W.Va. magistrate pay proposal spurs debate

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - Legislation to hike salaries for West Virginia magistrates and top court staff is testing the newfound muscle of House Republicans.

GOP delegates tried without success Monday to derail a proposal to equalize pay for county magistrates, their assistants and top court clerks. That pay now varies and is based on a county's population.

The 43-52 party line vote came after the House Judiciary committee advanced the bill last week. It's scheduled for a Wednesday vote on passage to the Senate.

Republicans now hold 46 of the House's 100 seats following November election gains. They question why this bill has advanced without a review by the House Finance Committee.

They're challenging the need for the measure, when improving public school appears a higher priority.

Democratic leaders blasted the GOP gambit.


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