Committee OKs Law Institute reports

By The West Virginia Record | Apr 17, 2006

CHARLESTON – Last time West Virginia Law Institute president Ellen Cappellanti asked legislators for a research project, they gave her nothing.

CHARLESTON – Last time West Virginia Law Institute president Ellen Cappellanti asked legislators for a research project, they gave her nothing.

This time she asked for one and they gave her two.

The joint committee on government and finance on April 11 authorized reports on a possible central office for administrative law judges and on criminal sentencing.

In her last visit with the committee, her proposal for research on obsolete laws had stirred no interest.

The institute then prepared a $22,000 proposal for a report on pulling administrative law judges out of state agencies and gathering them into a single office.

Cappellanti took the proposal to the committee and said the money would pay for time of three law students and a faculty member.

Rep. Harold Michael asked if the institute would do two reports for less than $44,000.

He said he did not want a report on obsolete laws. He said he wanted one on sentencing.

Institute director Robert Lathrop said that with summer coming, it would be hard to find faculty to jump in.

Michael asked if he needed a contract before the committee's next meeting.

Lathrop said, "I have to find out who's around."

Committee members authorized their chairs, Michael and Senate President Earl Ray Tomblin, to approve a contract.

The Legislature established the institute in 1989 to improve laws, to identify defects in laws, and to remove obsolete laws, according to Cappellanti.

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