CHARLESTON— Senate Republicans and all but a handful of Democrats voted to pass an amended punitive damages bill Thursday.
SB421 was defeated Wednesday when one Republican defected from the party line, and another joined him in order to be on the prevailing side.
The procedural move gave Majority Whip Daniel Hall, R-Wyoming, the ability to move the bill's reconsideration Thursday because he'd originally voted for the bill's defeat.
As amended, the bill now caps punitive damages at four times the amount of compensatory damages awarded by a jury or $500,000, whichever is greater. The original bill capped jury awards at three times the amount of compensatory damages or $500,000.
Also, the new version of the bill does not allow the state to receive one-third of any awarded punitive damages above $500,000.
Sen. Charles Trump, R-Morgan, said the bill is the result of the "art of compromise."
The amendment, a collaborative effort between Trump and Sen. Corey Palumbo, D-Kanawha, passed unanimously.
However, the bill did not, with eight Democrats — Sen. Doug Facemire, Braxton; Sen. Minority Leader Jeff Kessler, Marshall; Sen. Bill Laird, Fayette; Sen. Ron Miller, Greenbrier; Sen. Mike Romano, Harrison; Sen. Herb Snyder, Jefferson; Sen. John Unger, Berkeley; and Sen. Jack Yost, Brooke — voting against the measure.
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Also on the Senate Floor on Thursday, SB 42, allowing the sale of alcoholic beverages on Sundays prior to 1 p.m. passed the upper chamber unanimously. The law applies only to businesses that produce wine or beer on the premises where it will be sold.
On second reading, SB 384 will permit wine sales by specialty shops located in dry counties or municipalities. The bill is on third reading today.
Also on third reading today, a bill that will exempt veterans who own businesses from certain fees paid to the state and requiring non-partisan election of the judiciary.
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