Yesterday, members of the Senate debated SB275, which would create an Intermediate Court of Appeals. Sen. Charles S. Trump, R-Morgan, presented the bill and expressed his support.
Several senators rose in opposition to the bill, many expressing that the creation of the Intermediate Court of Appeals was unnecessary, or that other issues should be prioritized and receive more funding in its place.
Sen. Mike Woelfel, D-Cabell, spoke against the bill, stating that this was a misuse of this year’s budget, and was too expensive to consider a priority.
Sen. Mike Romano, D-Harrison, also expressed concerns about the cost of the potential Intermediate Court system, asking the Senate to consider the accumulation of funds that would be directed to this court over the years. Romano also argued that the state Supreme Court of Appeals did not need this addition to the court system, and that there has been at least one instance where an Intermediate Court was deemed unnecessary and removed in one state.
Sen. Ryan Weld, R-Brooke, rose in support of the bill, countering that the expected cost of the Intermediate Court of Appeals was expected to drop significantly in the coming years. He also argued that the Intermediate Court was necessary and would represent a larger population than the Intermediate Courts that have been removed.
Trump closed debate by stating that the Supreme Court of Appeals is busier now than it has ever been. Trump said that the cost of the Intermediate Court of Appeals is reasonable and well worth the results. He said that he believes the Intermediate Courts would ensure that all civic cases are heard, and this would improve the justice system in West Virginia.
The bill passed 18-14 and will advance to the House for further consideration.