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West Virginia House Bill poses threat to tours and events at state penitentiary

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Tours and events could be discontinued at the West Virginia State Penitentiary. It all rests on House Bill 43-38.

The bill has been reviewed in the House Judiciary Committee and is now in the House Finance Committee.

It has a section that states "all current leases for or involving the West Virginia Penitentiary are hereby abolished immediately."

The Moundsville Economic Development Council secured a lease on the facility through 2029 and have turned it into a popular tourist attraction for years.

They generate thousands of dollars. If this bill passes, their lease could be severed this summer.

Delegates Mike Ferro and Joe Canestraro are trying to stop that.

"I just think it would be a horrible thing to shut that down, plus they still have a lease. That's the upsetting thing right there, that they were given a 25-year lease and this particular bill abolishes the lease,” Ferro said. “If that's legal or not, we're going to find that out."

A positive: the bill would also reduce regional jail costs by consolidating the Division of Corrections, Regional Jail Authority and Department of Juvenile Services.

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