West Virginia

West Virginia Session Roundup

While not under the fiscal pressures of most states due to rising prices for minerals, the 60 day session proved too fleeting, and the legislature and governor had to use two brief special sessions to complete their work. They did manage to pass some promising election reforms and a solar tax credit, but big reforms of health care didn't materialize and environmental policy moved backward on a couple fronts.

Judge Ruling in Favor of Big Contributor Ruled Illegal by U.S. Supreme Court

When a coal company spent $3 million to help elect the Chief Justice of the West Virginia Supreme Court and that Chief Justice turned around and overturned a $50 million jury judgment against the company, many commentators thought it stunk of corruption and that the judge should have recused himself from the case.

Notable in Election News

Early Voting Shows Big Gain Nationally, Hits Majority in Ten States 
The final numbers for early voting have been posted by the United States Elections Project at George Mason University and they are big: 30% of votes nationwide were cast early and a majority of voters cast their votes either by mail or in person before Election Day in ten states.  The total increase is 50% over the number cast in the 2004 presidential election. And even more striking, Coloradans cast 79% of their votes early, the vast majority through mail-in ballots.  These numbers make clear that the electoral landscape is changing in many states, and the endorsement by so many voters will likely fuel further adoption of early voting this session and beyond.