Sunday's special session of the West Virginia Legislature lasted about four hours, allowing lawmakers to bring the state's child-support enforcement laws into compliance with federal statutes. Unfortunately, lawmakers didn't stop there.
Instead, after some spirited negotiations, they agreed to increase the borrowing authority of the Regional Jail and Correctional Facility Authority from the current $80 million limit to $137 million. We're concerned because we're not so sure the authority has any idea of how the money's being spent.
Our concern was raised back in February, when Deputy Director Frank Shumaker came to a legislative oversight committee asking that the borrowing limit be upped by $20 million. Asked why the authority needed extra money, he said it was because the estimated cost of some projects had doubled in a year's time. For example, the proposed cost for the Eastern Regional Jail in Berkeley County went from $7.8 million to $13 million in that time.