The West Virginia Senate passed two measures Thursday dealing with the state's judicial branch. The chamber passed a bill that would create an intermediate appellate court system and also adopted a resolution that would put the judicial branch's budget in the hands of the Legislature.
Senate Bill 341 would create positions for six judges to be split between two districts -- one in the northern part of the state and another in the southern. Judges would be appointed by the governor and confirmed by the state Senate, with terms lasting six years. Each position would have a salary of $130,000 and would become a part of the judicial branch's budget.
The bill passed on 23-11 vote. The measure now heads to the House of Delegates for consideration.
Senate Joint Resolution 3 would give the Legislature the authority to reduce items in the budget related to the judiciary. While discussion of the issue has occurred in previous legislative sessions, the passage of the resolution follows reports late last year of spending by the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals.
The resolution, adopted on a 31-0 vote, now heads to the House of Delegates where it would need a two-thirds majority to make its way on to the November ballot as a constitutional amendment.