Constitutional amendment on court budget a step closer to voters

By Chris Dickerson | Mar 9, 2018

CHARLESTON — West Virginia voters will decide if the state Legislature should have greater control over the state Supreme Court's budget.

The House of Delegates passed Senate Joint Resolution 3 on March 9 on a 93-1 vote. The state Senate already had passed a similar version of the measure by a 31-0, but will have to vote on the House version before it's a done deal. It would be on the ballot in November.

The biggest change in the proposed state Constitutional amendment would place a 10 percent limit on what the Legislature could cut from the judicial budget unless there is a two-thirds majority vote.

Several state lawmakers and other leaders have suggested the Constitutional amendment in the wake of expenditures at the state Supreme Court.

In November, Bass first detailed other state Supreme Court expenditures. Since 2009, court offices have undergone extensive renovations. The original price tag was about $900,000 for the first round of renovations. But it since has grown to more than $3.7 million and include more areas of renovations. The expenditures that have drawn the most focus are a $32,000 sectional couch in former Chief Justice Allen Loughry's office, a $7,500 wooden inlay of the state in Loughry's office and $28,000 worth of rugs in Justice Robin Jean Davis's office.

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