations initially made to the House of
Delegates. As relief from these asserted violations, Petitioners seek a writ of mandamus
finding these practices unconstitutional; directing the Legislature to forthwith cease and
desist from designating funds in violation of both constitutional and statutory mandates; and
directing the Legislature to restore all deletions of lawfully appropriated funds.See footnote 8
careful review of the argumentsSee footnote 9
raised against the record submitted, we grant a writ of
mandamus as moulded.
As a part of initial legislation implementing the Modern Budget Amendment,See footnote 10
the Legislature amended and reenacted West Virginia Code § 4-1-18,See footnote 11
which provides as
The Legislature, acting by its appropriate committees, shall consider the budget bill, the budget document and matters relating thereto, and following such consideration and upon the passage of the budget bill by the Legislature, the Legislature shall prepare a digest or summary of the budget bill containing detailed information similar to that included in the budget document submitted to the Legislature by the governor but including amendments of legislative committees, and as finally enacted by the Legislature. Such digest or summary shall be prepared at the direction of and approved by members of the conferees committee on the budget and shall be included in the journals of the Legislature or printed as a separate document, and copies shall be furnished to the governor, commissioner of finance and administration [abolished], and the various state spending units for such use as may be deemed proper.
W.Va. Code § 4-1-18 (emphasis supplied).
While we outlined in Common Cause the process by which the governor's
initial submission of the budget bill and budget document to the Legislature progresses to the
passage of the budget bill, we find it necessary to expand on that previous discussion. 186
W.Va. at 540-41, 413 S.E.2d at 361-62. Typically, the governor proposes, and the
Legislature agrees, to appropriate money in the budget bill to a particular office, officer, or
agency under relatively broad categories or line items, such as personal services,
unclassified, administration, and other somewhat more specific, but still generalized,
descriptions. As referenced in the statute requiring preparation of a budget digest, West
Virginia Code § 4-1-18, as well as the rules of each of the two houses of the Legislature,See footnote 12
the budget bill is referred to the appropriate committee in each house, typically the finance
As with any proposed legislation, the detailed examination of such proposal
is ordinarily done in committee with the aid of a committee's staff. In the case of the budget
bill, this detailed examination proceeds from the information included in the budget
document and the legislative hearings held in connection with each respective account set
forth in the budget. With laborious and careful detail, the legislative finance committees
examine the requests for the next year's appropriations. Each office, officer, and agency
justifies to the legislature its respective requests. Similarly, the governor justifies his
recommendations as to each of the hundreds of appropriation line items set forth in the
budget bill. The excruciating detail with which the state's annual spending plan is
presented in the budget document and examined by the relevant legislative committees and
their staffsSee footnote 13
and the hours upon hours devoted to this task by legislators and interested
citizens is not at all apparent from simply reading through the budget bill.
As a result of this finance committee review, each respective house may make
amendments to the budget bill and may develop recommendations or provisions that will
later be found in the budget digest.See footnote 14
At the end of the committee consideration of the budget
bill and the budget document, it is the budget bill, not the budget document, that comes
back to the entire Senate or the entire House of Delegates for consideration, with whatever
changes the respective house's finance committee has made.
The budget bill, is the
document upon which the Legislature, as a whole, votes.See footnote 15
After each house of the
Legislature has passed its version of the budget bill, the bill goes to conference, to the
conferees committee on the budget to resolve differences between the two versions
prepared by each legislative house and also to make such other changes in the budget bill,
as may be necessary in light of other actions taken by the Executive or Legislature
subsequent to the passage of the budget bill by one house.See footnote 16
Only when the conferees
committee on the budget has finally settled on a single bill that has been voted upon in
identical form by both houses of the Legislature is the budget bill ready for presentation to
the governor.See footnote 17
From the above discussion, it is clear that three budgetary documents are
central to the case before us: (1) the budget bill, (2) the budget, which is sometimes called
the budget document; and (3) the budget digest. From the record submitted in this case,
we note the following.
