State Chamber boss urges House to pass intermediate court bill

By Chris Dickerson | Mar 10, 2011


CHARLESTON -- The president of the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce has sent a letter to members asking them to pass the bill to create an intermediate appellate court.

Steve Roberts' letter dated Thursday noted that acting Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin issued a statement Wednesday urging them to pass SB 307.

"Yet you, as a member of the House of Delegates, have not been provided the opportunity to examine, discuss and vote on this key legislation," Roberts wrote.

He said some delegates have wondered to him why the House isn't highly regarded by state business leaders.

"Some members of the House are dismayed that they are viewed as anti-jobs by various elements of West Virginia's business community," he wrote. "The recent failure of House leaders to even consider (SB 307) helps me illustrate and explain this point of view. This bill overwhelmingly passed the Senate with strong bi-partisan support. ....

"Speaker (Rick) Thompson came to the West Virginia Chamber and told us he supported creating this court. The House version of the bill creating this court had numerous sponsors from leadership including the Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Judiciary Committee."

Roberts also noted a recent state Chamber poll that found support for the intermediate court. He also mentioned two independent commissions, one headed by former U.S. Senator Carte Goodwin, recommended the establishment of an intermediate appellate court.

"To say we as the business community are disappointed by this lack of action is an understatement," Roberts wrote. "I urge you to approach your elected House leaders and ask them to reconsider."

Roberts knows the legislative session is in its final days, and knows the delegates are busy.

"The vast majority of House members are people of good will who want what is best for our state's people," he wrote. "SB 307 provides such an opportunity. I urge you to find the means to take up and pass this much needed, widely supported legislation."

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