Tim Armstead

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

The West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals has dismissed cases seeking to challenge appointments to -- and a special election campaign for -- the high court. Arguments were heard Monday and an order was issued hours later in matters involving Congressman Evan Jenkins and former House Speaker Tim Armstead.

Office of Gov. Jim Justice

A candidate for the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals has filed suit to remove another candidate from the ballot and seeks to prohibit the recent temporary appointments of two justices to the bench of the state’s high court.

Charleston attorney William Schwartz has filed a writ of mandamus and a writ of prohibition with the West Virginia Supreme Court to have Congressman Evan Jenkins' name removed from the November ballot in his bid for a seat on the bench and stop his appointment. The filing also argues that former House Speaker Tim Armstead’s appointment is unconstitutional.

Office of Gov. Jim Justice

Gov. Jim Justice appointed West Virginia House Speaker Tim Armstead and Congressman Evan Jenkins to the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals.

The appointments will last until a November special election to fill the remainder of the terms and follow controversy that has surrounded the state’s high court, leading to impeachments, resignations and federal charges.

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.

Daniel W. Greear shakes hands with Gov. Jim Justice during a press conference on July 2, 2018.
WV Governor's Office

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice has appointed Daniel W. Greear to a vacant judicial position.

Greear fills a vacancy in the 13th Judicial Circuit Court created when Judge James Stucky retired. Greear most recently served as chief of staff for House of Delegates Speaker Tim Armstead. He lives in Kanawha County with his wife and two sons.

On The Legislature Today, House Speaker Tim Armstead has announced he will step down from the West Virginia House of Delegates in 2019, and is considering a run for the state Supreme Court in 2020.

We also bring you another reporter roundtable with host Andrea Lannom, Brad McElhinny of MetroNews, and Jake Zuckerman of the Charleston Gazette-Mail to chat about what’s happened at the statehouse this week and what’s to come.

Tim Armstead
Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

West Virginia House Speaker Tim Armstead announced he will step down from his work in the Legislature in 2019 and could be looking to sit on the West Virginia Supreme Court.

In a statement from the West Virginia Republican Party, chairwoman Melody Potter said Armstead has been a leader for the Republican party as both the speaker of the House and as the former-minority leader.

On The Legislature Today, House Speaker Tim Armstead and Senate President Mitch Carmichael say their chambers are still diligently working on plans to balance the 2018 budget, but the $497 million gap estimated by the Governor's Office for the coming fiscal year, Carmichael calls it a number inflated by Gov. Jim Justice's want to increase spending. 

Carmichael discusses the Senate's push to "hold the line" on spending while still providing vital government services. 

Armstead says while he would like approve a budget in a bi-partisan fashion, he believes Republican members of his chamber are ready to make the tough decisions when it comes to downsizing government, which likely means laying off state workers. 

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice accepts a ball cap from Fairmont State University President Maria Rose after giving a speech during a stop on his Save Our State Tour on Thursday, March 3, 2017, at FSU.
Jesse Wright / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Governor Jim Justice made a stop at Fairmont State University on Thursday as part of his Save Our State tour, a statewide tour to promote his budget plan. 

At the Legislature today, it's been less than a week since Gov. Jim Justice presented his plan to lawmakers to close a $497 million budget gap for the upcoming fiscal year.

House Speaker Tim Armstead shares his views on the governor's plan and the plan Legislative leaders are beginning to put together.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

The West Virginia House and Senate met for the first day of the 2017 regular state Legislative session Wednesday.

 

The first official day of the 83rd West Virginia Legislative session began as House Speaker Tim Armstead and Senate President Mitch Carmichael gaveled in Wednesday.

 

 


Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

The leader of West Virginia's Senate says lawmakers will consider overhauling the state's tax structure this year, including a possible shift from an income tax to a consumption tax.

Senate President Mitch Carmichael says he has appointed a special committee to examine possible revisions with its report expected in about two weeks.

Tim Armstead
Ashton Marra / WV Public Broadcasting

The leader of West Virginia's House of Delegates says state government cuts are on the agenda for the legislative session starting next week.

Speaker Tim Armstead says a projected budget deficit up to $600 million next year is on everyone's minds.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Speaker Tim Armstead says the Republican leadership has cut the House of Delegates staff over the past two years, saving more than $367,000 on its annual payroll.

The Kanawha County Republican says that in 2014, before a Republican majority took control of the chamber, the House had 49 full-time staff, 68 per diem employees and an annual payroll of $3.1 million.

Wyatt Greene

  Entering an election year, state officials aren't thrilled by suggestions to raise taxes, tolls and fees for roads.

As federal money keeps fizzling, some aren't dismissing the idea.

West Virginia's problems appear to be about upkeep, not necessarily congestion.

U.S. Census data from 2013 shows Charleston and Huntington metro areas had commute times about two minutes lower than the national average, almost 26 minutes. The Martinsburg-Hagerstown, Maryland, area exceeds the average by four minutes but includes Washington commuters.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

In some counties in the state, deaths from heroin overdoses have tripled in the past three years, drawing the attention of both lawmakers and law enforcement looking for ways to combat the problem.

At the statehouse, lawmakers approved the Opioid Antagonist Act during the 2015 Legislative session. The bill expands access to the overdose reversing drug Naloxone, allowing police officers to carry it and also family members and friends of addicts to seek a prescription for the medication.

Naloxone, if followed by more intense medical treatment, can save a person’s life giving them a second chance, according to Joseph Garcia, Gov. Tomblin’s legislative affairs director. Tomblin backed the bill.

But members of both the House and Senate leadership say the new law alone will not decrease the number of heroin overdose fatalities. Senate Majority Leader Mitch Carmichael said that ‘more’ should include a focus on rehabilitative services and a program to drug test those on public assistance.

Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

In a historic first day to the 82nd Legislative Session, Republicans are now the majority in the House, and Republican Delegate, Tim Armstead was elected as House Speaker.

Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

With the anticipation of Governor Tomblin’s State of the State address tonight, Senate President, Bill Cole and incoming House Speaker, Tim Armstead  shared what they hope to hear in the Governor’s speech.