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Email: Chapter 5, Article 20, Section 1

§5-20-1. Legislative findings, purposes and intent.

The Legislature hereby finds and declares:

(a) That on April 27, 1978, at Willow Island, in Pleasants County, West Virginia, a cooling tower then under construction collapsed, resulting in the loss of a great many lives;

(b) That every effort should be made to prevent the repetition of any similar tragic occurrence or incident in the future and, toward that end, it is proper and desirable that a complete, detailed and thorough investigation into the reasons for and causes of the collapse of such cooling tower be made; which investigation should be independent of and free from any litigation which has been or may be instituted with respect to such collapse;

(c) That toward this end, the Governor, by executive order No. 15-78, dated October 6, 1978, created and established the Governor's commission on Willow Island, comprised of nine members, consisting of and generally representative of the public and of various interests, bodies, groups and organizations as specified in subsection (b) of this section;

(d) That in furtherance of the intent and purposes of the aforesaid executive order it is the intent of the Legislature to continue the Governor's commission on Willow Island and to expand upon its powers, duties and responsibilities in order to facilitate its investigative purposes and assure the orderly execution of its functions and duties;

(e) That it recognizes that the provisions of section 1, article V of the Constitution of West Virginia prohibit any person from exercising the powers of more than one branch or department of government at the same time; however, it is the express purpose, intent and finding of the Legislature that those members of the commission who are members of the Legislature are acting as members of the Legislature while serving on the commission and in the furtherance of the Legislature's inherent right and power to investigate and inquire into and report on those matters which are legitimately within its powers, and that since the commission's role and duties are investigative and reportive in nature, the service upon the commission by its legislative members and the service of its chairman are not violative of nor inimical to the Constitutional mandate with respect to the separation of governmental powers.