by Nora Edinger
CHARLESTON -- A Kanawha County circuit judge denied the state's challenge to a court order that restored Benedum Airport Authority membership appointment to local control in July.
In a ruling released Monday, Circuit Judge Herman G. Canaday Jr. denied the state's request for reconsideration of his initial judgment, an amended judgment and a new trial.
The state had challenged Canaday's declaration that a new state law that restructured the Airport Authority as of July 1 was unconstitutional. House Bill 3252 had reorganized board membership to include state-level officials and members with aviation-industry connections.
Canaday's original ruling struck the law down and restored the board to its pre-July membership. The new order upholds that decision.
David Cleek, a deputy attorney general representing the state, had primarily argued that Canaday did not fully consider the state's position in the challenge. Cleek said Canaday's office closed early on a deadline day and that key state papers were not available to the judge prior to his decision.
In the new order, which was submitted late Friday, Canaday said he did consider all the state's paperwork and it did not change his mind.
The new order restates his position that the law was unconstitutional special legislation.
Neither Cleek nor Roger Diaz, president of the Airport Authority and an avid foe of the new law, was available to comment for this story.
Regional Editor Nora Edinger can be reached at 626-1447 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.