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.