(1) The budget bill in its original form as submitted by the governor in January 1999, for fiscal year 1999-2000, consisted of about 122 double-spaced pages, 8 1/2 by 11 inches.
(2) The budget for fiscal year 1999-2000, as submitted by the governor, with its supplemental information, collectively called the budget document, consisted of three volumes; two of which were approximately 8 1/2 by 11 inches, and one of which was 11 by 17 inches. Whereas the first and second volumes were 340 and 678 pages long, respectively, the third volume contained over 490 pages, mostly in small type, and delineated information setting forth prior years' expenditures, the current year's appropriations, and the next fiscal year's requests.
(3) The budget digest subsequently issued by the legislative budget conferees for fiscal year 1999-2000 consisted of approximately 285 pages, 8 1/2 by 11 inches, generally, but not always, double-spaced. The digest sets forth exact copies of certain line item appropriations--as contained in the budget bill-- organized in the order those appropriations appeared in the budget bill. Beneath the excerpt from the budget bill for a particular office, officer, agency, or program, statements are set forth under the heading Legislative Intent regarding one or more specific uses for all, or a part of a line item, contained in the budget bill was intended.
Petitioners reason that, because an appropriation may only be made by a
budget bill or supplementary appropriation bill adopted by the whole Legislature and
presented to the governor for consideration,See footnote 18
items that are set forth in the budget digest
which are not correspondingly detailed in the budget bill constitute an unlawful attempt to
draw money from the state's treasury. Under Petitioners' reasoning, the powers of the
Legislature, as a whole, and the powers of the executive branch are being usurped through
the use of the budget digest. We do not agree.
Underlying Petitioners' argument is the implication that the budget process
requires a budget bill which sets forth with precise detail each expenditure included in the
state's budget. In Common Cause,
we addressed why the intrinsic need for flexibility renders
completely unworkable a detailed line item budget bill.See footnote 19
Id. at 541-42, 413 S.E.2d at 362-63.
Due to the nearly impossible task of allocating severely limited money among competing
ends the amounts requested by the various departments and agencies through the budget
document are often not the same amounts as those finally allocated through the enacted
budget bill. Id. at 540, 413 S.E.2d at 361.
Moreover, as we discussed in Common Cause,
the expenditures requested by individual departments or agencies at the time the budget
document is first prepared can become moot or may be reprioritized due to unanticipated
needs that only surface after the budget requests for the next year are first prepared. See id.
at 541-42, 413 S.E.2d at 362-63. This is where the budget digest serves an important purpose
in the whole budgetary process.
Petitioners take issue with certain entries in the budget digest that appear under
headings entitled LEGISLATIVE INTENT.See footnote 20
Those entries usually set forth a particular
use for part of a line item included in the budget bill, under a more generalized description
of funding such as personal services, or, on occasion, unclassified.
Through the use of
these statements of Legislative Intent, the conferees committee expresses its judgment of
why--and for what more specific uses--some or all of the funds appropriated in certain line
items in the budget bill were included in that line item.
See Hechler v. McCuskey, 179
W.Va. 129, 133, 365 S.E.2d 793, 797 (1987) (stating that [t]he Legislature uses this
[Budget] Digest as its detailed explanation concerning the manner in which appropriations
are to be expended).
In addition to providing necessary detail as to generalized funding
appropriations, the budget digest serves an important function when an agency receives less
funds than it originally requested. In this instance, the budget digest serves as an aid to
determine how the limited funding can be divided to meet the agency's needs. In either
situation, the budget digest enables the various governmental units to ascertain what uses the
Legislature, through its conferees committee, intended for moneys earmarked for a particular
department or agency.
See footnote 21
From our review of the budget digest submitted in this case, it is
clear that these statements of Legislative Intent only recommend proper, more particular,
uses of monies duly appropriated within and under more broadly-stated categories set forth
as line-items in the budget bill.
