W.Va. Lawmakers OK Changes To Judicial Special Elections

Craig Blair - Senate - March 8 2022.jpg

Updated on March 9, 2022 at 1 p.m.

A bill that would allow a pending West Virginia Supreme Court appointee to remain on the bench has passed the Legislature.

The Senate approved the bill Tuesday. The House of Delegates, which passed the bill last month, agreed Wednesday to a technical change made by the Senate. The bill is in response to the February resignation of Justice Evan Jenkins, who returned to private law practice.

Some lawmakers said they favored the bill because it would allow Jenkins’ successor to serve longer than a short stint until a special election in November. A judicial commission will recommend candidates to Republican Gov. Jim Justice to be appointed to replace Jenkins, whose term ends in 2024.

Current state law triggers a special election when an elected judge or magistrate who resigns had at least two years remaining in their term. The bill would extend that period to at least three years.