W.Va. lawmakers to consider succession changes

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - West Virginia voters may be asked to create the office of lieutenant governor to handle future vacancies in the state's top executive post.

A House-Senate judiciary subcommittee endorsed a draft Monday proposing that amendment to the state constitution.

A second measure would address replacing disabled officeholders.

The Legislature's session starts Wednesday. Two-thirds of the House and Senate must each approve the lieutenant governor proposal before it can go on the general election ballot.

Candidates for this new office and for governor would run on joint tickets. The lieutenant governor would then serve as a Cabinet secretary or agency chief until needed.

The disability proposal would have the state's three medical school deans evaluate cases where a statewide executive branch officeholder appears unable to serve, such as by illness or injury.

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