Another violation of the Modern Budget Amendment
arises, according to
Petitioners, based on the fact that the expenditure recommendations or specifications in the
budget digest appear to be outside
the constitutional requirement that all appropriations from
the state treasury must be made in the form of either a budget bill or a supplementary
appropriation bill. W.Va. Const. art. VI, § 51(1). In Petitioners' view, any expenditures
consistent with the statements of legislative intent in the budget digest amount to an
This argument suggests a misapprehension regarding the nature of the funds
that are the subject of the budget digest. Those funds have been lawfully appropriated
through the means established by the Modern Budget Amendment.
The inclusion of an item
in the budget digest in reference to a more generalized line item found in the budget bill
simply does not operate to appropriate money from the state treasury within the meaning of
article VI, section 51 of the Constitution of West Virginia.
All funds that are described in
the budget digest reference a specific line item in the budget bill, and it is the passage of that
budget bill which constitutes and effects an appropriation under the mechanisms set forth in
the Modern Budget Amendment. W.Va. Const. art. VI, § 51(1).
Petitioners further suggest that the budget digest process usurps the powers of
the Legislature as a whole and the power of the Governor.
In considering this contention,
we note that, subject only to the broad prescriptions contained in the Modern Budget
Amendment and any specific requirements enacted into law, the governor may submit the
budget document and the budget bill with as much simplicity or complexity as he deems
appropriate. Likewise, the Legislature may, through its amendments to the budget bill, insert
as much detail as it deems appropriate, subject only to the power of the Executive to remove
some of the detail by vetoSee footnote 22
and the prohibition against including subjects of general
legislation in the budget.See footnote 23
As to possible intrusion upon the power of the Legislature, as a whole, it should
be noted that a simple majority of each house of the Legislature possesses inherent and
plenary power to prescribe by rule any procedure it deems appropriate for the consideration
of the budget or budget bill in its respective house,See footnote 24
and, by agreement with the other house,
prescribe such rules for the resolution of differences in legislation between the houses as it
deems appropriate. The Legislature may, by duly enacted law,See footnote 25
further require such detail
in the budget bill or budget document as it deems appropriate. In addition, during the
consideration of the budget in conference each house may, by majority vote, instruct the
budget conferees appointed by it to take, or refuse to take, such action as a majority of such
house shall direct. Finally, each house may, by a vote of half its members, refuse to adopt
any proposed budget bill without further and fuller explanation and debate such as fully
satisfies at least a majority of those elected to each house.See footnote 26
Careful reflection on the realities of the budget-making process and its
acceptance by both houses and by the Executive for nearly a third of a century, lead us to
believe that the instruments of government most directly involved in the process have found
what they deem to be a suitable balance between the detail needed to support and justify
appropriations and the desired flexibility to allow the government to function within more
broadly-stated line item appropriations. Assuming that the respective branches follow these
procedures faithfully as they have been developed in law and in practice, we can find no
basis to treat their considered judgments as outside the constitutional pale.
With reference to this Court's decision in Common Cause, Petitioners argue
that the budget digest has, in reality, acquired the force of law.
186 W.Va. at 540, 413 S.E.2d
at 361. Petitioners suggest that the budget digest process should be viewed as unlawful based
on the fact that agencies are required to spend their allotted funds consistent with the
recommendations contained in the budget digest. In Common Cause
, we addressed this
same argument in acknowledging that executive branch employees [may] feel peculiarly
bound to follow its [budget digest] dictates. Id. at 542, 413 S.E.2d at 363. Rather than
determining that this perceived obligation to follow the suggestions set forth in the budget
digest elevated the digest to having the force and effect of law, however, we emphasized
the need to follow the dictates of the budget digest statute and its specific requirement that
the digest must be approved by majority vote of a quorum of all the budget conferees
pursuant to a meeting regularly called after the passage of the budget bill. Id.
