25 February 2010

Lawmakers Advancing Changes to W.Va. Courts

The Associated Press highlights several items moving through the Legislature that would alter West Virginia's judicial branch.

"The House of Delegates unanimously passed one bill Wednesday that would allow for special courts in the state's larger judicial circuits to handle complicated business disputes," the article said. "Speaker Richard Thompson has championed the concept as attractive to employers."

Another measure, advanced unanimously by the Senate, "would separate Supreme Court races when more than one seat is on that year's ballot," AP reports.

The House has also passed Gov. Joe Manchin's proposal for a "Judicial Vacancy Advisory Commission," the article said, while its Judiciary Committee has endorsed his bid for publicly financed Supreme Court candidates.

But in one of the closest votes so far this session, by 61-37 the House sent the Senate a bill that would eventually require county magistrates to have college degrees, the article said.

AP notes the sometimes sharp criticism of that measure during the floor debate. Others with coverage of that include The Charleston Gazette, the Charleston Daily Mail, and MetroNews (with audio).

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