West Virginia bill to change funding for judicial campaign conduct committee amended to overhaul system in light of recent U.S. Supreme Court decision

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decisions in  McComish v. Bennett and Arizona Free Enterprise Club’s Freedom Club PAC v. Bennett were at the heart of a hearing Monday in the West Virginia House Judiciary Committee.

HB 4016, as introduced, would have modified sources of revenue for the Supreme Court of Appeals Public Campaign Financing Fund by

  • Requiring a $2 million transfer from the Treasurer’s Unclaimed Property Trust Fund to the financing fund
  • Requiring attorneys to pay additional fees to the state bar
  • Requiring plaintiffs to pay additional fees when a civil action is filed of $10 or $20 in civil actions

A committee substitute addressed the McComish cases prohibition on matching/rescue funds in public financing systems by striking them from the West Virginia system. It also extended the program into the 2016 state supreme court election

The bill, as amended, was approved and forwarded to the House Finance Committee.