The budget digest, of its own accord, cannot require the expenditure of funds
in the manner suggested therein. The agencies are free to disregard the digest statements of
legislative intent regarding their earmarked funds, with the understandable caveat that they
will have to later explain to the Legislature and the public why they chose to disregard the
purpose(s) for which the conferees committee stated such funds were to be utilized. As we
exhorted in Common Cause, the agency heads are not bound in law to follow the dictates
of the Budget Digest. 186 W.Va. at 541, 413 S.E.2d at 362. In response to
suggestion that the officers, offices, and agencies may feel constrained to adhere to the
funding suggestions contained in the budget digest, we conclude that this is a matter with
which the executive branch, not this Court, must deal. Questions involving perceived
conflict between the legislative and executive branches are, by and large, political questions,
which do not present issues with which this Court can, or should, concern itself. If the
persons in charge of the executive branch, its officers, offices, and agencies, choose to adopt
the funding recommendations stated in the budget digest, we must assume, in the absence of
evidence to the contrary, that the responsible executives, in their settled judgment and
discretion, have determined that such spending is in the best interests of the state. If,
however, these same entities choose to spend the money for alternate uses within the broad
scope of the overall purpose for which the funds were appropriated, there is no legal
impediment to that decision. Those agencies must be prepared, however, to defend their
expenditures, both to the legislative committees and to the public, in whose best interests we
must assume they intended to act.
In short, we cannot agree with Petitioners that the current use of the budget
digest has the force and effect of law in violation of this Court's holding in Common
Cause. 186 W.Va. at 538, 413 S.E.2d at 359, syl. pt. 2. Critically, a listing in the budget
digest does not confer on the Legislature, on any legislator, or on any other citizen, the ability
to require, as a matter of law, the expenditure of state funds for the narrower purpose set
forth in the budget digest. Not only is the executive office, officer, or agency free to choose
not to expend the money for the purpose stated in the budget digest, such entities are
similarly free to expend the appropriation for another purpose within the scope of the
appropriation, but distinct from the purpose set forth in the budget digest. This freedom
negates Petitioners' contention that the budget digest has the force and effect of law. Id.
Although this Court previously considered and rejected in Common Cause the argument that the budget digest process runs afoul of the separation of powers provision found in article V, section one of our constitution, Petitioners raise this issue again. 186 W.Va. at 540, 413 S.E.2d at 361. Petitioners rely on State ex rel. Barker v. Manchin, 167 W.Va. 155, 279 S.E.2d 622 (1981), in which we struck as unconstitutional provisions of our Administrative Procedures ActSee footnote 27 27 that empowered a legislative rule-making review committee to veto rules and regulations validly promulgated by administrative agencies pursuant to delegation of the legislature's rule-making authority. Id. at 178, 279 S.E.2d at 636. Based on the fact that only the Legislature is granted the authority to legislate, we held in Barker that the Legislature could not delegate to a committee the power to void or to amend administrative rules and regulations. Only through the legislature, as a whole, could such rules and regulations be acted upon. Id. at 156, 279 S.E.2d at 624, syl. pt. 2. While the budget digest process, at a quick glance, might cause some individuals to conclude that a constitutionally-prohibited delegation of duties is occurring with the preparation of the digest by a small group of legislators, this contention is easily disproved. Whereas constitutional infirmity resulted in Barker from the unlawful delegation to a legislative committee of the Legislature's power as a body to legislate, in the case before us, there is no comparable wrongful delegation of legislative power. This is because the budget digest process does not alter the lawful enactment, which is the budget bill. Common Cause, 186 W.Va. at 540, 413 S.E.2d at 361. As discussed above, the budget digest is only the legislative expression of how funds should be spent and not a mandate to spend state funds in any way contrary to the enacted budget bill. Unlike the legislative committee in Barker, the conferees committee involved in the budget digest process has no power to render ineffective provisions of the budget bill enacted into law by the whole Legislature. Consequently, there is no proscribed delegation of legislative authority. Because the budget digest simply and expressly sets forth the judgment of the conferees committee on what the Legislature intended and because that judgment expressly lacks the force and effect of law, there is no violation of the principles of Barker as a result of adhering to the legislatively-created budget digest process.
