CHARLESTON – Senate President Bill Cole, R-Mercer, and Speaker of the House Tim Armstead, R-Kanawha, were honored Tuesday by the United States Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for Legal Reform with the State Legislative Achievement Award.
The award, which was presented during of the Institute’s annual Legal Reform Summit, recognizes the West Virginia Legislature for its work during the 2015 session to pass numerous legal reform measures.
“I’m honored and humbled to be recognized nationally for our hard work this past legislative session,” Senate President Cole said. “The Legislature – both Republicans and Democrats – worked incredibly hard on these bills, and they all passed with bipartisan support.”
Among the bills that were signed into law after the 2015 session included a cap on punitive damages in civil actions, a way to correctly distribute fault to parties involved in a lawsuit, and safeguards for property owners against civil actions from trespassers. Many of these bills were able to bring West Virginia more in line with its neighboring states.
“These kinds of reforms are ones that will benefit all West Virginians,” Senate President Cole said. “We’re hopeful that the work we began last session will encourage existing businesses in our state to grow, and encourage new ones to come here.”
Speaker Armstead added that once Republicans gained the majority in both houses of the Legislature, creating a fairer legal system became a top priority.
"These far-reaching legal reforms will have a positive impact on hard-working West Virginians and will help us put more of our citizens back to work,” Speaker Armstead said. “I'm proud of the work we've been able to accomplish and thank the Institute for Legal Reform for recognizing these efforts. There's still more work to be done, and we look forward to advancing more reforms in the upcoming legislative session."