CHARLESTON – A bill that will give West Virginia magistrates and their staffs a pay raise passed the House Feb. 20 with a 53-45 vote.

House Bill 2434, which was passed after approximately 90 minutes of debate, will give magistrates a pay raise of $6,375 annually, as well as a pay raise for their clerks and deputy clerks.

The bill is the first to pass the House during the 2013 session.

Currently, West Virginia sets two pay levels for magistrate courts based on the population of the county. The bill will give all magistrates in the state equal pay and will not take the county’s population into account.

Last year, an identical bill passed the House with a 65-30 vote. That bill died in the Senate Finance Committee.

The bill will give pay raises to those magistrates in the smaller counties to make them equal statewide and will also give pay raises of $5,160 to magistrate clerks and $3,000 to deputy clerks.

The total annual cost of the raises and benefits is $737,000, and has already been built into the West Virginia Supreme Court’s 2013-14 budget.

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