Having rejected Petitioners' constitutional claims rooted in the violation of the Modern Budget Amendment and finding it unnecessary to discuss at length the related concerns rooted in the separation of powers provision,See footnote 28 28 we proceed to consider whether the budget digest is being prepared consistent with the dictates of West Virginia Code § 4-1-18 and this Court's holdings in Common Cause.
Petitioners also assert that the requirements this Court imposed upon the Legislature through our decision in Common Cause are not being met. Specifically, Petitioners aver that the Legislature has failed to comply with the requirement that the budget digest should be supported by sufficient documents or audio recordings to memorialize the negotiations which result in statements of Legislative Intent included in the budget digest.
Despite Petitioners' claim to this effect, the record submitted to this Court does not
substantiate this averment. Accordingly, we have no basis from which to conclude that the
Legislature is failing to comply with the directives of this Court regarding record making and
With regard to Petitioners' claim that the open meetings law has been violated
in the process of preparing and publishing the budget digest, the record before us does not
justify a finding in that regard.See footnote 31
We do caution that care should be taken to ensure that no
such violations should occur in connection with the process of preparing the budget digest.
We now address a serious concern. Petitioners claim that matters extraneous to the deliberations of the finance committees or sub-committees and the conferees committee have been included in the digest under the rubric of Legislative Intent.See footnote 32 32 From the record in this case, we take notice of a practice that appears to go beyond the intent underlying West Virginia Code § 4-1-18. The practice to which we refer is the inclusion in the budget digest of items under the heading of Legislative Intent that were not the subject of consideration by the respective legislative committees or the conferees committee during the legislative session and at least contemporaneous with the final legislative enactment of the budget bill. Specifically, the record documents that subsequent to the legislative enactment of the budget bill legislators have been permitted to specify pet projects in their respective districts, ranked by preferences of one to ten, which might be included in the budget digest despite the fact that the legislative committees or conferees committee did not consider these specific requests prior to the final legislative enactment of the budget bill. West Virginia Code § 4-1-18 envisions the inclusion in the budget digest of detailed information similar to that included in the budget document submitted to the Legislature by the governor but including amendments of legislative committees, and as finally enacted by the Legislature. W.Va. Code § 4-1-18 (emphasis supplied). Based on this statutory language, we hold that a fair reading of West Virginia Code § 4-1-18, contemplates and requires that the material contained in the budget digest under the heading Legislative Intent must have been the subject of discussion, debate, and decision prior to final legislative enactment of the budget bill, either within the legislative committees or sub- committees of the respective houses to which the budget bill, or parts of it, have been committed, formally or informally, or within the conferees committee.See footnote 33 33
We understand that the actual budget digest will be prepared, with the help of staff, after the extreme pressures of the legislative session shall have passed. See Common Cause, 186 W.Va. at 543, 413 S.E.2d at 364. The continued approval of the budget digest process will be better assured if care is taken to record in one acceptable fashion or another, the discussion, debate, and decision which substantiates the inclusion of an item in the budget digest and that such discussion, debate, and decision occurred prior to the final enactment of the budget bill. See Common Cause, 186 W.Va. at 542, 413 S.E.2d at 363. Only through careful and deliberate record making can the use of the budget digest process continue to be viewed as both legitimate and lawful.See footnote 34 34
In this Court's considered opinion, it would be prudent for the conferees committee to take care to both record and maintain documentation that demonstrates that the requirements set forth herein are being met. We are not unmindful of Petitioners' suggestion that the temptation for abuse of the digest process appears borne out by the fact that those in positions of particular responsibility and power in either house may be steering significant funding towards projects or interests that benefit their constituents through the budget digest.
