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 Executive Orders and Proclamations

 

 Executive Orders

The West Virginia Constitution gives the Governor executive power, which is implemented in certain situations through executive orders. Those orders have the force of law.  However, the Governor may not use this authority to overturn or substitute for the legislative process.  Also, the courts may review executive orders to determine whether they are constitutional.  This is the provision of the West Virginia Constitution which creates this authority.  

Article VII. Section 5. "The chief executive power shall be vested in the governor, who shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed."

The text of each executive order, or in some early cases a summary of the order, is entered in the Executive Journal, a large set of bound volumes documenting the actions of every governor since 1863.  In the near future, the orders indexed in the on-line database will be imaged and available to view on this site.

Go to "Executive Orders and Proclamations in West Virginia: A Historical Perspective" for more information.

Proclamations

Although the distinction is not made in the West Virginia Constitution or laws, proclamations fall into two major categories.  The term "official proclamations" is used to describe proclamations that put an official action into effect or announce something as official.  These proclamations may formally announce the official results of an election, call a special session of the Legislature, declare a state of emergency, approve a judicial retirement, or other official notice. The most recent official proclamations will be included in the executive orders database.

The term "ceremonial proclamations" is used to describe proclamations issued to bring attention or recognition to a person, group or cause.  Through a proclamation, the Governor may designate a day, week or month for commemoration.  These documents are not indexed in a database, but are entered in the Executive Journal.

Go to "Executive Orders and Proclamations in West Virginia: A Historical Perspective" for more information.

Requesting Information and Copies of Executive Orders and Proclamations

The Secretary of State can provide a copy of the text of executive orders and pardons as it is entered in the Executive Journal for any year in the history of the state.  Actual original executive orders issued since 1965 are on file within the office, and older orders are maintained at West Virginia Archives and History.  Proclamations issued since 1991 are on file within the office, those from 1966 to 1990 can be requested from our off-site archives, and those issued before 1966 are maintained at West Virginia Archives and History.  For older records, the approximate date and subject matter must be specified.  Plain copies or certified copies of available documents may be ordered as described below.

To request information by e-mail about an executive order or proclamation, click the icon.  Requests which require an extensive search of older records may be subject to search fees.   Click here to request information by email about an executive order or proclamation

 

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