House Speaker Tim Armstead

Tim Armstead.
Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

West Virginia’s Republican House speaker resigned Tuesday to run for a vacancy on the state Supreme Court, fueling accusations by Democrats that an unprecedented move to impeach state Supreme Court justices represents a power grab by GOP lawmakers.

Speaker Tim Armstead disclosed his plans on Twitter. Though the secretary of state’s office has said he’s not required to resign, Armstead said he was doing so to make sure his candidacy is above question.

House lawmakers recently impeached four of the court’s five justices, prompting one to resign. All four were ordered Tuesday to appear in the Senate on Sept. 11 to answer accusations against them. The impeachment probe was sparked by questions involving more than $3 million in renovations to the justices’ offices and expanded to broader accusations of corruption, incompetence and neglect of duty.

Armstead had recused himself from the House debate over impeachment because he had previously expressed interest in serving on the court. More recently, he and U.S. Rep. Evan Jenkins, a Republican who is not seeking re-election and lost in his bid for the U.S. Senate this spring, both applied to be considered for temporary appointments to the Supreme Court by Gov. Jim Justice. Those appointments would last until the November election is certified.

Jenkins has declared himself a candidate for a different seat on the court in the November election, which is officially nonpartisan.

The West Virginia Democratic Party said on Twitter of Armstead’s resignation, “No surprise here, more self-serving moves for political gain and abandoning the people of West Virginia in his district.”

In a statement announcing his resignation, Armstead said he intends “to spend as much time as possible meeting West Virginians and earning their trust and their votes to represent them on their Supreme Court of Appeals.”

Armstead filed by Tuesday’s deadline to run in the nonpartisan race for the vacancy created last month when Menis Ketchum retired and agreed to plead guilty to wire fraud related to his personal use of a state vehicle and fuel.

Robin Davis stepped down from the court Aug. 14 after lawmakers voted to impeach her and justices Allen Loughry, Margaret Workman and Beth Walker.

Davis and at least one Democratic lawmaker have accused the Republican-led legislature of turning what they said was a legitimate pursuit of charges against Loughry into a blatant attempt to take over the court. Democratic Delegate Barbara Evans Fleischauer of Monongalia County has called impeaching the other justices “a power grab ... and using the impeachment process to take over another branch of government.”

Jenkins and six other candidates have filed to run for Davis’ seat in November. Armstead and nine other candidates have filed to run for the seat Ketchum vacated.

Loughry faces six charges related to accusations of spending $363,000 on office renovations, taking home a $42,000 antique desk owned by the state, and lying to a House committee. Loughry, Walker and Workman all face charges of abusing authority by failing to control office expenses and not maintaining policies about the use of state vehicles, office computers at home and other matters.

Workman faces two separate impeachment articles related to accusations that she allowed senior status judges to be paid higher wages than are allowed.

Armstead was appointed to a House seat from Kanawha County in 1998 to fill a vacancy and was elected later that year. He served as House minority leader and was named speaker in December 2014 after Republicans gained majority control of both the House and Senate for the first time in eight decades.

Perry Bennet / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Members of the House are standing their ground when it comes to tax reform. At least, that’s what House Speaker Tim Armstead said Friday after a vote in the chamber on its own version of a revenue bill.

The bill does not include any of the changes to the personal income tax Senate Republicans and Gov. Jim Justice have agreed to, but Armstead said that doesn’t mean his chamber isn’t still willing to work on a compromise.

Perry Bennet / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Senate President Mitch Carmichael believes lawmakers are getting close to a budget deal after taking a 10-day recess from the special budget session called by Gov. Jim Justice at the beginning of the month.

The Legislature returned to session May 4 for two days, but when they were unable to reach a compromise, recessed and will return Monday, May 15.

Perry Bennet / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Lawmakers are postponing work on the 2018 state budget another week after the House of Delegates voted to kill a tax reform measure presented by members of the Senate and Gov. Jim Justice.

The Senate voted 32 to 1 Friday afternoon in favor of the tax reform bill that was then killed in a 59 to 34 vote in the House shortly after.

Flood
Kara Lofton / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On June 23, 2016, West Virginia experienced some of the worst flooding in the state’s storied history. During the past 52 years, 282 West Virginians have died in floods, including the 23 who perished last summer after historic water levels led to a federal disaster declaration in 12 counties.

Nine months later, communities are still recovering from the high water. 

Will Price / West Virginia Legislative Photography

While Republican legislative leaders haven’t unveiled an actual bill, they have unveiled a more detailed plan for balancing the state’s budget. Senate President Mitch Carmichael and House Speaker Tim Armstead announced those plans during a press conference Monday

The plan is based on a premise Carmichael calls "novel" in state government: spending only the amount of money the state actually has. 

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin during his farewell address Wednesday in the House of Delegates chamber.
Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

For the past six years each January, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin has returned to the chamber where he began his political career to address members of the Legislature, Board of Public Works, Justices of the Supreme Court and citizens of the state of West Virginia.

Martin Valent/Perry Bennet / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Optimism. That’s the key to moving the state of West Virginia forward, according the newly elected Senate President and House Speaker.

The 83rd Legislature gaveled in for the first time Wednesday to elect chamber leaders and take their oaths of office, hearing for the first time as a body from the men who will lead them through the upcoming Legislative session.

Martin Valent/Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

The West Virginia Senate will have a new leader come February, but it appears legislative priorities on both sides of the Capitol rotunda will remain the same. 