Notwithstanding the counter arguments that Respondents raise concerning the inherent nature
of power within the legislative process, these indications of favoritism expressly validate the
inquiries necessitated by the petition brought herein.
Our holding today, requiring that the
contents of the budget digest must have been the subject of discussion, debate, and decision
prior to final legislative enactment of the budget bill, should be especially and faithfully
observed with respect to budget digest expressions of legislative intent recommending
expenditures in specific localities or for obviously local projects.See footnote 35
Petitioners performed a valid and important service to this state through their
vigilant efforts to investigate the practices related to the budget digest process. While the
Legislature and the Executive appear to view the budget digest process as both a necessary
and functional method of performing their respective duties relative to the budget, substantial
care must be taken to adhere to the protections first announced in Common Cause upon
which we expand today. Only through such adherence can the budget digest practice
continue to be upheld.
Included in the classification of appropriations section of the general provisions
title of the budget bills enacted in 1998, 1999, and 2000See footnote 37
is the following proviso:
And provided further, That upon written request of the speaker of the house of delegates, the auditor shall transfer within the general revenue fund amounts from the total appropriations of the house of delegates to other agencies, boards or departments. . . .
Pursuant to that purported authority, the speaker of the house requested, and the auditor did effect a transfer of $1,250,000 in 1998, and $600,000 in 1999, from the House of Delegates' appropriation to the governor's civil contingent fund. The funds which were the subject of these transfers were appropriated to the House of Delegates exclusively for the expenses of that body, under the special protections afforded legislative appropriations by the Constitution. We note that the transfers at issue here have been accomplished and the monies expended by the governor.
This Court takes notice of the passage and approval by the governorSee footnote 38
Enrolled House Bill 2385, which took effect upon its passage on February 23, 2001,
expressly disavowing the authority of the auditor to make such transfers in the future at the
request of officers of either house of the Legislature, either by the action of an officer of such
house or by any means other than a budget bill or supplementary appropriation. In light of
the exercise by the Legislature and governor of their power to make and approve law in this
regard, prohibiting such transfers, we consider the issue moot until and unless such authority
is again asserted. Based on the passage of House Bill 2385, we determine that the practice
of transferring funds from a legislative expense account to an executive department account
by means other than a budget bill or supplementary appropriation requires no further action
by this Court.
Based on the foregoing, we grant a moulded writ of mandamus which requires the Legislature to only include as part of the budget digest information that has been the subject of discussion, debate, and decision prior to final legislative enactment of the budget bill. Based on our decision to apply the holding herein on a prospective basis only, w e deny Petitioners' request for an award of attorneys fees.See footnote 39 39 The Clerk of the Court is hereby directed to issue the mandate for this case forthwith.
Writ refused in part and granted as moulded.
It is the intent of the Legislature that from the Capital Outlay and
Equipment line-item above, one million dollars be allocated to the Marshall
University School of Medicine and one million be allocated to the West
Virginia University School of Health Sciences-Charleston Division.
It is the intent of the Legislature that from the line item for the School of Osteopathic Medicine, an amount up to $260,000 shall be expended to provide assistance to those primary health training sites in West Virginia which provide doctor of osteopathy student training to the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine.
It is the intent of the Legislature that from the Correctional Telemedicine Project line-item above, funds be divided among West Virginia University School of Medicine, West Virginia University School of Medicine - Charleston Division, and the Marshall University School of Medicine in order to develop a partnership between these three institutions and the West Virginia State Prison System, the West Virginia Regional Jail System, and the West Virginia Juvenile Detention System in order to develop a pilot project with the purpose of providing health care for inmates through telemedicine technology. Members of this partnership from the University System of West Virginia institutions and the three correctional agencies shall meet regularly to share progress reports. The Vice-Chancellor of Health Sciences, et. al., shall report to Legislature on the current status of this project in December 1999.