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Palumbo: Legislative session could be quiet in the legal field

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It could be a quiet legislative session for the legal field.

Sen. Corey Palumbo, D-Kanawha, said besides certain groups' push for an intermediate court, there is not too much on the radar.  

"There are some folks out there who want an intermediate appellate court," he said. "At this point in time, most people are thinking to give it a little more time for the state Supreme Court's appellate rules to play out before pushing forward on things like that."

Campaign finance could be a topic during this session. According to a report from The Associated Press, the State Election Commission may ask the Legislature to make the state Supreme Court's public finance pilot program permanent.

West Virginia Supreme Court Justice Allen Loughry was the only candidate who participated in the public finance pilot program.

He had filed a petition with the court to force the State Election Commission to release public funds to his campaign, however justices ultimately ruled the provision unconstitutional because it placed a "substantial burden on privately funded candidates' free speech rights."

They did, however, rule Loughry could seek campaign contributions for his candidacy.

"I think it was a successful pilot program," Palumbo said. "The candidate availed himself of that as successful and it was a candidate who potentially may not have run. I think the point is that if you are able to open it up to more people and it's also a good thing that it's in a judicial spot, there can be no assertion or implication that there was any influence there."

In the past few years, third party bad faith, medical malpractice reform, the addition of a business court and judges pensions were just a few of the big issues.

This could be a quiet year, comparatively.

 "But the session hasn't started yet," Palumbo said. "Obviously, things will come up this session and 30 days from now, I may have a totally different answer."