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

A new committee of West Virginia lawmakers will meet at the Capitol Monday to focus on ways  to reduce the size of state government.

Senate President Bill Cole and House Speaker Tim Armstead announced the creation of the Government Accountability, Transparency and Efficiency Committee last week, calling it GATE for short. 

Tim Armstead.
Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

House Speaker Tim Armstead has weighed in on a tweet by a member of the House of Delegates that said Hillary Clinton should be publically executed on the Washington Mall.

The tweet by Berkeley County Delegate Michael Folk caused his employer, United Airlines, to suspend him from flying aircraft while it investigates.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

West Virginia House Speaker Tim Armstead is urging state lawmakers to revisit a more than decade-old flood protection plan to find ways to avoid a repeat of the disaster that killed at least 23 people last month.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports Armstead released a statement Tuesday that he wants a "comprehensive review" of the plan to be a focus of study in interim legislative committee meetings.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Budget negotiations are inching closer to a solution for both the 2016 and 2017 budget years according to House Speaker Tim Armstead.

Legislative leaders and Gov. Tomblin began negotiating a budget resolution in March for the 2017 fiscal year that begins July 1.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Over the next two days, ten members of the legislature will participate in a conference committee looking to write a balanced budget for 2017 - the fiscal year that begins in July. But Democrats in the House of Delegates are criticizing the makeup of that committee.

The Legislature Today
West Virginia Public Broadcasting


The Finance Committees in both chambers have approved their versions of the bill, and the Senate as a whole will vote on the budget tomorrow, but it will look very different from the one taken up in the House.

 

Speaker Tim Armstead says his chamber still has a reasonable budget before them, despite the lack of any revenue increasing measures.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

On the House floor Friday, Delegates were set to consider a bill recently approved by the Senate - a bill to help balance the 2016 budget. Senate Bill 364 was on second reading until members of the GOP majority made a tactical move to block a Democratic amendment.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

The House Government Organization Committee approved a bill Wednesday that would repeal the state’s prevailing wage - the hourly wage rate and benefits workers are paid on state construction projects. The bill hasn’t had its first reading on the floor yet, but House Democrats are still trying to slow it down.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, House Speaker Tim Armstead defends the repeal of the prevailing wage and the controversial right-to-work bill and says both measures will bring new business to West Virginia.

On the latest episode of The Legislature Today, Speaker Tim Armstead discusses  two bills union members across the state are speaking out against: Right-to-Work and a repeal of the state's prevailing wage. Both are measures the Republican supports.  

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

While Governor Earl Ray Tomblin's legislative proposals this session focus largely on the budget, it will be legislators who make the final decisions on what gets approved.  And members of both the House and the Senate have some pretty big issues they want brought to the table.

West Virginia Legislature

West Virginia’s Senate President Bill Cole and House Speaker Tim Armstead have sent a letter to two national organizations rescinding the state’s 2009 agreement over the Common Core standards.

Robb Kendrick / National Geographic

West Virginia lawmakers and other state officials are responding to the filing of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power plan.

Flickr / davidwilson1949

The West Virginia Joint Committee on Government and Finance says WorkForce West Virginia has failed to turn over more than 50 emails and other important documents, including ones that show efforts from outside interests to influence the development of the prevailing wage rate methodology.

Martin Valent / West Virginia Legislative Photography

The state’s top Republicans are rallying around the only Republican candidate who has announced intentions to run for Governor, Senate President Bill Cole.

Republican House Speaker Tim Armstead announced his endorsement of Cole Friday, calling him a bold and decisive leader.

Earlier this week, newly elected Republican Congressman Evan Jenkins released his official endorsement of the Senator.

Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

  A Republican-led legislative panel has started discussing possible changes to West Virginia's tax code.

The Joint Select Committee on Tax Reform gathered for the first time during interim meetings Monday.

Senate President Bill Cole and House Speaker Tim Armstead want more study and tweaks to state taxes.

Lawmakers haven't discussed many specifics yet.

Flickr / davidwilson1949

In their first shot at leading the Legislature since the 1930s, Republicans considered ideas that Democrats hadn't given much play.

They suggested allowing charter schools, repealing Common Core educational standards, drug testing welfare recipients and introducing a right-to-work law.

Perry Bennett / WV Legislative Photography

A special joint-session of the legislature was held in the House chamber Friday in response to the recent crises caused from this week’s storm. Officials wanted to explain Governor Tomblin’s State of Emergency declaration and to update lawmakers about current conditions and what they can tell their constituents affected by the storm.

Daniel Walker / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

At the end of every floor session, senators and delegates are allowed to give remarks to the entire body.  In the House Thursday, these remarks led to extended debate about jobs in the north and the lack of them in the south; about drug addiction and education, and the debate lasted for nearly an hour.

As U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin considers a 2016 return bid for governor, Republicans hope to block him from handpicking his Senate successor for two years.

If he reclaims his old job, the Democrat will have served enough of his Senate term that he, as new governor, could name the next senator through 2018.

With majorities in the House and Senate for the first time in more than eight decades, Republicans can stymie Manchin's ability to name a potential replacement.

Mine Accident Victims and Their Families Speak Out

Jan 22, 2015
West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Coming up on West Virginia Morning, Possible changes to the rules concerning lawsuits over certain workplace injuries in West Virginia’s coal industry are being challenged by coal mining accident victims and their families.

Pages